The 10 Best Things To Do In West Yellowstone, Montana (2023)
West Yellowstone is a southern Montana town and the most popular access point of the Yellowstone National Park. The town, though, has a slow-paced life, but being the gateway to America’s oldest National Park, it stays busy throughout the year. Even when most of the Montana State experience a dull tourism season, it is West Yellowstone that refuses to relax. The town touches the National Park’s boundaries and is tailor-made for family trips. And this popularity isn’t new but as old or even more than the tourism popularity of entire Montana.
The best way to reach the town of West Yellowstone is via the Yellowstone Airport-WYS. The airport is just two miles (5 minutes drive away) from the National Park. It operates from June through September and shuts down during the rest of the month due to weather conditions. For being here during winters, visitors can only use snow coach, snowmobile, skis, or snowshoes. Interesting enough? If yes, then plan your West Yellowstone vacation soon. Here are all that you can do in the town of West Yellowstone.
The 10 Best Things To Do In West Yellowstone
Have a look:
1. Meet the inhabitants of Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center
Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center is a must-visit wildlife facility in West Yellowstone. This non-profit organization is home to two to three packs of wolves and multiple bears. Animals here aren’t for captive show-off but the ones who are unfit for surviving in wild conditions. Both the species are kept separate but in an open yet climatically controlled enjoyment. Hence even when they are not in the wild, they still lead a life similar to that. The facilities operate 365 days a year, every day from 9 am to 4 pm. Enthusiasts can either stop and observe bears and wolves from outdoors. Or visit the on-site Naturalist Cabin, River otter exhibit, and Birds of Prey demonstration for a more exclusive experience. The facility also offers a 30 minutes Kid’s Keeper program where the little ones get to set out food for bears and learn about them. For a family-friendly day in West Yellowstone, there isn’t a better idea than visiting Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center.
2. Learn history at the Museum of the Yellowstone
The Museum of the Yellowstone is housed in the historic Union Pacific Depot in the town of West Yellowstone. It exhibits information about the 1988 fires in Yellowstone and the 1959 Hebgen Lake Earthquake. Besides that, it exhibits stories about railways, the national forest, and individuals who traveled the region in the past for work. Even though the facility isn’t very big, it still has so much to observe and learn about. The museum operates Mid-May through Mid-October every single day. It also organizes weekly educational programs, daily films, and guest lectures for educating guests. Anyone who visits Yellowstone Park does stop and visit the museum at least once. Besides its indoor facility, the museum also offers walking tours to the nearby Union Pacific Railroad Historic District.
3. Catch the glorious sunset at the Hebgen Lake
Hebgen Lake is 15 miles long and 4 miles wide human-made lake located northwest of West Yellowstone. An exceptional landscape surrounds it in the form of mountains, forests, and Greenland. Operating as a hot summer spot, it is also known as Montana’s premier Stillwater fishing lake. Throughout the summer, travelers from Montana and even the nearby state visit here for water-based recreation. Some of the popular activities to try here include hiking, ramping, boating, and sunset viewing. On clear sky days, spending an evening here feels fulfilling all the serenity of life. Hebgen Lake being home to rainbows, cutthroats, browns, and other fishes, also operate for incredible fishing opportunities. No doubt fishing is the most sort-out and fun activity to try here.
4. Or drive towards the Earthquake Lake.
True to its name, the Earthquake Lake was formed by a 7.3 magnitude earthquake that hit the Madison Canyon River Area in 1959. Following that night of terror, the region got its rich geological features that today also behave as a popular tourist attraction. Also known as Quake Lake, it is six miles long and 125 feet deep. Anyone visiting here ideally goes for fishing and boating. The surrounding landscape also provides for excellent strolling and nature walking opportunities. Close to the lake is the Earthquake Lake Visitor Center, which draws 50,000 visitors annually. The center basically shares the story of the 1959 Hebgen Lake Earthquake. It further highlights how the unfortunate incident took place and what it left-back for the people of Montana. Within walking distance from the visitors’ center, there is a huge boulder that behaves as a memorial for all those who lost their lives during their tragic earthquake.
5. Go Fly Fishing in the Yellowstone River and the Blue-Ribbon Waterways
Fly Fishing is one of the most popular angling activities in entire Montana. And if you are looking for the most prestigious spot, then count the Blue-Ribbon Waterways as the ‘Pinnacle.’ The Blue-Ribbon Waterways features water bodies including the Yellowstone River, Gallatin River, Madison River, and other rivers passing close to West Yellowstone. All of these sections are full of fish and mainly full of anglers as well. For instance, there are two formidable fish hatcheries where Madison River meets at the Gibbon and Firehole Rivers. Though fishing at the Blue-Ribbing waterways flourishes throughout the year, the conditions and opportunities might differ depending upon the season. Anglers can visit the nearby Arrick’s Fly Shop, Madison River Outfitters, or the Jacklin’s Fly Shop for gear and guided services.
6. Go adventures at the Yellowstone Zipline Adventure Park
Yellowstone Zipline Adventure Park is a popular recreational spot in West Yellowstone. It is located close to the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center, a few blocks west of it. This local theme park has more than 1000 feet of ziplining fun that keeps the participant 14 to 50 feet above the ground. Besides that, the park also operates for fun opportunities like crossing log bridges, climbing up ropes, and crawling around real-life spiderwebs. The park operates daily during the summer season, whereas the hours go limited once winter comes into the chart. Several operations remain closed from October through April. Yellowstone Zipline Adventure Park participants can also book special packages to combine with other Yellowstone adventures. The options may include guided horse riding and white-water river rafting.
7. Enjoy a live performance at the Playmill Theatre
One of the most popular and must-to-do things in West Yellowstone is catching up on a show at the Playmill Theatre. The facility is within proximity to the West Yellowstone Visitor Information Center and has been operating for over 55 years now. Shows here operate each summer from May through September. The Theatre facility emphasizes providing a personal experience by greeting and guiding each visitor rightfully towards their seat. Every single show here emphasizes family-friendly fun, so even if you have kids along, you can freely visit here for a show. For kids between the ages of 14 to 18, Playmill Theatre also organizes a five-day summer camp during June. Tickets here are priced from $23 to $32, depending upon the location of the seat.
8. Or, visit the Yellowstone Giant Screen Theatre
The Yellowstone Giant Screen Theatre is a local cinema that is a fantastic add-on experience to your West Yellowstone visit. The Theatre is home to a 60X80 screen which is close enough to six stories. Their trademark presentation is the park-themed instructional film ‘Yellowstone’ film’ a must-watch. Besides that, the Giant Screen Theatre also program several movies and documentary on a regular basis. Their current presentation and all Coming ups are well marketed on their official website. On any rainy or heavily snowing day, enjoying at the indoors Yellowstone Giant Screen Theatre is highly recommended and loved.
9. Go snowmobiling with Two Top
Also known as a ‘Snowmobiling Paradise,’ the West Yellowstone offers some of the best opportunities. The town provides convenient snowmobiling entry to the Yellowstone National Park along with several well-maintained trails within the town itself. For more convenience, you can reach the Two Top Snowmobiles facility. It operates just outside the National Park and provides travelers with some great snowmobiling opportunities. The local guides will keep you on track yet make the experience enjoyable if you are a first-timer. Whereas if you already know the skill, the scope of adventure here will never end for you. Some of the popular trails here include the Big Sky Trail, Madison Arm Loop, and the Two Mountain Top Trail.
10. And of course, do not dare to miss the Yellowstone National Park
More than a town, West Yellowstone is a popular gateway to the Yellowstone National Park. The park is less than a mile drive from the town. Entering the park from here will allow you to visit its popular features including:
- Midway Geyser Basin
- The Upper Geyser Basin
- Lower Geyser Basin
- Grand Prismatic Spring
- Madison Junction and Firehole Canyon
- Firehole Canyon Drive
- Lake McDonald