Beyond Yellowstone: Park County

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. 

Photo, Andy Austin

Park County

Where in the world is Park County?

Beginning just north of the Crazy Mountain Range and extending to the northern boundary of Yellowstone National Park, sits Park County, Montana. From the quaint streets of Livingston to the breathtaking Paradise Valley, you’ll find an eclectic mix of artists, cowboys, writers, mountaineers, and musicians, all who call this beautiful area home. 

Photo, Andy Austin

Claims to Fame

Gardiner, Montana is the original entrance to Yellowstone National Park and is distinguished by the historic Roosevelt Arch, which was dedicated by President Roosevelt in 1903.

The historic Murray Hotel and Bar in Livingston, Montana, were frequented by Buffalo Bill and Calamity Jane and were favorites of the late Anthony Bourdain. 

Photo, F. Jay Haynes

As History Would Have It

Lewis and Clark along with Sacajawea and the Corps of Discovery were the first white people to enter the area, which was mainly occupied by Crow Indians. 

The founding father of Gardiner was a cantankerous character by the name of James McCartney, who was the Superintendent of Yellowstone. McCartney caused a rowdy situation of having large liquor sales in the hotel in Mammoth Hot Springs. The acting superintendent then prohibited the selling of liquor within the park boundaries, and McCartney moved his business to what is now the east end of Park Street. 

Livingston became a division headquarters of the Northern Pacific Railroad town in 1882 and was the main stop for visitors to Yellowstone National Park. 

Gold was discovered in Emigrant Gulch in 1862. The local hot springs provided trappers and prospectors bathing. 

Photo, Andy Austin

What is there to do around here?

Park County is an explorer’s dream. The Gallatin, Absaroka, Crazy, and the Bridger Mountains are full of hiking, horseback riding, skiing, snowmobiling, and hunting. 

The Yellowstone River is known for its fat trout populations, and specific stretches are perfect for whitewater rafting. 

Art galleries, restaurants, bookstores, and other retail shops line the streets of Livingston and Gardiner, giving you the amenities of an urban area within quaint, historic towns. 

There’s a thriving music scene throughout Paradise Valley. Many taverns in Livingston host live music, along with Pine Creek LodgeMusic Ranch MontanaThe Attic MontanaThe Old Saloon summer concert series, and Chico Hot Springs. All of these venues bring local, regional and national names to the area. 

Soaking is serious. There are two commercial hot springs in the area, Chico Hot Springs and Yellowstone Hot SpringsThe Boiling River, just inside the north entrance to Yellowstone, is another natural hot springs where a large hot spring enters the Gardiner river, mixing the hot and cold waters to a perfect soaking temperature. 

There are two live theater companies in Livingston, the Blue Slipper Theater, and the Shane Lalani Center for the Arts

Thrill-seekers will enjoy Yellowstone Rafting and Zipline in Gardiner. 

Photo, Andy Austin

Fun Facts