Gardiner, Montana: Yellowstone’s North Gate


There are five roads that lead into Yellowstone National Park, but if you really want to make a grand entrance, there’s no better place than the North Gate at Gardiner, Montana.

This was the first major entrance to the park, and ever since 1903…

… visitors have been passing through the Roosevelt Arch, on their way into America’s first National Park.

The Roosevelt Arch cost $10,000 when it was built in 1903.  President Teddy Roosevelt laid the cornerstone.  The arch is 50 feet high, and the main opening is 25 feet wide.  At the top of the arch are these words: “For the benefit and enjoyment of the people” — words taken from the 1872 act that created the park.

It’s easy to tell where the park boundary lies.  Businesses line up on the north side of Park Street, since the south side borders the park.  It gives Gardiner’s main business district a lopsided feel, but you’ll get over it quickly as you explore.

Gardiner has everything a tourist needs — lots of motels (including many decent-looking independents), restaurants, souvenir shops, candy stores (pick up some huckleberry taffy for the trip home)…

… and even some authentic western saloons.  The K-bar is one block north of Park Street, and if you keep heading north along US 89…

… you’ll cross the Yellowstone River.  Beyond the bridge, there are many more motels and stores, so don’t limit your search for a restaurant or room to the downtown area.

As Day 9 ended, I drove on to Bozeman, to spend the night, then made the return trip to the park on Day 10.  I’ll cover all that, on the next page.

Note: This trip was first published in 2008.

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