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Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park
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The West Yellowstone Destination covers parts of Wyoming and Montana, as well as a relatively small portion of Idaho. The region has a variety of national parks and forest areas, with part of Yellowstone National Park being found in the area, as well as the Custer Gallatin National Forest and parts of the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest. Cities found in the area include the capital of Montana, Helena; Billings, Montana; Cody, Wyoming; Bozeman, Montana; and the namesake of the destination, West Yellowstone, Montana. Yellowstone National Park is a notable attraction in the region, with the opportunity for tourists to view wildlife, visit a variety of geysers, and hike. A variety of trails can be found throughout the park, including Washburn Peak and Sepulcher Mountain.[7] Custer Gallatin National Forest is another notable site, with 3,411,239 acres of protected land available to be explored. Through the forest passed six separate mountain ranges, including Bridger, Madison, and Crazy mountain ranges.[1] The largest city in the region is Billings, Montana, with a population of 184,167 people, according to the 2020 census.[2] Weather in the city and throughout the destination varies throughout the year, but the reported “best time” to visit the destination for warm-weather activities is from late June to late August. [4]

What Yellowstone National Park is known for

The West Yellowstone Destination is located in the northwestern corner of Wyoming and Montana. The region encompasses cities such as Cody, Wyoming; Billings, Montana; and Bozeman, Montana. Montana's capital city, Helena, is also found within the borders of the region. The namesake of the destination, West Yellowstone, resides in the southern part of the destination. Notable landmarks in the area include parts of Yellowstone National Park, Custer Gallatin National Forest, and parts of Crow Nation, a Native American Reservation.

The namesake, West Yellowstone, was founded in 1919. In 1905, the president of the Union Pacific Railroad traveled through Yellowstone National Park and decided to create a train route that could take passengers to the park. As time progressed, businesses started forming in the surroundings of the train station. The city of West Yellowstone was originally part of the land federally recognized as Yellowstone National Park, but in 1919 former President Woodrow Wilson repealed the area now known as West Yellowstone so the city could officially form. Today, the city is known for its entrance to Yellowstone National Park.[6]

Another notable attraction in the destination is the Custer Gallatin National Forest, which is situated on the border between Montana and Wyoming. The forest is comprised of 3,411,239 acres of land and is part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, as the national forest is on the border of the national park that the ecosystem is named after. Six separate mountain ranges pass through the national forest, namely the Gallatin, Madison, Crazy, Beartooth, Bridger, and Absaroka. A variety of vegetation is found throughout the forest, as lower-elevation areas tend to grow various grasses and sagebrush, and higher-elevation areas support plants such as spruce, Douglas fir, cottonwood, and aspen trees. Throughout the forest, hiking trails can be found, as well as campgrounds. Snowmobiling is also possible during the winter months.[1]

Yellowstone National Park is also found partially within the destination. Viewing wildlife is a possible activity to participate in within the park.  The Lamar Valley is reportedly a good place to see grey-headed wolves in the park. Norris Geyser Basin is the hottest basin in Yellowstone and is said to feature the "world's tallest geyser" as well. Hiking is also an option for those visiting the national park, with hikes such as Washburn Peak, Avalanche Peak, and Sepulcher Mountain. [7]

The largest city in the destination is Billings, Montana. Billings is also the largest city in the state of Montana. As of the 2020 census, there are 184,167 people living within the Billings Metropolitan Area, which includes three neighboring counties. Nicknamed "Magic City" due to its growth after the founding of the railroad and subsequent town, Billings reportedly is one of the largest trade areas in the United States. Per the 2010 census records, the most predominant race in the city is white (89.6%), followed by Native American (4.4%), African American (0.8%), and Asian (0.1%).[2]

The city of West Yellowstone has a variety of attractions that those visiting the area may be interested in outside of visiting Yellowstone National Park. Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center is a not-for-profit wildlife park that is home to grizzly bears and wolves that are "unfit to survive in the wild." The park features a variety of outdoor habitats that the public can view. Additionally, for those looking for cross-country ski opportunities, the Rendezvous Trail System is located at the edge of West Yellowstone city limits. Due to the elevation of the trails, with a base elevation of 6,800 feet, the trails are generally snow-covered from November to March annually. [3]


The West Yellowstone Destination is located where the states of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming meet. Montana and Wyoming make up the majority of the region, with only a relatively small portion of Idaho included in the boundary. Natural areas that can be visited include portions of the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest, Yellowstone National Park, Caribou-Targhee National Forest, and the Custer Gallatin National Forest. The largest city in the destination, Billings, Montana, sits partially in the Yellowstone Valley, and seven mountain ranges can be seen from the city limits, including the Pryor Mountains, the Beartooth Mountains, and the Bull Mountains, to name a few.[2]

As Billings, Montana, has the largest population in the area and is located in the Yellowstone Valley with the majority of the destination, it can be used to approximate weather patterns for the West Yellowstone Destination.[2] Throughout the year, the temperature in Billings is generally between 20 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit, rarely being warmer than 98 degrees and cooler than -2 degrees Fahrenheit. For warm-weather activities, it is recommended that guests visit between June and August due to annual weather conditions. During this time, the average high is above 79 degrees Fahrenheit, with the hottest month generally being July. The “cold season” in the destination is reportedly from November to February, with December having average highs of 37 degrees Fahrenheit.[4]

As the destination is home to multiple national forests and Yellowstone National Park, there is a variety of flora and fauna that can be found. One notable animal which resides in the region is the American bison. Wapiti, moose, North American porcupines, and American beavers are also mammals found in Yellowstone National Park and surrounding areas. Bald eagles have also been spotted in the areas surrounding the city of West Yellowstone. Other birds native to the area include tree swallows, ospreys, yellow-rumpled warblers, and yellow-headed blackbirds. A variety of plants and flowers grow in the national park, as well as the surrounding national forests, such as yellow columbine, creeping bellflower, western rattlesnake plantain, and bearberry. [5]


The region that is now known as the West Yellowstone Destination was originally inhabited by Native Americans. Specifically, the city of Billings, Montana, was inhabited by the Crow Tribe, who claimed the territory in the 1700s. The present-day Crow Nation is located south of the city. In 1806, the Lewis and Clark expedition traveled through the area, stopping at Pompey’s Pillar, where William Clark carved his name into it. This carving is reportedly the only physical evidence that the Lewis and Clark expedition traveled the course it did. Over time, the city continued to grow and is presently the largest city in the state of Montana. The formation of the railroad, as well as the discovery of oil fields in nearby areas, led to this growth.[2]

The city of Helena, Montana, is the current capital of the state and county seat of Lewis and Clark County. Artifacts found around the city show that a variety of Native American tribes used the area periodically. After Lewis and Clark traveled through the area on their expedition in 1805, more people traveled to the area, and gold was discovered in 1864, where the present-day main street of the city sits. Today, Helena is known for its agricultural and livestock trade, as well as the construction of the capitol building, which is copper covered and features a reproduction of the Statue of Liberty on the top. [8]

4.9 (277 Reviews)

Shoshone Lodge is located in a remote forest that can be found about 46 miles from Cody, Wyoming. The lodge has a total of 17 available cabins on their five acres of land that guests can choose. Both breakfast and dinner are provided by Shoshone Lodge when visitors are staying in one of the cabins. The lodge has stayed with the Christensen's family for a long time, as many of the cabins were first built in the early 20's and 30's and were passed down to each generation . The location is also within 3.5 miles of Yellowstone National Park, a national park that stretches throughout Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho.

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4.7 (266 Reviews)

Ennis RV Village is an RV park that is located in Ennis, Montana. The property is open seasonally from April to October and offers 112 sites, 14 of which are tent sites, while the rest are pull-through and back-in RV spaces. The business is pet-friendly and allows visitors to bring their dogs with them on their trips. Due to the lakes and rivers that can be found throughout the area, outdoor recreation including fishing, hiking, and riding ATVs tend to be popular activities among guests. The town of Ennis, as well as the surrounding area, has a lot of history that dates as far back as when the gold rushes occurred in the 1860s. Yellowstone National Park is about 75 miles southeast of the property.

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4.65 (410 Reviews)

Located in West Yellowstone, Montana, Yellowstone Holiday Resort lies between the Gallatin National Forest and Hebgen Lake. The campground has many places to choose from for those passing through the area, including campsites, RV sites, and cabins. Yellowstone Holiday Resort has a marina that can be used by guests, and the camp is surrounded by various hiking trails that can be explored. There are many potential activities within the resort, including fishing, kayaking, paddle boarding, and playing volleyball. July and August are the busiest moths for the resort, but the establishment is open from May 15th through September 30th of each year.

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4.5 (209 Reviews)

The Campfire Lodge Resort is located near West Yellowstone, Montana, about 22 miles from the entrance to Yellowstone National Park. There are a total of 18 cabins and 19 RV sites that guests can reserve. Some of the cabins are over 100 years old, as they were built around the time that the park was first established. Every cabin is equipped with a private bathroom, the ability to house anywhere between two and six guests, and, aside from Cabins 1 and 2, a fully equipped kitchen. The RV sites are all back-in only and provide water, sewer, and 30-amp electric services. Also located on the premises are a cafe, a fly fishing shop, and a bathhouse with laundry machines. Guests who visit the region to fish can do so in the Madison River, which runs through the property, or at a number of lakes in the area.

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Cardwell General Store & Campground is located near Cardwell, Montana, a few miles from Glacier National Park, Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park, and Yellowstone National Park. A relatively well-known spot where Lewis and Clark camped and passed through is a few hundred feet west of the property, according to the owner. The campground offers a total of 72 units that are available for visitors to rent, 42 of which are RV sites and the other 30 are tent campsites. Certain sites range in service from having power and water to having power, sewer, and water. All powered units have 30 and 50 amp service. Grassy areas constitute a considerable portion of the campground, and the property has recently installed roads. Curt, one of the owners, says it is a place where wildlife can be seen. He and his visitors have observed moose, mountain lions, bears, and deer.

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4.9 (65 Reviews)

Yellowstone Dreamin Camp was created by Debbie Mackey and her brothers as partners in 2020. The property's proximity to Yellowstone National Park draws a number of people to the establishment, especially outdoor enthusiasts, as hiking, fishing, and lake recreation are a few popular pastimes that visitors can engage in during their stay. On-site activities are provided for guests to utilize as well, namely corn hole, ring toss, and horseshoes. It should be noted that everyone staying at Yellowstone Dreamin Camp is given access to free WiFi during their stay. Generally speaking, Debbie has focused on ensuring that the provided amenities, the unique accommodations, and the location of the business will provide guests with a relaxing getaway in a natural setting.

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4.5 (61 Reviews)

The current owners, Aaron and Briana Moore, have had ownership over Madison Valley Campground since 2021. The property is situated in the southwestern region of Montana, featuring a total of 23 RV sites and one four-bedroom home for short-term stays. Each site contains full hookups with water, sewer, and electricity provided. Located in close proximity to the RV campground is downtown Ennis, which tends to draw a number of tourists annually, as the urban area contains several shops and restaurants. One of the most prominent attractions near the property is Yellowstone National Park. The western entrance of the national park can be found just over an hour's drive from the campground. Another notable city that receives a considerable amount of tourism is Bozeman, which is about two hours away by car from Madison Valley Campground.

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