Simon and I have extensively traveled through several parks in Canada and the USA. We have gotten to know a few of the parks like the back of our hands – quite literally on my part, as my hands would probably be able to steer us around the roads with my eyes closed. (Simon doesn’t know how to drive. Long story.)
We’ve taken friends and family on tours of local areas in and around national parks and they’ve always gone home thrilled and with an intimate knowledge of that area. Because of the time spent in these regions, and our desire for more people to head into and appreciate nature, we would slowly like to introduce you to some of our favourite towns to visit when we need a bit of ‘civilization’ (read: to eat decent meals while watching critical baseball/hockey games) during our extensive period of living in a tent.
Let’s start with arguably our favourite national park border town of Cooke City, Montana.
This tiny town is located outside the northeast entrance to Yellowstone National Park, just past the even smaller hamlet (that might be overstating it) of Silver Gate. And when I say tiny, I mean population of 140 tiny.
But when you enter the town, you feel like you have been taken back to the ol’ wild west saloon days. And not the touristy version of the old west that you see overdone in so many western locales.
For a small town, there is a remarkable number of decent restaurants and cafes, but none of them compare to the Miner’s Saloon. If you want to taste some of the best food you will have anywhere, Miner’s is the place to eat. The pizza is actually our favourite pizza in the WORLD (and we’ve been to Italy!). We go with a classic pepperoni and throw a little arugula on top. Ohh, drool.
This town is a perfect location for tourists coming to the park. It’s situated right in between the park and the famed Beartooth Highway. It’s also a nice scenic drive from the town to Cody, Wyoming – home of Buffalo Bill.
Where to stay:
1. Slough Creek Campground – this is where we often stay – or, even closer, Pebble Creek Campground.
2. Big Moose Resort, Cooke City
3. High Country Motel and Cabins, Cooke City
4. Elk Horn Lodge, Cooke City
5. Pine Edge Cabins, Silver Gate
6. Soda Butte Campground, Gallatin National Forest
Where to Eat:
1. Miner’s Saloon. Go. Now.
2. Bearclaw Bakery. Amazing coffee. I should know. I’m an addict.
3. The Bistro. Good break from Miner’s Saloon pizza.
Where to Hike:
1. Granite Peak
2. Aero Lakes
See you there soon!