The last time I was in West Yellowstone was the summertime, so seeing snow here was so nice! The roads in Yellowstone NP are closed from the West Yellowstone entrance during the winter. Luckily, there is still plenty to do in this town of 1200 people. If you only have 24 hours in West Yellowstone, consider the list below!
Things to do:
West Yellowstone Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center
If you have ever wanted to see a Grizzly Bear without the risk of being attacked, this is probably your safest bet. The Discovery Center, is by no means a zoo. They take in animals that otherwise would not be able to survive in the wild. Animals here have minimal human contact, and are set up to live their lives as closely to what they would in the wild. It is also a non-profit which is usually a good sign that the animals best interest are at stake.
The Naturalists that work at the Discovery center are extremely knowledgable and do a great job teaching everyone about the animals. I was extremely taken back by the beauty of the wolves and their sheer size. We go to witness an enrichment session where the wolves had to “hunt” for their hidden food via trails of animal scents the Naturalists sprinkled. Admission is $13 for adults and good for two days of admission.Where to stay: Holiday Inn West Yellowstone
Rendezvous Ski Trails
If you want to experience West Yellowstone at its finest, cross country skiing is the way to go. The weekend we were in West Yellowstone was Ski Festival weekend, Unfortunately, that meant no skiing for us, as races were going on. However, it was awesome to watch! 35 km of groomed trails that wind through US Forest Land. You can rent skis from Free Wheel and Heel downtown West Yellowstone!
Where to eat & drink:
Slippery Otter Pub
We absolutely loved the food, drinks, and service here! The prices were very reasonable considering it is a tourist town. I had the best elk burger ever (okay, I say that about every elk burger) and a flight of local beers. This place has a menu that could please even the pickiest of eaters.
The Buffalo Bar and Lounge
We spent forever here. The beer was good and plenty, the pretzel sticks and cheese were to die for, and there was a small casino. It was large, but had the feel of a local hometown bar. Our service was excellent and they had a great motto “Don’t drink downstream from the buffalo.” Noted.
If you are need a place for just a few more drinks, Bullwinkles Saloon downtown is perfect. It is a small and cozy bar with some gaming machines on the back wall. Nothing fancy, but it is where I fell in love with moscow mules. This seems to be the places a lot of locals were hanging out at.
Where to stay:
Like I said, we were there during West Yellowstone’s ski festival and were lucky to find a room at all. Stage Coach Inn did not disappoint. The front desk was friendly, our room was no frills but clean, and they had a huge continental breakfast. Indoor pool & sauna plus an elaborate taxidermy collection made this place really feel like Montana. It was centrally located, so we could walk to everything! At just under $100 a night, we were very pleased.Check out our comprehensive guide to visiting Yellowstone NP!
Author: Jessica recently moved to Salt Lake City from Tennessee with her husband, Karl, and dog, Buddy. Over the past year, they have travelled all over the west – squeezing in trips every time there is a free day or weekend. Jessica hopes to inspire others to pack up for a weekend road trip!