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Alternative Places to Travel
in Yellowstone Country Montana

Have your travel plans been affected by the Yellowstone area flooding? As our impacted communities continue to respond to the needs of our residents, we invite you to explore alternative places and hidden gems outside the park in Montana’s Yellowstone Country. Please note that even if you make alternative travel plans in the area—or anywhere in Montana—you should continue to keep apprised of this evolving situation. In other words, know before you go. Before visiting, check all local businesses for hours of operation and ability to accommodate. Make all reservations in advance. Also, please pack your patience, understanding and sense of adventure—your travel plans may need to further adapt as impacted communities move toward reopening to visitors.

Upcoming Events

It's the height of the summer season, which means our thriving towns and communities north of the park are alive with concerts, art walks, festivals, performing arts and more. Check out what's coming up on our calendar of events.

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Nestled in the heart of the Gallatin Valley just 10 miles northwest of Bozeman, the full-service community of Belgrade is a lively little city with friendly accommodations and a picturesque, historic downtown, and it's minutes from major attractions like Bridger Bowl and Big Sky Resort (both of which provide warm-season recreation activities), Lewis and Clark Caverns, Museum of the Rockies, and, of course, the great outdoors. Belgrade offers easy access to hiking, biking, horseback riding, backpacking and more. While in town, don't miss the Mint Café and Bar. Stop in for a prime rib or a famous m-c burger. Or, head to the Local American Saloon for good food and good local vibes. Don't miss weekend brunch at Bar 3 BBQ, and stop in to find out what's on tap at Madison River Brewing Company.
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Big Timber

Flanked by the beautiful backdrop of the Crazy Mountains, scenes from Robert Redford's A River Runs Through It and The Horse Whisperer were filmed here. Big Timber charms with numerous outdoor activities and guided services, including ranch vacations, hiking, golf and the historical Big Timber Rodeo. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Big Timber's Grand Hotel Bed & Breakfast is the town's most iconic lodging spot. Stay the night in turn-of-the-century decorated room, enjoy some of Montana's best cuisine (locally raised beef and seafood flown in daily!), and top off the night with a cocktail at the Grand Hotel Saloon. Get a historical look at Sweet Grass Country at the Crazy Mountain Museum, and don't miss Natural Bridge Falls & Picnic Area.
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Downtown Bozeman features rows of turn-of-the-century buildings and more than 100 shops, breweries, distilleries and restaurants line this beautiful and historic retail corridor. Art and culture are alive and well in Bozeman. It is home to many museums, talented artists and excellent galleries. Bozeman boasts three farmers markets, and they're all worth a tour for fresh produce, food, meats, Montana-made arts and crafts, and, of course, local vibes. Start your day with a market stroll, grab some breakfast at the Nova Café, head for the hills for a hike at whatever pace suites you, end your outdoor adventure with a soak at Bozeman Hot Springs, and then take your pick of breweries (Montana's No. 2 in the nation for breweries per capita) for some finely crafted local flavor and good eats. Bozeman is surrounded by six mountain ranges, so recreation opportunities are virtually endless. Travel through 4 billion years of Earth's history at the Museum of the Rockies, featuring a planetarium, paleontology, ethnology and displays of dinosaurs and dinosaur eggs unearthed in Montana, as well as Plains Indian artifacts, pioneer exhibits and Western art exhibits and a full-scale T. rex.
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Cooke City

Cooke City is a small, welcoming community nestled between the Beartooth Mountain Range and Yellowstone National Park. Along with its sister city of Silver Gate, Cooke City businesses are opening up—offering travelers and residents (who are outnumbered by dogs, by the way) local shopping and dining experiences. Take in summer events, like the annual Fourth of July parade and firework show. After a full day of adventuring, head down to the local saloon for great food and wonderful company. There are plenty of ways to enjoy and support Cooke City at this time.
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Named after an outlaw fur trapper, Gardiner excels at being quaint while serving as a full-service town specializing in wilderness, wildlife, whitewater, and western welcomes. This scenic community has just under 900 residents who are greatly outnumbered by antelope, bison, deer and elk. Gardiner has survived the boom and bust of the gold rush, devastating wildfires, and the coming and going of the railroad. Today, Gardiner serves travelers from all over the world.


You’ll find Livingston between the Gallatin and Crazy Mountain ranges, surrounded by the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Area and brimming with western charm. Buildings from the 1880s and 90s stand as a testament to the Old West in downtown Livingston, which has since been transformed into an arts mecca. Artists, writers and movie stars alike put down roots in the area, and more than 15 art galleries line the streets downtown. When it comes to outdoor adventure, the surrounding area offers breathtaking hiking, biking, horseback riding, rock climbing and more. Despite its proximity to the recently flooded Yellowstone River, Livingston remains open and safe for visitors. No major events have been rescheduled, including the beloved Livingston Roundup—one of the nation’s top rodeos.
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This charming, down-to-earth Montana town is brimful of wide-open spaces and beautiful vistas. Outdoor recreation around here includes excellent horseback riding and hiking. Don't miss the Headwaters Trail System—a paved network of trails that runs along the old Milwaukee Railroad corridor from Three Forks to The Headwaters State Park and on to Manhattan, and it's popular for hiking and biking.
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Melville is surrounded by excellent outdoor opportunities, like hiking the Crazy Mountains. Camp at Halfmoon Campground and Hike Big Timber Creek Trail. This trailhead provides access to numerous day hikes and backpacking opportunities. Landmarks include Conical Peak, Sweet Grass Creek, Twin Lakes, Blue Lake and the Big Timber Creek Falls. The Melville Lutheran Church is one of the first churches built in Montana. It is a popular stop for locals and visitors. Stop at Cafe 191—on Highway 191, of course—where's you'll get treated like a friend or family around the ranch house kitchen table. Enjoy homestyle favorites—and real Montana burgers—in a historic and scenic setting beneath the crazy-beautiful Crazy Mountains. Cafe 191 boasts all natural, grass fed and finished grown beef from their 5th generation family ranch—Sweet Grass Land & Cattle. Stop in for a full breakfast, lunch, or a quick coffee fix.
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Red Lodge

Red Lodge is a charming resort and ranching town, nestled in the foothills of the magnificent Beartooth Mountains. Outdoor adventure awaits in every direction, while the idyllic downtown largely escaped recent flooding and remains home to a historic hotel, a brewery, bars, shops, restaurants and true western hospitality. Visitors are welcome in Red Lodge, where several hotels are still open for bookings. The Annual Songwriter’s Festival will be held as planned June 23-25, drawing songwriters from around the country, and the Home of Champions Rodeo is still set for July 2-4. Camping in national forests is currently closed, but there are still countless ways to enjoy Red Lodge right now.
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Three Forks

Three Forks is home to one of Montana's many state parks—Missouri Headwaters State Park, where you can trace the footsteps of Lewi and Clark. Enjoy historical exhibits, interpretive signs, scenic viewpoints, picnic areas, hiking trails and camping. Other Three Forks attractions include the Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park, one of the most highly-decorated limestone caverns in the Northwest. At the Headwaters Heritage Museum, discover the history and culture of the area surrounding the Headwaters of the Missouri River, including American Indian art and artifacts, Lewis and Clark memorabilia, a replica turn-of-the-century village, and artifacts related to fur trade, railroad, mining and agriculture. Clark's Lookout State Park highlights Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery adventures, and at the Madison Buffalo Jump State Park witness stunning views of the Madison River Valley and a limestone cliff once used by American Indians as a buffalo jump site. Noteworthy lodging in Three Forks includes the historic Sacajawea Hotel.

The Farmers Markets in Three Forks is held every Thursday from 4 to 7 p.m. Also, pack your clubs for the 9-hole Headwaters Golf Course.
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West Yellowstone

The picturesque all-American small town of West Yellowstone also packs a lot of personality within its borders. "West," as it's affectionately known, is a mecca of lodging options from well-known hotels to private cabins, plus coffee shops, cafés, a taqueria housed in an old school bus, gift shops, fine dining and even a giant-screen theater. This scenic, bustling town offers plenty of entertainment. Kayaks and stand-up paddleboards are often spotted on Hebgen and Quake lakes. If you find yourself visiting June through August, make sure to experience the Wild West Yellowstone Rodeo for some authentic Wild West flavor. The Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center is home to several grizzly bears, two packs of wolves, birds and the wonderful Keep Kids program. If you're interested in learning about the park's history, the Yellowstone Historic Center will tell you all about it. For the more adventurous, the Yellowstone Aerial Adventures ropes and zip line will test your skills!
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Things To Do In The Summer

From the blog

The Musician’s Rendezvous, Columbus MT

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Relaxing in Stillwater County, Montana

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Yellowstone Revealed; Co-creating the Future of Yellowstone

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Travel Advisory
Please stay informed about the latest travel updates in the region, including the reopening of Yellowstone National Park.
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