Fly or drive in to Montana's largest city and enjoy what Billings has to offer, venture across the Beartooth Highway and through the most beautiful entrance into Yellowstone – the nation's first national park. The Beartooth Highway is less than an hour from Billings and provides breathtaking vistas from start to finish.
The drive itself will take a few hours, depending on how quickly you let the stunning views pass you by. Plan to enjoy this drive as part of your national park experience. Let's tour the sights you'll see as you make your way to Yellowstone!
If you're headed to Yellowstone, you might think the best way from point A to point B is a straight line. While it works in geometry class, you'll be selling yourself short if you follow this logic down Highway 14 and through the east entrance to the park: you'll miss Montana! Whether you're in Badlands or Black Hills, traveling to Billings adds modern amenities, an abundance of lodging options, historical highlights, and the most scenic gateway to Yellowstone over Beartooth Pass. All while adding less than 50 miles to your journey!
You've made it this far - don't take a second-rate route and miss out! Plan to enjoy this drive as part of your national park experience. Let's tour the sights you'll see as you make your way to Yellowstone!
Shaped by the Yellowstone River and sheltered by the Rims, Billings, Montana’s Trailhead is the best place to start your Yellowstone adventure. Billings perfectly blends culture and history with outdoor adventure and R&R. It's no surprise Billings is the "Best Town of 2016" according to Outside Magazine. Billings is a melting pot of everything that makes Montana great: the rustic Western heritage, the natural beauty, the small-town charm and the big city attractions.
Experience amazing attractions for every age and thrill level. Explore our trails as you stroll along the Yellowstone River, ride your bike along the Rimrocks or walk through one of our many parks. Sandstone formations known as Rimrocks are an incredible sight to behold. Make sure to schedule a scenic drive along the Rimrock Bluffs: Drive highway 3 from east to west and enjoy the sights of Billings from 500 feet above. Take the family fishing, enjoy a leisurely walk, explore biking trails — Yellowstone River is a must when in Billings. The longest free-flowing river in the lower 48 states is a true natural gem that begs to be explored. With nearly 26 miles of paved and gravel trails, plus bike lanes throughout the city, Billings is truly a bicycle-friendly community. Enjoy the views from Swords Park Trail and then head west to explore the wild landscape surrounding Zimmerman Park. Wherever you go, your bike is sure to lead you somewhere exciting. Baseball lovers should check out the Billings Mustangs at Dehler Park, awarded the Best of the Ballparks, Rookie Level, by BallparkDigest.com. Spend the day exploring ZooMontana’s 70 acres that feature regional and exotic animals such as tigers, wolves, deer habitats and a free-flight aviary.
When traveling, it's good to indulge in favorite foods. (Calories don't count on vacation, right?) That's why a visit to The Burger Dive is essential. As 2016 World Burger Championship winner at the World Food Championship, The Burger Dive serves up some of the best burgers in the country, right in the heart of Billings. From fast food to farm-to-table to fine dining, the food scene in Billings have something for every taste. The microbrew movement is alive and well in Billings. Noted as one of the “Best Cities for Beer Drinkers” by smartasset.com, your travel crew will enjoy sampling the best IPAs, stouts and pilsners in the regions — and arguably — the world.
This famous gateway to Yellowstone National Park has left countless visitors speechless at Mother Nature’s stunning beauty. The spectacular Beartooth All-American Road delivers you right to Yellowstone National Park's northeast entrance. Just west of Red Lodge, Montana, the scenic pass is open Memorial Day through Labor Day, weather permitting. Reaching heights of nearly 11,000 feet, this 53.7-mile, 3-hour drive offers skytop views of snowcapped peaks, glaciers, alpine lakes and plateaus. Designated an All-American Road in 2002, the Beartooth Highway has been described by former CBS correspondent Charles Kuralt as ‘the most beautiful drive in America.’
Since its completion in 1936, the Highway has provided millions of visitors a rare opportunity to see the transition from a lush forest ecosystem to alpine tundra in the space of a few miles. The Beartooths are one of the highest elevation and most rugged areas in the lower 48 states, with 20 peaks over 12,000 feet in elevation. Glaciers are found on the north flank of nearly every mountain peak over 11,500 feet in these mountains.
Yellowstone National Park is the world's first National Park, also the largest in the United States. Marvel at a volcano’s hidden power rising up in colorful hot springs, mudpots and geysers. Explore mountains, forests and lakes to watch wildlife and witness the drama of the natural world unfold. Discover the history that led to the conservation of our national treasures “for the benefit and enjoyment of the people.”
Yellowstone was designated the world's first national park on March 1, 1872, with the area remaining largely in the same natural state as it was more than 123 years ago. Yellowstone contains more than 2.2 million acres of steaming geysers, thundering waterfalls, crystalline lakes, and panoramic vistas. The world's most extensive area of geyser activity, harboring more than 10,000 thermal features. Yellowstone is the greatest wildlife sanctuary in the United States, encompassing 3,472 square miles of wondrous beauty. Every visitor is welcome to share the natural phenomena, and enjoy its pristine loveliness, so generously lavished over mountains, forests, meadows, streams and lakes.
Visit Yellowstone’s top attractions including Old Faithful Geyser, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Mammoth Hot Springs, Tower Fall and more. Formed around 100,000 BC, the Norris Geyser Basin is America’s oldest continuously active geothermal area and the hottest geyser basin in the park and is home to the Steamboat – the world’s tallest active geyser. Although it’s not the tallest geyser in the park, Old Faithful erupts the most frequently (roughly every 90 minutes, for between 90 seconds and five minutes) and as such is Yellowstone’s most famous geyser. Boiling River flows into the Gardiner River, causing hot and cold water to mix in pools along the river’s edge and is one of the few places where you can swim in the park after spring’s high-water season. Take the 2½-mile North Rim Trail along the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, a 24-mile-long chasm carved out by the Yellowstone River and view deep red oxidized rocks and waterfalls along the river. Grand Prismatic Spring is the largest spring in the US and is one of the most surreal sights in Yellowstone, with deep-blue waters surrounded by rainbow-colored rings of algae.
Step into history in Billings and the surrounding area. You will be in the land where General Custer fought the Sioux and Cheyenne, where Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse led their people through struggles and to victories, where William Clark left his signature as the Lewis & Clark Expedition passed through and where Calamity Jane raised a ruckus. Drive, walk or bike Black Otter Trail overlooking Billings and visit Yellowstone Kelly’s Interpretive Site & Boothill Cemetery. Explore Pompeys Pillar, some of the only remaining physical evidence of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Not to be missed, Little Bighorn Battlefield will give you a glimpse into the devastating fight of Custer’s Last Stand.
Pompeys Pillar. Pompeys Pillar is a rock outcropping that rises 200 feet above the Yellowstone River 30 miles east of Billings. Pompeys Pillar is like a sandstone history book that reads like a who's who of western frontier history. Look on the rockface for the remains of animal drawings created by people who used the area for rendezvous, campsites, and hunting. In 1806 Captain William Clark carved his signature and the date in this rock. It is the only site on the trail where visible evidence of the Lewis and Clark Expedition may be viewed by the public.
Little Bighorn Battlefield. This area memorializes the U.S. Army's 7th Cavalry and the Sioux and Cheyenne in one of the Indian's last armed efforts to preserve their way of life. Here on June 25 and 26 of 1876, 263 soldiers, including Lt. Col. George A. Custer and attached personnel of the U.S. Army, died fighting several thousand Lakota, and Cheyenne warriors.
Bighorn Canyon. The vast, wild landscape of Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area offers visitors unparalleled opportunities to immerse themselves in the natural world, and experience the wonders of this extraordinary place. With over 120,000 acres, one can find an astounding diversity in ecosystems, wildlife, and more than 10,000 years of human history to explore.
Red Lodge, MT. From the opening day of the Beartooth Highway (Memorial Day weekend, weather permitting) to the closing of the highway for the winter season around Labor Day, Red Lodge packs every summer day with fun festivities. Have some family fun and place your bets at the Bearcreek Downs Pig Races, take in the Wildlife Jamboree at the Yellowstone Wildlife Sanctuary or catch the Home of Champions Rodeo, a 3-day event held every July featuring a parade at noon each day, rodeo action all three days and a closing fireworks display on the Fourth. From Red Lodge, at an elevation of 5,555 feet, the real climb begins: you'll top out at nearly 11,000 feet on the Beartooth pass!
Beartooth Pass. This famous gateway to Yellowstone National Park has left countless visitors speechless at Mother Nature’s stunning beauty. The spectacular Beartooth All-American Road delivers you right to Yellowstone National Park's northeast entrance. Just west of Red Lodge, Montana, the scenic pass is open Memorial Day through Labor Day, weather permitting. Reaching heights of nearly 11,000 feet, this 53.7-mile, 3-hour drive offers skytop views of snowcapped peaks, glaciers, alpine lakes and plateaus. Designated an All-American Road in 2002, the Beartooth Highway has been described by former CBS correspondent Charles Kuralt as ‘the most beautiful drive in America.’
A visit to Yellowstone National Park will leave a lasting mark on you. And Billings, Montana’s Trailhead is the perfect place to start making your Yellowstone memories. Spend some time enjoying the city and collecting everything you need before heading out on the open road to adventure. Take advantage of all Billings has to offer as you set out on the trip of a lifetime.