Yellowstone National Park
by Hitomi Farrell
The state of Montana is one gateway into the world-renowned Yellowstone National Park, home to abundant wildlife and beautiful nature. Exploring both in the park and the neighbouring towns and natural areas which surround it, you’ll discover that this is truly a special place which will energise you with its big blue sky and fresh air.
The Famed Roosevelt Arch in Gardiner
Located in southwest Montana, Gardiner is a quaint and lovely town, known for the Roosevelt Arch, a historic gateway which marks the north entrance to Yellowstone and is the only one of the five entrances open year round to vehicle traffic into the park. The town of Gardiner itself is surrounded by amazing mountain scenery and opportunities to spot wildlife including antelope, black bears, bison and elk. A great place to spend a night is The Cowboy’s Lodge, a cute lodge with a western flair and a friendly couple for owners.
Western Charm in Billings and Red Lodge
Billings, Montana, was a former railway and agricultural town which is now the largest city in the state. Its pretty downtown, which features historic buildings dating back to the late 1890s, offers a truly picturesque atmosphere. Among its historic landmarks, you’ll find a railway station and a train depot from early 1900s. Well restored, the train depot now serves as a brewery and bar. What a great backdrop for enjoying a meal!
Your next stop should definitely be Red Lodge, yet another charming town nestled in the foothills of the Beartooth Mountains. Its alpine and Western atmosphere is complemented by welcoming restaurants, shops and festive events.
An Incredible Drive on the Beartooth Highway
Beartooth Highway, which connects to Yellowstone at its northeast entrance, was named a National Scenic Byways All-American Road and is one of the most beautiful drives in America. You’ll enjoy the 68-mile-long drive through switchbacks along breathtaking cliffs and stunning landscapes. The beauty of the lush green scenery in summertime is absolutely intoxicating. Please note that due to weather and extreme elevation, this pass is only open from May to October, so plan your trip accordingly. Even during warmer months, the area can get storms and high winds, so it’s well worth it to call the Montana Traveler Information Center beforehand.
Classic American Fun at Local Rodeos
Rodeos, where cowboys and cowgirls compete and showcase their skills, are events which lovers of American Western history and culture cannot miss. You’ll witness the daring competitors riding horses and bulls as these exhilarating performances take place. Just try to resist screaming at the top of your lungs to cheer them on!
If you’re not convinced yet, there’s one other aspect to Montana which will inspire your visit: the breathtaking sunsets, painting the sky a perfect orange as you reflect on the adventures and sights of your days here. Only then will you truly understand why they call Montana “Big Sky Country.”