- Do Your Part To Recreate Responsibly – Love It Like Your Own!
- Know Before You Go
- Plan Ahead
- Play It Safe & Be Bear Aware
- Keep Wildlife Wild & Be Bear Aware
- Explore Locally
- Stick to the Trails
- Pack It In, Pack It Out
- Be Careful With Fire
- Build an Inclusive Outdoors
- Be Considerate
We’re committed to keeping Montana’s outdoor spaces, communities, residents, and visitors safe. As you enjoy all the area has to offer, please join us in following these guidelines for responsible recreation. The Leave No Trace Seven Principles provide a framework of minimum impact practices for spending time in the outdoors. Plan Ahead & Prepare. Travel & Camp on Durable Surfaces. Dispose of Waste Properly. Leave What You Find. Minimize Campfire Impact. Respect Wildlife. Be Considerate of Others.
Adequate legwork ensures safer, more enjoyable travels - especially in the wild and unpredicatable outdoors - and minimizes your impact on Montana's resources and lands. Before arriving, check the status of the place you’d like to visit. It’s good to have a backup plan if your destination is closed or crowded. Consider adjusting the time of day you plan to explore. By arriving early, you may experience shorter lines and reduced crowds for a more enjoyable experience!
Check our local regulations for the latest safety measures. Facilities might be closed, so consider packing a lunch and bring essentials like extra water, food/snacks, bug spray, and a first aid kit. In Montana, both weather and terrain can change quickly. We recommend packing clothing layers to add or remove as weather changes.
Click here for safety tips from our friends at Yellowstone National Park.
Have fun, but know your limits. Take it slow and choose lower-risk activities to reduce the strain on search and rescue operations and health care resources. West Yellowstone sits at an altitude of 6,666 - which means it may take your body approximately 24 hours to adjust. Staying hydrated is the best way to make sure that being up high doesn't get you down!
Remember that Montana is home to bears, mountain goats, mountain lions, elk, deer, and more. If you plan to spend time outside, be prepared to have an encounter with our abundant wildlife. Respecting animals while wildlife watching helps keep both them and you safe. Never approach, touch or feed wildlife, even when the animal does not seem to be threatened by your presence. Animals become dependent on human food may become aggressive toward people and have to be killed. Keep all food, garbage, or other smelly items packed away when not in use. If you plan to hike, be sure to go with a friend, make noise on the trail (talking or clapping), carry bear spray, and know how to use it. Bear bells are a favorite for making noise while you walk!
Click here for being safe in bear country.
View wildlife from the safety of your car or from a safe distance. Wild animals are wild and unpredictable, even though they may seem calm. Stay at least 100 yards away from bears and wolves and at least 25 yards away from other large animals including elk and bison.
Our area is full of local parks, trails, and public spaces. Enjoy them while being mindful of your impact on the surrounding communities. Check-in with local Chambers or Visitor Information Centers to pick up travel guides and maps, as well as get suggestions for things to do, places to go, and insider tips.
Regardless of where you roam, staying on designated hiking and biking trails and camping in designated campsites ensures you don't trample vegetation or contribute to erosion. It also means you're less likely to wander too far off and lose your way. On trails, move over to let stock (horses and mules) pass, yield to other hikers, and be respectful of other users. It’s important to respect public lands and waters, as well as Native and local communities.
Pack your garbage out with you and clean up properly. While in the forest, properly dispose of all waste including food scraps, human waste and toilet paper or take it with you when you leave. Please also don't throw trash or cigarette butts out of your car window; cigarette butts are litter, and they can also spark wildland fires. Help us keep our forests healthy and clean.
Montana is susceptible to wildland fire, especially during the dry summer months. Keep campfires small and manageable to avoid sparking wildfires. Properly putting out campfires is crucial! Douse, Stir, Douse and Feel - water until you can handle the embers. Putting out a campfire properly will take much more water than you think it will! Never let a fire burn unattended. Here are some tips for campfire safety. Please be fire aware. Check for local fire restrictions before lighting your campfire.
Do your part to help make our outdoor spaces safe and welcoming for all identities and abilities.
Now, more than ever before, we are calling all of you to Be Patient. Be Kind. Be Cool. Be Responsible. We expect residents and visitors alike to be mutually respectful of each other. We all have a common goal - to enjoy West Yellowstone and Montana.