Elevation: 6667 FT
All three of Montana's gateway towns are hubs for outdoor adventure, but the picturesque all-American small town of West Yellowstone also packs a lot of personality within its borders. "West," as it's affectionately known, has become 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 as well as park tours including snowcoach tours in the winter months. In the summer, water sports are a go. Kayaks and stand-up paddleboards are often spotted on Hebgen and Quake lakes. Fly-fishing here is an angler's dream all year long. The beautiful Madison and Gallatin rivers gift unrivaled blue-ribbon trout fishing: West Yellowstone is the heart of fly-fishing in the Rockies, after all.
Epic winter terrain, extensive trail systems and proximity to Yellowstone National Park make West Yellowstone one of the top snowmobiling destinations in the world and the perfect place to hop on a snowmobile tour of the park and go full throttle with professional sled heads.
You can’t drive your car into Yellowstone National Park from West Yellowstone in the wintertime, but you can ride your snowmobile in or strap on your Nordic skis or snowshoes and go forth. The other thing you can do is take a snowcoach tour of the park. Snowcoaches are basically small tour buses built with treads to run on the snow and they make for a pretty fun way to tour the park in all its winter glory.
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!
Live Like a Local
Bringing to life the days of the Wild West, the Smoking Waters Mountain Man Rendezvous is a living-history encampment recalling the 1800s with period dress, primitive living, entertainment, demonstrations and seminars. Purveyors of period trade goods, including bead and leatherwork, sell their wares. Traditional competitions such as tomahawk and knife throws, and primitive bow shooting bring sport to the festivities. Listen to cowboy poetry and storytelling to learn a bit about life in a time gone by. Open-fire cooking, musical entertainment and seminars will give you a true feel of how it felt to live, work and trade in days past.