Yellowstone Historic Center, Montana

Rebecca Hanlon
Last Updated: March 4th, 2023

Located in West Yellowstone, the Yellowstone Historic Center tells the story of the town that started on the outskirts of Yellowstone National Park in 1908 and how tourist transportation through the park has evolved over the years. 

Yellowstone is the nation’s first national park! 

It has also evolved over the years, adding priceless artifacts of decades past. The Union Pacific added the Union Pacific Dining Lodge in 1925 as a place for people passing through to sit and eat. 

The Yellowstone Shortline Trail Project is the latest addition to the Historic Center. The project is ongoing and consists of converting a 9-mile section of an abandoned railroad bed into a hiking-biking trail. 

Find out all there is to do at the Yellowstone Historic Center!

What is the Yellowstone Historic Center?

historic center
Image: H. Michael MileyFollow

Before entering Yellowstone National Park, the Historic Center is an excellent attraction to visit. The sole purpose of creating the town of West Yellowstone was to serve visitors of the park. 

The Yellowstone Historic Center is inside the old railroad depot and features educational exhibits on the town of West Yellowstone, travel, and the national park. The Historic Center also features a venue in the Dining Lodge for special events. 

Learn about the history of the first national park, the evolution of the area’s transportation, and how this small community has served Yellowstone visitors for many years. 

What is there to do at Yellowstone Historic Center?

The main attraction at Yellowstone Historic Center is the museum. You will also find a dining lodge for events and a unique project in the works. 

Museum of the Yellowstone

museum of the yellowstone

The Musem of the Yellowstone tells the story of how people used to travel through Yellowstone National Park and shows the history of influence the park has over the town of West Yellowstone. 

Take a tour through the Historic District and learn how the town slowly came together through the early 1900s. You will also find out how visitors used to travel and sightsee through the park. First by stagecoach, then by trains, buses, and airplanes. 

The West Gate has remained the busiest entrance into the park since 1913 and is still going strong. West Yellowstone continues providing service for millions of eager visitors each year and is dedicated to preserving the area’s history and showing respect to those who first made it possible. 

Look out for local museum events while you’re in the area. Enjoy homecooked food and celebration of heritage. 

Tickets and Hours

You can enjoy two consecutive museum days, including access to all featured films with admission. 

The Museum of Yellowstone is open seasonally from May 14th through October 10th. They are open seven days a week from 10 AM to 6 PM. 

Admission rates include:

  • Adults $10
  • Seniors $8
  • Military $7

College students and children 17 and under are free. 

Union Pacific Dining Lodge

union pacific dining lodge
Image: Charles (Chuck) Peterson

The Union Pacific Dining Lodge, once a place for hungry travelers to rest and eat, is now used exclusively for special events like weddings and other celebrations. 

You can rent out the entire lodge, which features vast rooms with stone fireplaces and architecture that captures the essence of Montana. Your guests will have plenty of room to dance, eat, and mingle. Plus, hire one of the venue’s caterers to work out of the enormous kitchen.

Rental rates start at $500 and increase to $5,000 depending on the days and how many rooms.

Host your wedding next to one of the world’s most famous national parks!

Yellowstone Shortline Trail

The Yellowstone Shortline Trail is an ongoing project led by a dedicated group that plans to deliver residents and visitors a world-class trail for general recreation purposes. 

The trail will follow the historic route of the Oregon Short Line Railroad and feature 9-miles of paved paths. There will also be amenities like pavilions, benches, and interpretive signs. 

Visitors will experience the beauty of nature combined with history while enjoying an excellent hiking and biking experience. 

You can donate to the cause and be part of bringing the trail to life. 

Fun Things to do Around West Yellowstone

The Best Nearby Restaurants

Accommodations in West Yellowstone


Visit West Yellowstone and experience the history of the nation’s first national park and the small town that helped shape it. 

Stop by the Yellowstone Historic Center on your way into Yellowstone National Park!

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About The Author

Rebecca Hanlon

Rebecca has been a travel blogger and editor for over 5 years, working with some of the biggest brands in industry. She’s taught English as a foreign language in 5 different countries, and her most fulfilling role was as a tour guide around some of Europe’s finest vineyards. She the one behind the social channels here at Discovering Montana, whilst also finding the time to perform an assistant editor role.

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