Top Activities in Montana’s Paradise Valley


Paradise Valley more than lives up to its name. This iconic landscape serves as the northern gateway to Yellowstone National Park, resting between the towns of Livingston and Gardiner. Mountains rise above the valley on either side, where the Yellowstone River winds. There's a lot to do in the outdoors here, no matter what time of year you visit. Summer brings bike and foot access to the wilderness, with fly fishing through lazy days, and during winter, you can strap on skis or snowshoes to enjoy frozen fun. Regardless of the season, you can enjoy the outdoors and find adventure. Here are a few of our favorite activities to enjoy in Paradise Valley.

Cross Country Ski the Winter Away

During winter, the snowy ground makes the ideal course to strap on some skis or snowshoes and explore the wintery landscape. Parks' Fly Shop in Gardiner and Dan Bailey's in Livingston both rent skis and snowshoes, so you don't need to pack your own gear to enjoy the wintry side of Paradise Valley. Mill Creek Road and Tom Miner Basin are just a few nearby options when you head out in winter with skis on your feet.

Enjoy a Hot Springs Soak

With its close proximity to Yellowstone, Paradise Valley has a little geothermal activity of its own. Pick from Chico or Yellowstone Hot Springs, and suit up for a steamy dip in naturally heated mineral springs. Many people insist that the mineral waters carry healing health benefits, but whether that's fact or fiction, you can't argue with the soothing properties of hot water on tired muscles. Soaking is designed for year-round relaxation, so pop on a stocking cap when the mercury drops, or alternate between chilly plunge pools and steamy springs on starry summer nights.

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Fish the Yellowstone River

Get out your rod and reel, pull on some waders (or grab a raft or drift boat), and head out to fish these wild waters. You can go solo or sign on with a guide, but either way, you should get stoked for the longest undammed river in the continental United States, with 671 miles of wild water. You're looking at blue-ribbon trout fishing here, so expect to see brown trout, rainbow trout, and Yellowstone cutthroat trout, along with some native mountain whitefish.

Hit the Trails to Hike

Paradise Valley is a gateway to more wild areas than just Yellowstone. The Custer Gallatin National Forest also holds miles of hiking trails that ring the area. Pine Creek Falls, Livingston Peak, and Dry Creek are just a few to choose from, but the options are nearly endless, depending on how wild you want to go.

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Get Going With Some Disc Golf

You might not associate the wilds of Montana with disc golf, but you can still sling some discs (technically different from frisbees, but similar in concept). The disc golf course at Chico Hot Springs Resort sits on private land, so it requires a day pass from the hot springs to play. The good news is that a pass will cover your soak that day, too. This 18-hole course gives you and the family a new way to get outside under the Big Sky. You can rent or purchase discs, so feel free to head over on a whim to try out this sport.

For more ways to enjoy your Montana vacation, get inspired for adventure with the rest of the Highline Adventures blog.