Gardiner (Montana)

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Gardiner is a small town located near the north entrance to Yellowstone National Park. It is the only entrance to Yellowstone Park accessible by car year round and has served as a home base for thousands of tourists visiting the area.

The Roosevelt Arch cornerstone was laid down by President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt in 1903. The top of the arch is inscribed with a quote from the Organic Act of 1872, the legislation which created Yellowstone, which reads "For the Benefit and Enjoyment of the People."

Understand[edit]

Gardiner was officially founded in 1880, but the area has served as a main entrance to Yellowstone National Park since its creation in 1872. The iconic Roosevelt arch stands as a symbol to the national and international importance of Americas first national park. Grazing elk, bison and antelope are a common site in the field right across from main street.

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

Gardiner is the only four-season gateway to Yellowstone National Park accessible from highway 89 S. to the north and from Yellowstone National Park and Mammoth Hot Springs to the south.

By thumb[edit]

Hitchhiking is more common in the Yellowstone area than other parts of the country. It is still not considered a safe or reliable way to travel, but at major attractions and entrances of the park, pairs or even groups of hitchhikers are a common sight.

By plane[edit]

The closest airports are in Bozeman and West Yellowstone the Billings airport is also convenient.

  • Bozeman Yellowstone Airport (IATA: BZN) is 10 miles east of Bozeman. The airport has year-round non-stop service to Chicago, Denver, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, Oakland, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, and Seattle. There is seasonal non-stop service to Atlanta, Detroit, Los Angeles, Portland (OR), and San Francisco. There are call taxis and hotel shuttles available to bring you into town.
  • Billings Logan International Airport (IATA: BIL), 1901 Terminal Cir, +1 406 247-8609, e-mail: airport@ci.billings.mt.us, [1]. Billings Logan International is the major airport for Eastern Montana, and the busiest airport in the state. Silver Airways uses it as their hub for service within the state, and it is additionally served by Allegiant, Alaska/Horizon, Delta, Frontier, Skywest and United. Denver, Salt Lake City, and Minneapolis are the biggest hubs serving Billings.
  • Delta (Skywest) flies to West Yellowstone three times a day during the summer.

Get around[edit]

Gardiner is small enough that it can all be reached on foot and several trail heads into the surrounding wilderness start right from town.

See[edit]

Pronghorn are a common site across from main street

Gardiner is the northern entrance to Yellowstone National Park, it is divided by the Yellowstone River and lies just to the south of the Gallatin National Forest and is in a major migration route for animals coming and going seasonally from the higher elevations of Yellowstone Park. Elk and deer are regular visitors and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is one of the last remaining large, nearly intact ecosystems in the northern temperate zone of the Earth.

National Parks[edit]

Yellowstone National Park is a United States National Park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was the world's first national park, set aside in 1872 to preserve the vast number of geysers, hot springs, and other thermal areas, as well as to protect the incredible wildlife and rugged beauty of the area. The park contains 3,472 square miles (8,987 km2), and 3 of the main 5 entrances to the park are in Montana at Cooke City, Gardiner (Montana) and West Yellowstone.

National Forests[edit]

  • Custer National Forest. - Spanning across southeastern Montana north east of Yellowstone National Park the Forest encompasses nearly 1.3 million acres, the Custer National Forest is known best as one of the most ecologically diverse forests in the Northern Region.
  • Gallatin National Forest. This 1.8-million acre Forest spans six mountain ranges and includes two Congressionally-designated Wilderness areas, the Absaroka-Beartooth and Lee Metcalf Wildernesses.

Wilderness Areas[edit]

  • Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Area. covering 920,310 acres, is an administrated unit of the Gallatin National Forest, Custer National Forest and the Shoshone National Forest and is named for its jagged peaks resembling bears teeth and for Native Americans that lived in the area.

Do[edit]

  • Boiling River. Just inside of Yellowstone National Park south of Gardiner a sign north of where the road crosses the Gardner River marks the 45th parallel of latitude. A little distance south of the sign, a parking area on the east side of the road is used by bathers in the "Boiling River", one of a very few spots in the park where visitors can soak in naturally-heated water. Bathers must walk upstream about a half mile from the parking area to the place where the footpath reaches the river. This spot is also marked by large clouds of steam, especially in cold weather. Here, the hot water runoff from the Mammoth Terraces, enters the Gardner River. The hot and the cold water mix in pools along the river's edge. Bathers are allowed in the river during daylight hours only. Bathing suits are required, and no alcoholic beverages are allowed. Boiling River is closed in the springtime due to hazardous high water and often does not reopen until mid-summer. It tends to be very crowded, so try to visit very early in the morning during peak season

Buy[edit]

  • The Yellowstone Association308 Park St Gardiner, Mt 59030 +1 406 848-2400. The nonprofit Yellowstone Association educates Yellowstone National Park visitors by offering trip planners, books, videos, and guided classes.

Eat[edit]

main street

Gardiner offers a wide variety of foods for the hungry traveler. Try searching out locally sourced game such as wild trout or even an elk burger.

  • KBar Pizza202 Main St +1 406 848-9995. one of the oldest places in town, they have managed to keep up with the times by expanding and remodeling but still has that old school Montana bar feeling. Pool table and video poker on the more adult side of the bar, but the walled off area on the other side is a little more family friendly.
  • Yellowstone Mine905 Scott Street +1 406 848-7336. mined theme restaurant off of the main drag.
  • Antler Pub & Grill107 Hellroaring Street. One of the many bars that Gardiner manages to keep going year round.
  • Outlaw's Pizza906 Scott Street +1 406 848-7733. located on the north side of the river, this pizza place is very family friendly.
  • Lighthouse Restaurant752 Highway 89 South Corwin Springs, MT 59030 +1 406 848-2138. not in Gardiner proper but a little further down the highway, this is a convenient place to stop on your way in or out of town.
  • Howlin' Hounds Cafe204 RR Lane Rt 89 South Emigrant, MT 59027 +1 406 333-9400. located between Livingston and Gardiner in Emigrant.
  • Helen's Corral Drive-In711 Scott St W +1 406 848-7627. arguably not just the best burger in town, but in the whole state. Consider sharing one, they are big and they are in no hurry to get it to you. Try an elk or buffalo burger for some additional local flavor. Their logo says it all 'home of the hateful hamburger', this has been a Gardiner institution for as long as anyone can remember.
  • Sawtooth Deli220 W Park St +1 406 848-7600. located in the middle of main street this restaurant offers fresh food and local ingredients.

Drink[edit]

Montanans take their Bars Pretty seriously and Gardiner is no exception. Bars can be a great source for local news and fishing reports as well as a chance to rub elbows with the locals.

  • Antler Pub & Grill 107 Hellroaring Street Gardiner , MT 59030
  • Iron Horse Bar & Grille 212 Spring St Gardiner , MT 59030 848-7888
  • KBar Pizza 202 Main St Gardiner , MT 59030 (406) 848-9995
  • Red's Blue Goose Saloon, 206 W Park St Gardiner, Mt 59030(406) 848-7434
  • Rusty Rail Lounge and Casino 905 Scott Street West Gardiner , MT 59030 (496) 848-7336
  • Two Bit Saloon & Cafe 107 Second Street Gardiner , MT 59030 (406) 848-7743

Sleep[edit]

It is clear from the number of listings that Gardiner is a popular place to spend the night when exploring the park. Gardiner offers a wide variety of places to stay within anyone's budget.

Camp grounds[edit]

State camp grounds listed with their distance from the Park entrance.

  • Eagle Creek Campground : 2 miles
  • Timber Camp Campground : 9 miles
  • Bear Creek Campground : 9.5 miles
  • Canyon Campground : 16 miles

Hotels and motels[edit]

  • Yellowstone Gateway Inn103 Bigelow Lane Gardiner , MT 59030 +1 406 848-7100.
  • Yellowstone Village Inn1102 Scott Street Gardiner , MT 59030 +1 406 848-7417.
  • Yellowstone Super 8

702 Scott Street West Gardiner , MT 59030 (406) 848-7401

  • Yellowstone Basin Inn

4 Maiden Basin Dr Gardiner , MT 59030 (406) 848-7080

  • Yellowstone Mountain Cottage

Rock Creek Road Gardiner , MT 59030 (406) 848-9178

  • Montana Buffalo Co Ranch Cabins

569 Cinnabar Basin Road Gardiner , MT 59030 (406) 848-7007

  • Elk River Lodge at Yellowstone

(406) 223-2569

  • Comfort Inn - Yellowstone North

107 Hellroaring Street Gardiner , MT 59030 (406) 848-7536

  • Riverside Cottages

Gardiner , MT 59030 (406) 848-7719

  • Westerniare Motel

910 Scott Street West Gardiner , MT 59030 (406) 848-7397

  • Jim Bridger Court

901 Scott St. W. Gardiner , MT 59030 (406) 848-7371

  • Yellowstone Riverview Retreat

17 Riverview Drive Gardiner , MT 59030 (406) 223-4010

  • Absaroka Lodge

310 Scott Street Gardiner , MT 59030 (406) 848-7414

  • Best Western by Mammoth Hot Springs

905 A Scott Street West Gardiner , MT 59030 (406) 848-7311

  • Hell's A Roarin' Outfitters

164 Crevice Road Gardiner , MT 59030 (406) 848-7578

  • Cabin By The River

1047 US Hwy 89 S Gardiner , MT 59030 (406) 848-7229

  • A Bear's Lair Lodge

495 Jardine Rd Gardiner , MT 59030 (406) 223-7939

  • Gardiner View Vacation Rental

400 Scott Street Gardiner , MT 59030 (406) 848-7353

  • Yellowstone Raven Grill & Tipi Campground

554 Old Yellowstone Trail South Gardiner, MT 59030 (406) 848-7600

  • Crevice Mountain Lodge

384 Crevice Road Gardiner , MT 59030 406-223-0148

  • Yellowstone Suites Bed & Breakfast

506 4th Street South Gardiner , MT 59030 (406) 848-7937

  • Yellowstone Park Travelodge

109 Hellroaring St Gardiner , MT 59030 (406) 848-7520

  • 4M Ranch Bed & Breakfast & Cabin

194 Bridger Hollow Road Pray, MT 59065 (406) 333-4784

  • Yellowstone National Park Lodges

1 Grand Loop Road YNP , WY 82190 (307) 344-7311

  • Rocky Mountain RV Park & Lodging LLC

14 Jardine Road Gardiner , MT 59030 (406) 848-7251

  • Wilderness Connection

416 Cinnabar Road Gardiner , MT 59030 (406) 848-7862

  • Diamond Bar Heart Guest Cabin

550 Old Yellowstone Trail South Gardiner , MT 59030 (406) 848-2388

  • Smith Family Ranch

1828 Old Yellowstone Trail South Emigrant, MT 59027 (406) 848-7477

  • Mountain Home - Montana Vacation Rentals

Gardiner , MT 59030 (406) 586-4589

  • Hillcrest Cottages

Gardiner , MT 59030 (406) 848-7353

  • Johnstad's Bed & Breakfast and Log Cabin

Gardiner , MT 59030 (406) 333-9003

  • Above the Rest Lodge

8 Above the Rest Lane Gardiner , MT 59030 (406) 848-7747

  • B Bar Ranch

818 Tom Miner Creek Rd Emigrant, MT 59027 406-848-7729

  • The Silvertip

505 Scott Street Gardiner , MT 59030 (406) 600-4730

  • North Entrance Vacation Rental

322 W. Main Street Gardiner , MT 59030 (406) 223-2594

  • "Be Our Guest" House

108 Travertine St. Gardiner, MT 59030 406-395-5294

  • Cowboy's Lodge & Grille

303 2nd Street South Gardiner , MT 59030 (406) 848-9175

Connect[edit]

Most hotels offer free wifi. It is a common site in town to see a weary backpacker hunched over their laptop in one of the few coffee shops in town taking advantage of the free wifi.

Stay Safe[edit]

Though many of the animals in the park area are used to seeing humans, the wildlife is nonetheless wild and should not be fed or disturbed. Stay at least 100 m away from bears and 25 m from all other wild animals! No matter how docile they may look, bison, elk, moose, bears, and nearly all large animals can attack, and every year dozens of visitors are injured because they didn't keep a proper distance. These animals are large, wild, and potentially dangerous, so give them their space.

The weather can change rapidly and with little warning. A sunny, warm summer day can quickly become a cold, rainy or even snowy experience. Hypothermia can be a concern. Be prepared for a variety of weather conditions by bringing along appropriate clothing. Lightning can and does injure and kill people in the park area, so watch the sky and take shelter in a building if you hear thunder.

Finally, with so many people visiting the park each year petty crimes are something to be vigilant against. Lock your car doors and exercise sensible precautions with valuables.

Go next[edit]

Yellowstone National Park is to the south and Livingston Montana is to the north via highway 89

Routes through Gardiner
Great FallsLivingston  N US 89.svg S  Yellowstone N.P.Grand Teton N.P.


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