20 Best Things to Do in West Yellowstone, MT

West Yellowstone
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West Yellowstone is the most famous entryway city to Yellowstone National Park, located in southwest Montana between the Wyoming and Idaho border.

The park's West Entrance is around a mile away, and the city borders it.

However, the attraction of West Yellowstone goes far beyond its closeness to the park.

The town is surrounded by thousands of square miles of national forest, plus the Greater Yellowstone area attracts adventurers all year.

Trails of various kinds lead from the town's border into the vastness of Montana's countryside.

In Montana, West Yellowstone is not a new vacation spot.

The town has welcomed visitors for years, boosting the city's economy, including restaurants, theaters, and a huge movie screen.

So you can expect to see lots of happy people here all year long, either on the streets or at the town rodeo.

Are you still confused regarding which places to visit on your trip to West Yellowstone?

These are the best things to do in West Yellowstone, Montana:

Traverse Yellowstone National Park

Bisons near Firehole river in Yellowstone National Park
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West Yellowstone is nearest to Yellowstone National Park.

The West Entrance is just under a mile from the city's center.

West Yellowstone is among the most famous basecamps for exploring the park due to its closeness.

A bear eating a fish at Yellowstone National Park
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Yellowstone National Park, the country's oldest national park, spans 2.2 million acres, having its own ecology.

Firehole Canyon and Madison Junction greet visitors entering via the West Entrance.

Firehole Canyon Drive offers magnificent vistas of lava flows and a pleasant spot to swim.

Take a Guided Sightseeing Tour of Yellowstone's Natural Attractions

Norris Geyser Basin
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Other major Yellowstone sites like the Upper Geyser Basin, Old Faithful, and Grand Prismatic are just a short distance south of Madison Junction.

In addition, the Norris Geyser Basin is bounded to the north by steamy landscapes such as Artists' Paintpots and Steamboat Geyser.

Several of Yellowstone's finest hiking routes may be found in these breathtaking settings.

Scenic view of the Grand Canyon at Yellowstone National Park
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Yellowstone offers a never-ending stream of adventures.

There is a diverse variety of activities and many sites to see.

West Yellowstone guides are eager to assist you in planning a great trip.

Yellowstone Adventures and Yellowstone Alpen Guides, located in West Yellowstone, provide guided sightseeing tours.

View of the milky way from Yellowstone National Park
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Check Out the Rendezvous Trail System for Cross-Country Skiing

The Rendezvous Trail System is among West Yellowstone's greatest valuable open-air community assets.

The trailhead is located on the town's southern outskirts, making it easily accessible from nearly everywhere in town.

Over 35 kilometers of trails wind via the Custer Gallatin National Forest, starting just at Trailhead Archway.

To utilize the Rendezvous Trail System, you'll need a trail pass, which you may get for a day, a season, or a family.

The trail system suits all experience levels, from seasoned professionals to first-timers.

The routes are typically snowy from January to March, at a base height of 6,800 feet.

West Yellowstone has several local gear stores that rent skis daily.

All through the winter, the Rendezvous Trail System hosts several important events.

The season begins in November with the Yellowstone Ski Festival and concludes in March with the Yellowstone Rendezvous Race.

In addition, the trail network is renowned for hiking, jogging, and mountain cycling in the summertime.

Try Your Hand at Blue Ribbon Fishing

Fly fishing at Madison River
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West Yellowstone is the pinnacle of Montana trout fishing.

Many blue ribbon fishing spots are a quick trip away, especially Yellowstone National Park's trout-filled streams.

The Madison River seems to be the nearest river to West Yellowstone among the numerous famous waterways that emerge from the park, such as the Gallatin River and the Yellowstone River.

Picturesque view of the Blue Ribbon Fishing in the Madison River
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Inside Yellowstone, the Madison River is formed by the junction of the Firehole and Gibbon Rivers, which are both powerful fish roaches in their own right.

Madison leaves the park and runs beside the city borders.

The river eventually flows into Hebgen Lake, a renowned Stillwater fishing location in the area.

Exploring local fishing stores in West Yellowstone is worth it since there are many places to throw a line and varied conditions throughout the season.

Jacklin's Fly Shop, for example, offers equipment, advice, and guided tours. Similar services are available at Madison River Outfitters and Arrick's Fly Shop.

Get Ready for a Snowmobile Ride

Snowmobile Ride in Yellowstone
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In the winter, West Yellowstone is a snowmobiling paradise.

Dozens of meters of maintained tracks traverse the public forests around the town, in addition to convenient entry to snowmobile-friendly paths in Yellowstone National Park.

In addition, the community's many stores and rental businesses guarantee that people of all skills may experience the winter rush.

During the winter, the West Entrance to Yellowstone is closed to vehicle traffic.

Snowmobiles, on the other hand, are welcome to wander at their leisure.

Riders may enjoy a magical tour of snow-covered Yellowstone sites such as Norris Geyser Basin and Old Faithful.

Snowmobiles in Yellowstone National Park
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Yellowstone Vacations, for example, offers guided snowmobile excursions in these regions.

However, tourists need not wear snowshoes to enjoy the park's great paths.

Miles and miles of routes encircle West Yellowstone National Park, which is easy to access from the town.

The Big Sky Trail, the Two Mountain Top Trail, and the Madison Arm Loop are all popular routes.

Fly in the Air at Yellowstone Zipline Adventure Park

Located on South Faithful Street, Yellowstone Zipline Adventure Park is an excellent place for the whole group to enjoy high-flying.

This famous tourist site is located near several of the area's finest hotels, only a few streets west of the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center.

Nearly 1,000 feet of zip lines and an elevated ropes course provide all-day fun inside the site.

During the summer, Yellowstone Zipline Adventure Park is available daily, with fewer hours during the cooler months.

From October to April, this recreational attraction is closed.

Guided horseback rides and add-on white water rafting excursions are available with current zipline packages.

Customized packages are available to pair with other Yellowstone experiences.


Explore the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center

Gizzly bear in Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center
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The Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center is a non-profit wildlife park on South Canyon Street.

Grizzly bears and wolves unable to live in the wild are housed in this AZA-accredited center.

The animals are kept in huge outdoor enclosures open to the public.

This arrangement offers a unique chance to view grizzlies and wolves in a safe setting.

Wolf at Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center
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The Naturalist Cabin, founded in the center, is a wonderful location to look at the Discovery Center's three different wolf packs.

This warm indoor building has floor-to-ceiling glass that overlooks the wolf area.

In addition, a new river otter display has been added to the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center.

A man posing next to a wolf at Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center
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As they swim around huge tanks stocked with Yellowstone cutthroat trout, these hairy animals are entertaining to watch.

During the year, the center puts on various performances, such as a Birds of Prey display with some of the center's native raptors.

Throughout the summer, a 30-minute "Keeper Kids" session is provided twice daily for children aged five to 12.

Watch the Mesmerizing Sunset at Hebgen Lake

Sunset at Hebgen Lake
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Outside of the park, West Yellowstone is surrounded by spectacular natural settings.

Hebgen Lake is an excellent illustration of the vast surrounding landscapes.

This vast lake on the Madison River, located just under 20 minutes northwest, is a popular summer leisure destination.

Boat ramps, campsites, and hiking paths are maintained by the US Forest Service along the lakefront.

Transquil water at Hebgen Lake
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The reservoir is among the finest Stillwater fishing locations in the area, making fishing one of the most popular pastimes.

Even if you don't catch anything, Hebgen Lake is a great place to watch the sunset fill the sky with vibrant hues.

Distant view of Earthquake Lake
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For many years, Hebgen has been regarded as Montana's finest lake.

When a historic earthquake struck the Madison River Canyon underneath the Hebgen Dam in 1959, it was a major tourist attraction.

The debris that resulted stopped the river and soon formed Earthquake Lake.

This stretch of water still present to date is now renowned as Quake Lake.

Watch a Show at the West Yellowstone Rodeo

A western trip isn't complete without going to the West Yellowstone Rodeo.

The town's most renowned rodeo can be found approximately four miles west in a huge outdoor arena.

Roping, bull riding, and bareback riding competitions are all included at each evening rodeo.

The West Yellowstone Rodeo is based on western customs, and every event draws large audiences and sells out events.

In addition, Creekside Trail Rides offers a unique Rodeo Ride Package that allows customers to come to the rodeo while riding horses.

Get Enlightened with History at the Museum of the Yellowstone

Museum of the Yellowstone
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The Museum of the Yellowstone covers the unique culture of the state park and nearby areas, providing some context to every visit.

In addition, the many modes of transit used to move around the park throughout the decades are also on exhibit.

Other displays include the 1959 Earthquake and 1988 Fires that occurred in Yellowstone.

The museum also provides guided tours of the Union Pacific Railroad Historic District, just across the street.

All these details and others may be seen in the museum, which adds to the already magnificent environment.

The Museum of the Yellowstone is located on Yellowstone Avenue.

Watch a Film at the Yellowstone Giant Screen Theatre

Exterior view of Yellowstone Giant Screen Theatre
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The Yellowstone Giant Screen Theatre offers a fantastic experience worth adding to your itinerary.

This six-story-high movie screen is unique in the area.

The theater's trademark presentation is a park-themed instructional film featuring stunning scenic views.

Other documentaries and current Hollywood blockbusters are also shown at the venue.

The Yellowstone Giant Screen Theatre is located on South Canyon Street.

Go Mountain Biking in the Lionhead Region

West Yellowstone is surrounded by hundreds of square miles of national forest, so there are plenty of mountain biking routes to explore.

Even during summer, the Rendezvous Trail System, famous for its skiing trails, melts out to become a popular mountain bike trail route.

The Custer Gallatin National Forest's Lionhead region is another favorite riding location.

Located south of the Madison River and Hebgen Lake, it's renowned for its high-altitude routes.

The Lionhead region has become a hotspot for mountain riding because of a mix of user privileges and devoted maintenance.

Almost all routes involve some rising, but the upward efforts are rewarded with spectacular views.

Freeheel and Wheel, West Yellowstone's finest bike rental businesses, rent out mountain bikes hourly or daily.

The bike shop's helpful employees may also guide you in the way of some good trails.

For those who want to hit the road, Freeheel and Wheel also offer various road bikes.

Enjoy Delicious Meals in West Yellowstone

Restaurants in Downtown West Yellowstone
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The local economy of West Yellowstone is based on the vast amount of visitors that come each year.

This economic engine has resulted in an overabundance of high-quality eateries sprouting up along the roads of the tiny town.

So when you come, try some of the local shops that provide a wide range of flavors.

Barbeque restaurant at West Yellowstone
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Enjoy a Delicious Cup of Coffee

The Go-Go Espresso Cabin is a great place to start the day with a cup of coffee.

Ernie's Bakery & Deli, a few streets west, has a full brunch menu.

The Buffalo Bar in West Yellowstone
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For quick lunch and breakfast meals, The Buffalo Bar is a neighborhood favorite.

Dinner choices are also plentiful, with pizza restaurants such as Pete's Rocky Mountain Pizza at the number one spot.

Interior view of the The Buffalo Bar
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Watch a Live Performance at the Playmill Theatre

Located along Madison Avenue, the Playmill Theatre is where you can enjoy live performances while learning about traditional values and having a good time.

From the moment visitors are welcomed at the entrance and brought to their seats until the end of the performance, the theatrical cast offers an engaging and intimate experience.

The Playmill Theatre ensemble pleases and attracts spectators with the main play and various performances, in addition to a song-filled opening.

The theatre, officially opened in the Yellowstone region in 1964, offers excellent family fun even today.

Ride a Horse and Explore The Diamond P Ranch

Since 1953, The Diamond P Ranch has offered horseback tours into the stunning mountains that encircle West Yellowstone.

They provide escorted horseback rides in the Gallatin National Forest for people of all ages.

With authorization to ride into the Gallatin National Forest, they serve as the only horseback riding establishment operating west of West Yellowstone.

The rides are quite tranquil as you wander by mountain streams and different native wood species, including forest pole pine and aspen, and immerse yourself in the beauty of the natural mountain wildflowers.

On your journey, you'll also be able to spot various animals and local birds.

The Diamond P Ranch is located along Targhee Pass Highway.

Create Memorable Experiences with the Help of Yellowstone Alpen Guides

In the summers and winters, Yellowstone Alpen Guides offers naturalist-guided excursions in Yellowstone National Park and the nearby areas.

Regular everyday assistance and multi-day bundles tailored to your needs are included in the selections.

Yellowstone Alpen Guides provides full-day snow coach trips to Old Faithful and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone during the winter months.

Excellent naturalist experts will help you make the most of your time in Yellowstone, enhancing the experience and significance of your trip.

The daily summer excursions are specially tailored to your requirements and preferences.

For your safety and comfort, they have quality rental gear.

Whether you prefer a multi-day walk, early morning animal watching tour, or a picturesque tour of the park's top sites, Yellowstone Alpen Guides has the expertise to guarantee the best of what it offers.

Get Energized and Dine at Bullwinkle's Saloon and Eatery

West Yellowstone locals love the family-run business Bullwinkle's Saloon and Eatery, located along North Canyon Street.

They chop their fresh meat, cook homemade meatballs, and create all of their delectable sauces and dressings from scratch, utilizing the finest ingredients.

The menu at Bullwinkle's Restaurant is fantastic.

It offers a variety of dishes, such as hand-cut steaks and chops, prime rib, spaghetti, chicken, sandwiches, salads, and gluten-free and vegetarian alternatives.

Even their handmade pastries are delicious!

Bullwinkle's, one of the few businesses in West Yellowstone with a complete liquor license, offers a wide variety of beer and wine.

Learn Fly Fishing at Arrick's Fly Shop

Situated on Hayden Street, Arrick's Fly Shop has provided services to the West Yellowstone region since 1993.

Arrick and Lorie Swanson are business owners and operators.

Since 1991, Arrick has held a license as an outfitter, and in 1993, he established Arrick's Fly Shop.

They welcome everyone who wishes to learn how to fly fish and provide a wide range of supervised fly fishing outings for anglers of all skill levels.

Arrick's Fly Shop was founded on a deep love and respect for the natural world.

They have a kind, competent staff that enjoys instructing and introducing people to fly fishing and this region.

Admire the View from above with Yellowstone Helicopters

Tourists have the exceptional option to take part in thrilling, gorgeous helicopter excursions with Yellowstone Helicopters' helpful team.

Their excursions will transport you up to 10,000 feet in the air to explore the wild and beautiful American West from the skies.

Local pilots who thoroughly understand the area fly the helicopter trips in Yellowstone.

They provide the most affordable and valuable flights in the area.

Discover Bald Peak, the breathtaking, 11,000-foot Madison mountainous region covered in snow, Earthquake Lake, Hebgen Lake, and many more places.

Fly with Yellowstone Helicopters to enhance your sightseeing excursions across Yellowstone's Outback and create lifelong memories.

Final Thoughts

West Yellowstone is a well-known vacation spot in Montana; visitors are drawn here all year.

For decades, the town has welcomed visitors who like outdoor pursuits, including hiking, trail riding, mountain biking, water sports, and fly fishing.

Visitors may also enjoy exploring snow coaches, sledding, and cross-country skiing during the winter.

Expect to see happy folks anywhere, whether on the roadways or at the neighborhood rodeo.

Start planning your next trip with this list of the best things to do in West Yellowstone, Montana!