Are you ready to jump into the scenic beauty waiting for you at Yellowstone National Park? As you plan your trip to Yellowstone and pick out your “base camp,” you may be surprised at the myriad of recreational opportunities nearby.
Within a short drive of the five Yellowstone entrances are dozens of museums and galleries, a diverse array of shopping and dining opportunities, and all the outdoor adventure the west has to offer— scenic alpine lakes and reservoirs, hundreds of hiking and biking trails, breathtaking mountain passes, wild west ghost towns, rivers for rafting, canoeing, and kayaking, and some of the best fly-fishing spots in the nation.
Places to Explore around the West Yellowstone, MT Entrance
The West Entrance to Yellowstone and the surrounding areas are a haven for nature-lovers. Radiating from the Yellowstone entrance gate inside the town itself is a vast terrain for exploration and outdoor adventures. Lakes, forests, waterfalls, wildlife, caves, even sand dunes—this area has it all. Top it off with great food and a variety of lodging accommodations and you’ll see why the West Yellowstone area is such a local favorite.
The West Yellowstone area boasts a host of sightseeing opportunities from the scenic to the adventuresome. You can enjoy an afternoon matinee at the IMAX theatre in West Yellowstone, watch bears up close at Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center, or take a river raft trip. You can enjoy the charms of lakeside cabins at Hebgen or Henry’s Lake, where you can enjoy a boating, hiking, fishing, and wildlife paradise just 10 miles from West Yellowstone. Within an hour’s drive from the West Yellowstone Entrance, you can take in the breathtaking beauty of Upper and Lower Mesa Falls, or fish the famous Henry’s Fork.
Although popular to anglers and wildlife enthusiasts, this area is less crowded than the South entrance to Yellowstone but full of scenic wonder. The town of West Yellowstone is 100 miles north of Idaho Falls, Idaho and 90 miles south of Bozeman, Montana.
Upper and Lower Mesa Falls
The majestic Mesa Falls scenic byway is just off Highway 20, on scenic byway marked as Highway 47. It is south of Island Park and just Northeast of Ashton. This brief side trip on the way to or from Yellowstone National Park offers a breathtaking view of one of the last two major waterfalls that have been left undisturbed in the Western United States.
You can park at the visitor center and walk to the observation decks to observe a close up view of these breathtaking waterfalls. At Upper Mesa Falls, the entire Snake River pounds water 112 feet down to the canyon below. You can see the waterfall up close and feel the misty spray as you stroll along wooden walkways, kid-proofed with safety railings. There is a visitor center, ramps ensuring handicap accessibility, and restrooms.
Lower Mesa Falls, a 1 1⁄2 mile drive north from the Upper Falls, drops 65 feet to the canyon floor below. Observation decks at this waterfall offer a bird’s eye view from above the Lower falls.
Harriman State Park
Famous for its world-class fly-fishing at Henry’s Fork, Harriman State park also has splendid hiking and mountain biking trails, rivers for rafting, horseback riding trails, lodging accommodations, and an astonishing concentration of wildlife. Surrounded by a wildlife preserve, Harriman State Park boasts 4330 acres of forests, riverbeds, wildflower meadows, guest lodges, and historic buildings to explore. Harriman State park is located on the west side of Highway 20, just 18 miles North of Ashton, Idaho, or 45 miles south of the West Yellowstone entrance to Yellowstone National Park.
In the early 1900’s, the land now known as Harriman State Park was a working cattle ranch and a private hunting reserve. Inside the ranch lands, the owners helped foster an unusually high concentration of healthy game, fish, and bird populations native to the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem. After 75 years of maintaining the land, the Harriman family deeded the lands over to the people of Idaho.
In the summertime, guided tours of the 27 period-furnished Historic Railroad Ranch Buildings are available. Nearby outfitters offer guided river rafting tours, horseback rides, and fishing gear for fun in spring, summer, and fall. Winter time visitors to Harriman State Park enjoy Nordic cross country skiing, snowmobiling on groomed trails, eagle and trumpeter swan sightings, and relaxing evenings spent in the Jones House Warming Hut.
Eight miles of the world-famous fly-fishing spot Henry’s Fork winds through Harriman State Park. Anglers come from all over the world to catch huge trout and absorb the peaceful beauty along this section of the Snake River.
The hiking trail system within Harriman State Park was developed to offer views of wildlife habitats in the sanctuary. And indeed, Harriman State Park is a great place to see wildlife, as it is bordered by a 16,000 acre wildlife refuge in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem. Living in the wildlife refuge are antelope, moose, elk, deer, wolves, black bears, grizzly bears, mountain lions, coyotes, fox, wolverines, and a wide variety of small mammals. Bird watching is also very popular at Harriman State Park, with over twenty songbird species visiting the area every year, and Sandhill cranes living there in abundance. You might also see raptors, waterfowl, and perhaps even trumpeter swans, the largest native North American bird. Thanks to wildlife preserves such as this one, the trumpeter swan is gradually repopulating the area south of Canada after being hunted to near extinction by the mid-twentieth century.
For more information about Harriman State Park, go to:
For Idaho rafting outfitters go to: http://www.raftinfo.com/idaho.php
For info on guided rafting and fishing go to: www.IdahoAdventures.com
For information on guided horseback tours, contact Dry Ridge Outfitters, at 208-558-RIDE (7433).
Island Park is located on highway 20, about 30 minutes south of the West Yellowstone entrance to Yellowstone National Park. The town of Island Park is located at the center of the Island Park area, and offers restaurants, lodging, entertainment, and outdoor outfitters. The town is flanked by two state parks (Harriman State Park and Henry’s Lake State Park) and one National Forest (Targhee National forest, which backs up to the Grand Tetons). This area is known collectively as the Island Park District.
The Island Park District is actually an ancient caldera, a collapsed volcano, shaped by the same forces that created Yellowstone National Park. 18 miles long and 23 miles wide, the Island Park landscape is relatively flat—with some rolling hills—once you get over the edge of the rim of the caldera and into the district itself. The area is astonishingly beautiful, with Fir tree and Lodge pole pine forests, open meadows, creeks, springs, rivers, and lakes, with the scenic backdrop of mountain peaks nearby.
Island Park is most famous for its Blue Ribbon fly fishing at Henry’s Fork, its 550 miles of groomed snowmobiling trails, and famous trophy trout fishing at Island Park Reservoir and Henry’s Lake. The Island Park area is within the Targee National Forest, a beautiful area in the backdrop of the Grand Teton Mountains that’s full of outdoor adventure. Within the Island Park area are two nearby State parks, Harriman State Park to the south and Henry’s Lake State Park to the north. The Island park area is part of the greater Yellowstone ecosystem, and is home to the same plants and animals found in Yellowstone National Park.
The town of Island Park offers dozens of dining options, from fine dining to fast food. The summer dinner theater at Mack’s Inn Resort serves a prime rib dinner and an evening of entertainment. In town, outdoor outfitters stock the gear for rafting, fishing, mountain biking, hunting, horseback riding, skiing, and snowmobiling. And if you need to check your email while you’re in town, the Island Park Library offers free public internet access.
Island Park Reservoir, located west of the town, offers boating, swimming, jet skiing, waterskiing, and fishing activities. Six boat ramps are scattered around the reservoir, as well as four campgrounds. A short drive across the dam gives visitors a picturesque view of the Centennial Mountains and Box Canyon. Island Park Reservoir was built in 1938 as a flood control measure, to supply irrigation water for farming, and to provide additional recreational opportunities. It has since become known as an outdoorsman and woman’s paradise.
Nature-lovers will find nearly every mountain outdoor activity here to enjoy. Inside Henry’s Lake State Park, Harriman State Park, and the Caribou-Targhee National Forest you can go mountain biking, fishing, rafting, hiking, and, in winter, cross- country skiing, and snowmobiling.
Wildlife viewing and hiking opportunities abound in Island Park. There are no significant problems of poisonous snakes or plants in the Island Park district, but bug repellant may be helpful. Nearby hiking opportunities include the Nez Perce Historic Trail, the Fort Henry Historic Byway, and the Lost Gold Historical Trail. Located within the Island Park District is 36.4 miles of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail. The Coffee Pot Rapids Trail is a relatively easy 2.5 mile hike that follows along the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River. It starts at the Upper Coffeepot Campground, where the river is calm and peaceful, and continues along the riverbank. Hikers enjoy watching the river change to roaring rapids further along the trail.
Another easy trail is the Big Springs Interpretive Trail, a level 1.0 mile trail paved for the first half mile, with loose gravel for the last half mile. It starts at the Big Springs Bridge and ends at the Big Springs Boat Launch. Educational plaques along the paved section of the trail teach visitors about the river life ecosystem. The Johnny Sack Cabin Trail is another easy trail that also starts at the Big Springs Bridge and leads to the Johnny Sack Cabin.
For more information about Island Park, go to http://www.islandparkchamber.org
For more information on hiking trails, go to http://www.westyellowstonenet.com/attractions/targhee_hiking.php
Henry’s Lake State Park
This scenic mountain lake was named after explorer Major Andrew Henry.
Henry’s Lake is located on the west side of Highway 20, just 15 miles west of Yellowstone National Park and 30 minutes north of Harriman State Park. It a favorite spot for boaters and anglers, and is one of the best places to fish for trout in the west. Trophy-sized fish abound in the lake, making it an angler’s paradise. Native American Indian artifacts can also be found around the area, including arrowheads and spearheads. They are often found around the shore of Henry’s Lake or along the banks of the Snake River.
There are 44 campsites in Henry’s Lake State Park, with varied amenities, and rustic cabins as well. There is also a modern fish cleaning station available, located near the boat ramp and launching docks. Anglers find the lake well-stocked with a good supply of 3-5 pound Cutthroat trout, up to 12 pounds cutthroat-rainbow hybrids; and up to 3 pound brook trout. Guided fly fishing trips are available for novices and beginners in the nearby town of Island Park, and tackle and equipment rental is also available.
For more information, or to reserve cabins or campsites, call 1-866-634-3246 or go to: http://www.idahoparks.org/parks/reserve.aspx
Hebgen Lake is a scenic mountain lake located just 10 minutes from the West Entrance to Yellowstone National Park. A favorite spot for lake-lovers, anglers, hikers, and outdoor enthusiasts, Hebgen Lake offers a variety of activities and comfortable accommodations, all with access to bathrooms and showers. Many visitors enjoy a visit to the Hebgen Dam visitor’s center or to Virginia City. You can take your pick of the many activities nearby: boating, sailing, water-skiing, picnicking, horseback riding, volleyball, camping, RV-ing, and world-class fly-fishing.
At Hebgen Lake, Anglers and water sports enthusiasts can rent a boat at the Yellowstone Holiday marina or launch their own. You can expect good fishing for the abundant, trophy-sized rainbow trout, browns, and mountain whitefish that live in the lake. Three major fish hatches throughout the summer keep the lake stocked with fish, starting in late May for the Trico Hatch and the Chironomid Hatch and continuing through August with the Callibaetis. Within minutes of the Lake itself, the Madison River and nearby mountain streams beckon anglers with some of the best river and stream fly-fishing spots in the western United States.
Geographically, Hebgen Lake is a somewhat elongated, 16-mile by 3-mile canyon lake fed by the Madison River. The Lodge pole pine and fir tree forests of the Madison Mountains surround the lake on the northeast side, while the Continental Divide borders the lake on the southwest. Hebgen Lake is connected at the Horse Butte peninsula to the Madison and Grayling arms of the lake. Around the lake, a variety of RV campsites, group lodges, and cabins are available. The Yellowstone Holiday Marina offers boat rentals, a fuel dock, boat slips, and a launch ramp. They rent out powered fishing boats, canoes, kayaks, and paddle boats. For more information on boat rentals or accommodations, go to: https://yellowstoneholiday.com
The largest earthquake in Montana’s history (7.5 magnitude) hit here in 1959. This earthquake, called the Montana-Yellowstone earthquake of 1959, created a natural dam that sectioned off part of the lake into a new lake now called Quake Lake. Near this dam (Hebgen Dam) is a Forest Service Visitor Center. Inside you can discover more about the geological activity of the area, and learn about the Montana-Yellowstone earthquake of 1959. For more information on hiking trails around the area, visit the Forest Service Visitor’s Center at the Hebgen dam, or go to: http://visitmt.com
If you like history, a visit to the nearby mining town of Virginia City (located about 70 miles northeast) will capture your imagination. This historic treasure houses more artifacts related to the American West than any other place outside the Smithsonian. At Virginia City, you can ride the Number 12 Steam Locomotive, enjoy entertainment at the Gilbert Brewery and at the Opera House, savor old west dining in local restaurants and saloons, view historical artifacts at the Nevada City Museum and the McFarland Curatorial Center, and tour historic homes and businesses.
About an hour and 20 minutes from West Yellowstone , the town of Rexburg is just off Highway 20. Rexburg is home to the colorful International Folk Dance Festival, held every summer on the campus of BYU-Idaho, where you can watch hundreds of dancers perform from around the world. The 10-acre gardens on the South side of the BYU-Idaho Campus are also worth a peak. Called the Thomas E Ricks Horticulture Demonstration Gardens, the gardens have ponds, flower beds, fruit orchards, picnic areas, native gardens, and waterfalls. The town of Rexburg also offers golfing, swimming, fishing, lodging, and nearby hiking opportunities.
Yellowstone Bear World, located five miles south of Rexburg, is a great place to see black bears, grizzly bears, and grey wolves from the comfort of your own car or recreational vehicle. Yellowstone Bear World is a drive-through wildlife preserve park home to the fascinating animals of North America and Yellowstone National Park.
The St. Anthony Sand Dunes are a favorite place to drive off-road vehicles, as they allow a high amount of ATV use. Here, you can tear through 11,000 acres of pure white quartz sand. The Civil Defense Caves are a 22 mile drive from Rexburg, offering spelunkers a chance to escape the heat in cool underground adventure grounds. These lava-made caves are open to tourists, but guide service is not available, so come prepared with flashlights and ropes. For more information about these and other sightseeing opportunities in Rexburg and surrounding areas, go to: http://www.rexcc.com
Idaho Falls, the largest city in Eastern Idaho, is a frequent stopping point on the way to or from Yellowstone. Idaho Falls offers tourists an array of arts and entertainment venues, including several museums, dozens of restaurants, over 1,200 acres of city parks and greenbelts, a zoo, 4 golf courses, and an indoor aquatic center. Idaho Falls is a 1 hour and 45 minutes drive from Yellowstone’s West Entrance, and located right off 1-15.
The 11,000 square foot Museum of Idaho houses a variety of traveling exhibits and Idaho history exhibits. The LDS Temple visitor’s center, located on the west side of the Snake River, is a frequent stopping place for tourists, where you can learn about the temple and the Mormon pioneer heritage of the town. Downtown, the Eagle Rock Art Museum, the Colonial Theater, and the Actors Repertory theatre of Idaho offer cultural attractions.
The “hotel row” of Idaho Falls runs along a scenic spot of the Snake River, where several cascading waterfalls give the town its name. Hundreds of geese, ducks, and other water fowl can be viewed from the park along the west shore of the Snake River.
Big Sky, MT
The ski resort town of Big Sky Montana is located 30 miles north of West Yellowstone. Here, you can find outdoor outfitters, lodging, and restaurants. Shoppers can find something unique in Big Sky, with over 30 stores to shop at. They have shops selling clothing, art, home furnishings, and sports equipment.
From budget family vacation-goers to luxury-minded shoppers, the town of West Yellowstone caters to all types. West Yellowstone is home to the Yellowstone Historic Center, IMAX Theater, Playmill Theater, Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center, and lots of diverse shopping and dining opportunities.
Activities in West Yellowstone include:
• river rafting trips
• horseback riding
• Wild West Activities
• winter sports
The Yellowstone Historic Center is a non-profit museum documenting the rich history of Yellowstone. From the old-fashioned stagecoach tours of the 1870’s to the virtual museum visits of today, the Center traces the colorful personalities who helped preserve Yellowstone and brought tourism to the area. The Playmill Theater company has been entertaining visitors with quality family theatre for 40 years. They are Located on Madison Avenue in West Yellowstone. For more information or to reserve tickets, go to: http://www.playmill.com
The huge-screened IMAX Theater is located in the town of West Yellowstone just next to the entrance to Yellowstone National Park. The unique IMAX film format utilizes 70 mm film in a rolling loop technology, ten times as large as 35 mm film and three times as large as a conventional 70 mm film. The IMAX technology delivers a viewing experience of unsurpassed clarity that makes you really feel like you’re there. The Theater offers visitors the chance to see several movies and documentaries, including the stunning film, “Yellowstone.” The theater also houses an educational display area and a gift shop.
The Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center is a wildlife preserve located just one block from the West Entrance of Yellowstone National Park. Here, you can see native bears and wolves in their indoor den home and in their outdoor, 2 acre naturalistic wildlife habitat. Outdoors, bears climb trees, catch fish in the ponds, , and tear apart logs. Inside the center, you can discover more about bears in the museum. World-class exhibits produced by the Science Museum of Minnesota highlight our relationship to bears in folklore, art, history, and myth, as well as a fully-accredited scientific exhibit displaying the habitat, food, behavior, and future of bears in the wild. The Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center is fully accredited by the AZA (American Zoo & Aquarium Association). All bears in residence are either orphans or problem bears from the wild.
Places to Explore around the North Entrance (by Mammoth Hot Springs and Gardiner, MT)
The North Yellowstone entrance/ Mammoth Hot Springs Entrance is the original 1880 entrance to Yellowstone National Park. If you come in at this entrance, you will drive through the small town of Gardiner, MT. Located in the scenic Paradise Valley, near the Absaroka Mountain Range, this area has hiking, skiing, snowmobiling, and mountain biking opportunities. Hiking trails nearby include Bear Creek Ski Trail, an easy climb through pine forests areas to a scenic meadow. For more information, go to: www.gardinerchamber.com
Gardiner , MT
Gardiner, Montana is the only year-round entrance to Yellowstone National Park, so if you’re visiting in wintertime you’ll need to enter here. Outdoor activities are here in abundance, with the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Area to the north, and the Gallatin Wilderness to the west. In Gardiner, you can find motels, restaurants, outdoor outfitters, campgrounds, and trailer parks shops. A favorite pastime is wildlife watching. Bald Eagles, and Osprey often fish the nearby Yellowstone River, while Bighorn Sheep come close to town to graze in wintertime. You might even see elk wandering through town. Corwin Springs is a small town located seven miles north of Gardiner, with a boat launch and fishing areas at the Fishing access site along the Yellowstone River.
Activities to enjoy in Gardiner, Montana and surrounding areas include:
• art galleries
• white water rafting adventures
• outdoor adventures
• cross-country skiing
• wildlife watching
• boating and fishing along the Yellowstone River
• a visit to Gallatin Petrified Forest
For more information, go to: http://www.gardinerchamber.com
A diverse cacophony of cultural attractions and rugged western rodeo entertainment, Bozeman is a unique town located 90 miles from the North and West entrances to Yellowstone. In Bozeman, you can go to a rodeo, explore 4 excellent museums, enjoy the delights of shopping, visit art galleries, attend fine productions of opera, symphony, and ballet, and go to an American Indian Pow-wow.
The Museum of the Rockies at Montana State University takes visitors through 4 billion years of history, housing the largest collection of dinosaur remains in the United States. It also includes several Lewis and Clark exhibitions The American Computer Museum explores the use of computers and technology, starting with computation devices dating back to ancient Babylonian and Egyptian times. The Children’s Museum is a great interactive museum for kids, where visitors can dress up as pioneers, participate in craft activities, and create gigantic bubbles while learning at the same time. For more information on activities in Bozeman, MT, including nearby hiking and biking trails, go to: http://bozemancvb.visitmt.com
There is a variety of exploring to do in the Bozeman vicinity, including visits to wild west ghost towns, hiking, fishing, horseback riding, winter sports, and other outdoor adventures. If you are coming from the north through Butte or have time to spare, an interesting day trip is exploring Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park. Located about two hours from Yellowstone’s North entrance, these caverns are considered the most spectacular caves in the Northwest. They are filled with beautiful and bizarre limestone formations—stalactites, stalagmites, columns, and helicitites. The two-mile guided tour through the caverns generally takes about two hours. For more information, go to: http://fwp.mt.gov/lands/site_281895.aspx
Places to Explore around the Northeast Entrance (Cooke City, MT)
Cooke City, Montana is a rustic alpine village famous for its snow, which stays around for most of the year. Cooke City is an old western mining town established in the 1880’s, and has majestic scenery and a small town appeal. Cooke City is famous for its wintertime sports, particularly its snowmobile trails. Snowmobile rentals are available in town. A dozen maintained mountain trails provide excellent places for snowmobiling, ATV and four-wheeling, and hiking. Fly-fishing is also a popular sport.
Wildlife watching is an enjoyable pastime in the summer months in Cooke City, and includes bison, wolves (recently reintroduced to this area) and elk. Cooke City is a short drive from the intriguing areas of Cody, Wyoming, and Red Lodge, Montana. Several outfitters carry snowmobile equipment in town, and there is a guide services also available. In summertime, when mountain passes are open, there are several scenic drives in the area, including the famous Beartooth Highway.
The “On the Road” TV show commentator and writer Charles Kuralt called the Beartooth Highway “the most scenic drive in America.” Awe-inspiring and majestic, it gradually climbs up to the Beartooth Mountain pass at an elevation of 10,974 feet above sea level. This beautiful drive through pristine mountain wilderness connects Cooke City with Red Lodge, MT, and is closed in from early October through Memorial Day due to extreme weather conditions. It is also known as “Yellowstone’s Highway to the Sky.”
The Beartooth Highway winds through Custer, Gallatin, and Shoshone National Forests. There are 13 national Forest campgrounds along the Highway. Beartooth Highway passes lodge pole pine forests, glacial cirques, alpine tundra, and countless alpine lakes situated in high alpine plateaus. In late June and July, the fragile alpine meadow flowers are in full bloom, though mountain snow still lingers in some areas. Cross-country skiers can enjoy a rare chance at summertime skiing (in June and July) at some of these areas located within the Beartooth Mountain Corridor. There are hiking trails along the Beartooth Highway, and great fishing spots in the lakes and streams. Guided horseback trips are also available. In wintertime, when the pass is closed, snowmobiles can traverse the area and enter into Yellowstone via snowmobile. For more information, go to http://www.beartoothhighway.com
Red Lodge, Montana
Red Lodge, Montana is a summertime gateway to Yellowstone national park. In addition to golfing, shopping, and outdoor adventures, Red Lodge also has a variety of entertainment venues.
Beartooth Nature Center is a native wildlife refuge and the home to more than 75 animals and birds that cannot be returned to the wild. At the Center, you can see up close wolves, mountain lions, black bears, bison, elk, antelope, bobcat, fox, coyote, eagles, hawks, owls and many more animals. Interpretive displays enhance the learning experience. For more information or for driving directions, go to http://www.beartoothnaturecenter.org/index.asp
Carbon County Historical Society & Museum is an interesting local museum housing a historical gun collection, an interactive coal mine exhibit, and a rodeo collection, among other things. Nearby, the Red Lodge Carnegie Library offers internet terminal use for the public.
Beartooth Wagon and Sleigh Rides take visitors on leisurely nighttime rides through downtown Red Lodge. For more information or to reserve a wagon ride, call 404-446-2179. The Roman Theater in Red Lodge is your best bet if you’d like to catch a movie. It has four screens and show times throughout the day and evening.
Please be advised that the mountain pass connecting Red Lodge to Cooke City and the Northeast Entrance to Yellowstone is closed in winter. For more information about Red Lodge or surrounding areas, visit http://www.redlodge.com
Places to Explore around the East Entrance (near Pahaska, and Cody, Wyoming)
Take a trip into Cody to visit Buffalo Bill’s old stomping grounds, located about an hour west from the East Entrance to Yellowstone National Park. The Buffalo Bill Reservoir, Shoshone River, and South Fork River offer a great playground to summer water adventurers. Guided fishing, kayaking and river rafting adventures to these locals are available out of Cody. A highlight of this area is a visit to Buffalo Bill State Park, located just west of Cody, where you can visit the wild west of the 1800’s.
If you have a lot of time to spare, you can capture the full flavor of the old west by taking a day trip out to visit to a real ghost town. You can visit the gold and silver mining Town of Kirwin, where Amelia Earhart’s half-built cabin stands as a ghostly reminder of Earhart’s mysterious disappearance while flying around the world. Visits into the bloody town of Arland, home to the famous Belle Drewry, “The Woman in Blue,” William Gallagher and Blind Bill, can also be arranged, although Arland is on private property and you must go with a tour group sponsored by Meeteetse Museums, Inc. You can contact Meetettse Museums at 307-868-2423.
Here are some other activities to enjoy while in Cody, Wyoming.
• Buffalo Bill Museum & Historic center
• Art galleries
• Boating and fishing at Buffalo Bill Reservoir
• Draper Museum of Natural History
• Cody Firearms Museum
• Plains Indian Museum
• Whitney Gallery of Western Art
• Horseback riding
• Whitewater and scenic river rafting expeditions
Grand Teton National Park
Grand Teton National Park borders Yellowstone National Park to the south (the South Exit to Yellowstone being the North entrance to Grand Teton National Park), and a single $20 entry fee gets you into both national parks for a whole week. The spectacular Teton Mountain range, wildflower meadows, diverse hiking trails, and sparkling lakes and rivers lure nature lovers with their wild scenic beauty. Hiking trails lead you past a variety of geographical features, including lakes, forests, glaciers, wetlands, ponds, and fossils.
Activities in Grand Teton National Park include: auto touring, backpacking, biking, bird watching, boating, camping, climbing, cross-country skiing, fishing, hiking, participating in ranger-led interpretive programs, kayaking, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and wildlife viewing. Motorized boats are permitted on Jackson Lake, Jenny Lake, and Phelps Lake. Man-powered boats are permitted on all ten lakes, as well as on the Snake River. Flat water paddling and canoeing are also popular here. There are five campgrounds in the Teton Basin Area. The Colter Bay Visitor’s Centers include a variety of educational displays and a fine gift shop.
Grand Teton National Park has a diverse array of hiking trails. You can choose from the half mile round trip hike to Jackson Lake Lodge, to easy tracks to Colter Bay (2.0 mile) or Flagg Ranch (2.5 mile), to somewhat longer hikes to the lush beauty of Hidden Falls (5.0 miles) or around Jenny Lake (6.0 miles). More strenuous hikes worth taking include the Death Canyon-Static Peak trail, a steep 6 hour-long hike that takes adventurers to Phelps Lake and then into Death Canyon. For more information on Grand Teton National Park hiking trails, go to http://www.nps.gov/archive/grte/home.htm and click on hiking to download a complete descriptive list of trails in the area. Lots of other information is also available at this website, including detailed maps and climate information.
Gateway to Grand Teton National Park from the east, Moran is a scenic travel destination with outstanding outdoor activities, as well as several lodging and camping areas to choose from. Also inside the park are the towns of Kelly and Moose. The town of Kelly boasts the best views of the Teton mountains from the east, and is also a next-door neighbor to the National Elk Refuge. Bison, elk, and moose roam the area during the winter months. For more information, go to http://www.moranwyoming.com
Located 12 miles northwest from the town of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Teton Village is a picturesque ski town located at the base of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. With a year-round population of only 175 residents, it’s small but sweet. In winter, skiers and snowboarders flock to the Jackson Hole Ski Resort in town, enjoying the best skiing in Wyoming—4000 vertical feet of varied ski run terrain and an average snowfall of 450 inches per year. Nearby snowmobile trails beckon snowmobile enthusiasts with thick powder paths traversing the Grand Teton Mountains.
But don’t overlook Teton village in the summer. Teton village is also a great place to participate in summertime outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, paragliding, horseback riding, kids’ activities, and even gondola rides and fine dining on a mountain top.
The Bridger Gondola and Lift is always a favorite activity year-round, gliding visitors above pine tree forests up to the 9,095 foot peak. You can pick up some lunch at the Alpenhof Bistro & Alpenrose Restaurant, located in Teton Village at the base of the Gondola ride. Two new restaurants atop the mountain offer visitors a selection of lunch and dinner entrées (dinner served Thursday through Saturday only, peak season only). The Couloir is a fine dining restaurant offering contemporary western style cuisine and sweeping mountain top views. The Headwall Deli, also atop the mountain, is a casual sandwich shop with the hiker and sightseer in mind. Served café style on patio furniture and wrap-around decks, the deli offers gourmet sandwiches, salads, ice cream, and fresh baked treats.
If you like hiking, there are numerous trails in the vicinity that traverse the mountainous area, including one that takes you to the top of the gondola ride.
For more information, go to: www.jacksonhole.net/tetonvillage.htm
The environs surrounding the South Yellowstone entrance lure shoppers and mountaineers alike with its close proximity to Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park. Biking and hiking enthusiasts enjoy a diversity of trails, with every creature comfort beckoning nearby. Every year, millions of Yellowstone visitors enjoy the culinary and shopping delights of Jackson Hole, Wyoming on the way to or from Yellowstone. Here you can stroll through art galleries, visit museums, sign up for a guided river rafting trip, or spend the day at a prestigious day spa
Although originally known for its winter sports appeal and proximity to Jackson Ski Resort, the town of Jackson Hole has become a popular tourist spot in summertime. This is due to its unique western atmosphere, its proximity to two national parks (Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park), and its mild summer climate. Jackson boasts a wide array of year-round activities that make Jackson a great spot for Spring and Fall getaways as well, which can be great times to enjoy the area without as many crowds. The town of Jackson is located south of Grand Teton National Park, off highway 191.
Activities at Jackson Hole include:
• art galleries
• day spas
• therapeutic massage
• river rafting trips
• horseback riding
• Wild West Activities
• winter sports
For more information on Jackson Hole or any of these activities, go to http://www.jacksonhole.com
About 6 miles West from Jackson Hole, the small community of Wilson offers lodging, racquetball courts, and snowmobiling. The Otto Brothers’ Brewing Co. is a favorite spot to stop in for a sip at the tasting room (open daily until 7:00 p.m.). Wilson is located within a few miles of the Teton pass, at an elevation of 8,429 feet. This is a scenic mountain pass crossing west, through the Grand Teton Mountain range into the scenic rural Swan Valley in Idaho, and the small town of Victor.
Got an ipod?
If you’d like to hear more about things to do around Yellowstone, you can download dozens of free podcasts produced by Yellowstone National Park about the greater Yellowstone area. Check them out: http://www.podcastbunker.com/audio/yellowstone.php