Fri-Sun: A Weekend Warrior’s Guide to The Best of West Yellowstone

Every savvy weekend warrior understands that the most memorable getaways usually involve at least 3 essential components.

  1. It’s Easy to Pull Off.
  2. Plenty of Activities and Options.
  3. It Surprises and Delights.

Planning a Friday through Sunday getaway that embodies all 3 of these elements is simple to do when visiting West Yellowstone, Montana. Getting here will go smoother than you think. There is always something happening. And what you experience while here will amaze you from the moment you arrive. If you are seeking the extraordinary, here is an adventure-packed weekend warrior’s guide to the best of West Yellowstone. 

Friday, Let The Adventures Begin

Depending on the season when you arrive in West Yellowstone, traveling here is easier than you think. Beginning in May, you can book daily direct flights into Yellowstone Airport from Salt Lake City (on Delta SkyWest) and Denver (on United), making it a convenient choice. There is also a wide variety of direct flights into Bozeman, Montana, a short 90-mile drive away from West Yellowstone. 

Once you arrive, let the adventures begin! An excellent place to start is by getting on an ATV or UTV, hitting the trails, and taking in the unsurpassed beauty of the surrounding area. West Yellowstone has an excellent trail system that is groomed and well maintained. And since these are not technical trails, driving them is as straightforward as navigating your car. You can effortlessly get to higher elevations and be stunned by the captivating views within a matter of moments. It’s an adventure the whole family can participate in. It’s also an exciting way to go wildlife watching or cover some miles and escape into nature. ATV season runs primarily from mid-June until the end of October. If you plan on visiting in the winter, these same trails transform West Yellowstone into a premier snowmobiling destination as soon as the snow falls. Read 9 reasons why you should embrace West Yellowstone in winter.

After heading back into town for the evening, you should end the first day by grabbing a hand-crafted brew with good friends. West Yellowstone is a laid-back, welcoming community that is always up for having fun. Treat yourself to great eats with mouth-watering dining experiences that can include savory tapas, bistro bites, or perfectly seared steaks. Following dinner, you’ll easily find restful places to stay and accommodations that fit any taste or budget.

Saturday, So Much To Do

Saturday morning is the perfect time to get out on the water. Surrounded by 3 national forests and nestled within the area, you will discover nationally ranked blue-ribbon trout streams and pristine mountain lakes. Cast a line and feel the electric pulse of a bite from a rainbow, brown, or cutthroat trout. Or catch a brilliantly hued sunrise under the bigger-than-you-ever-imagined Montana sky while gliding in a kayak over calm waters. Fishing, boating, rafting, and kayaking opportunities abound here. Book a guide who can take you to the best spots and even hook you up with gear. It’s worth mentioning that Hebgen Lake hosts a North American Ice Fishing Circuit in the wintertime with a prize pool into the thousands.

Saturday afternoon is a fantastic time to adventure into Yellowstone National Park. West Yellowstone is the west entrance of the park, which makes it exceptionally convenient for sightseeing some of the park’s biggest attractions. West is considered the closest entrance to Old Faithful and the Grand Prismatic Spring. And if you’ve come all this way, exploring YNP is a bucket-list must-do. 

Not only is it known as the west entrance of the park, but West Yellowstone is also regarded for its western hospitality. There is always something happening here. In the summer months, the Wild West

Yellowstone Rodeo delivers heart-pounding action as cowboys and cowgirls compete in bronc riding, team roping, bull riding events, and more. Rodeo Nights run from June 17-August 20. Put on a pair of cowboy boots and a hat, and you’ll fit right in. 

Closeout Saturday evening by catching a show.  The Yellowstone Giant Screen Theater is more than just a theater. It is 12,000 watts of surround sound standing 6 stories tall. Watch a newly released film or experience Yellowstone National Park in IMAX. Or you can take in a live theatrical performance at the Playmill Theater, where the cast captivates and entertains. No matter how you spend your weekend, you will create unbelievable memories that will last your lifetime.

Sunday, Came Too Soon

Before you head home, Sunday morning is an ideal time to have 1 last adventure. (Read here about 5 West Yellowstone adventures to inspire your inner traveler.) No weekend adventure to West Yellowstone, Montana, is complete unless you’ve gone wildlife watching. Make time on your itinerary to plan a visit to the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center. Open year-round, this not-for-profit wildlife park and educational facility is a must-see.  It was named a TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice Winner, making it in the top 10% of attractions worldwide. If you’re hoping to catch sightings of other wild animals, here is how to experience the best wildlife watching in West Yellowstone. 

West Yellowstone, Montana, is an incredible destination that is always full of activity and adventure. Breathtaking lakes and forests, western hospitality, the gateway to Yellowstone National Park, and amazing wildlife — West Yellowstone is an adventure seeker’s playground. Here, at the heart of adventure, it is easy to plan a weekend that checks all of the boxes and leaves you feeling surprised and delighted. Now all you need to do is get here!