You have probably heard that Yellowstone experienced substantial flooding on June 13th, 2022. This "hundred year" flood closed the Northern entrance for the foreseeable future. But, don't cancel your trip just yet!
If you are planning on visiting Yellowstone this summer, but your plans got turned a little upside down, we have compiled a list of other great things to see and do in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho.
On 6/20/22, the National Park Service published a press release which stated that $50 million dollars was being allotted to the recovery of park roads and infrastructure, allowing roads to be opened quicker than originally predicted. You can read the full press release here.
Make sure you check the Park's page on Flood Recovery and Operations for the latest updates and information.
What to do in the surrounding area if your plans in Yellowstone need to be altered:
Things to do around West Yellowstone, Montana:
Hike Bighorn Pass Trail, Fawn Pass Trail, Daly Creek Trail or Teepee Creek Trail. These trails are located on US Hwy-191 between West Yellowstone and Big Sky, either inside the western boundary of the Park, or just outside of it. Since the trails are located in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, many of the big animals that you see inside the portion of the Park that may be closed this summer will roam in this area also.
Explore Hebgen Lake and Quake Lake. At Hebgen Lake, you can enjoy fishing, kayaking or boating; rentals are available at Kirkwood Marina. There is also hiking in the area, we recommend the 5-mile Cabin Creek Trail.
Visit Harriman State Park, near Island Park, Idaho. This wildlife refuge, located inside the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE), is known for it's beautiful scenery and bird watching. In the summer, be on the lookout for White Pelicans and Double-crested Cormorants. The park offers 22 mile of hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding trails, as well as 8 miles of river that claims to be some of the best fly fishing in the country.
Check out our blog post about Yellowstone's gateway communities for more information about West Yellowstone.
Things to do around Big Sky, Montana:
Hike Beehive Basin for amazing views of the Gallatin Range. This hike is 7 miles roundtrip and offers fantastic views most of the way, rewarding you with lakes and surrounding you with mountains.
Go whitewater rafting on the Gallatin River. This river cuts through the mountains, creating the Gallatin Canyon, and a whitewater rafting trip gives you the chance to see amazing scenery and wildlife.
Hike Lava Lake. The trail is 6 miles roundtrip and deposits you at marvelous Lava Lake, surrounded by steep mountains.
Go mountain biking in Big Sky. Popular trails include Porcupine Creek, Buffalo Horn Creek and Garnet Mountain. The terrain varies from mild to rigorous, but no matter which trail you pick, you will be rewarded with some of the best views in the Rockies. You can rent mountain bikes at Big Sky Resort.
Things to do around Bozeman, Montana:
Hike The M or Baldy Mountain. These trails are located in the Bridger Mountain Range, just outside the city limits of Bozeman. Climb the M trail to see panoramic views of Bozeman and the surrounding mountains, and continue to reach the summit of Baldy Mountain. From the summit, you are able to see the Crazy Mountains, Absaroka-Beartooth Mountains, Spanish Peaks, Gallatin Range, Big Belt Mountains and more.
On the backside of the Bridger Range, hike Fairy Lake or Sacagawea Peak. To access the highest peak in the Bridger Range, Sacagawea Peak, park at Fairy Lake, and do the quick 0.8 mile walk to the lake before or after summiting Sacagawea.
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 our blog post about things to do in Bozeman for more information.
Things to do around Cody, Wyoming:
Drive one of the most scenic highways in the country, Chief Joseph Pass to Beartooth Pass. There is history and beautiful scenery along the road, and it takes you past glimmering lakes, lush meadows and gigantic mountain peaks.
Visit Buffalo Bill Center of the West for history about Buffalo Bill and the Wild West, but also for wildlife exhibits in the Natural History Museum, and the Plains Indian Museum.
Things to do around Missoula, Montana:
Hike, backpack or mountain bike the Rattlesnake Trail.
Flathead National Forest or Lolo National Forest surround Missoula to the north and southeast. Both National Forests provide fantastic hiking opportunities, and offer amazing views along the way. We recommend hiking Glacier Lake Trail, Lower Riddel Lake Trail or Boulder Lake Trail for mountain views and crystal clear lakes.
Go whitewater rafting on the Blackfoot River or Alberton Gorge. The Gorge is a beautiful section of steep-walled canyon along the Clark's Fork River, with class II and III rapids.
Take a soak in natural hot springs. There are many hot springs to check out within two hours of Missoula.
Things to do in Northern Montana:
North of Missoula, on the Flathead Reservation, is the National Bison Range. The range consists of 18,766 acres of protected land for bison to roam unharmed. "The public law requires that the land and bison herd be managed for bison conservation purposes, as well as other wildlife and natural resource conservation." There are currently about 300-500 bison, as well as elk, whitetail deer, mule deer, pronghorn, bighorn sheep, coyotes and more than 200 species of birds that live in the National Bison Range.
Explore Flathead Lake, the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi in the lower 48. There are thirteen public access points along the lake, and popular activities include boating, kayaking, paddle boarding, swimming and more.
Visit Glacier National Park. Make sure you look into the reservation system that it has in place before you drive all the way up there. Once you are there, go to the Ranger Station for information on trail closures and snow reports.
Yellowstone National Park released their own list of nearby attractions, check it out for more information.
As stated above, the Park is making remarkable recovery and is very hopeful about plans to reopen. Call or email Nomadic By Nature if you have any questions about our backpacking trips this summer, or about things to do in the surrounding area, we are always happy to help!