Finding a great vacation destination is not always easy. That’s given! But today I have a good one for you. Check out our things to do in Paradise Valley, Montana guide and see just how thrilled you’ll be.
Unspoiled adventures await visitors who plan to spend time exploring the majestic American West. This corner of the world is home to some of the most scenic and stunning places, like Paradise Valley in Montana – a major valley of the famous Yellow River.
While wandering this part of Big Sky Country, you can explore the world-famous Yellowstone Park and many other tourist attractions here. Add unrivaled fly fishing access, hiking, canoeing, whitewater rafting, and mountaineering to your list of things to do in Paradise Valley, Montana, and the fun is complete. Lots of adventures are possible to have as a family or with friends.
Also, this lovely area is full of intact wilderness and gives people a glimpse of what Yellowstone National Park offers. But, always ensure you carry bear spray any time you venture out into the wild.
Now, let’s cut to the chase and see what these incredible things you can do in Paradise Valley, Montana are.
Fun & Best Things to Do in Paradise Valley, Montana
1. Tour Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park has a reputation worldwide as a fascinating place to visit – we’ve written a TON about this place. Therefore, it’s certainly worth adding it to your Paradise Valley, Montana, tourist attractions list. Even better news, this amazing park welcomes all visitors, including kids, with a sense of adventure.
Any family-friendly tour of Yellowstone Park awakens the need for adventure as you explore this majestic place. Most folks opt to see Yellowstone National Park on foot by walking the many different trails on wildlife tours. But, you can also try horseback riding or driving around this park and still get to see different animal species.
Yellowstone country is home to wild bison, bighorn sheep, elk, brown bears, and even bald eagles. Also, there are different spots where you can enjoy watching wolves roaming free in the wild. Yellowstone also has an easy-to-access visitor center with many interesting exhibitions that kids and adults can enjoy.
The best way to have a great time at Yellowstone as a visitor is to book a guided tour. There are different exciting tours of this national park, such as the West Yellowstone Park Guided Tour, Lamar Valley Safari Hiking Tour, and the Private Full-Day Yellowstone National Park Tour. Any of these tours is an excellent chance to enjoy the beauty of the vast Yellowstone area.
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2. Marvel at the Magnificent Old Faithful
If you are not sure of what to see in Paradise Valley, Montana, the magnificent Old Faithful is among the best sights. It’s among the top Paradise Valley, Montana, tourist attractions that attract multitudes of visitors each year.
Generally, Old Faithful is a geyser whose eruption offers a sight to behold both for solo travelers and those traveling as a family. The site’s beauty and majesty led to the creation of Yellowstone National Park in 1872. And it has since attracted millions of visitors from across the world.
However, while Old Faithful is a huge attraction, it’s not the only geyser in Yellowstone. The park has about 500 of them.
Currently, Old Faithful erupts about 20 times in 24 hours. The height of each eruption varies from 100 to 180 feet, and the height of the previous eruption determines this. An eruption can last anywhere from 1.5 to 5 minutes, giving you a chance to take in this fantastic natural phenomenon.
Luckily, there are guided tours to this family-friendly attraction that you can book. For instance, book the Yellowstone Old Faithful, Waterfalls, and Wildlife Day Tour to get all the fun.
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3. Float Down the Mighty Yellowstone River
Are you a big fan of water and love exploring new rivers? Well, ensure you add this one to your list as you contemplate what to do in Paradise Valley, Montana.
The Mighty Yellowstone River, a tributary of the Missouri River, is the perfect place to float on a boat. This undammed river stretches on for 692 miles from Wyoming to North Dakota. Make this a solo adventure or something to do with friends or family.
Here, there are different attractions, including some dramatic waterfalls. But while it’s all fun and games, remember this is a river and requires proper preparations. In fact, if you’re new to the area, it’s better to book a guided tour.
Some sections of the river are calm and the best place for floating. However, when you get near the Jim Canyon, some rapids require navigating experience. All in all, enjoy some fun time floating on the Yellowstone River in Yellowstone National Park.
4. Explore Pine Creek Falls and Pine Creek Lake
When traveling on Hwy 541, check out for a sign indicating the location of the Pine Creek community. Take the East River Road; this will be the start of your adventure to explore Pine Creek Falls and Pine Creek Lake.
Both of these attraction sites are on National Forest land. And there’s the Creek Campground, where you can choose to set up a tent and spend a few days exploring the area. It is a family-friendly camp with drinking water and necessary facilities.
The Pine Creek Trail is well-marked, and there’s a parking area where you can leave your vehicle. Also, the beginning of the trail is wide and easy, but it narrows as you continue with a gradual climb. Continue walking through the forest, and you come across a bridge crossing Pine Creek.
If you go further ahead, you will come across a beautiful fall known as the Pine Creek falls. The place has rocks where you can sit and take in the beauty of this natural phenomenon. And when you move further onwards along the Pine Creek trail, you’ll come across the 32-acre Pine Creek Lake!
5. Marvel at Large Rapids at Yankee Jim Canyon
This is one of the must-see Montana attractions. This canyon is located in Custer Gallatin National Forest, 13 miles north of Yellowstone National Park. Here is where adventure-seekers come to enjoy some serious white water rafting action!
So, as you plan what to do in Paradise Valley, Montana, how about visiting the largest rapids in the area? At this canyon, folks who enjoy white water rafting can have an epic time on the Yellowstone River.
The water’s rate starts to increase at the start of the canyon at the Yankee Canyon Revenge. But, ensure you have ample experience before taking on this difficult rapid.
After that, you’ll come across the Big Rock rapid, a classic pool and drop. And next to that is the Boxcar rapid, a stretch of fast water.
A guided tour can come in handy as you plan to explore the rapids here. You can try the Rafting Yankee Jim Canyon on the Yellowstone River tour or the Yellowstone River Whitewater Rafting & Lunch tour from Gardiner.
See Related: Best Whitewater Rafting in the World
6. Relax at the Chico Hot Springs
Adults and kids can spend time at the relaxing Chico Hot Springs in the heart of Paradise Valley. They are natural springs located 30 miles north of Yellowstone National Park and are ideal for family and group travelers.
In the 1900s, visitors touring the area began exploring these springs as a great vacation place. And currently, resorts around this place receive thousands of visitors who want to enjoy these amazing waters.
There’s no shortage of things to do in this vast valley, as you can hike, catch fly fish, ride a horse, and enjoy the view of majestic mountains. Also, you can enjoy a full-day spa, natural hot springs pool, and many more activities. The hot springs are part of the National Historic Register.
As for places to stay, the Sage Lodge offers visitors amazing facilities, including full accommodation. The lodge has a landmark dining room where you can enjoy amazing cuisines, including fresh seafood and steak. Also, check out the full-service day spa, where you can spend time refreshing your spirit.
7. Learn the Area’s History at the Yellowstone Gateway Museum
Just a short drive to Livingston Montane, spend time learning about the history of this area at this great museum. It’s currently situated at the old Northside School set up back in 1907 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The museum has a wide variety of art galleries and exhibitions that the whole family can enjoy. Get to learn about the native culture, which is a huge part of Montana. In addition, there’s information about the pioneers, expeditions, transport industry, and military.
Kids and adults can marvel at the outdoor exhibitions featuring historic vehicles, among other attractions. But, always check first the dates to know when the museum displays such exhibitions.
The museum is also home to military history and is the perfect place to learn about Native American history. There’s an old one-room classroom common in yesteryears and lots of ancient machinery on display.
8. Blue Ribbon Trout Fishing
Do you want to spend time trout fishing while visiting Montana? Well, Paradise Valley is the perfect place for blue ribbon trout fishing. It’s also the perfect time to catch glimpses of the majestic Gallatin mountains and Absaroka ranges.
The Blue Ribbon Trout Streams in this valley are home to rainbow and brown trout. There’s also the mountain whitefish and the Yellowstone cutthroat trout.
Wondering what a Blue Ribbon fishery is? Well, it’s a designation the government makes to help identify extremely high-quality recreational fisheries. These fisheries help maintain a beautiful fishing culture, which not only offers economic value to the locals but allows fishing enthusiasts to do what they love.
Therefore, find calm waters where you can catch fish, close to public access sites. In fact, trout fishing is among the free things to do in Paradise Valley, Montana. However, fishing methods can vary as you move to different river points.
9. Visiting Livingston, Montana
While spending time in Paradise Valley, you can take a quick trip to nearby Livingston, Montana. This historic train town is towards the north entrance of Yellowstone. Many folks in the area know Livingston as the original gateway into Yellowstone country.
A day trip to this amazing location with family and friends helps you learn more about Montana. This lovely town is surrounded by four mountain ranges and offers much for indoor and outdoor adventure-seekers.
Livingston is home to the Yellowstone Gateway Museum and a historic town with much to reveal. The western-style old city has many brick buildings and western fronts. Also, there are lots of fun activities like fishing, canoeing, and kayaking that you can do here.
Outdoor lovers can also spend time camping at the Mayor’s landing. It’s set on the Yellowstone River banks and offers visitors overnight camping facilities. Be sure to also pass by Sacajawea Park, which has play structures for kids.
See Related: Best Things to do in Billings, Montana
10. Enjoy Playing Chico Hot Springs Disc Golf
Are you a fan of disc golf? Among the most fun things in Paradise Valley is playing disc golf.
These hot springs are home to a fantastic 18-hole disc golf course on a private ranch. On the course, you come across veteran baskets and numerous fly tee pads.
Disc golfing enables players to enjoy dynamic sporting uphill and downhill. As you play, know that this disc golfing course has short and long holes and blinds. All are welcome, including beginners who’ve never heard of disc golfing and experts who love the game.
However, you must get a day pass to the springs if you want to play. The pass is available for purchase at the front desk or in the shops at the resort (the gift shop has discs for rent).
This day pass also enables you to swim in the hot waters of the springs!
11. Explore the Absaroka Mountains
Outdoor activities make it possible to create some of the most amazing memories when visiting a new place. So, check out the Absaroka Mountain Ranges, part of the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness, a prime Paradise Valley tourist attraction.
Plan for a day hike to take in these marvelous peaks that rise majestically from the earth to dominate the area. It’s possible to hike an avalanche peak, a rocky summit, and enjoy breathtaking views of Yellowstone Lake. Since this is bear country, always ensure you pack bear spray for your hikes around the Absaroka Range!
With bears about, it’s better to hike as a group and take an easy pace since this can be a great change in altitude for some folks. And if hiking alone, notify folks at Paradise Valley of when you’re leaving and when you expect to return. In addition, there are spots for overnight camping, but it’s better to head back to town when the sun sets, especially in winter.
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12. Climb the Gallatin Mountain Range
If you observe sharp peaks rising from the ground around Paradise Valley, this is the Gallatin Mountain Range. You can see craggy ridges and expansive alpine forests from the sharp peaks. Hunters love this area since it’s home to lots of elk.
On the eastern flank of the Gallatin Mountain Range, you can see scenic views of the Yellowstone River flowing north. Enjoy time on the Gallatin Crest Trail (Devil’s Backbone). This is among the best mountain-top trails in Montana.
Hiking and mountaineering are among the most popular activities on the Gallatin Mountain Range. Accessing the range from the north is better since west approaches can take more time.
Remember to carry all the hiking or mountain climbing gear you need for a better experience. It’s possible to hire a guide at Paradise Valley who is familiar with this challenging terrain.
Best Hotels in Paradise Valley, Montana
As you plan your trip to Paradise Valley, Montana, it’s important to check out available accommodations. Some of the best places to stay in the area are:
1. Yellowstone Valley Lodge
While visiting the Paradise Valley region, one of the best places to stay is Yellowstone Valley Lodge. Here you can find some lovely cabins with modern features and free WiFi.
This property is a ranch, and you can enjoy some delicious continental-style breakfast. There’s also a restaurant at Yellowstone Valley Lodge and good parking – not to mention beautiful scenery.
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2. Sage Lodge
Pray in Paradise Valley is home to Sage Lodge. Here guests can enjoy free WiFi, a fitness center, a restaurant, and a bar.
There are several units at Sage Lodge, all of which have a lounge, bed area, private bathroom, and TV. And in the bathroom, clean bathrobes are waiting for you. Be sure to ask about the hot tub at the lodge and a terrace with a shared lounge.
3. Paradise Valley Cabin by Chico and Yellowstone
Another spectacular place offering accommodation here is Paradise Valley Cabin by Chico and Yellowstone.
This property has one bedroom and one bathroom option. There’s a kitchen area with a refrigerator, microwave, and washing machine. Also, there’s a hairdryer in the bathroom, free toiletries, linens, and towels.
4. Emigrant Cabin
Stay at the Emigrant Cabin in Emigrant that part of 10 acres of amazing land in this area. The cabin has fantastic river views from the home.
The Emigrant Cabin has two bedrooms and amenities like a microwave, washing machine, and fridge. There’s also one bathroom, and you get linens and towels for free.
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5. Montana Yellowstone River Retreat
In Montana Yellowstone River Retreat, private parking and free WiFi access are available. The lodge has one-bedroom accommodation options with air conditioning, a dining area, a kitchen, and a TV.
In addition, it provides guests with linen and towels during their stay. So, after an exhausting hike, fishing, or sightseeing adventure, you can fully relax and prepare for the next day.
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