Gardiner, Montana is a pretty little mountain town perched at the north entrance to Yellowstone Park. The Roosevelt Arch, dedicated by Teddy Roosevelt himself, used to be the main entrance to the park and recalls a time when cars where much smaller and times were simpler. It was a thrill to drive through the gates, knowing my parents had driven the same route on their honeymoon back in the ’50’s.

The hour long ride from Yellowstone Falls to Gardiner is one of the most picturesque routes in the park.  

The loop to the east is more steep, and has lovely views of green valleys with white mountain peaks looming in the distance.

One night, we were a little late in getting back to our B&B – the moon that guided out path was lovely.

The trip was much prettier, and probably a good deal safer, by daylight!

Even a section of trees that had burned in a forest fire some years ago showed signs of beautiful new life.

The western loop heads towards Old Faithful.

Stops along the way feature hot springs that have created shimmering waterfalls of white and golden rocks.

The assent down into the valley where Gardiner sits is breathtaking. The town itself has the feel of an old west frontier town, with many building built of stone with quaint gingerbread trim, plank boardwalks instead of sidewalks and wooden railed fences.

We stayed on the 3rd floor of a Victorian bed and breakfast near a creek at the edge of town. The sound of the rushing waters from the creek was a soothing balm as we lay in our bedroom with the windows open so we could smell and feel the crisp mountain air. Although a delicious breakfast was served in a common dining room, we had our own little kitchenette, and a cute window seat that looked out over the mountains.


The shops in Gardiner featured many local artists and crafts people in addition to having typical tourist fare. I found some of the most original pottery creations I saw on our trip in an art gallery in Gardiner.

Gardiner is just far enough away from the hustle bustle and traffic of the busiest part of Yellowstone Park to be attractive.

It’s also just close enough to be the perfect jumping off point for the beauties of Yellowstone Park.

On the way home, we left the park via the southern route so we could see the Grand Tetons and a glimpse of Wyoming.

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