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Your guide to West Yellowstone
All About West Yellowstone
Set just a mile outside of world-famous Yellowstone National Park’s west entrance, this Montana town is a prized gateway to breathtaking natural beauty on a monumental scale. Aside from its status as a popular Yellowstone’s satellite city, West Yellowstone appeals to outdoors enthusiasts in its own right, with a network of hiking trails and cross-country skiing paths criss-crossing the scenic Custer Gallatin National Forest to the north. More adventurous visitors will enjoy the area’s adrenaline-boosting ziplining courses, rugged mountain biking trails, and guided snowmobile tours during the winter months.
Housed in a former train depot building, the Museum of the Yellowstone is a family-friendly favorite managed by the non-profit Yellowstone Historic Center, featuring exhibits, artifacts, and photos that take visitors through the history, culture, and ecology of Greater Yellowstone. Across the street from the museum is the West Yellowstone Visitor Center and the Yellowstone Giant Screen Theatre, which screens nature films. Traditional pubs and wood-paneled stores line downtown, while the imposing mountains loom large in the background.
When is the best time to stay in a vacation rental in West Yellowstone?
West Yellowstone gets most of its visitors between June and August, when warmer temperatures allow the full range of outdoor attractions. The late spring and early autumn months have milder weather and you’ll likely be sharing the park with fewer people, but be prepared for freezing temperatures at night, as well as the possibility of snowfall — West Yellowstone’s elevation at 6,667 feet means snowpack between November and May. During the winter months, West Yellowstone draws fans to the Yellowstone Ski Festival and the West Yellowstone Snowmobile Expo. But the fun doesn’t stop when the snow has melted. Summer brings the Mountain Bike Biathlon in July, the Fourth of July parade and fireworks show — head to park for a great view set against the mountains — and the Mountain Man Rendezvous in August.
What are the top things to do in West Yellowstone?
Museum of The Yellowstone
Browse the unique collection of artifacts and exhibits at this museum set in the original Union Pacific Railroad Depot. As the number of visitors to Yellowstone National Park has increased over the last century, the types of transportation have changed with it and the Museum of the Yellowstone showcases this transformation with its assortment of old buses and vehicles on display.
From camping and kayaking to hiking and fishing, Hebgen Lake is a major hub for enjoying the outdoors. Located around 12 miles north of West Yellowstone, the reservoir on the Madison River is surrounded by scenic mountains and is a popular spot for watching striking sunsets.
Firehole Lake Drive
Whether you’re keen to spot some of the local wildlife — look out for bald eagles, bison, and bears galore — or looking for thundering waterfalls and hot springs, Yellowstone is home to plenty of scenic routes. Take Firehole Lake Drive for the best view of the park’s famous geysers and admire the 40-foot cascade of Firehole Falls.