How to Get Here
West Yellowstone, Montana is located in the most southern tip of Montana at the western boundary to Yellowstone Park, and just two miles from Wyoming and ten miles from Idaho. West Yellowstone is located ideally between three National parks with Yellowstone Park right next door, Grand Teton National Park just 86 miles to the south, and Glacier National Park only 381 miles to the north.
Getting to West Yellowstone is much easier than in the early days of Yellowstone Park when early tourists used a combination of railroad trains, stage coaches and wagons. Today you can drive to West Yellowstone year round from Highways 191, 287, and 20.
From mid-December through mid-March, West Yellowstone offers a unique way to access Yellowstone National Park. Winter adventurers can take an over-the-snow vehicle from the Yellowstone’s west entrance. Commercially guided snowcoach or snowmobile trips travel over snow covered, groomed roads to popular destinations including Old Faithful and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.
From Salt Lake City, Utah:
- Take I-15 north to Idaho Falls, Idaho (119 miles).
- At exit 119, take ramp RIGHT to US-20.
- Then just follow the next set of directions.
From Idaho Falls, Idaho:
- Take US-20 north to West Yellowstone, Montana approximately 110 miles.
From Yellowstone National Park:
- Exit the west entrance from Yellowstone National Park into West Yellowstone, Montana.
From Bozeman, Montana:
- Head south on Hwy 191 (90 miles) to West Yellowstone.
From Jackson Hole, Wyoming and Grand Teton National Park:
- Head north on WY-22 (17.1 miles) over Teton Pass and into Idaho.
Stay on SR-33 heading northwest (23.9 miles).
Turn RIGHT (north) onto SR-32 (28.4 miles) towards Ashton.
Remain on SR-32/SR-47 for one mile through the town of Ashton.
Then turn RIGHT (north) onto US-20 (37 miles) to West Yellowstone (50 miles).
GROUND TRANSPORTATION (Bus Lines & Shuttles)
Shuttles are available from airports in Bozeman, Montana and Salt Lake City, Utah. The Salt Lake Express runs a daily shuttle from the Salt Lake Airport to West Yellowstone (or back) each morning. Karst Stage operates a year round airport shuttle service from the Bozeman, Montana Airport, at Gallatin Field, to Big Sky and West Yellowstone. As well, non-scheduled service is available from several operators for transfers to and from airports in Bozeman, Montana; Idaho Falls, ID; and Salt Lake City, UT.
taxi service is available year-round in West Yellowstone and to drop-off locations within Yellowstone Park. Reservations are required.
Located just one mile north of West Yellowstone, Montana and two miles north of Yellowstone, West Yellowstone’s airport is THE closest airport to Yellowstone Park. The airport (code: WYS) is the 8th largest of Montana’s 121 airports. WYS hosts private and commercial service, as well as one of the ten smokejump bases for USFS Interagency Fire Control. The West Yellowstone Airport operates seasonally June 1st through September 30th.
Served by SkyWest Airlines (Delta Connection). AVIS & Budget Car Rentals on site and taxi service available.
Purchase tickets: delta.com
The West Yellowstone airport is open for private aviation with the exception of December 1st through May 31st except with PPR. The West Yellowstone Airport offers accurate weather forecasts; safe, non-mountainous approaches into an 8000’ long runway; and an ILS landing system accommodating private aircraft from a single engine Cessna to a Boeing 747. This airport is non-towered, however the common traffic advisory frequency is 123.0. The airport is fully lighted for night-time use with IFR lead-in and approach lighting as well.
- Large ramp area with tie-down service
- New AWOS (automated weather system)installed in May 2011
- Yellowstone Aviation FBO Services, 100LL and Jet A Services
- Can handle small private aircraft (Cessna to King Air) as well as large private aircraft (Citations to G-V’s)
- No landing fee for aircraft
- Free pilots campground is provided on the airport with hot shower and restroom facilities
Other area airports include:
Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport (code: BZN)
850 Gallatin Field Road, Suite #6
Belgrade, MT 59714
Phone: (406) 388-6632
Location: Belgrade, Montana, 90 miles from West Yellowstone
Served by: Alaska Airlines, Allegiant Airlines, SkyWest/Delta, Frontier, United, US Airways
Car rentals, taxi, and daily shuttle service through Karst Stage
Billings, Montana (code: BIL)
Location: 236 miles from West Yellowstone
Served by: Allegiant, Frontier Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Delta/SkyWest, Gulfstream International Airlines, United
Car rentals and bus service through Rimrock Trailways
Idaho Falls, Idaho (code: IDA)
Location: 110 miles from West Yellowstone
Served by: SkyWest/Delta, Allegiant Airlines, United
Car rentals and bus service through LINX
Taxi service is available from West Yellowstone
Jackson Hole Airport (code: JAC)
Location: 133 miles from West Yellowstone
Served by: American Airlines, Delta/SkyWest, United
Car rentals and bus service through LINX
Salt Lake City, Utah (code: SLC)
Location: 322 miles from West Yellowstone
Served by: all major airlines and a number of regional airlines
Car rentals and daily bus service through Salt Lake Shuttle
Rental cars are available on a seasonal basis in West Yellowstone at multiple locations including the West Yellowstone Airport and in-town businesses.
West Yellowstone Montana is small mountain community where you can safely walk or bicycle to restaurants, bars, shops, services and attractions from where you are staying. Limited taxi service is also available. Maps of West Yellowstone are available at the Visitor Center (the corner of Canyon Street and Yellowstone Avenue) or from many businesses.
If you are just passing through, there are parking areas located along streets and in the interior of most city blocks. Just turn into an alley (watch for the brown parking signs at alley intersections) and park in the open lots. These parking areas can accommodate larger vehicles and RVs. Additional parking is available along Boundary Street (easternmost street in West Yellowstone) or at the West Yellowstone Visitor Center just before entering/exiting the west entrance to Yellowstone Park.
West Yellowstone businesses offer tours throughout the year. During the warm months, park-approved tour operators offer tours into Yellowstone Park and to the Grand Teton National Park/Jackson area.
Guided tours allow a chance to relax, take photos, and learn while a local, trained guide drives the vehicle. Guides have a true passion for the park and insider info on the best wildlife and photography spots. Tours stop for wildlife, thermal areas, lunch/dinner and restroom breaks.
Tours generally follow one of three loop options: the Lower Loop covering the central and southern sections of Yellowstone including the Old Faithful and Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone areas; the Upper Loop covering the central and northern sections of Yellowstone (Lamar Valley, Mammoth, and Tower); or the Grand Teton/Jackson Loop which covers the southern section of Yellowstone, Grand Teton Park and Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
There are specialty tours for photographers, late day wildlife watching, and even combination tours including “Park and Paddle" trips with a guided hike in the park (1/2 day) and whitewater rafting or scenic kayaking (1/2 day). Other companies are authorized for horseback rides and guided fly fishing in Yellowstone Park.
From December 15th through March 15th each winter, the west entrance to Yellowstone Park opens to a unique experience and adventure. Each day, commercially guided snowcoach and snowmobile tours travel into the wintry wonderland of Yellowstone.
Commercially guided snowmobile trips travel over snow covered, groomed roads to popular destinations including Old Faithful and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. These vehicles travel on the same roads that cars do in the summer over snow prepared by groomers. The groomers work to smooth and pack the snow ensuring that the roads are adequately covered and making for a smooth ride.
No other snowmobile adventure provides such a unique opportunity to share the roadways with wildlife, capture incredible winter photographs, and stand next to steaming thermals and frosty geysers. Each year, only several thousand riders get this experience.
Yellowstone Park has specific guidelines for any over-the-snow travel. Snowmobiles must travel in a group of ten or less and be accompanied by an authorized guide. Additionally, snowmobiles must have a four-stroke engine and comply with BAT (best approved technology) standards designed to minimize noise and emissions. These snowmobiles include rider-friendly features such as heated handgrips and thumb-warmer, seats, mirrors and even reverse.
Snowmobile tours are also guided, use best available technology snowmobiles, and travel in groups of ten or less riding singly or two people together. Local businesses provide guides, snowmobiles and all the clothing and accessories needed for these tours. Note: you have to have a valid drivers license in order to drive a snowmobile in Yellowstone Park.
Families or groups, those traveling with small children, seniors, or physically challenged can take a snowcoach as a relaxed, climate-controlled and environmentally friendly way to tour the park. Your driver/guide provides real-time information. It is also a chance to interact with your family or friends and meet others on the coach. You can dress in layers and travel comfortably, enjoying the elevated view through large windows. Another favorite snowcoach option is to combine a snowcoach tour with stops for cross country skiing or snowshoeing into geyser or waterfall areas not accessible any other way in the winter. Ski and snowshoe rentals are available locally for these tours.
While in West Yellowstone
West Yellowstone offers all the services you need while away from home including:
- ATM and Banks + See Related Businesses
- Auto and tire repairs, gas and automotive suppliers + See Related Businesses
- Doctor, dentist, or medical services + See Related Businesses
- Health and Fitness Centers + See Related Businesses
- Internet access + See Related Businesses
- Laundry and dry cleaning services + See Related Businesses
- Office Supplies + See Related Businesses
- Packaging and Shipping services + See Related Businesses
- Photo processing + See Related Businesses
- RV Repairs + See Related Businesses
- Utilities, Cable, TV services + See Related Businesses
Traveling with Pets
Here in West Yellowstone, there are pet-friendly lodging properties that can be found by searching in the “sleep” section. The Boundary Ski Trail is also pet-friendly for skiing and hiking.
Please note that there are no boarding kennels in West Yellowstone or surrounding areas. The closest kennels are in Belgrade/Bozeman, Montana or Idaho Falls, Idaho. You can also contact White & White Veterinary for possible arrangements prior to your arrival.
Pets are allowed in Yellowstone Park, but there are strict guidelines you will need to follow. Pets are allowed in public areas, parking lots and within 100 feet of any road. They must be on a leash that is not longer than 6 feet in length at all times. Visitors are not allowed to tie their pet to trees or other objects and leave them unattended. Pet kennels cannot be left outside of vehicles.
If you do leave a pet in a vehicle, make sure you have proper ventilation. If possible, park in a shady spot or plan that part of you visit for early in the day. Although the climate in Yellowstone is cooler than most of the country, vehicles heat up fast here.
While leashed pets are allowed to accompany their owners to the viewing benches around Old Faithful Geyser, they are not allowed on any other boardwalks or trails. Pets are prohibited from all of Yellowstone’s backcountry, including trails.
Animals seen harassing wildlife are subject to impoundment and possibly being destroyed or the owner fined. It is required that you carry proof of vaccinations from a veterinarian. Park Rangers may ask to see those documents.
West Yellowstone and Yellowstone Park are located in mountainous terrain with predators including coyotes, bears, owls and wolves that can prey on domestic animals. Bears and wolves particularly don’t like dogs. While it is possible that your dog may outrun a bear, it is unlikely you could. Bears have been known to follow domestic dogs back to their owners. Wolves see domestic dogs as competition.
Thermal areas, which are located all across Yellowstone, pose a huge threat to your animals. Much of the thermal water in the park is at or nearly at the boiling point. Dogs have a difficult time distinguishing between cool water and hot water. There have been many occasions where dogs have been injured or killed by jumping into hot water here. There have even been instances where owners have lost their lives trying to save a pet.
Be aware that diseases can be spread from domestic animals to Yellowstone’s wild animals and vice versa. Mange, Parvo and Distemper are found in wild animals and can be transmitted to your pet. You must clean up after your pet in Yellowstone and the trails around West Yellowstone.
West Yellowstone and the West entrance offer the shortest distance to Old Faithful and West Thumb and easy access to Fishing Bridge or the South Entrance.
Construction continues on Highway 191 between West Yellowstone and Belgrade, Montana at five different locations between mile markers 41 to 66.1. Expect up to 15 minute delays and reduced speeds. There could be extended delays of up to 60 minutes will occur when there is rock excavations.
Yellowstone Road Information
Yellowstone Park interior roads will begin to open for the summer season April 18th. All access roads to Yellowstone's entrances, including the Beartooth Highway (Red Lodge to Cooke City/Cody, Wyoming) will open as weather permits. West Yellowstone and the West entrance offer the shortest distance to Old Faithful and West Thumb and easy access to Fishing Bridge or the South Entrance.
Yellowstone Park Road Construction Projects
Road construction is a normal part of the ‘warm’ weather season here in the Rocky Mountains. This summer will also bring road improvement projects on many of the major travel routes to Yellowstone Park from Montana and Wyoming. Yellowstone Park road updates available at (307) 344-2117. Click here for map and details.
2014 Scheduled Construction:
Gibbon River Bridge (near the Norris Campground road) to Gardner River Bridge (near the Indian Creek Campground road): Expect road construction starting in April with possible half hour delays. Starting April 18, possible nightly closures from 11:00 PM to 7:00 AM.
Starting September 14 at 11:00 PM and extending to September 30 at 7:00 AM, there will be a full road closure for this section of road. The detour for this section will be over Dunraven Pass.
Isa Lake Bridge Replacement: Expect bridge reconstruction to start early June with possible half hour delays. Road closed September 2 at 6:00 AM for the season.
Plan ahead by allowing extra time or finding an alternate route. We also suggest these tips for summer travel:
- Make sure to pack some extra water or beverages, tuck in a few snacks and make sure your camera batteries are charged
- When you hit a delay, stop your car, roll your windows down, turn off the engine and enjoy the smells, sights and sounds of Yellowstone. Watch for wildlife along the rivers and streams, hidden at the edge of the forests, or colorful song birds in the trees above
- Meet your ‘neighbors,’ exchange Yellowstone adventures, and get the latest wildlife sightings
Grand Teton National Park Road and Construction Updates
Grand Teton Park road updates available at (307) 739-3614.
Highway 26/89/191 (outer park road) is open year-round from Jackson to Flagg Ranch or Togwotee Pass and Dubois, WY. There is a permanent nighttime speed limit of 45 miles per hour on a section of Highway 26/89/191, located about 4 miles north of Jackson, Wyoming . This road is open year round. In addition to being the south entrance to GTNP and park headquarters, it is also the road to the airport, to several private residences and to the southern entrance to Yellowstone National Park.
Montana Road and Construction Updates
- Montana Highway Updates available at (800) 226-7623 or visit mdt511.com
- I-90 Mile Marker 313.4 to 318.4 East of Bozeman- Rocky Canyon- eastbound and westbound. Bridge work n progress. There is a width restriction of 14 feet. Expect reduced speed to 35 MPH, single lane closures. Deck treatment. Effective August 1, 2012 a 14' width resriction will be in place from M.P. 313.4 to M.P. 318.4 All loads wider than 14' will have to use alternate routes.
- Expect possible 15-20 minute delays and onelane traffic on Highway 191 and Gallatin River Road approximately 8 miles south of Belgrade, Montana and I-90.
- Alternate route to West Yellowstone: Follow Hwy 191 north to Bozeman until it intersects with Hwy 287 (10 miles). Turn west (left) and drive to Ennis. Along the way make sure to stop at the Quake Lake Visitor Center. In Ennis you can take a side trip to the old mining towns of Nevada and Virginia Cities. Or, just continue north from Ennis to the Norris Junction where you can turn right to go to Bozeman, MT or keep going north to I-90
Idaho Road and Construction Updates (US 20 is the main road connecting Idaho Falls, Idaho to West Yellowstone, Montana)
- US 20: Road construction between 2050 North Road (7 miles east of the Ashton area) and Pine Haven Drive (5 miles west of the Island Park area). Road construction work is in progress. The roadway is reduced to one lane. Expect delays. Look out for flaggers. There is a width limit in effect. Width limit 14'0". Until August 31.Resurfacing eight miles of U.S. 20 between Sheep Falls Road and Pine Haven Drive in Island Park. Watch for construction workers, equipment and obey all traffic signs.
- US 20: Road maintenance operations between Burton Road and Exit 337: Salem Road (near Rexburg). Road maintenance work is in progress. There is work on the shoulder. The roadway is reduced to one lane. Speed restrictions are in force. There is a width limit in effect. Speed limit 55 MPH. Width limit 16'0". Until July 16.
- Idaho Highway Updates available at (888) 437-7623 or visit 511.idaho.gov