Nestled on the banks of the Yellowstone River, Livingston is surrounded by three mountain ranges: the Crazy, Absaroka and Bridger mountains. The town is located about 55 miles from the Roosevelt Arch and the North Entrance to Yellowstone National Park, the country's first national park. Livingston was established as a direct result of the Northern Pacific Railroad in December of 1882. The NPR would become a major player in popularizing Livingston as the gateway to Yellowstone, which brought in visitors from all over the world. With a population of over 7,000 today, Livingston provides all the amenities of a major city with the safety and charm of small-town living. In addition to several surrounding historical sites to explore, the natural mountain and forest areas around Livingston provide a wealth of outdoor recreation activities.
The small town of Big Timber, Montana sits in the valley formed by the confluence of the Boulder and Yellowstone Rivers. With a population of around 1,600, the town is the county seat of Sweet Grass County: an area larger than Rhode Island and full of magnificent scenery. Established in 1883, Big Timber was named for its abundance of cottonwood trees lining the banks of the nearby rivers. In fact, a majestic 125-foot-tall cottonwood (that would take three men to wrap their arms around the trunk of) is located on the banks of the Yellowstone River right outside the city limits. The tree was close to being the national champion cottonwood! Today, 200-year-old cottonwood trees –the same that Lewis and Clark passed when traveling through the region—still line the riverbanks outside of Big Timber.
The Yellowstone Gateway Museum is housed in the 1907 Northside School, a four-room schoolhouse listed on the National Register of Historic Places, which served as Livingston’s elementary school until the mid-1970s. Today, the Yellowstone Gateway Museum aims to preserve the history of Livingston/Park County and their relationship to Yellowstone National Park. Visitors can explore permanent exhibits that interpret the area’s native cultures, early expeditions, railway and transportation, stories and artifacts of early communities. There are also a variety of outdoor exhibits, which include a one-room schoolhouse, blacksmith shop and a fleet of transportation vehicles, including a vintage red caboose. Temporary exhibits are added periodically, so there is always something new to explore!
It has taken nature millions of years to form the natural sandstone arch from which this park takes its name. Located adjacent to the Daniel Boone National Forest, near the Red River Gorge Geological Area, the bridge spans 78 feet and is 65 feet high, and has an impressive falls spilling over the lip. Hikers are drawn to this rugged, scenic area of high stone cliffs and stone arches, but tenderfoots can also enjoy the scenic, ridge-top views from the park's sky lift. There are also plenty of campgrounds and picnic spots for visitors who wish to enjoy the Natural Bridge Park's natural beauty and wildlife.
This two-day, outdoor music festival is held in mid-July at the beautiful Sacajawea Park along the Yellowstone River. Attendees to Summerfest can enjoy live music throughout the weekend, along with an array of food and drink vendors from around the state. Kids can enjoy a variety of activities, as well. The best part? Proceeds from Summerfest go back to the Livingston community in the form of an expanded recreation department!
Every summer in Downtown Big Timber, you’ll find the Sweet Grass Fest, a weekend full of family friendly fun that brings together the residents of Sweet Grass county. Activities include a car and tractor show, vendor fair, Fun Run, parade, live music, face painting, a petting zoo and more. In conjunction with the festival is the Big Timber Rodeo, an action packed two-day event that draws an audience of all ages. The rockin’ rodeo after-parties finish off both evenings with live music and street dances. If you’re in the area in June, head to Big Timber for a weekend packed full of fun!
Based on the plethora of 5-star online reviews, Faye’s Café in Livingston offers delightfully different cuisine that is consistently delicious. The unique café is open for breakfast and lunch and offers an ever-changing variety of inspired dishes, including deluxe meatballs made with bison and beef; a chicken reuben sandwich, breakfast mac and cheese, and nacho salad. Almost every dish on Faye’s menu can be made vegetarian, vegan, dairy or gluten free! For a one of a kind, 5-star meal in Livingston, don’t miss Faye’s Café!
Located inside the Grand Hotel Bed & Breakfast, the Grand Hotel Saloon serves up breakfast, lunch and dinner in a historic 1890s hotel setting. With hearty appetizers, fresh salads, coffee-rubbed steaks, delicious pasta, chicken, pork and seafood options, the Saloon’s menu is sure to satisfy every palette. The full-service bar offers a wide variety of spirits, beer and wine options to pair with your meal. Enjoy innovative world cuisine with a Montana touch at the Grand Hotel Saloon!
Big Timber is a great small town to raise your family. It's a beautiful area and a great location of the state!