Gardiner is situated in southwest Montana, at the north Entrance to Yellowstone National Park. The town is nestled in breathtaking Paradise Valley, with the Yellowstone River running right through town. Gardiner has the atmosphere of a quaint western town, complete with elk meandering and grazing throughout the town. Mule deer are often seen in the same fields with the horses and cows. Founded in 1880, Gardiner became a center of activity for visitors to the region, serving as the original, and only year round entrance to the Park. Located between the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness to the North, the Gallatin Wilderness to the West, and Yellowstone Park to the South, outdoor activities abound.
Gardiner has survived a rough and tumble existence of gold rushes, the railroad and even destructive fires. A tough little frontier town, it fed and sheltered miners, entertained the early soldiers who operated Yellowstone Park, and learned to host the pioneer visitor.
At the present time Gardiner is a good place to spend some rich time in history, in some of the west's finest country. Gardiner offers restaurants, shops, art galleries, churches, a small airport and other visitor services.
In the summer and fall plan on hiking, horseback riding, fishing, hunting, pack-trips, whitewater rafting and kayaking. In the winter, when Yellowstone Country is magically transformed under a blanket of snow, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling are the most popular activities.
When you drive to the north entrance to Yellowstone Park, you'll pass through the most famous structure of Gardiner, the Roosevelt Arch. The arch's corner stone was laid by Teddy Roosevelt in 1903. The placard reads: "For the Benefit and Enjoyment of the People."
Elk regularly roam around in Gardiner, and pronghorn can often be spotted in the hills and meadows near town. Listen carefully and you are apt to hear coyotes in the foothills in the evening. Bighorn sheep come down to graze within view, alongside the ever present deer and bison.
Driving towards Livingston on Highway 89 South from Gardiner, before you pass Corwin Springs, you'll see a beautiful rock formation called "Devil's Slide" on your left across the Yellowstone River. It shows sedimentary layers of rock that have been tilted up on their edge, showing beautiful colors of rose and gold rock.
Electric Peak is located just north and west of Gardiner. It sits majestically behind the Yellowstone River, which winds its way through the Paradise Valley, on toward the cities of Livingston, Big Timber, Columbus, Laurel, Billings, Miles City, Glendive and Sidney before joining up with the Missouri River near Williston, North Dakota, over 600 miles away.
The Yellowstone River flows right through Gardiner. Here it is seen with beautiful fall colors from across Highway 89, just 7 miles north of Gardiner. The river offers great white water rafting opportunities.
You can contact White Water Rafting, located in Gardiner, at 800-862-0557 or the Yellowstone Raft Company at 800-858-7781. They also organize kayak trips.
The drive on Highway 89 South from Livingston takes you through Paradise Valley to Gardiner and Yellowstone National Park. It is one of the most scenic drives in the United States. Fantastic Rocky Mountain scenery, wildlife and birds can be seen all along the Yellowstone River as it meanders along the highway. It's named Paradise Valley for a good reason. This premier Montana vacation spot has perfect summers and mild winters with spectacular views of the Absaroka and Gallatin mountain ranges. The close proximity to Yellowstone Park and the Beartooth Highway make it the perfect place to vacation. The Yellowstone River and other fishing streams draw anglers from around the world. Whitewater rafting, kayaking, wildlife viewing and photography, hiking and horseback riding are just a few of the recreational opportunities available here.
The Beartooth Highway is one of the most spectacular alpine highways in North America. It offers sweeping vistas of snow-covered mountains, unparalleled wildlife watching, and breathtaking views of the Absaroka and Beartooth Mountains, dotted with countless glacial lakes, forested valleys, waterfalls and wildlife.
It is the highest elevation highway in Wyoming (10,947 feet) and Montana (10,350 feet), and it is the highest elevation highway in the Northern Rockies. The Bearthooth Highway provides easy access to Yellowstone National Park at its northeast entrance. Take time to enjoy this unique scenic highway tour and all of the attractions and historic sites in the greater Yellowstone area.
Our favorite activity summer through winter is to soak in the outdoor hot springs pools at Boiling River, just 3 miles inside the Park from Gardiner. After parking you walk a half mile along a path bordering the Gardner River, until you arrive at a place where a creek of hot geothermal water flows into the river. Rocks are piled up to create natural pools where the hot water mingles with the cold river water, creating comfortable places to soak and relax.