Nature’s Favorite Entrance to
Yellowstone National Park tm

Recreate Responsibility in Gardiner, Montana

Top Things to Know, Before you Go

Recreate Responsibility in Gardiner, Montana

With pent-up travel demand and visitors eager to get outdoors and experience public lands, the tourism industry is working hard to ensure everyone has a good time leaving home and visiting our eclectic mountain home of Gardiner, Montana and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE). The Gardiner Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Information Center is here to help – we’ve got answers to frequently asked questions, insider tips, and important reminders so you can make the most of your visit.

Gardiner welcomes you and asks for your patience, kindness, and respect when visiting our area because you are essential in maintaining the pristine conditions that make our public lands special to travelers and locals alike. 

Accommodations

For your accommodations you will need reservations. Gardiner’s lodging accommodations are open and ready to serve you. We advise making reservations as soon as possible as most all properties are booked months in advance. For a list of various lodging properties including hotels and motelsbed and breakfastsvacation rentalsglamping experiences, cabins and cottages, and RV parks, please visit here.

Yellowstone has twelve campgrounds with over 2,000 sites – all of which require an advance reservationYellowstone National Park  Lodges (Xanterra) takes reservations for five of these campgrounds: Bridge Bay, Canyon, Fishing Bridge RV Park, Grant Village, and Madison. The National Park Service manages the other seven campgrounds: Indiana Creek, Lewis Lake, Mammoth, Norris (closed for 2022), Pebble Creek, Slough Creek, and Tower Fall (closed for 2022) – with reservations available through Recreation.gov. Additionally, Yellowstone offers backcountry campsites for people who prefer to explore and camp along less traveled routes, find out more information by visiting here.

Dining

Be kind, be patient, and have a backup plan! If you are choosing to dine out during your visit, you have made are great decision as our area has something to offer for everyone! Please understand this is an unprecedented season with many obstacles for our small gateway community. Record breaking visitation, strained supply chains, staffing shortages, and COVID-19, can lead to longer than usual wait periods and, at times, varying hours of operation for many of our dining establishments. Keep in mind that some restaurants may not be able to accommodate reservations or to go orders, and with higher than typical call volume reaching out virtually may be best.

Don’t forget about Food Trucks! In Gardiner there are food carts located on the corner of Park St & HWY 89 and 406-TEX-MEX is parked at the Gardiner Conoco.  Just three miles north of Gardiner at the Yellowstone Dinolube sit the Grizzly Grille and Follow Yer’ Nose BBQ, which serve delicious food and can tend to be a little bit less busy. 

  • For up-to-date business hours for Gardiner dining establishments,  please click here.
  • For dining inside the park, Yellowstone National Park Lodges is providing updated information, please visit here.

Activities

Rafting, horseback riding, tours & more! Warm temperatures and longer days mean time for playing outside with friends and family. Consider taking a rafting trip down the Yellowstone River as it meanders through the town of Gardiner. Horseback rides through meadows and mountain forests offer a true western adventure. Guided tours offer an inside perspective (and added bear safety!) for hiking, backpacking, fishing, wildlife watching, and photography. For a full listing of activities offered by local companies, please visit here. You’ll want to book in advance, as many of these popular services are in high demand and are selling out quickly.

Plan Ahead

Yellowstone is vast. Expect longer travel times due to increased visitation, wildlife jams, and construction projects. Depart early—even as early as 6 a.m., which is better for viewing wildlife anyway—or later in the evening to avoid heavy traffic. (You can purchase a park pass online if the kiosk is closed.) Between the peak travel hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. try to be off the road and out of your car adventuring. 

Expect the unexpected. Yellowstone is known for unpredictable weather year-round. We recommend packing layers to add or remove as weather changes and bring essentials like extra water, food/snacks, bug spray and a first aid kit as sporadic road closures due to weather are common.

Prepare for delays. If you are traveling to Gardiner from the north, on HWY 89 through Livingston, MT, be prepared for an unavoidable construction delay of up to twenty minutes, learn more about this project, please visit here. In Yellowstone National Park learn about major road construction projects, some of which warranting overnight road closures, please visit here.  

Know fire restrictions & proper practices. According to a recent report from the Montana Drought and Water Advisory Committee, Montana is experiencing the most severe drought in over 20 years. Extreme drought combined with the current forest health crisis has created a significant risk for wildfires. Help Montanans reduce the risk by recreating responsibly.  

  • Always put out your campfire: dump lots of water on it, stir it with a shovel, then dump more water on it. Make sure it is COLD before leaving the campsite. If it's too hot to touch, it's too hot to leave!
  • Know current Montana fire restriction information by area at MTFireInfo.org
  • Know current Yellowstone National Park fire restriction information, please visit here
  • Know Montana air quality conditions, please visit here

Play it Safe

Give wildlife room. Montana and the GYE is home to bears, mountain goats, mountain lions, elk, deer and more. Give wildlife their space, always maintain a minimum of 25 yards (23 m) from all wildlife and 100 yards (91 m) from bears and wolves. Do not approach or feed any animals you may encounter.

distance for animals

Carry bear spray and know how to use it! If you plan to hike, be sure to go with a friend (a group is even better), make noise on the trail (talking or clapping), carry bear spray, be alert, and do not run. and know how to use it.Learn more about traveling safely in bear country, please click here.

Leave no Trace

It’s simple, follow the Seven Principles. When recreating on public lands, be sure to take care of them by staying on trails. If you plan to camp while you’re here, be sure to keep a clean bear safe camp site, and only camp in an existing site or pick a site where vegetation is absent. It’s important to respect public lands and waters, as well as Native and local communities when travel to our area and beyond. 

  1. Pack out garbage and waste (including human)
  2. Respect Wildlife
  3. Leave What You Find
  4. Travel & Camp only in designated areas on durable surfaces
  5. Plan & Prepare
  6. Minimize Campfire Impacts – know fire restrictions in your area – do not start a wildfire
  7. Be Considerate of Others

Enjoy Gardiner

We hope you have a fun time visiting Gardiner, Montana, Nature’s Favorite Entrance to Yellowstone National Park™, and make lasting memories to carry home with you. To purchase a Yellowstone National Park pass online, please visit here. For a real-time map of Yellowstone’s road conditions, including closures and construction, please visit here. For updated conditions and regulations in Park County, Montana, in response to the coronavirus,  please visit here.

To learn more about responsible recreation in Montana, go to visitmt.com/montana-matters or recreateresponsibly.org.