Towns & Cities Near Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park
> Nearby Towns

With an estimate of 3 million people coming to Yellowstone National Park each year, we are lucky to have thirteen gateway towns providing lodging, dining and other activities for all visitors, giving them the opportunity to stay awhile. Take some time to look around and see what you're missing outside the Park’s boundaries!


The Montana gateway communities offer incredible scenery, with the natural beauty of the forested backcountry surrounding. Before entering or upon leaving Yellowstone National Park, you should explore and enjoy!

  • Big Sky: scenic vistas abound.
  • Bozeman: outdoor activities, fabulous museums and quaint shops.
  • Cooke City: laid back atmosphere and fresh mountain air.
  • Ennis: old-fashioned boardwalks and nearby, the ghost town of Virginia City.
  • Gardiner: the only year-round open entrance into the Park.
  • Livingston: breathtaking mountains and rivers.
  • Red Lodge: an excellent vacation home base.
  • West Yellowstone: scenic waterfalls and bubbling hot springs.


The Wyoming gateway communities provide history and a taste of the Old West in its true-to-life form.

  • Cody: a famous landmark for the Old West, named after Buffalo Bill.
  • Dubois: surrounded by mountains and on the shore of the Wind River.
  • East Yellowstone: reenacted gunfights and a cowboy rodeo.
  • Jackson Hole: nightlife, summer hiking and fishing, winter skiing and snowboarding.


The one gateway community in Idaho shows you a land with miles of forests and plenty of adventure.

  • Island Park: wooded hills and valleys for horseback riding and fun.

Questions & Answers

West Yellowstone is about 50 minutes (31.5 mi) from West Yellowstone. The drive might take longer if there’s a lot of traffic at the gate or wildlife near the roadside. Even if you aren’t held up behind animals or gawkers, don’t just breeze through. You’ll enjoy your trip through Yellowstone more if you take time to appreciate the natural beauty that surrounds you.

The drive from Jackson Hole to the South Entrance of Yellowstone takes 1 hour and 15 minutes (57.3 miles). The shortest route includes a trip through Grand Teton National Park. You will need to pay separate $35 entrance fees for both Grand Teton and Yellowstone or have an annual Parks Pass that grants you access to both parks for a year. You’ll find the extra expense worth it either way.

The closest towns to Yellowstone are Gardiner, Montana which lies 3 minutes (0.7 mi) from Yellowstone’s North Entrance. West Yellowstone is the next closest town and it is 4 minutes (0.9 mi) from Yellowstone’s West Entrance. Other gateway towns include Cody, Wyoming and Jackson, Wyoming, but these are a little farther from park entrances. The consolation prize is incredible drives to access the park from these towns.

North Entrance is just 4 minutes (0.9 mi) outside of Gardiner, Montana and will take you to Mammoth Hot Springs. Northeast Entrance is 10 minutes (4.8 mi) from Cooke City, Montana and will take you to the Lamar Valley. East Entrance is 52 miles from Cody, Wyoming — the closest town. This entrance will take you to Yellowstone Lake. South Entrance is north of Grand Teton National Park and Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Using this Entrance will let you see two parks in one day. West Entrance is located outside of West Yellowstone, Montana. If you enter Yellowstone here, you’ll be 14 miles from Madison with geysers and thermal features to the North and South. If you want to see Old Faithful, this is the closest gate.

If you want a chance to see wolves or bears, the North and Northeast Entrances will lead you to Lamar Valley where the wild things roam. If geysers are your thing, then use the West Entrance and you’ll have access to the thermal features in either direction. For views and experiences on Yellowstone Lake, use the East Entrance. Want to see two national parks in one day? The South Entrance is sandwiched between Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone.

Other Nearby Towns Resources

Jackson WY

Jackson Wyoming and Grand Teton National Park.