With mountains on all sides, Bozeman provides visitors with year-round recreation, from the exciting adventure of snowmobiling or river rafting to the quieter nature experiences found in fly fishing and snowshoeing. The region's history is showcased in several venues. Bozeman, located 80 miles from the Gardiner entrance, is a popular gateway to Yellowstone National Park
Here are my recommendations for fun things to do in and around Bozeman, including the town of Livingston.
Museum of the Rockies
The Museum of the Rockies features both the natural and the human history of the Rocky Mountain region. You'll find the Museum's extensive dinosaur fossil collection fascinating; the quality of the interpretation adds significantly to the educational experience. Other exhibits at the Museum of the Rockies cover Montana's human history, including Native Americans, mining history, and transportation. The "Explore Yellowstone" exhibit in the Martin Children's Discovery Center introduces little ones to the animals, geology, and outdoor recreation opportunities to be found in Yellowstone National Park. A planetarium, living history farm, and traveling exhibits are other fun things to check out while at the Museum of the Rockies.
Visit a Hot Springs Resort
Chico Hot Springs Resort
Wherever there's a source of hot mineral waters, a multi-service resort facility is sure to pop up. There are two such hot spring resorts in the Bozeman area.
- Bozeman Hot Springs
You'll find mineral water pools ranging from hot to cool, along with a variety of health and fitness services and facilities.
- Chico Hot Springs Resort & Day Spa
Located south of Livingston in Montana's Paradise Valley, the Chico Hot Springs have given rise to a destination resort. In addition to hot pools for swimming and soaking, the resort offers a range of historic and modern lodgings, fine and casual dining, a saloon, a full-service day spa, and special event space. You'll also have access to a number of outdoor activities, including horse riding, river rafting, and dog sledding.
Ski Mountains near Bozeman
These mountain resorts offer downhill skiing and much more, including year-round recreation of all kinds.
- Bridger Bowl
Just 16 miles north of Bozeman, Bridger Bowl offers hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding in summer and skiing and snowboarding in winter.
- Big Sky Resort
Big Sky's long list of mountain fun includes scenic lift rides, a zipline, disc golf, and all the snow sports.
- Moonlight Basin
A few miles west of Big Sky Resort, Moonlight Basin on-mountain fun includes mountain biking, horseback riding, and yoga in summer. Winter brings skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, sledding, and more.
Fly Fishing in Bozeman
Yellowstone River near Livingston Montana
With the Gallatin River
running right through town, and the Madison and Yellowstone
Rivers (along with smaller streams) within a short drive, Bozeman is very popular with fly fishers. Fly shops, guides, and outfitters abound. Many local lodges also provide packages and services specifically tailored to fly fishers.
Snowmobiling from Bozeman
The Bozeman area has a lot to offer to snowmobile enthusiasts, including not just abundant snow and trail but numerous guides and outfitters. The surrounding mountains and forests provide amazing terrain. Here are some of the more popular snowmobile trails near Bozeman:
Madison Buffalo Jump
Most of us learned about buffalo jumps - places where buffalo were hunted by driving them over a cliff edge - in grade school. I certainly did, and of all the actual buffalo jumps I've visited over the years, Madison Buffalo Jump best fits the scene I first imagined as a youngster. As you look up at the cliff from the interpretive outlook, history comes alive. Madison Buffalo Jump State Park is located near the town of Three Forks, just west of Bozeman. It's a short but steep hike from the parking lot up to the "Interpretive Pavilion," where you'll find informative panels and sheltered benches. The state park also offers hiking, picnicking, and biking.
Yellowstone Gateway Museum in Livingston MT
With the arrival of the Northern Pacific Railway in 1882, Livingston became the first gateway city to Yellowstone National Park. The Yellowstone Gateway Museum showcases the history of those days in photos and artifacts. You'll also find exhibits covering Native Americans, geology, paleontology, and local history. The Yellowstone Gateway Museum is located in a striking old three-story schoolhouse.
Special Events in Bozeman
The Bozeman community hosts a number of special events and festivals each year. Highlights include:
- Sweet Pea Festival (August)
This annual arts festival, held in Lindley Park, includes all the live entertainment and decadent food you expect as well as arts and crafts booths, an art show, theatre and dance, and a flower show. The festival schedule includes the Sweet Pea parade, ball, and children's run.
- Bridger Raptor Festival (October)
This free festival celebrates the annual migration of Golden Eagles with wildlife films, nature walks and talks, and educational programs.
This local museum focuses on the history of early settlement in Bozeman and the Gallatin Valley, with some information covering more modern times. Exhibits feature agriculture, music, law enforcement, and the annual Sweet Pea Festival.