Park County is located in Montana’s south-central regions bordering Wyoming, to the north of Yellowstone National Park. The Yellowstone River is the primary system running through the county, as well as the Shields River. Park County was first established in 1887 and is a historic region of Montana that harks back to the days of The Lewis and Clark Expedition, Native American conflicts, mining, and railroad expansion.
Park County covers less than 2 million acres and much of the land area is forested. The landscape features four mountain ranges in all by way of the Absarokas, Gallatin, Bridger, and Crazy Mountains, and there are elevations ranging between 5000 feet and more than 12,000 feet – which is actually the highest point in the state — at Granite Peak.
The economy of the county is largely related to agriculture, as well as the many tourism and recreation activities it is known for. The current population is around 16,000, and the only two incorporated towns or cities in Park County are Livingston and Clyde Park. Half of the overall population of the county resides in Livingston, the county seat.
Livingston is located along the banks of the Yellowstone River and is surrounded by impressive-looking mountain ranges. The town also contains a wide range of modern amenities by way of shops, restaurants, theaters, galleries, museums, and golf courses. It attracts a range of visitors who come either for the rugged outdoor pursuits that the area offers or the culture by way of the cowboy roots and the historic and artistic aspects.
Visit the Park County Government website.
Special Events in Park County
Main Attractions in Park County
Yellowstone Gateway Museum of Park County
The museum is the main place in which to get all the insights you need into the history of Park County. Here you can find out all about the region’s connection with Yellowstone and how it has been the home for a wide variety of native peoples for more than 10,000 years.
The museum contains exhibits and information related to fur trappers, explorers, and early homesteaders. There is evidence of how Livingston became a significant Yellowstone National Park gateway in 1883 when the Burlington Northern Railway came to town and established a line in the southern direction of the park.
The three-story museum is in a building that formerly served as an old schoolhouse and dates back to 1906. It is now on the National Register of Historic Places and features four main exhibition spaces.
Each room relates to a different aspect of the region’s history namely Native Culture, Expeditions, Pioneers, and Transportation. There is also a courtyard that features items and artifacts related to archaeology, the explorers’ Lewis and Clark, Yellowstone National Park, and the railroad development.
Park County Fairgrounds
With a history and track record stretching back to 1949, the county-wide fair features carnival activities and rides, along with a plethora of entertainment activities. These include auctions, exhibitions, family entertainment, a farmers market, and even a pig wrestling contest!
The fairground site has hookups for RVs and campers and contains an arena. There is a main hall with dining options and a number of exhibition buildings. The sale pavilion where the stalls and auction are housed is now quite historic although the fairground is due to take on a few more modern amenities such as an indoor ice rink which is in the pipeline.
Chico Hot Springs
This is a resort based around the famous hot springs, ideal for couples, groups or families. Located in Pray, which is between Livingston and Yellowstone National Park, the resort is a historic lodge with various types of accommodation that provides an excellent base from which to explore the surrounding region.