Your Ultimate Guide to the Family Adventure from Bozeman to North Yellowstone
The drive from Bozeman to North Yellowstone is about a 1 hour 30 minutes drive via US-89 S. As the North Entrance is the only entrance open year-round, it’s one of the most popular routes from Bozeman to Yellowstone.
Your scenic drive through Paradise Valley offers views of the Gallatin River and the Madison River flowing peacefully beside the road. The drive is an ideal prelude to the marvels that lay ahead.
Exploring West Yellowstone: The Gateway to the Park
Another good option is West Yellowstone, you’re just a short drive away from the park’s west entrance. This town, known for its outdoor pool and heated indoor pool, is the closest town to the park, making it a great place for families to set up base camp. We cover that option also on one of our other posts.
Also, see what’s the best airport for Yellowstone?
North Yellowstone: A Symphony of Nature
The moment you pass through the north entrance of Yellowstone National Park under the historic Roosevelt Arch, you’re in for a treat. From the Lamar Valley’s wildlife viewing opportunities to the breathtaking panorama of Yellowstone Lake, the park is brimming with unique experiences.
From the gushing Old Faithful Geyser to the majestic Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, the park’s main attractions are scattered across the Grand Loop Road. The Upper Geyser Basin, home to the highest concentration of geysers in the world, is not to be missed.
You’ll also find ample outdoor activities for the family, like horseback riding along the Madison River, river float experiences, or hiking trail adventures.
Bozeman: The Gateway to Adventure
Start your journey in the charming small city of Bozeman. Cradled in the heart of the Gallatin Valley, Bozeman buzzes with life. The heart of this dynamic city is its vibrant Main Street, dotted with unique eateries and quaint shops.
Your first destination should be the Museum of the Rockies, a treasure trove of regional and natural history. Next, check out the city’s Natural History Museum for an interactive experience that the kids will love.
Indulge in some retail therapy at the gift shops, grab a bite at Ted’s Montana Grill, or enjoy local brews at Montana Ale Works. As the sun sets, listen to live music drifting from local venues, the perfect soundtrack to your Montana evening.
Prepping for the Road Trip
The Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport, your closest airport and the starting point for many makes it easy for families to hop in a rental car and start their journey immediately. As you plan your road trip, remember to check out road conditions, transportation information, and any possible road closures.
Finding the best deal on rental cars
Here are some of the best places to book rental cars. We usually check several sources, including directly with rental car companies. Costco requires a membership and doesn’t offer all the companies. Autoslash is a great option that finds you the best deals by applying coupons for you.
An Animal Lover’s Paradise
Yellowstone is North America’s answer to an authentic wildlife safari. Grizzly bears, black bears, and even herds of bighorn sheep are regular sightings in the park. If you’re lucky, you might spot these animals during your journey through the park.
Beyond Yellowstone: More to Explore
Your Yellowstone adventure doesn’t have to end at the park borders. To the south lies the imposing Grand Teton National Park and the lively town of Jackson Hole. These spots are sure to add more action to your family road trip.
On your way back, take a detour to Cooke City, the nearest town to the park’s northeast entrance. Cooke City offers a rich slice of local history.
When to Visit: Timing Your Trip Right
The best time for a visit depends on your family’s preferences. While the summer months are great for outdoor activities, the winter months transform the park into a snowy paradise. The breathtaking Big Sky Resort, known for its winter activities, is an ideal place to cap off your winter adventure.
The Magic of Gardiner: Gateway to Yellowstone
Just outside the entrance of North Yellowstone, you’ll find the small town of Gardiner. With its location on the banks of the Yellowstone River and at the mouth of the Gallatin Canyon, Gardiner is your gateway to more thrilling experiences.
Gardiner is world-renowned for its white-water rafting. Feel the adrenaline rush as you navigate the waves, surrounded by the natural beauty of the United States wilderness.
If you’re up for more adventures, Gardiner also offers horseback rides. Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned rider, this is a fun way to explore the town’s outskirts.
Here are some of the top picks for things to do in Gardiner:
After a day of exploring, head over to the gift shop for some retail therapy. From locally crafted gifts to unique souvenirs, you’re sure to find something to remember your trip by.
Yellowstone: America’s First National Park
Rest and Relaxation: The Best Places to Stay in North Yellowstone
When it comes to choosing accommodations in North Yellowstone, you’re spoilt for choice. Numerous lodges and hotels cater to all types of travelers, making your stay in the United States a memorable one.
A firm favorite among visitors is the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel. This option is located inside Yellowstone Park, instead of the town of Gardiner. Here, you can even book a hot tub cabin to relax after an adventurous day. You’ll be refreshed and ready for your next Yellowstone itinerary.
Most of the other options are located just outside the north entrance in Gardiner. Here’s some of the best deals in Gardiner.
If you’re camping or road-tripping, the park also offers various campsites with well-equipped parking lots. Just remember, due to the popularity of Yellowstone Park, it’s always a great idea to book in advance.
From its vast stretches of wilderness to its vibrant geothermal features, Yellowstone, as America’s first national park, offers a unique experience for every family member. Despite long lines at the main entrances or parking lots, a trip here is worth every second.
As your road trip draws to a close, you’ll reflect on your adventures, like the day trip to the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, exploring downtown Bozeman, or taking in the incredible views from the park’s south entrance.
From the moment you land at the Bozeman airport to the last picture taken at the visitor center, this journey from Bozeman to North Yellowstone will surely become a cherished memory.
Travel safely and enjoy every moment!