This rustic mountain community and gateway to Yellowstone National Park oozes western hospitality. Quaint shops, local eateries, pubs and purveyors of outdoor adventure dot the historic streets. Nearby campgrounds – both inside Yellowstone and in Gallatin National Forest – offer well-kept campsites with water and electrical hookups, picnic areas and access to blue ribbon fishing. Roast marshmallows under a brilliant canopy of stars while you plan the next day’s adventures. Don’t worry – firewood is chopped and ready-to-go, adding to the white glove camping experience.
EXPERIENCE A 7.5 MAGNITUDE EARTHQUAKE
On August 17, 1959, a massive earthquake near the Madison River and Hebgen Lake triggered a catastrophic landslide. In less than sixty seconds, more than 80 million tons of rock careened down a mountainside blocking the Madison River and canyon below. The event created Earthquake Lake, which today still has tall, barren pine trees eerily standing out of the lake. Twenty-eight people lost their lives that night. The Earthquake Lake Visitor Center, run by the Forest Service, features an interpretive environment and movie chronicling the event. The visitor center is located 27 miles from West Yellowstone, following US Highway 287.
COME FACE TO FACE WITH A GRIZZLY
The Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center offers visitors a chance to observe grizzly bears and gray wolves in their natural habitat. A wildlife park and educational facility, the Center is a place of refuge for animals which are no longer able to live in the wild. Outdoor viewing decks allow people to experience how these animals live, interact and forage. Inside, the Center features a world-class exhibit called BEARS: Imagination and Reality, which traces bear science and mythology. Interactive displays and more than 25 life-like taxidermy mounts detail the animal’s behavior in naturalistic settings.
SMALL TOWN, BIG ENTERTAINMENT
Looking for family-friendly fun? The Playmill Theatre offers live performances (appropriate for all ages) nightly throughout the summer season. If the big screen is your thing, don’t miss Yellowstone Giant Screen Theater. Six stories tall, the giant screen will make you feel like you’re part of the action.
GO BACK IN TIME
Immerse yourself in history at Heritage Park. The four-block historic district captures West Yellowstone’s unique railroad history. Once a destination for the Union Pacific Railroad, former railroad buildings are now on the National Register of Historic Places. Not to be missed: The Yellowstone Museum. Also on the site is a fly-casting pond built by the International Fly Fishing Federation. Go ahead – practice your technique. Then head to one of the fabulous blue ribbon streams mere minutes away.
Are you ready for an adventure?