Check out our Top 3 Reasons to Visit Gardiner Montana – Montana’s Hidden Gem! We only stayed in Gardiner for one night, the last night of our trip to Yellowstone Country, but this town was our absolute favorite spot to stay during our entire trip out west!!! Gardiner, Montana is the definition of a true small mountain town with a population of only 579 in the heart of Yellowstone Country. The ultra small town vibe, gorgeous views, and proximity to Yellowstone National Park make the town of Gardiner truly a hidden gem of Montana.
Given the amazing outdoors in Montana, you can imagine there are TONS of things to do in the Gardiner area: including hiking, to all kinds of guided tours, fly fishing, rafting, and the obvious attraction of visiting Yellowstone National Park to enjoy the spectacular wonders
Top 3 Reasons to Visit Gardiner Montana
I promise you will love using this town as a gateway destination to Yellowstone Park or as a final stop after visiting Yellowstone before heading to the airport or your next roadtrip destination. Honestly, there are so many reasons you’ll fall in love with Gardiner, but these are just our Top 3 Reasons to Visit Gardiner Montana.
Gardiner is the original gateway town to Yellowstone National Park and the few streets of the town literally sit next to the entrance of Yellowstone.
Ultra Small Town Vibe
The first reason why I love Gardiner so much is because everything is close together. And when I say everything, I mean EVERYTHING. The entire town is three blocks long. We pulled out of Yellowstone National Park from the North Entrance through the famous Roosevelt arch, and boom. The town is right there. All of it!
We parked our car RIGHT outside of where we were staying (The Black Bear Cottage – loved it! Check out the post on it here), and walked to lunch at a pizza place (great – as usual). We then walked to a convenience -type store right down the street and grabbed some Huckleberry ice cream (you MUST try it) before heading over to our whitewater rafting trip on the Yellowstone River. My point is, you can walk to pretty much everything – especially from our Black Bear Cottage – so the convenience factor is amazing.
With a town that is seriously only a few blocks long, you’ll never need a car and can walk everywhere. So convenient and easy! Gardiner has a serious ultra small town vibe and this makes it extra special!
The second reason why I love Gardiner so much is because of the views. This seems like a pretty obvious one, but the views in Gardiner are AMAZING. Electric Peak, a large mountain in Yellowstone National Park, is so close it feels like it’s in your front yard. The snowy peaks are astonishing.
The Yellowstone river is also right on the other side of town, which is beautiful as well. Plus, the location of the town nestled on the Yellowstone river, makes this a super convenient spot to venture onto the water for a White Water Rafting adventure.
The views of the Roosevelt Arch are stunning too. We loved exploring the Arch and just knowing we were steps away from Yellowstone while in Gardiner.
And as far as that small town vibe goes, you’ll see the Roosevelt Arch is also just blocks away from the tiny high school – that was complete with a dirt running track that we found full of a small herd of Elk at sunset!
Proximity to Yellowstone National Park
And then of course there’s Yellowstone National Park, which is right in front of the town. And to add to the small-town, out-west feel of Gardiner, enormous Elk are literally walking on the sidewalk. We went out for a morning walk, and there were elk everywhere. One on the sidewalk, a couple grazing in the lawn, another walking along the river.
Overall, we love Gardiner so, soooo much and would go back there in a heartbeat!!!
Gardiner is one of the original entrances to Yellowstone National Park and is the only entrance open year round to cars too! Gardiner is located just minutes from the famous Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone.
You can easily drive into the park by using Gardiner as your homebase. Explore many of the awesome hikes, check out the wildlife, or take a longer drive out to see Old Faithful, many of the geyers in the Norris Geyser Basin, and check out the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone!
More Info on Visiting Gardiner
Explore the official Gardiner Montana website for more travel information.
Most likely, you’ll see some elk on the sidewalk just like us! And be sure to take in that view of the Yellowstone river, or even better find a way to get out on the water fishing or rafting!
8 Best Things to do in Yellowstone Country Montana
Read more about our trip to Yellowstone Country in our other posts to get inspiration and ideas on how best to plan your own family vacation to Montana and Yellowstone National Park.
Here’s a detailed list of the 8 Best Things to do in Yellowstone Country Montana to get you started.
Glamping at Under Canvas in Yellowstone
If you are excited to go glamping, consider a stay at Under Canvas in the West Yellowstone area too! You can catch our video tour of our tent at Under Canvas here.