Yellowstone Country: Gateway to Winter Recreation and the National Park
In the winter season, Yellowstone Country is known as much for its terrain as for its snowfall and, of course, the world’s first national park that attracts visitors year-round.
Montana’s Yellowstone Country is home to Cooke City, Gardiner and West Yellowstone, three of the gateway towns to Yellowstone National Park offering the park’s only winter entrances accessible to vehicular traffic. Populated by a large variety of wildlife, including both grizzly and black bears, moose, elk, bison, wolves, eagles and a number of other species, Yellowstone also provides the backdrop for a geologic and geothermal features, such as geysers, hot springs, rivers, waterfalls and canyons, that are the iconic signatures of the park.
A Winter Playground
All of that winter snow – often exceeding 1,000 centimeters per season, much of it dry, light powder – is perfect for world-class alpine skiing, phenomenal cross-country skiing and epic snowmobiling. Yellowstone Country is home to three of Montana’s four largest ski areas, including Big Sky Resort, known as “The Biggest Skiing in America.” It’s also where you’ll find some of the nation’s best cross-country ski resorts and hundreds of kilometers of snowmobiling trails, both within Yellowstone National Park, as well as outside the park boundaries and across much of south-central Montana.
An Abundance of Seasonal Activities
In Yellowstone Country’s warm season, the adventures continue and include hiking, climbing, camping, whitewater rafting, kayaking, float trips and blue-ribbon fly fishing. Options include horseback riding, rodeo, ATV excursions and some of the most scenic drives in North America. Yellowstone Country’s famous mountain ranges to explore are Beartooths, Absarokas, Crazies, Bridgers, Gallatins and Spanish Peaks. For water pursuits, the more popular rivers are the Gallatin, the Madison and, of course, the Yellowstone, all of which flow north out of the region’s namesake, Yellowstone National Park. In between, Yellowstone Country is sprinkled with quaint, charming, authentic mountain towns and outdoor-oriented cities with cultural and culinary surprises.
In the shoulder seasons of spring and fall, Yellowstone Country is alive with change and activity. From newborn wildlife and the blooming of alpine valleys filled with wildflowers, to the largest golden eagle migration in North America and the turning of the autumn colors, Yellowstone Country is a visually dramatic cacophony of color.
Welcoming Destination for Big Adventures
Regardless of the time of year, Yellowstone Country’s wide open spaces are highlighted by plenty of sunshine, illuminating the famed “big sky” Montana is known for. And the area is home to some of the most diverse landscapes in the state.
The region’s gateway airport, Bozeman Yellowstone International, is the fastest-growing airport in Montana, providing nonstop service to many metropolitan hubs throughout the United States. With world-class renovations and new construction, the facility is Montana’s largest and busiest airport, handling up to 2 million passengers annually, yet remains as warm and inviting as ever.
Montana’s Yellowstone Country is also one of the last unspoiled places left on this planet. From picturesque panoramas to surreal surroundings draped in rugged splendor, there’s no end to the beautiful adventures in Yellowstone Country.