Elevation: 7608 FT
Cooke City's sister village—they’re just 3 miles apart—is located on the Montana/Wyoming border one mile from the northeast entrance to Yellowstone National Park and the park’s famous Lamar Valley. Silver Gate's proximity to the park and the Custer Gallatin National Forest means easy access to wild trails for hiking and horseback riding, blue-ribbon trout streams, world-class snowmobiling on groomed terrain, and of course, America's first national park. Plus, it’s right on the Beartooth Highway, which is arguably one of the most stunning roads anywhere.
This little outpost was named for the silver haze that arches over the mountains, creating a gate to Yellowstone National Park. The town itself was built with log and rustic architecture only, giving it a unique, alpine village character. Silver Gate offers the quintessential mountain getaway, any time of year. Though summer is popular in part because of proximity to the park, winter offers a quiet and authentic wonderland of snowshoeing and backcountry skiing. Just note that Cooke City is the end of the road in winter (you literally cannot drive beyond Cooke City on Highway 212 in the wintertime). You’re also not going to get cell service here, and that’s one more reason why it’s the perfect place to unplug and unwind.
Only about 8 folks officially call Silver Gate home, but, just like Cooke City, the population swells to over 200 in the summer. There’s still way more wildlife here that people though. Bighorn sheep, mountain goats and elk can all be seen on the high slopes, and, if you’re an early bird, you can sometimes spot moose, bison and deer right outside your cabin door.
For a true taste of Silver Gate, stay at “The Rider.” The historic Range Rider Lodge is “a rustic lodging option for people who don’t mind communal bathrooms, creaking floors, and thin walls. It is a beautiful building with a lot of history and charm…but not for people looking for a luxury lodging option.”
At the time of writing this, the town’s mayor is a dog named Rommel. Things change, but the next mayor of Silver Gate will likely be a dog as well, because it’s tradition.
Grab some world-famous pumpkin bread at The Log Cabin Café. It’s a traveler favorite and is served with every meal. This Silver Gate gem is open daily May through October and is known for serving savory home cooking to Yellowstone explorers. The menu features famous breakfast traditions like Rocky Mountain Rainbow Trout and the 1937 “secret recipe” Log Cabin Pancakes.
Live Like a Local
Drive your snowmobile to dinner.