Do Your Part to Recreate Responsibly
We’re committed to keeping Montana’s outdoor spaces, communities, residents and visitors safe. 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 this summer after being cooped up during the coronavirus pandemic. The Gardiner Chamber of Commerce is here to help you make the most of your visit. Below are some things to keep in mind and expect as you plan your summer and fall visit with us here in Gardiner, Montana, Nature’s Favorite Entrance to Yellowstone National Park™. As you enjoy all the area has to offer, please join us in following these guidelines for responsible recreation.
Know Before You Go
Before arriving, check the status of the place you’d like to visit. It’s good to have a backup plan if your destination is closed or crowded. Consider adjusting the time of day you plan to explore. By arriving early, you may experience shorter lines and reduced crowds for a more enjoyable experience!
Gardiner’s hotels and motels are open and ready to serve you. Most require reservations in advance and are filling quickly. We do not advise you wait until you arrive to secure lodging lest you not find a place to sleep for the evening. You might also enjoy an intimate experience staying in a bed and breakfast in town or embarking on an adventure in a vacation rental, teepee, or cabin. Gardiner’s RV parks fill quicky and camping opportunities are limited due to increased demand and the temporary closure of three campgrounds inside Yellowstone for 2021: Norris, Tower Fall, and the Fishing Bridge RV Park. For detailed information about camping opportunities, opening dates, and expectations in and around Gardiner please visit here.
Practice Physical Distancing
Indoors or outdoors, be prepared to encounter others with different social distancing comfort levels. If you can, give other people as much space as possible. On trails, move over to let stock (horses and mules) pass, yield to other hikers and be respectful of other users. If you know you’ll be in an area with other people, have a mask at the ready. Keep your group small and if you are sick (have a cough, cold, fever, etc.) or have been in contact with individuals who have been sick, stay home and plan to visit when you’re well.
Check our local regulations for the latest safety measures. Facilities might be closed, so consider packing a lunch and bring essentials like extra water, food/snacks, bug spray and a first aid kit. In Montana, both weather and terrain can change quickly. We recommend packing clothing layers to add or remove as weather changes.
With the recent summer opening of the Beartooth Highway all roads leading into Yellowstone are currently open. The park is widespread and attracts enthusiastic visitors from all over. These factors, paired with a number of ongoing road construction projects, can make travel take longer than expected. Allow plenty of time for driving. To help keep traffic moving always use designated parking spots and pullouts when viewing hot springs and wildlife. The park’s North Entrance station is currently undergoing an upgrade so plan to spend a bit longer entering Yellowstone from Gardiner. To speed things up, consider traveling during non-peak hours—either before 9 a.m. or after 3 p.m.—and purchasing a Yellowstone Park pass online. The road connecting Tower-Roosevelt to Canyon Village is closed for 2021.
Play It Safe
Have fun, but know your limits. Take it slow and choose lower-risk activities to reduce the strain on search and rescue operations and health care resources. Remember that Montana is home to bears, mountain goats, mountain lions, elk, deer and more. If you plan to spend time outside, be prepared to have an encounter with our abundant wildlife. Give wildlife their space, do not approach them and do not feed them. If you plan to hike, be sure to go with a friend, make noise on the trail (talking or clapping), carry bear spray and know how to use it.
Play it Safe Locally
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.
Gardiner restaurants are doing their best to serve a high number of visitors while navigating staffing challenges and an unpredictable food supply chain. You’ll need to plan ahead in terms of eating out and to be patient with owners and staff. Plan to spend time if you decide to go out to eat. Please visit here to see which restaurants are offering dine in service versus takeout and for the most up-to-date business hours. For dining inside the park, Yellowstone National Park Lodges is proving updated information here. Don’t forget about food carts outside town like the Grizzly Grille and Follow Yer’ Nose BBQ, which tend to be a little bit less busy. The Gardiner Market also sells a wide variety of food and beverages you can pack into a cooler for a picnic.
Gift stores throughout Gardiner are open and ready to provide the perfect memento for your vacation. Downtown, on Park and Main streets, don’t be fooled by the fencing. Businesses are open despite a fire last summer on a half block that is in the process of being rebuilt. Park your vehicle and visit a local saddlery, a sweet shop selling souvenirs and t-shirts, a bookstore, and a wildlife art gallery. The Yellowstone Outpost Mall on the opposite edge of town offers a rustic feel with a variety of Old West shops and dining establishments. Visit here to see a listing of offerings and locations.
Our area is full of local parks, trails and public spaces. Enjoy them while being mindful of your impact on the surrounding communities. Check in with local Chambers or Visitor Information Centers, like the Gardiner Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Information Center to pick up travel guides and maps, as well as get suggestions for things to do, places to go and insider tips.
Leave No Trace
Pack your garbage out with you and clean up properly. 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 do so in an existing campsite or pick a site where vegetation is absent. It’s important to respect public lands and waters, as well as Native and local communities.
- Camp only in designated areas
- Pack out garbage and waste (including human)
- Know fire restrictions in your area – do not start a wildfire
- Keep a clean bear safe camp site
Build an Inclusive Outdoors
Do your part to help make our outdoor spaces safe and welcoming for all identities and abilities.
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 click here. For updated conditions and regulations in Park County, Montana, in response to the coronavirus please click here.