Gardiner's post office in has a display of
historical photographs of the town, taken since its
founding in 1880. This is as good a place as any to begin
an exploration of the area, including Yellowstone
National Park, which lies across Park Street from
Gardiner's false-fronted downtown district.
In the 1880s and 90s, Gardiner was a dusty,
false-fronted village of no more than 20 buildings,
sitting in the middle of nowhere, waiting for infrequent
stages to come through bringing supplies, and hoping for
the next gold rush.
The real gold rush came when Yellowstone Park was fully accessible to the public around the turn of the
century. With the main and still the only year-round park entrance across the street from Gardiner, this
little town has developed as a tourist center with good and bad
consequences. The economy in Gardiner is stable. Some of
its "decor" is questionable, although most visitors enjoy
the touches that hark back to the tough little frontier
village of the 1880s. You'll see what we mean when you
see the lineup of false-fronted buildings on Park Streetsaloons, bingo halls, cafes, and tourist souvenir
Gardiner lies in the Yellowstone River Valley, at the
south end of the scenic Gallatin drive, to Yellowstone
Park from Livingston. The drive passes near Chico Hot
Springs and the base of several magnificent Absaroka
peaks. Gardiner is a town of motels and campgrounds, a
waiting place of travelers wanting to pass through to
enter Yellowstone. Some stay here to fish in the
Yellowstone and other nearby streams. The Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness is to the north of
town, offering hiking and backcountry camping. Gardiner
becomes a haunt of snowmobilers in the winter.
The summer scene across the Park Street fence is
enhanced during summer months with wild antelope in the
meadow and on the Yellowstone hills. Bighorn sheep are
also seen. Once into the park, passing beneath the
(Teddy) Roosevelt Arch, Mammoth Hot Springs and
the park headquarters are just a few minutes away.
River rafting trips on the Yellowstone and Gallatin
and available in Gardiner, as well as pack trips in
Yellowstone National Park and guided fly-fishing trips
down the Yellowstone River.
Overnight accommodations in Gardiner include cabin
courts, modern motels and a campground and RV park
situated on the hill behind the downtown area.
Yellowstone Suites Bed and Breakfast
506 4th Street
This is a three story stone house built in 1904, renovated in 1994, and offers a contrast to other standard
motels. The house is furnished with Victorian antiques
and is in a quiet neighborhood, away from the busy main
street. Amenities include television, in-room movies,
microwave oven, refrigerator, and free WiFi. It has had several owners over the past 30 years and the atmosphere can be a little brusque
one in a while, but the comfortable rooms and the very good breakfasts make it a pleasant stay.
Other lodgings include a Best Western motor lodge, and
several other chain motels.
Rocky Mountain Campground
14 Jardine Road, gardiner 406-848-7251 and toll-free at 877-5346931
Open all year with RV and tent sites (some with full
hook-ups), there's also a grocery store, laundry, game
room and showers.
The operation also has indoor accommodations made up of two sets of cabins:
camping cabins with no rest rooms (use the campground showers and rest rooms), and you supply your own bedding
deluxe cabins that have three rooms, bath with shower and kitchen facilities and bedding supplies. It's located just east of Gardiner on