Bozeman is the gem of Big Sky Country and a gateway into the wild, bustling with activities all year round. In one of the best locales – snuggled in the Gallatin Valley and surrounded by the Rockies which provide the perfect backdrop of snow-capped peaks – Bozeman would have to be one of the best towns in the west for outdoor activities. From skiing in the winter to fishing and hiking in the summer, Bozeman is a fabulous base camp for exploring all that Southwest Montana has to offer. Oh and it’s the defending title holder for Coolest Town in Montana! So if you’ve booked yourself a saddle seat on our ride in Big Sky Country Montana, and are arriving into Bozeman with some time to spare, then listen up! We’ve got all you need to know about this cool cowboy town to ensure you have the time of your life!
SIGHTS AND ACTIVITIES
This is a top pick in the Lonely Planet guidebook to Montana and we’d have to say we agree. With stellar dinosaur exhibits, early Native American art and laser planetarium shows, as well as a living-history outdoors section and revolving temporary exhibitions, Montana State University’s museum is the most entertaining in the state and shouldn’t be missed. I was totally was sold with the full-scale T.Rex skeleton – SO cool!
Want to get up close and personal with some legendary grizzlies? Then this is the place for you. A Grizzly Bear Rescue & Education Sanctuary, the Montana Grizzly Encounter was founded in 2004 and provides a natural home for rescued grizzlies. At the same time it offers an opportunity for visitors to learn about these majestic animals, their conservation and threats. All the bears in the sanctuary were born in captivity and rescued from often cruel and inhumane situations. As such, they can never be released into the wild. The sanctuary enables them to live out their days without bars or cages, in an environment that is as close to the one they would have in the wild – in a beautiful mountain setting, surrounded by ridges and fields filled with wildflowers. This is one experience that you will NEVER forget.
A towering 25 metre drop off a rugged vertical rock wall at the base of Palisade Mountain, a cascading body of water pummels down into the river below. The falls are a short drive from Bozeman through Hyalite Canyon and are an easy and popular 1 mile round trip (1.5km) hike on a paved track with some nice views of the mountain peaks through the trees as you meander along.
If your time (and budget) allows it, you simply cannot go past a day trip to Yellowstone National Park. In fact, you could spend many days in this vast landscape, soaking up the awe-inspiring beauty and revelling in the wilderness. The world’s first national park contains more than two million acres of steaming geysers (this is where you can witness the punctual eruptions of the famous Old Faithful Geyser), crystalline lakes, thundering waterfalls, panoramic vistas and a remarkable diversity of animals. The best way to experience Yellowstone’s natural wonders is to completely immerse yourself in this spectacular setting – hike some of the 1,100 miles of trails or get a little wet during a fly fishing excursion. The world of Yellowstone National Park is your oyster! Click here to view a really extensive guide to Yellowstone with further
Want to really look the part when in cowboy country? Well get yourself to Murdochs to deck yourself out in full Western regalia. Even if you don’t feel like dressing as a cowboy or cowgirl for your ride, you can still easily spend an hour (or three) here! Seriously, this store has EVERYTHING and you’re bound to find a souvenir or cool present for a loved one back at home.
PLACES TO EAT
If you’re after a hearty meal for breakfast or lunch, head to The Western Café, a Bozeman institution with its friendly atmosphere and delicious homemade food. This place prides itself on working with local farmers and getting all their ingredients locally. If you’re after honest, good old favourites you’ll feel right at home here. The breakfast menu is huge, so making a choice is going to be your biggest problem. Another café that boast the ‘best breakfast in town’ and also has a great selection of homemade gluten free baked goods is The Nova Café so make sure you check it out.
Roost Fried Chicken is a small, unpretentious restaurant in prime location on Main Street serving up classic southern dishes based on family recipes. But the signature finger-licking southern fried chicken is what gets you in the door, you’ll follow the delicious smell along the street and right up to the counter. Don’t forget to ask for a piece of their fabulous homemade pie as well!
‘Industrial chic’ are the words that come to mind when you walk inside Montana Ale Works, a brilliant pub set in the former Northern Pacific Railroad warehouse. But enough about the décor, you come here for the award-winning restaurant with a menu featuring dishes like beef and buffalo burgers, bison potstickers, Montana meatloaf, fish tacos and more. The staff are also happy to let you taste any of the 40 microbrews on tap, including the local Bozones.
And finally, if you’re a sweet tooth like me you MUST head to Granny’s Gourmet Donuts early in the morning before they sell out. The donuts here are utterly addictive so don’t be stupid like me and buy only one, you’ll only have to return later for more!
Element Bozeman – Located in downtown Bozeman with a complimentary breakfast, indoor pool, and airport pick up and drop off service, this hotel is our pick for accommodation in Bozeman.
Reference: Vacation Idea
Images via Montana Space Grant Consortium, Nicholas J. Barnes, 72ppi Photo Blog, WNCT and Pinterest