If you’re wondering about some of the things to do in West Yellowstone before you visit the city, this article is for you. We will also cover some of the histories of the beautiful small town.
West Yellowstone is a beehive of fun activities. There’s never a dull moment in the small town. It’s one of the best tourist destinations that cater to tourists year-round.
The town is open to visitors during the summer and winter seasons. It is a favorite tourist destination, with over four million people visiting annually.
You could go fishing, boating, or kayaking in the Yellowstone River, visit the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center, et cetera. Whatever you choose to do in West Yellowstone, you are going to have fun doing!
Let’s learn more about this amazing city and it’s various tourist attractions!
Where is West Yellowstone?
West Yellowstone is a town located in Gallatin County, Montana, adjacent to Yellowstone National Park.
As of the census of 2020, the population of this magical town was put at 1,272 people, the United States Census Bureau.
Yellowstone has an airport known as the Yellowstone Airport to accommodate its numerous visitors. It also offers travelers lodging, gift shops, and other essential services.
It was founded by E.H. Harriman in 1908 when the Oregon Short Line Railroad was completed and incorporated in 1966. It has an area of 0.80 square miles, all of the land.
Fun Things to Do in West Yellowstone
Below are the best things to do in West Yellowstone for kids, couples, families, and for the weekend.
1. Go Hiking
West Yellowstone has plenty of forests and mountain ranges. These various ranges are a hiker’s dream.
There are several miles of trails, spectacular peaks, and tranquil meadows. There are several trails for hiking, such as the Rendezvous Trail System and Boundary Trail.
They are both accessible during the summer and the winter. You can also go hiking in Yellowstone National Park, where there are over a thousand miles of hiking trails.
The Riverside Trail is another trail suitable for hiking; it starts in West Yellowstone and follows a path along the river.
2. Go Biking
Biking is also another viral activity in West Yellowstone. In the spring, cyclists have some trails alone before eventually opening them to other users.
Mountain biking is very popular in West Yellowstone. You have suitable trails for biking, such as the Continental Divide Trail, the Trans America Trail, and the Rendezvous Trail System.
In the fall, the town of West Yellowstone usually hosts an event known as the Old Faithful Cycle Tour. This is only the tip of the iceberg of the fun activities to engage in.
3. Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center
At this beautiful center, you get to witness the bears play in their ponds with each other and forage for food.
If you come in early in the morning or evening, you might also see wolf packs howling. Coming to this center will provide enlightenment on the intricacies of the West Yellowstone ecosystem.
It is open every week from 9:00 am to 6:30 pm. The center is open 365 days a year. It is essential to note that the bears at this center do not hibernate.
Address: This discovery center is at 201 South Canyon, West Yellowstone, MT 59758.
4. Yellowstone River
A trip to the Yellowstone River in West Yellowstone would leave you mesmerized. It is a must-do activity whenever you find yourself in the exciting small town of West Yellowstone.
You can spend quality time on this stunning river’s banks while enjoying the cool breeze. A trip to this spot with the family is guaranteed to be a fun experience.
You can also take amazing photographs in this fantastic location. Touring the south rim of the Yellowstone River would expose you to a breathtaking view of the upper falls.
5. The Playmill Theater
The Playmill Theater has existed for almost fifty years, and in all that time, they have continued to provide the finest in family entertainment.
You can join them in West Yellowstone for a great night of theater in the gorgeous town of West Yellowstone, Montana, the gateway to the magnificent Yellowstone.
At this theater, you get to see shows like the performance of Tarzan, Peter, Star Catcher, et cetera.
An incredible production, talented actors, and a stunning set make this establishment special.
Address: The Playmill Theater is at 29 Madison Ave, West Yellowstone, MT 59758-9530.
6. Yellowstone Big Gun Fun
Try on some of the most spectacular firearms in this indoor shooting range.
Yellowstone Big Gun Fun also offers rentals of machine guns, rifles, and handguns to provide visitors and their entire families with a safe, memorable, and fun activity they’ll forever cherish.
It’s a fun and effective way to blow off some steam. It is best if you also considered stopping in this unique facility in West Yellowstone. It is open every week from 11:30 am to 9:30 pm.
Address: This indoor shooting range is at 15 Madison Ave, West Yellowstone, MT 59758.
7. Museum of Yellowstone
This museum, housed in the 1909 Union Pacific Railroad Depot, features both permanent and temporary collections which tell the story of traveling to Yellowstone and the beautiful town of West Yellowstone.
This museum is open every week from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.
Address: The Museum of Yellowstone is at 104 Yellowstone Ave, West Yellowstone, MT 59758-9506.
8. Daly Creek Trail
The trail is well defined and very easy to navigate. The first few miles are through meadows filled with wildflowers and the sage bush, which goes very gently uphill.
There are various small streams to get across, but they all have stepping stones, and the bigger ones have planks laid across to make it easy for you to cross over, so you don’t get your feet wet.
There are also a few wet areas of the trail that you can walk around.
After four miles, you start ascend up the hill more steeply through a densely forested area, and the last mile after the forested area is steeper still, and you walk across the bridge at the stop to where it joins the Skyline Rim trail for great views all around.
Address: The trail head is on the right-hand side of the road about 30 miles North of the West entrance to Yellowstone on the way to Gallatin Gateway. There is a small off-road parking area.
9. Mammoth Hot Springs
One of the most widely known destinations in Yellowstone National Park, Mammoth Hot Springs, is in the northwest corner of the park, close to Fort Yellowstone.
Mammoth Hot Springs is close to the entrance facing the north (Gardiner, Montana) to Yellowstone, 48 miles northeast of West Yellowstone, making it a perfect day-trip attraction.
Mammoth Hot Springs is accessible year-round. Mammoth Hot Springs features unique hot spring pools, called terraces, where geologic formations have come about from the heat, flowing water, and limestone. These terraces are a fantastic sight.
Address: This attraction is at the Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190, United States
Many often regard West Yellowstone as the snowmobile capital of the world, primarily because of its extensive trail systems and proximity to the Yellowstone National Park.
From West Yellowstone, you can enjoy hundreds of miles of well-groomed snowmobile trails in a three-state region (Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming). West Yellowstone is an excellent place for a winter wonderland of pure bliss.
It’s the perfect place for all levels of snowmobile riders. There is a trail for everyone; the beginning level, the intermediate level, and the experience level. In addition, there are several options for you to choose from.
11. Snow coach Tours
Snow coach tours offer you the unique opportunity to experience the gorgeous winter landscape of the park from the comfort of a warm seat.
The paved roads don’t usually get plowed during the winter months in Yellowstone, so the best way to view the park’s interior is to go with the help of a comfortable Snow Coach.
These modern vans have the regular wheels removed and replaced with big rubber treads that make it easier to go anywhere in the snow.
Snow coaches offer you a quiet and smooth ride, and they are heated, so you’re unlikely to freeze on your visit.
The drivers are knowledgeable and friendly. You can ask to stop while you shoot some wildlife photos, and the guides will oblige.
You also get to see the incredible Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. But, of course, the snow makes it even more beautiful.
12. IMAX Theater
The IMAX Theater is an excellent place to sit back and relax with a gigantic screen that reaches over six-story.
Most films last less than an hour and are appropriate for all ages. It’s a fantastic activity for a hot afternoon or in between other West Yellowstone attractions.
It is open mid-May through October: 9 am – 9 pm. Tickets cost: $9.75 for adults ($13.75 for premium seating), $9.25 for seniors ($13.25 for premium seating), $7.00 for children from 3 to 12 ($11.00 for premium seating). Kids under 3 are free.
Address: The IMAX Theater is at 101 South Canyon Street in West Yellowstone, beside the Wolf and Grizzly Discovery Center.
13. Harriman State Park
The Harriman State Park is situated on a 16,000-acre wildlife reserve and is part of the Yellowstone ecosystem.
It serves as an excellent sanctuary for several birds and mammals. The park is open all year.
The park is also three miles south of Island Park, Idaho, about 18 miles out north of Ashton, and about 37 miles from West Yellowstone, on Highway 20.
Some fun activities you can partake in this park include; fishing, hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, wildlife watching, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing.
Address: This attraction is at 5657 Warm Springs Ave, Boise, ID 83716, United States.
14. The Yellowstone Historic Center
The Yellowstone Historic Center is on the right in the old Railroad Depot on the corner of Canyon Street and Yellowstone Avenue.
It is usually open daily from 9 am to 6 pm from mid-May to mid-October. This is an excellent place to learn the history of Yellowstone National Park and West Yellowstone.
It is often advised to visit the center before venturing into the National Park.
Address: This attraction is located at 104 Yellowstone Ave, West Yellowstone, MT 59758, United States.
15. Hebgen Lake
This is an artificial lake filled with gorgeous scenery and several fun water activities. Hebgen Lake is about 15 miles long and two and a half miles wide.
The lake is about 10 miles north and west of West Yellowstone, off Highway 87 and 287.
It is also accessible throughout the year. There are several water fun activities to partake in throughout the year.
Address: Hebgen lake is at 520 West Yellowstone, MT 59758, United States.
16. Virginia City
In the month of May 1863, a group of prospectors traveling to Yellowstone discovered gold in the vicinity, and almost immediately, Virginia City sprung up.
Charles and Sue Bovey embarked on a mission to rescue the town from the terrible state of disrepair in the 1940s. It is a beautiful tourist site.
Address: Virginia city is in Nevada, US.
17. Railroad Ranch
Railroad ranch happens to be one of the most exciting places to visit in West Yellowstone. You get the unique opportunity to experience a working ranch that has existed for more than a hundred years.
Address: This attraction is at 78521, 412 Depot St, Elgin, TX 78621, United States.
18. Nez Perce Trail
This trail crosses West Yellowstone Park, extending more than 1,170 miles from Oregon to Montana.
There are several outdoor recreational opportunities throughout the year in this park.
Address: The Nez Perce Trail is at 1387 South Vinnell Way, Boise, ID 83709, United States.
19. Madison River Canyon
Ensure you drive through the Madison River Canyon to or from West Yellowstone to enjoy some of the most breathtakingly gorgeous scenery you can imagine.
Address: The Madison river canyon is at PO Box 520. West Yellowstone, MT 5975, United States.
20. Madison Junction
This is another scenic drive you can experience when heading east into Yellowstone from West Yellowstone. The road flanks steep canyon walls excellent for observing wildlife.
Address: This attraction is 14 miles east of the town of West Yellowstone, MT 5975, United States.
21. Big Sky, Montana
This is the primary route to Bozeman that affords you the unique opportunity to engage in several activities such as rafting, hiking, et cetera.
Address: The Big Sky, Montana is at 50 Big Sky Resort Rd, Big Sky, MT 59716, United States.