If you are planning a visit to Yellowstone National Park, most likely you will be on an epic All-American road trip, or flying in specifically for the park. One of the most common airports to fly in to is in Bozeman, Montana-- which ends up being about an hour and a half from Yellowstone National Park.
There are a ton of things to do in Bozeman and the surrounding area before making your way down to Yellowstone; we've compiled a list of our favorite things to do in Bozeman, as well as things just outside of town (in no particular order).
Go on a hike in the mountains! Part of what makes Bozeman so spectacular is it's access to the mountains. From town you can see the Bridger Range, the Gallatin Range, the Spanish Peaks, the Madison Range and the Tobacco Root Mountains. There are so many amazing hikes in all of the mountains surrounding Bozeman. Honestly, the best way to find one that is perfect for your hiking ability, desired distance and vehicle ability (lots of dirt roads with behemoth potholes around here), is just downloading and filtering hikes on the AllTrails app. Read the comments by date to see the trail conditions, and find one that is perfect for you.
Go on a walk, hike, or bike ride in town! The city of Bozeman has a great trail system that runs through town, called Main Street to the Mountains. In-town trails like the Gallagator Trail, the Sculpture Park or Peet's Hill are right off Main Street in Downtown Bozeman. Again, we suggest the AllTrails app to find a trail that is best for you.
Check out Hyalite Reservoir. This reservoir, nestled in the mountains offers great opportunities to kayak, paddle board, canoe or raft. There are also great hiking trails and mountain biking trails in Hyalite Canyon.
Go floating or rafting on one of the nearby rivers. The Madison River is calm and peaceful and is great for an afternoon float, whereas the Gallatin River is faster and choppier and many whitewater rafting companies offer trips down the river.
Try your luck at fly fishing. Nearby rivers such as the Gallatin River and the Madison River offer excellent opportunities for fly fishing!
Soak in one of the local hot spring pools. Bozeman Hot Springs, Yellowstone Hot Springs, Chico Hot Springs and Norris Hot Springs are some of the local pools that are fed by hot water from the springs.
Visit the Museum of the Rockies. Home to the world's largest and most complete T-Rex, the Museum of the Rockies is a geologist's paradise. It has rotating exhibits, so there is something for everyone.
Swing by one of the local museums! Visit the Gallatin History Museum for history on Bozeman, Gallatin County, Yellowstone, Fort Ellis, Buffalo Jump and more! There is so much history in this little museum, housed in the old County Jail. Or, stop by the American Computer and Robotics Museum to "explore the past and imagine the future of the Information Age". Or, take a look at Earth's Treasures, whose collection of rare gemstones rivals the Smithsonian's-- I realize this may be a bit of an exaggeration, but still, this place rocks!
Visit Lewis and Clark Caverns! Take a tour of one of the largest limestone caverns in the Northwest. Home to bats, stalactites, stalagmites, "cave bacon", "popcorn", and centuries of history, Lewis and Clark Caverns is literally a hidden gem. Located about 50 miles west of Bozeman, this is one thing that you do not want to miss!
Check out local climbing gym, Spire. Especially if the weather is chilly, Spire is a great place to work on climbing techniques. With over 18,000 square feet of climbable space, there is something for every age and ability!
Take a bike ride at Missouri Headwaters State Park. This State Park near Three Forks, Montana is home to the confluence of the Jefferson, Madison and Gallatin Rivers, merging to create the Missouri River. This land is pretty monumental in regards to Lewis and Clark, and westward expansion. There is a bike path that leads you along the Madison River, and takes you to Three Forks Pond.
Go skiing at Bridger Bowl or Crosscut in the winter. Bridger Bowl is Bozeman's local downhill ski area, located just 20 minutes (weather considering) outside of town. And, Crosscut is the local cross-country ski area, just up the road from Bridger Bowl.
Take a walk through Downtown Bozeman. Main Street is lined with shops and restaurants, including everything from outdoor gear shops to antique shops, and bookstores to vintage clock shops. Restaurants on Main Street range from Thai to pizza, sushi to Korean, and burgers to local steak. During the summer, there are many events that take place on Main Street, including Farmer's Markets, Music on Main and car shows. Be sure to check out these events if you are here in the summer!
When planning a trip to Yellowstone and Montana, we recommend flying into Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport, and spending a few days exploring Bozeman, Big Sky and the many other wonders of Gallatin County, before making your way down to Yellowstone.
Having accommodations in Yellowstone, or right outside (check out our blog post about Yellowstone's gateway communities here!), will help you avoid just driving through the park, or having to drive all the way back to Bozeman.
There are over 1000 miles of trails in Yellowstone-- the park itself is the size of Delaware and Rhode Island combined, and the majority of visitors stick to the road, meaning that the moment you step foot on a trail, the hustle and bustle and busyness of the rest of park seems to disappear.
Nomadic By Nature offers guided day hikes and multi-day backpacking trips in Yellowstone. Our guides have years of experience with the wildlife and elements in Yellowstone, and will show you areas of the park that the average tourist can only dream of. Get ready for the adventure of a lifetime!
Featured Trip: Pebble Creek to Slough Creek
This guided backpacking trip offers hikers a piece of backcountry heaven. Slough Creek is a world-famous fishing destination with it’s clear and slow-moving creek nestled between two mountain ranges, far away from the busy parts of Yellowstone.
Eventually the trail leads you over the rugged and seldom traveled Bliss Pass, where you're likely to encounter few other hikers. After the steep descent, the trail drops you into another pristine meadow, before hiking out along Pebble Creek the next day. Following the trip, you have the opportunity to drive through the famous Lamar Valley and a chance to spot more wildlife.