The town of West Yellowstone, Montana, just outside the West Entrance to Yellowstone Park, is open, with full services including gas stations, dining and lodging.
If you spend some time in West Yellowstone, you won't be disappointed. Fall in Yellowstone Country is beautiful, especially outside of the National Park. There are plenty of sights to see and activities to keep you busy for days.
You can spend an entire afternoon shopping in the variety of stores along Yellowstone Avenue and Canyon Street. You can get candy, ice cream and some of the best pizza in the area to soothe your tastebuds. Don't forget to pick up some huckleberry treats for friends and family!
If you are the outdoorsy-type there is plenty of hiking, biking and fishing to be found around West Yellowstone. Markers along the way inform visitors about historic sites and interesting points. The Rendezvous Trails are open for hiking and biking.
Other trails are also open in the Gallatin National Forest. Please be aware that if you choose to hike or bike in the backcountry, forest service personnel are limited.
Fall fishing is great right now - the big Browns are running. The rivers and lakes in the area are some of the best trout fishing in the country, including the Madison River, Gallatin River, Hebgen and Quake lakes, and several smaller creeks. Licenses, regulations and equipment is available at local retailers and outfitters. Boat rentals for Hebgen Lake are available at Kirkwood Resort and Marina on Hwy 287 north of West Yellowstone.
Wildlife viewing and photography is abundant in the area. The Madison River Canyon Earthquake Area scenic drive along Hwy 287 is highly recommended. The drive north on Hwy 191 is often bountiful with wildlife including moose, elk, big horn sheep, elk and deer. You can also travel west to the Centennial Valley where you can drive through Red Rocks Wildlife Refuge or up to Elk Lake.
In West Yellowstone families have the chance to view live grizzly bears, wolves and raptors at the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center, open daily 8:30am-6:00pm. Stop by the Yellowstone IMAX and take in a movie or follow the bear paw trail around the streets on a self-guided historic walking tour. Continue your history lesson at the Yellowstone Historic Center which features information on historic travel to the first National Park.
If you are passing through the area or looking for day trip ideas consider visiting the historic western towns of Virginia and Nevada City or Bannack State Park near Dillon. Big Sky, just 45 miles to the north, is home to several wonderful hikes including Ousel Falls and Beehive Basin. Continuing north, stop in Bozeman for lunch or an trip through the Museum of the Rockies. Farther north you can travel to Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park and enjoy camping and hiking. In Martinsdale, you can stop into the Bair Family Museum. Northwest is the charming town of Philipsburg, well known for their candy store.
For more information and details about activities visit destinationyellowstone.com, call (406) 646-7701, or stop in the Visitor Center from 8:00am-5:00 pm located at 30 Yellowstone Avenue for maps and additional options.
Printable list of activities: