Gallatin County is the fourth-largest county in Montana, spanning 2,517 square miles (World Population Review). Home to the iconic Bridger Mountains, Gallatin Mountains, and Gallatin River, the county is known for its rich natural beauty. It also boasts West Yellowstone’s entrance to Yellowstone National Park, one of the most popular national parks in the United States.
The county seat of Gallatin County is Bozeman, a city often referred to as “the most liveable place” thanks to its small-town feel, despite its population of over 50,000 residents (Visit Montana). Bozeman was founded in 1864, after gold was discovered nearby in the Montana goldfields.
Gallatin County also hosts part of Big Sky Resort, one of the largest and most famous ski resorts in the country. According to the Gallatin County Government, nearly half of the land in the county is publicly owned by the Gallatin National Forest, the State of Montana, the Bureau of Land Management, or the National Park Service.
Humans have inhabited Gallatin County for thousands of years. Native American tribes, including the Shoshone, Nez Perce, Blackfeet, Flathead, and Sioux resided in the area prior to the arrival of European settlers.
On their journey across the United States in the 17th century, the Lewis and Clark Expedition passed through what is now the Gallatin Valley. Meriwether Lewis named the area after the United States Treasury Secretary, Albert Gallatin, who served under President Thomas Jefferson (The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States).
Visit the Gallatin County Government website.
- February – An Evening In Science
- February – Wild West Winterfest
- July – Big Sky Country State Fair
- July – August – Music on Main
- August – Sweet Pea Festival
- August – Summer SLAM Festival
- September – BZN International Film Festival
- December – Belgrade Festival of Lights
- December – Gallatin Christmas Parade
Yellowstone National Park – West Entrance
Yellowstone National Park isn’t just one of the biggest attractions in Gallatin County; it’s one of the biggest attractions in the United States. The park stretches into Montana (and Idaho), though it is primarily located in Wyoming, and can be accessed via its West Entrance from the town of West Yellowstone.
According to Destination Yellowstone, the West Entrance is the most popular access point to the park. This is the best place from which to visit several of the park’s most famous attractions, including Old Faithful, the world-renowned geyser.
The National Park Service Staff provides each visitor entering the park with an easy-to-read park map and newsletter, which will allow them to guide themselves throughout the 2.2 million-acre area. For more information on visiting Yellowstone National Park, please see the official website.
Museum of the Rockies
Situated in Bozeman, the Museum of the Rockies is a world-class museum and research facility exhibiting a wide variety of locally sourced fossils and skeletons. The museum also hosts artifacts from around the world, specializing in both cultural and natural history. Throughout the year, the establishment offers planetarium shows, lectures, and other educational programs.
The museum’s Siebel Dinosaur Complex is one of the primary exhibits drawing in visitors from all over the country. It is one of the largest collections of North American dinosaur fossils in the world, displaying skeletons from the infamous Tyrannosaurus Rex and other well-known species.
Additionally, the museum is home to the Cenozoic Corridor which contains a collection of fossils from prehistoric mammals that once lived in the state. Here, guests can see the remains of mammoths and bone-crushing dogs.
The Museum of the Rockies is open year-round except on special holidays. For more information on visiting the museum, please see the official website.
Downtown Bozeman is a hub of food, shopping, architecture, and culture in the seat of Gallatin County. The area is home to an array of casual and fine-dining eateries featuring a variety of cuisines, from the Copper Restaurant and Whisky Bar to Sundial Vietnamese Street Food.
There is a long list of shops to explore for those looking to indulge in a little retail therapy, selling everything from books and clothes to gifts and sporting equipment. Downtown Bozeman also offers several exciting community events throughout the year, including galas, parties, and live music shows.
For more information on visiting Downtown Bozeman, please see the official website.