Are you looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city? If so, you’ll love West Yellowstone and its incredible nature!
West Yellowstone is a quaint town in the middle of Montana, and it’s home to just 936 people (2019.) Despite being such a small town, you’ll find a vast array of fantastic things to do.
The town is known for fantastic lodging, numerous gift shops, but more importantly – the gateway to the world-famous Yellowstone National Park.
Did you know that Yellowstone National Park is over 3,472 square miles? That makes it bigger than Delaware and Rhode Island combined!
Furthermore, Yellowstone National Park is home to over 500 active geysers – that’s more than half of the planet’s geysers! Plus, there are over 285 bird species throughout the national park!
So, let’s check out our list of the best things to do in West Yellowstone, Montana in 2023.
1. Check out the local bear population
Yellowstone is home to a vast population of bears and you can get a superb insight when you visit the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center.
The centre is AZA accredited for its non-profit facilities that are dedicated to educating the world on bears and grey wolves.
All the animals at the centre are unable to survive in the wild, and that’s why the staff work around the clock here to make sure the bears and wolves are healthy and strong. Plus, the centre gives you the opportunity to get close to numerous grizzly bears.
Besides, you don’t just get the opportunity to see the area’s most majestic nature because the centre has expanded to other wildlife, including birds and marine life.
Website: Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center.
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2. Watch some of the finest local performers
It is hard to find a better way to spend the night than enjoying the local theatre. If you’re staying in West Yellowstone, you should check out the classic Playmill Theatre. The theatre first opened in 1964, and 50 years later the theatre remains a pillar of the town!
There are numerous popular plays at the Playmill Theatre including Peter and the Starcatcher, Rodgers, Hammerstein’s Cinderella, and Disney’s Newsies. Performances change on a year-round basis, so there’s always excellent plays to watch.
Furthermore, there is a summer camp at the theatre which attracts many children from all over the local area!
Website: Playmill Theatre
3. Explore the area’s stunning lakes
If you’re looking to see the local area’s exquisite nature, you should check out Earthquake Lake. The lake is in Southwestern Montana, and a massive earthquake in 1958 created it.
Unfortunately, the quake killed 29 people and was one of the area’s biggest ever recorded earthquakes.
Earthquake Lake covers a space of over five miles and is ⅓ of a mile wide. Plus, the lake is 190 feet deep, and home to a vast mixture of fish.
That’s why the lake is incredibly popular with fishermen.
Also, you can visit a memorial that’s dedicated to the victims of the devastating earthquake.
Website: Earthquake Lake
Address: Montana, USA
4. Learn How To Shoot A Gun
Guns are a massive part of the local culture of Montana. Nothing is more associated with the wild west than shooting guns.
If you’re looking to check out some of the world’s most famous guns – you should visit Yellowstone Big Gun Fun.
Visitors have an opportunity to view, and shoot, a wide variety of guns.
The gun shop includes a selection of pistols, revolvers, and fully automatic machine guns.
The popular shooting range attracts tourists from all over the globe to create a special experience not available elsewhere where they can enjoy and fire a vast range of guns.
They even offer gun rental packages based on different movies, such as James Bond.
Furthermore, the collection includes multiple shotguns, 40 revolvers, and expert staff on hand for safety!
Website: Big Gun Fun
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5. Walk around the local museum
If you’d love to check out the area’s greatest museums, you’ll love the Museum of the Yellowstone. You’ll find the museum located at the Union Pacific Depot in West Yellowstone, and it remains one of the towns top attractions!
The museum contains various displays of the transportation that first brought tourists to Yellowstone National Park many years ago. These include stagecoach and railroad companies displays!
Moreover, the museum has artefacts, guest speakers, and daily films that showcase a lot of the local history.
Website: Museum of the Yellowstone
6. Explore the area by snowmobile
One of the best things to do in West Yellowstone in winter is to get a tour with Back Country Adventures.
They’re one of the best things to do in winter because the company focuses exclusively on helping tourist explore the region during winter months.
One of the most exciting ways to explore the backcountry in winter is to rent a snowmobile for the day.
These include top-of-the-range 2020 models, which are quieter and more efficient than ever. There are various excellent snowmobile tours with expert tour guides taking you to all the best spots.
Furthermore, the snow coach tours are incredibly popular. Experienced tour guides will take you into the Yellowstone National Park, showing all the best sections of the park.
Website: Back Country Adventures
7. Marvel at the stunning local river
Yellowstone River is one of the best attractions in the whole of the town and it’s home to some world-class views. Visitors and locals often refer to the Yellowstone River as the “Grand Canyon of Yellowstone National Park.”
The Yellowstone River is just under 700 miles long, and it runs straight through the state of Montana. It spans all the way from the beautiful Rocky Mountains straight into Yellowstone National Park.
You can get various guided tours of the area which will take you to the various viewpoints of the river.
There are many hiking trails and ways to explore this scenic river.
For the truly adventurous, try white water rafting down the river!
Website: Yellowstone River
8. Rent bicycles from the local bike rental
There is no better way to explore the majestic beauty of Yellowstone National Park than enjoying the area via bicycle.
Incredible trails surround the area, and you can grab a bicycle from Free Heel and Wheel and take the family on an adventure!
The company are specialists in bicycles and offer a vast range of bikes to rent.
These include mountain bikes and racing bikes! And better still, if you’re bringing the family – they have a selection of kids bikes!
If you’re looking for a place to find ski equipment, you’ll find loads at Free Heel and Wheel, including ski lessons and ski services.
Website: Free Heel and Wheel
9. Watch a fantastic film at the local IMAX
If you’re feeling tired after a long day of exploring one of the world’s most famous national parks, you could check out the local IMAX cinema.
If you want to educate yourself on the superb local history, you’ll love checking out the wide selection of movies.
Films include historical and nature documentaries about the area. One recent feature was about the Tukudika Tribe who were the earliest known inhabitants of Yellowstone.
Moreover, there are various Hollywood blockbusters shown here, including many of the latest releases. So it is a great option if you’re with the family!
Website: IMAX cinema
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10. Fly through the air at the local ziplines
West Yellowstone is home to the Zipline Adventure Park, offering guests a fantastic time and lots of adventure. There are various passes to enjoy, including 2-hour passes, full-day passes, and junior passes.
Also, the most popular pass is the adventure pass because you can stay as long as you like so you can take your time and enjoy all of the site’s attractions.
There are 1000 ziplines at the park and various obstacle courses with 49 unique layouts.
It is an excellent destination for any family!
Website: Zipline Adventure Park
11. Feast on local BBQ
If you’re looking to enjoy some delicious local food, you should check out the Firehole Bar-B-Que Co. Locals and visitors regard this restaurant as the best BBQ in the area.
The restaurant has a clear mission, to “keep it fresh and keep it simple.” The owners pride themselves on finding the most excellent fresh local produce, coming directly from local farmers.
Furthermore, the place only opened in June 2018, but its already become one of the top restaurants in the area.
Visitor favorites include brisket sandwiches and pulled pork.
Website: Firehole Bar-B-Que Co.
12. Visit Local Ghost Towns
West Yellowstone is part of the old Wild West and the area is covered with history and old ghost towns.
Explore the history of the region with locations like Nevada City, which was a stagecoach stop in the 1860s. Learn more about the gold rush in Virginia City.
Or take the Pioneer scenic root and discover the mysterious Coolidge ghost town in the Pioneer mountains.
Website: Scenic Ghost Town Route
Address: Virginia City, MT 59729, USA
13. Relax at a nearby lake
If you’re looking for the ideal place to relax, you should check out Hebgen Lake – one of the area’s most beautiful lakes.
It’s considered Montana’s premier fishing lake. So if you love fishing – you should spend a day here.
The man-made lake is 15 miles long and four miles wide.
The lake is ideal for outdoor entertainment activities. It is a common sight to see families taking kayaks out on the river, and swimming.
The lake contains a mixture of browns, cutthroats, and rainbows. Plus, the site is near Earthquake Lake, so you can easily make a day trip out of the two places.
Website: Hebgen Lake
Address: Hebgen Lake, Montana, United States
14. Brace for Excitement At The Local Rodeo
It’s not a trip to the wild west without experiencing a traditional rodeo.
One of the area’s most famous rodeos is the Wild West Yellowstone Rodeo.
Whether this is your first time to the rodeo or you’ve been to many before the rodeo is sure to entertain.
The rodeo takes place from June through August each Wednesday through Saturday.
The rodeo features exciting events like bull riding, bareback riding, and roping contests.
You can even ride a horse to the rodeo through Creek Side Trail Rides.
Website: Wild West Yellowstone Rodeo
15. Visit one of the countries most famous natural attractions
Old Faithful is one of the most popular attractions in the United States, and it’s only a 45-minute drive from the town of West Yellowstone. You can easily access it via rental car or take one of the many popular guided tours.
Old Faithful tends to erupt every 60-90 minutes, but it is hard to predict. When it does erupt, you should expect to see a massive explosion that can be as high as 52 metres with an average 40-meter height.
The geyser erupts up to 17 times a day. It offers a fantastic day trip with many sites to see in Yellowstone Park on the way with the family.
Website: Old Faithful
16. Eat some delicious local pizza
Italy might be thousands of miles away from West Yellowstone, but Peter’s Rocky Mountain Pizza & Pasta is a fantastic place if you’re looking for delicious Italian cuisine.
The restaurant has been open for over 25 years and remains family-owned and continues to use local produce.
Furthermore, visitors love the delicious pizza menu, including all your favourite Italian pizza styles with some unique ones thrown in.
Guests can choose whether they want to sit inside the cozy surroundings or sit outside in the sunshine.
The restaurant is ideal for families with a fantastic kid’s menu and a top-class drinks menu for the adults. You can find some of the best international and American wines here.
Website: Peter’s Rocky Mountain Pizza & Pasta