There are several good reasons to approach Yellowstone along U.S. Highway 191 to its West Entrance. First, you’ll find ample tourist accommodations in Bozeman, in the Big Sky area, and in West Yellowstone, Montana. Second, the scenery through the Gallatin River canyon, though not the most spectacular of the approaches, can be a delightful introduction to the Rocky Mountains. The Key to the Approach Roads third advantage of coming this way is that the Gallatin River and Gallatin National Forest abound in opportunities for camping, hiking, fishing, kayaking, and float trips, while numerous guest ranches offer western hospitality. Horseback trips for a few hours up to a few days can be arranged. This entrance gives geyser enthusiasts the closest access to the unique geysers and hot springs in the western half of the park. It’s about 90 miles (145 km) from Bozeman to the West Entrance; then 30 miles (48 km) farther to Upper Geyser Basin in Old Faithful Village, or 27 miles (43 km) to Norris Geyser Basin. Besides U.S. 191 from Bozeman, you can reach the West Entrance from the northwest (on U.S. 287) and from the southwest (on U.S. 20 and Interstate 15).
Montana towns northwest of the park include two where vacationers might want to linger, Ennis and Virginia City. Ennis is a center for trout fishing, and Virginia City and Alder Gulch were famous for gold mining in the 19 th century. In Virginia City, the capital of the Territory of Montana from 1865 to 1876, you can visit several restored historical buildings. The town boasts two small museums and performances all summer in an opera house and a former brewery. A little known but beautiful area that is easily reached from West Yellowstone, Montana, or Ashton, Idaho, stretches from Big Springs, Idaho, down U.S. Highway 20 and Idaho 47 to the two Mesa waterfalls and into the water-rich Bechler Region. These sights are described on s 112-16. Idaho towns somewhat farther from Yellowstone but with lodgings and other visitor facilities include Rexburg and St. Anthony on U.S. 20, and Idaho Falls and Pocatello on Interstate 15. While the latter two are served by major airlines and car rental companies and have many accommodations, both of these towns of 50,000 people are more than 100 miles (160 km) from Yellowstone’s West Entrance. The Gallatin Canyon opens out a few miles north of the park boundary.
Yellowstone: WEST ENTRANCE Photo Gallery
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