Gardiner Low-Down

gardiner, montana, western town, yellowstone park, bozeman

What to do in this Yellowstone Gateway town.

Loads of options exist for a day or weekend in Gardiner. Here’s an overview of where to go, what to do, and who to help out with a little business from the Bozone.

Food & Lodging
Start your day with a cup of gourmet coffee and choice of breakfast burritos, breakfast sandwiches, and pastries at the Bears Brew kiosk. You can grab lunch fixings such as organic produce, deli choices, and ready-made sandwiches at the Gardiner Market—it’s also a liquor store. For lunch, grab a bite to eat and buy a book at Tumbleweed Bookstore & Café. Dinner options include Outlaw’s Pizza, amazing burgers at the Corral, or fun options from Montana Goods & Grindz. Wonderland Café & Lodge offers food, beer, wine, music, and even trivia night.

When it’s time to rest your weary head, check out Yellowstone Basin Inn, Absaroka Lodge, or Yellowstone River Motel. If you’re with a group, check out Yellowstone Tipis. Although their tipis are shuttered in the winter, they do have a few large suites available for rent year-round.

Wildlife-Watching & Photography
Yellowstone Wolf Tracker, established in 2006, provides a rich natural-history experience with the best chances of seeing wolves and other hard-to-find wildlife in Yellowstone. After losing close to 100 bookings post-flood, the business slowly achieved a nice bounce back and is once again offering private tours into the Park.

Walking Shadow Ecology Tours of Yellowstone offers private guided wildlife-watching, as well as cross-country or snowshoe tours for those seeking a deeper connection with Yellowstone’s wildlife, history, geology, and landscape. Winter tours are limited to the northern tier, including Mammoth Hot Springs.

Yellowstone Wonders customizes each of its tours, offering a variety of wildlife and scenic-tour options (including door-to-door service in Gardiner) based on group size and interest.

Yellowstone Dreamin' Adventures offers private wildlife-and-hike tours, wildlife-only tours, and family-friends tours that include lunch. The company was started by twin brothers, Doug and Tedd, who grew up spending summers traveling across the country in a camper with their parents. They also having a lodging option starting in mid-May if people want to book ahead of time.

Photography buffs can hone their skills with Yellowstone Insight's MacNeil Lyons. Combining over 20 years of exploring YNP with his keen eye for capturing the finer aspects of this winter wonderland, MacNeil challenges photographers to bring their “top-ten shot list,” and he’ll do his best to accommodate.

A stroll downtown offers abundant options for finding a memento from Gardiner or Yellowstone Park. Keep in mind that many businesses are closed in the off-season. Some, like Yellowstone Wild Gallery and Elk River Art Studio, have special winter hours or are open by appointment only.

Parks’ Fly Shop, a full-service fly shop and guide service, morphs into a cross-country-ski- and snowshoe-rental shop in winter. After outfitting, Richard Parks can direct you toward specific trails that match your interests and skill level.