Beyond Yellowstone: Life Alongside the World’s First National Park

Photo, Andy Austin

Just beyond the borders of Yellowstone National Park, lie communities full of interesting people, incredible adventure, delicious food, and a whole lot of fun. For the next five weeks, we’ll give you a glimpse into each of these areas; blasts from the past, fun facts, and a bit of the present flavor. Join us as we explore beyond Yellowstone.

Gallatin County

Where in the world is Gallatin County? 

Covering 2,517 square miles, Gallatin County is the most populated and fastest-growing county in Southwest Montana. The city of Bozeman is the fastest-growing micropolitan in the nation. 

The landscape is diverse. Full of fertile soil, the area served as an agricultural hub to the gold miners in Virginia and Nevada Cities back in the 1800s. Today, the fields of Three Forks, Manhattan and Belgrade are still actively farmed.

The Bridger, Gallatin, and Madison Mountain range all contribute to the mountaineering mecca that draws outdoor enthusiasts from across the world. And at the tip of the county, in West Yellowstone, sits the west entrance to Yellowstone National Park.

Claims to Fame 

World-class skiing and snowboarding. Big Sky Resort and Bridger Bowl Ski Area are known in the ski world as some of the best skiing in the country; without the lift lines. The terrain is vast and varied, and the snow is light, dry, and often deep. 

Montana State University. Founded in 1893 as a land grant college, MSU is now the most prominent school in the state with 50 baccalaureate fields, 39 master’s degrees, and 13 doctorate degrees. 

Museum of the Rockies. A Smithsonian Affiliate, MOR, is recognized as one of the world’s best research and history museums. The museum is home to an extensive collection of dinosaur fossils, including Montana’s T.Rex Skeleton. 

Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport. This bustling airport is more reminiscent of a lodge than an airport terminal. Don’t let that fool you; it’s the busiest airport in the state with nonstop flights to 20 major markets in the United States.


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The landslide, which occurred downstream from Hebgen Dam, blocked almost all the flow of the Madison River which began to fill in the void upstream from the slide. In less than a month, the waters had created what is now known as Quake Lake. The corpses of drowned trees can be seen throughout the lake. #montana #quakelake #earthquake #idahogirl #fall #nikond3400 #madisonriver #nikon#photography #love #perfect #landscapephoto #water #wonderful #rockymountains #roadtrip #landscapephotography #mountains #amazing #trees #sunlight #ashtonidaho #beautiful #clouds #nature #awesome #west #naturephotography

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As History Would Have It 

Many tribal bands lived in the area for hundreds of years: Shoshone, Nez Perce, Blackfeet, Flathead, and Sioux. Named after the vast landscapes of wildflowers, native tribes called it the Valley of the Flowers. Legend says it was tradition to keep the Gallatin Valley neutral ground.

Lewis and Clark, led by Sacajawea over Bozeman Pass, camped at the Missouri Headwaters and were the first to give a written description of the area in 1805 and 1806.

On Aug 17, 1959, an earthquake measuring 7.5 on the Richter Scale, set off a massive slide near the Madison River. Moving at 100 mph, in less than one minute, over 80 million tons of rock crashed down, blocking the canyon and forming Earthquake Lake. At the time, it was the 2nd most massive quake in the lower 48 states in the 20th Century. We highly recommend a visit to the Earthquake Lake Visitor Center.

What is there to do around here?

The short answer is plenty. 

Photo, Montanabw

Fun Facts