There are many reasons why Yellowstone National Park, the first national park in the U.S., is also one of the most popular. It’s full of wildlife, geysers, colorful hot pots, waterfalls and geologic wonders that exist nowhere else in the world. And it just happens to be in our back yard.
Located less than an hour from the West Entrance, many people choose Big Sky, Montana as their base camp for Yellowstone National Park excursions, enjoying the high quality amenities that Big Sky has to offer, along with the spectacularly unforgettable scenery and experiences of time spent in the park.
Summer in Yellowstone features lush, green landscapes, fast-moving rivers and abundant wildlife with deer, elk, bison, wolves and bears grazing with many birds flying overhead. And the geysers and thermal features are definitely the park’s “hot spot,” home to more geysers and hot springs than anywhere else in the world.
In the winter, the landscape shifts as steam from the hot pots rise from sparkling blankets of snow, and the park’s diverse creatures meander through the landscape. With fewer crowds, the serene views can be experienced from the warm comforts of a snowcoach, from the back of a snowmobile, or on cross country skis.
Although the boundary of Yellowstone National Park is only 19 miles from Big Sky, Montana, the official West Entrance of the park is in West Yellowstone, Montana, just 48 miles south.
From Big Sky, head south on Highway 191 and travel the scenic road along the Gallatin River to the quaint town of West Yellowstone.
By Car: In the summer months, there are driving loops that travel through different areas of the park, including a drive to Old Faithful, just 30 miles from the West Entrance. Along the way, visitors can stop at designated turnouts and explore park highlights.
Bus Tours: Yellowstone tours by bus can be a great way to leave the driving to someone else, so visitors are free to take in the awe-inspiring natural wonders and learn about them along the way.
By Bike: Biking is allowed on the paved roads through the park and on designated routes, but they are prohibited on trails. Rentals are available at Old Faithful for cruising around that area, and in the spring some of the park roads are open to bikes before they open to cars.
By Car: Most roads through the park are closed to car traffic during the winter season, typically from early November through late April. The only roads that remain open and plowed are between the North Entrance and Cooke City, Montana and from Mammoth Hot Springs to the parking area at the Upper Terraces.
Snowcoach: Snowcoach tours offer comfortable and scenic access to park highlights, with daily trips from West Yellowstone to Old Faithful and surrounding geyser basins, regular trips to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, and ski shuttles for cross-country ski access into different locations.
Snowmobile: Guided snowmobile tours head out from West Yellowstone to Old Faithful and surrounding park highlights for a snowy, motorized adventure.