Gardiner Travel Guide

Explore the beauty of Gardiner, Montana with this comprehensive travel guide packed with tips, recommendations, and fascinating insights into the region's top attractions, activities, dining, and accommodations.

Gardiner, Montana is nestled in Yellowstone Country in the Rocky Mountains of the United States. It is a picturesque town that acts as the perfect gateway for visitors exploring Yellowstone National Park, with its tremendous population of wildlife, geothermal features, and free-ranging wonders. Known for its awe-inspiring natural beauty, Gardiner stands out as a popular destination for travelers seeking outdoor adventures and international visitors looking to explore the best of what the United States has to offer.

Introduction to Gardiner

Gardiner is a small town with a big heart; it anchors the north entrance to Yellowstone National Park on the banks of the famous Yellowstone River. This town is particularly known for its breathtaking scenic beauty, warm hospitality, rich history, unique culture, wildlife, exciting natural wonders, and outdoor recreation activities.

List of Places to Visit in Gardiner

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

Gardiner proudly wears its cultural significance on its sleeves. Some of the must-visit museums and historical places are:

  1. Yellowstone Forever Park Store: Satisfy your interests in Yellowstone National Park’s history, geology, and culture. Explore the bookstore’s collection of educational resources, such as park maps and guides, natural history books, scientific reports, and more.

  2. The Yellowstone Association Yellowstone Park Store: Delve into the story of Yellowstone National Park and enrich your educational experiences through its interpretive products that expose visitors to the park’s natural history, cultural heritage and ecology.

  3. The Yellowstone Gateway Museum: This museum tells the story of the town’s history and heritage through fascinating exhibits, photographs, and artifacts.

Natural Attractions of Gardiner: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

Gardiner is known as the gateway to Yellowstone National Park and the perfect base camp for visitors to explore the park and its natural wonders. If you are planning to visit Gardiner, make sure to check out the following must-see natural attractions:

  1. Yellowstone National Park: The park is undoubtedly the highlight of the area and boasts some of the most magnificent natural attractions on earth, including geysers, hot springs, waterfalls, canyons, and wildlife.

  2. Gardiner River: The river is a popular spot for paddling, fishing, and rafting. Additionally, visitors can go hiking near the river’s banks and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

  3. Electric Peak: Electric Peak is an unmissable landmark that offers spectacular views of the surrounding area. It’s an excellent spot for hiking, backpacking, and camping.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Gardiner

Hiking and biking routes around Gardiner offer visitors a chance to explore the natural wonders and wildlife of Yellowstone Country. Some of the popular hiking and biking routes include:

  1. The Beaver Ponds Trail: A 5-mile round trip trail that is considered an easy hike.

  2. The Lava Creek Trail: A moderate-difficulty trail with a length of 7.6 miles.

  3. The Garnet Hill Loop Trail: A 9-mile, challenging loop trail that is a favorite of many hikers. It offers panoramic views of Electric Peak and the Yellowstone River.

Best Things to Do in Gardiner: Activities and Tours

There are a plethora of activities and tours that Gardiner has to offer, including:

  1. Wildlife Watching Tours: Take a guided tour and see the beauty of Yellowstone’s wildlife, including bison, grizzly bears, elk, and wolves.

  2. Fly Fishing Tours: Fly fishing is a popular activity among visitors to Gardiner. With the Yellowstone River running through the town, it is a prime location for fly fishing.

  3. Horseback Riding: Horseback riding offers visitors a chance to discover the park’s beautiful scenery while riding on these majestic creatures. Book a guided trail ride through Yellowstone and experience nature like never before.

Week-Long Itinerary for Gardiner

Day 1: Spend the day exploring Yellowstone National Park. Day 2: Take the Beaver Ponds Trail. Day 3: Go rafting on the Yellowstone River. Day 4: Take a day trip to Mammoth Hot Springs. Day 5: Rent a bike and cycle through the Lamar Valley. Day 6: Enjoy a horseback ride through Yellowstone. Day 7: Take a guided tour into the heart of the park.

Food and Drink Scene of Gardiner

Must-Try Dishes

Gardiner’s food scene is a mix of hearty local cuisine and international dishes. Some of the must-try dishes include:

  1. Bison Burger: A classic dish that offers the taste of Montana’s natural bounty.
  2. Montana Trout: This dish features local freshwater trout cooked to perfection.
  3. Huckleberry Pie: A dessert that is made with the state’s wild berries and is a must-try for any visitor to Montana.

Local Beverages

Gardiner offers visitors a chance to try some regional beverages that they can’t find anywhere else in the United States. Some of the most popular drinks include:

  1. Lone Mountain Ranch Brewery: This is the place to be if you are a beer lover. The brewery offers craft beers brewed on-site using Montana’s finest ingredients.
  2. Montana Distillery: This distillery offers a selection of distilled spirits made from Montana’s high-quality grains.

Where to Stay in Gardiner: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Gardiner offers a number of accommodation options, including hotels, hostels, and guesthouses. Here are some of the best options:

  1. Yellowstone Gateway Inn: This hotel offers comfortable rooms and convenient access to Yellowstone National Park.
  2. Yellowstone Big Rock Inn: This inn offers cozy rooms and is walking distance from the north entrance to Yellowstone National Park.
  3. Yellowstone River Motel: This motel is located on the Yellowstone River and offers spacious rooms, beautiful views, and easy access to the park.

What to Buy in Gardiner: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

Gardiner is known for its unique souvenirs and local products that you can bring back home. Here are some must-have souvenir ideas:

  1. Bison Jerky: Take home a delicious snack made from locally sourced buffalo meat.
  2. Montana Huckleberry Jam: Huckleberries are Montana’s state fruit, and the jam is a popular souvenir that visitors love to take back home.
  3. Yellowstone National Park T-Shirts: Take home a t-shirt with the iconic Yellowstone National Park logo as a reminder of your visit.

Local Culture and Customs of Gardiner

Gardiner is home to a friendly and welcoming community that’s proud of its heritage and tradition. Here are a few things to keep in mind when visiting:

  1. Respect Wildlife: Yellowstone National Park is home to a wide range of wildlife, including bears, elk, bison, and wolves. Be sure always to give the animals their space and never approach or feed them.

  2. Take Care of the Environment: Yellowstone’s beauty is its biggest attraction, and it’s important to preserve it. Be sure to follow Leave No Trace principles and dispose of your waste properly.

Best Time to Visit Gardiner

The best time to visit Gardiner is from May through October when the weather is mild and the national park is open.

Do’s and Don’ts of Gardiner


  1. Do bring your sense of adventure and be ready to explore the natural wonders here.
  2. Do respect the environment and wildlife by being responsible and mindful when visiting.


  1. Don’t hike without proper gear and preparation.
  2. Don’t get too close to wildlife, as it can be dangerous.

Safety and Health

Safety in Gardiner

Gardiner is a safe and friendly place to visit. Still, visitors should always be mindful of their personal safety, especially when hiking or exploring the wilderness. Always carry bear spray, be aware of your surroundings, and know how to respond to emergencies.

Health in Gardiner

Gardiner has a number of facilities, including clinics and hospitals, to provide medical care to visitors and residents. However, it’s important to note that the town is located in a remote area, and visitors should be prepared to deal with any medical issues that may arise.

Getting to Gardiner: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near Gardiner

The nearest airports to Gardiner are:

  1. Yellowstone Airport (WYS): The airport is located 51 miles from the town center.
  2. Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport (BZN): The airport is located 88 miles from the town center.

Bus Stations Near Gardiner

Visitors can use the following bus services to travel to Gardiner:

  1. Park Connection Motorcoach: This motorcoach service provides daily transportation from Anchorage, Seward, and Denali to Gardiner.

Other Options

Visitors can rent cars from either Bozeman and Yellowstone Airport or the city of Bozeman, Montana.

How to Get Around in Gardiner

The best ways to get around Gardiner are by car or bike. Visitors can rent cars or bikes from local businesses in the town.

Where to Go Next from Gardiner: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

Gardiner is ideally placed for visitors who want to explore the region further. Some of the nearby destinations that are worth visiting include:

  1. Bozeman: This town offers a range of activities and attractions, including museums, art galleries, hot springs, and skiing.
  2. Cooke City-Silver Gate: This small village is located 87 miles from Gardiner via the Beartooth Highway and offers access to Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley.
  3. Livingston: This charming riverside town is just 53 miles from Gardiner and offers great food, beautiful scenery, and cultural events throughout the year.


Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast looking for new adventures or a culture and history buff seeking the best museums and points of interests, Gardiner stands out with its unique offerings and alluring charm. Book your trip today and prepare yourself for an unforgettable journey into the heart of Yellowstone Country, Montana, and the Rocky Mountains.