As the first national park in the United States, Yellowstone has a lot of history to share. But those stories don't end at the park boundary. You can take a walk through time as you travel around Yellowstone and visit these nearby historical areas. Here are just a few stops that will excite any history lover.
The history buff will love a walk through Bannack State Park, located outside Dillon, Montana. It's easiest to access this historical gem from Yellowstone's west entrance, but it's not out of the question for a long day trip from Livingston or Bozeman, either. This is the stage where the wild story of Montana's vigilantes is set, and you can wander the historic buildings freely, putting yourself in the past.
Virginia City holds a prominent chapter in the vigilante story as well, outlining the time when nefarious road agents murdered and pillaged their way across the Wild West. Vigilante justice led to the deaths by hanging of notorious road agents like Henry Plummer, and you can take a deep dive into this tale, and some more cheery ones too, in the living-history town of Virginia City.
You'll find a dose of mid-century happenings with a healthy helping of geology at Quake Lake, also known as Hebgen Lake. This is the site of a catastrophic earthquake that occurred on a summer night in 1959. The 7.2-magnitude quake killed 28 people and caused landslides, water surges, and extensive property damage.
But looking at it, you would never imagine such upheaval taking place in this serene spot. As you drive along the shores of this scenic area, experience history as you pause at interpretive wayside exhibits, including stops at partially submerged cabins and sections of lost roads.
At the Gardiner, Montana entrance to Yellowstone, you can pass through the famed (and photo-worthy) Roosevelt Arch. In 1903, Teddy Roosevelt himself laid down the cornerstone of this impressive structure. It's constructed from tons and tons (literally) of local basalt hauled from a nearby quarry, and its structure strikes an impressive stance over the entrance to Yellowstone.
Apart from the Roosevelt Arch, Gardiner itself has ample historic atmosphere for a history fiend. Sites like OTO Homestead and Dude Ranch, Gardiner Jail, and Carbella Bridge all have a story to tell about the past. An act as simple as taking a walk through quiet streets will give you a look into what those first explorers and settlers found so inspiring about the area. And the view from town remains roughly the same as that of Native Americans living on the land for millennia past.
Staying in Livingston is an experience from days gone by, since the entire commercial district, B Street District, and East Side Residential District are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. It also has several individual historical sites, like Ebert Ranch, Livingston Memorial Hospital, Northside School, and Krohne Spring House. You can feel the antique character in every twist and wind of Livingston's streets.
Whether you are coming for an adventure, or just passing through, we have eight properties in Gardiner, Livingston, Bozeman, and Bigfork to help you feel at home while you are on the road. Click here to book now.