Discovering Yellowstone National Park: 5 Towns To Base Your Adventures From

Yellowstone towns

Yellowstone National Park has long been a destination for outdoor enthusiasts, and it’s no wonder – with its stunning landscapes, abundant wildlife, and a wide array of activities available. 

But where do you stay while exploring the park? Look no further than these 5 towns located near Yellowstone! Here we’ll discuss the benefits of each town, what attractions they offer and how to get there from Yellowstone.

What to Do in Yellowstone

If you’re planning a trip to Yellowstone National Park, you may be wondering what there is to do in the park. While there are plenty of things to see and do in Yellowstone, here are a few of our favorite activities:

Hiking: With over 900 miles of trails, Yellowstone is a hiker’s paradise. From short, easy trails to longer backcountry hikes, there’s something for everyone.

Wildlife watching: One of the best things to do in Yellowstone is to simply sit back and watch the wildlife. The park is home to bison, elk, pronghorn, bears, and wolves, just to name a few.

Fishing: Fishing is allowed in many areas of Yellowstone National Park and can be a great way to relax while enjoying the scenery. You will need a valid Wyoming fishing license if you plan on fishing in the park.

Boating: Boating is another popular activity in Yellowstone. There are many lakes and rivers where you can paddle your way through the park. Just be sure to check with the park ranger station before heading out on the water as some areas may have restrictions.

These are just a few of the many things you can do while visiting Yellowstone National Park. For more ideas, be sure to pick up a copy of the Official Guide to Yellowstone National Park when you arrive in town.

West Yellowstone, Montana

west Yellowstone towns

West Yellowstone is the westernmost town in Montana and one of the main gateways to Yellowstone National Park. It’s a small town with a population of around 1,200 people, but it’s packed with things to do. There are plenty of hotels, restaurants, and shops to keep you busy, as well as plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities like hiking, biking, fishing, and more. 

The town is also the home of the West Yellowstone Historic Center, which offers visitors insight into the area’s history and culture. Visitors can also take part in educational programs, such as guided nature walks and campfire talks. During the summer months, there are nightly rodeos that offer a great Western experience.

In addition to all its attractions, West Yellowstone is also known for its proximity to some of the most beautiful areas in Yellowstone National Park. The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone is just minutes away from town, and nearby Monument Valley offers breathtaking views of the Teton Range. With so much to do and see, it’s no wonder why West Yellowstone is one of Montana’s most popular tourist destinations.

West Yellowstone is stunningly beautiful. Here are a few things to do to experience this beauty: 

Cody, Wyoming

Cody Wyoming Yellowstone towns

Cody, Wyoming is situated at the eastern entrance of Yellowstone National Park and is a great base for your adventures in the park. The town was founded by Buffalo Bill Cody in 1896 and today it is a thriving hub for arts and culture with plenty of things to see and do.

When it comes to accommodation, Cody has a wide range of options to suit all budgets. For those looking for something luxurious, the Irma Hotel is a great choice. This historic hotel was built in 1902 and features beautiful Western-style architecture. If you’re on a tighter budget, there are plenty of motels and campgrounds in the area.

There are also plenty of restaurants and bars in Cody if you want to grab a bite or relax with a drink after a long day exploring Yellowstone. For something truly unique, head to the Western-themed Old Trail Town which features over 30 original buildings from the 1800s. Or, take a leisurely stroll down Main Street and pop into one of the many art galleries or boutique shops.

Cody is also home to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, which is well worth a visit. This museum complex houses five museums that tell the story of the American West. From Native American history and culture to cowboy life and wildlife, there’s something for everyone at this world-class museum complex.

Here are handpicked options of things to do in Cody: 

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Jackson Hole Wyoming Yellowstone towns

Jackson Hole is a town in northwestern Wyoming, near Yellowstone National Park. The town is named after the Jackson Hole valley, which is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. The valley is home to the Grand Teton National Park, as well as several other national parks and monuments.

Jackson Hole is a popular base camp for visitors to Yellowstone National Park. The town has a variety of lodging and dining options, as well as many outfitters that can help you plan your Yellowstone adventures. There are also several tour companies that offer day trips from Jackson Hole into the park.

If you’re looking for some adventure outside of Yellowstone, Jackson Hole also offers great opportunities for hiking, biking, fishing, and other outdoor activities.

While we visited here are a few things we did: 

Gardiner, Montana

Gardiner Yellowstone towns

Gardiner, Montana is located on the north side of Yellowstone National Park near the Roosevelt Arch. The town offers a variety of lodging and dining options as well as easy access to many of the park’s attractions. Gardiner is a great base for exploring Yellowstone’s geothermal features, hiking in the backcountry, and wildlife watching.

Gardiner was founded in 1880 as a small mining settlement. In 1886, the Northern Pacific Railroad arrived and the town quickly grew in size and scope. Today, Gardiner is a popular tourist destination with many attractions such as the Roosevelt Arch, Yellowstone Drug Store Museum, Yellowstone Gateway Museum, and historic Montana Hotel.

Gardiner offers a host of outdoor activities including fishing on the Yellowstone River, hiking in nearby mountains, and rafting down rapids. Wildlife viewing is also popular with visitors able to spot bison, elk, moose, wolves, bears, bald eagles, and more roaming around the area.

In addition to its proximity to Yellowstone National Park and its natural beauty, Gardiner has plenty of unique shopping opportunities including souvenir shops and galleries selling local artwork. The town also hosts several festivals including the Annual Gardiner Black Powder Shootout every spring and summer. 

Gardiner is an ideal destination for anyone looking for an adventure-filled vacation surrounded by breathtaking scenery. Its variety of attractions and activities available as well as easy access to Yellowstone National Park’s wonders makes it a great place to visit all year round!

Gardiner has many things to do to keep you interested and excited, here are a few we suggest: 

Bozeman, Montana

Bozeman Yellowstone towns

Bozeman, Montana is a town rich in history and outdoor adventure. Located in southwest Montana, Bozeman is the perfect basecamp for exploring Yellowstone National Park. The town was founded in August of 1864 and was named after John M. Bozeman who established the Bozeman Trail, which brought settlers westward through the perilous Gallatin Valley. 

Today, Bozeman is a thriving college town with a population of over 43,000 people. The town has a vibrant downtown area with shops and restaurants, as well as a lively nightlife scene. Bozeman is also home to Montana State University, which adds to the town’s youthful energy. 

Outdoor lovers will find plenty to do in Bozeman. The nearby Gallatin National Forest offers hiking, camping, and fishing opportunities, while close to Yellowstone means you can easily explore the park’s geothermal features and wildlife. Winter activities include skiing at Bridger Bowl or Bohart Ranch Ski Area.

Tips for Exploring the Park and Staying Safe

When exploring Yellowstone National Park, it is important to be aware of your surroundings and take precautions to stay safe. Here are some tips to help you enjoy your time in the park while staying safe:

Be aware of wildlife: Yellowstone is home to many different types of wildlife, including bears, wolves, and bison. It is important to be aware of your surroundings and give animals plenty of space. If you see an animal, do not approach it and keep a safe distance.

Stay on designated trails: There are many trails throughout Yellowstone that are designated for hiking and other activities. It is important to stay on these trails and not venture off into the wilderness as this can be dangerous.

Be prepared for weather changes: The weather in Yellowstone can change quickly, so it is important to be prepared for all conditions. Be sure to pack appropriate clothing and gear for whatever the weather may bring.

Pack plenty of food and water: When exploring the park, it is important to pack enough food and water for everyone in your group. This will help ensure you have enough energy to hike or participate in other activities during your visit.

By following these tips, you can explore Yellowstone safely and enjoy all that the park has to offer.


Yellowstone Park is an incredible destination, full of amazing sights and activities. We hope this article has helped you figure out which towns to base your adventures from, while exploring all that Yellowstone has to offer. 

From Cody’s numerous attractions and outdoor recreation opportunities to West Yellowstone’s convenient location near the park boundaries, there’s sure to be something for everyone here in this majestic national park. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your next adventure today!

We have also linked handpicked experiences for you to explore Yellowstone! 

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