Gardiner (Montana)

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."


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

By car

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

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

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

Get around

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


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

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 and West Yellowstone.

National Forests

Wilderness Areas




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.


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.


Located right on the park border, Gardiner is a popular place to spend the night and offers a massive number of options. In addition to hotels and campgrounds there are a number of rental cabins available.


Hotels and motels


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

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

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

Routes through Gardiner

Great Falls Livingston  N  S  Yellowstone N.P. Grand Teton N.P.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Thursday, March 24, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.