Gardiner, located outside the North Entrance to Yellowstone National Park, is the only entrance to the Park that that is open to auto and truck traffic year-round. Starting in 1903, visitors to the park would arrive by train in Gardiner and enter the Park through the Roosevelt Arch. “For the benefit and enjoyment of the people” is inscribed across the top of the arch. The Yellowstone River flows out of the Park at Gardiner and continues its 670 mile journey from Yellowstone Lake to the Missouri River in North Dakota. The Gardner (a/k/a Gardiner) River merges with the Yellowstone River at Gardiner, Montana, and the result is a fly fishermen’s Mecca. For fly fishing information, visit: www.parksflyshop.com serving fly fishermen since 1953. Gardiner is a base for hikers, fishermen, those interested in white water rafting and float trips, horseback adventures, those interested in daytrips into the north region of Yellowstone National Park, history buffs and more. It has a large variety of overnights accommodations, numerous restaurants, bars, auto service and gas stations, outfitters, a grocery store and gift shops. The Heritage & Research Center which is home to Yellowstone National Park’s museum collection, archives, research library and more is in Gardiner. The Yellowstone Association, the National Park Service’s education partner in Yellowstone Park, has a year-round store located adjacent to the Roosevelt Arch. This store is a very good source of information, books, maps and guides to the Park. Gardiner is just 5 miles from Mammoth Hot Springs which is the launching point for winter adventures in the Park. It is common to see buffalo grazing in the school yard or along Gardiner’s main street to the Arch. If the focus of your visit is to see the wildlife, geologic and hydrothermal wonders of Yellowstone National Park, staying in Gardiner is a reasonable alternative to staying overnight in Mammoth Hot Springs. Daytrips into the Park to visit the sights and hike the trails in the Parks northern region are doable. The drive from Mammoth Hot Springs east to Tower-Roosevelt Junction, on south to Canyon Village, west to Norris Junction and then north to Mammoth Hot Springs is about a 70 mile drive. Add the 10 mile round-trip from Gardiner to Mammoth Hot Springs. If you are unable to find lodging at Old Faithful, Lake Village, or Canyon Village, then staying overnight in West Yellowstone, Montana, presents a good base for daytrips in the Park’s southern region.
Location: 53 miles south of Livingston, MT (exit 333 on I-90); and, a 1 ¾ hours drive from Gallatin Field Airport in Belgrade, northwest of Bozeman, Montana on I-90. From I-90, exit 333, drive south on Hwy 89 to Gardiner. The drive from Livingston to Gardiner follows along the Yellowstone River through beautiful Paradise Valley with the Absaroka Mountain Range to the east and the Gallatin Mountain Range to the west. Yellowstone River is noted for its world class fly fishing. The drive through Paradise Valley provides a very dramatic opening to a Yellowstone adventure. The River flows through verdant ranch land with herds of deer, antelope and occasionally buffalo sharing the grasslands with cattle. If time permits, about 5 miles south of Livingston, take a left on to the East Side Road (Hwy 540). This much slower drive will give you a glimpse of rural Montana. Stop at one of the river access turn offs and enjoy your picnic lunch on the banks of the Yellowstone. The East Side Road rejoins Hwy 89 about 19 miles north of Gardiner.