Things to Do in West Yellowstone &  Around Ennis

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK
Begin by exploring Yellowstone National Park. El Western is just an hour from this incredible natural wonder. A day visiting the Park's premier features might include Old Faithful and the Old Faithful Inn, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Upper and Lower Yellowstone Falls and walking a short trail along boiling mud pots and steaming crystalline formations. Or, if you prefer, plan a day hike to a remote mountain lake to fish for "Brookies".

Whatever you choose, you'll see amazing wildlife everywhere. We recommend taking a picnic lunch with you from Ennis as you travel scenic backroad US 287 through the Madison Valley to Yellowstone. That way you can choose a spot by a stream or in a meadow for a relaxing break. Go ahead – a little nap is just what you need at this altitude.
GRIZZLY & WOLF DISCOVERY CENTER 
Located an hour south of Ennis in West Yellowstone

The Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center is an AZA accredited Not-For-Profit wildlife park and educational facility. OPEN 365 days a year, including all holidays, (GWDC bears do NOT hibernate). The center features Grizzle bears, river otters, wolf encounters and a host of other area wildlife. Along with these animal encounters there are a host of educational learning opportunities from exploring the myth, art, literature, history and folklore with the bear scientists, outdoorsmen and researchers through thematic areas, taxidermic mounts in naturalistic settings. Admission is good for 2 consecutive days!

EARTHQUAKE LAKE VISITOR CENTER
The Hebgen Lake Earthquake moved at 100 mph and in less than 1 minute, over 80 million tons of rock crashed into the narrow canyon, blocking the Madison River and forming Earthquake Lake. This earth- changing event, measured 7.5 on the Richter scale. At the time The Hebgen Lake Earthquake was second largest earthquake to occur in the lower 48 states in the 20th century. Twenty-eight people lost their lives in the event.

In 1967, the Forest Service's Earthquake Lake Visitor Center opened its doors and today, the center provides interpretive services for more than 50,000 visitors annually. The natural attractions and the easily- seen effects of the strongest earthquake in the Rocky mountains has made this area one of the outstanding scenic and geological study areas in the west.

The center provides a panoramic view of the mountain that fell and the lake that was formed.  This facility hosts interpretive displays on earthquakes, plate tectonics, and a working seismograph.  In the observatory, scheduled movies and talks, explain the story of the 1959 Hebgen Lake Earthquake. Visit our bookstore which is operated in partnership with the Yellowstone Forever.  There are restrooms, outside interpretive signs and a walking path to the Memorial Boulder. 

The Earthquake Lake Visitor Center is open daily from June through mid-September.  Hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Phone: 406 682-7620

LEWIS & CLARK CAVERNS
One of Montana's Natural Geologic Wonders

Discover one of the most highly decorated limestone caverns in North America.
Enjoy a beautiful hike and experience amazing geologic wonders at Montana's first and best-known state park. Cave access by guided tour only with tickets available daily only on site. There are two tour types, the Classic Tour and the Paradise Tour offered, Ticket sales from 9 am through 4:30 pm or until tickets are sold out; no reservations except for educational groups. Please keep in mind there is no access to the cave without a tour.

The Classic Tour- is a 2 hour, 2 mile tour. The route requires visitors to navigate over 600 stairs (over 500 down and over 100 up), to bend, duck waddle and even slide. This tour does go to areas of the caves where bats live. Please read more about restrictions due to the preservation of our bat population- click here.

Paradise Tour- consists of a 1⁄2 mile walk, or golf cart ride if necessary, on a flat pea gravel trail. Visitors enter the cave via a 538-foot tunnel on a flat cement walk or can take a wheelchair to access the first large and decorated Grand Finale Room. Depending on visitor mobility, the next room, the Paradise Room is accessible by 10 steps up 5 steps down and a return in the reverse order. You exit the same way you entered. The Paradise Tour is especially suited for visitors with small children, those who experience claustrophobia or cannot wear a facemask, and those who have physical mobility challenges. Not only does this route avoid the vertical climb to access the cave and the 600 stairs/bending/tight spaces of the Classic Tour, but it is also the only option that views the largest, most decorated area of the Cave, the Paradise Room.

*Please note tickets into the caverns are NOT included. The state parks do NOT allow anyone advanced purchase. 

Image may be subject to copyright
Image may be subject to copyright
ENNIS NATIONAL FISH HATCHERY
The Ennis National Fish Hatchery (NFH) is a broodstock hatchery, authorized by Congress in May 1930, it is the largest facility in the Service's National Broodstock Program. It is one of only two rainbow trout broodstock hatcheries in the nationwide federal hatchery system. Opening in July 1933, Ennis National Fish Hatchery is different from other hatcheries, a broodstock hatchery specializes in rearing fish to adult size, then taking the eggs from those fish, incubating them, and shipping them to production hatcheries where they are incubated, hatched, and the fish raised to stockable sizes. Most hatcheries produce fish of various sizes and then stock these fish in public lakes and streams, providing anglers with hours of fishing fun.

Visitors are welcome to take a self-guided tour of our visitor center and walk through the hatchery building where eggs and small fish are reared. There is a kiosk in the parking lot with visitor information and tour directions. Families and groups are always welcome to visit our hatchery at your leisure. Guided tours for groups are available if scheduled in advance by phone. There is also a display raceway with rainbow, blue and albino trout that weigh up to 10 pounds!


With over 3,000 visitors annually, the dedicated staff at the hatchery will normally be available to answer your questions. Education programs/tours are provided for the public and school groups when scheduled in advance. The visitor center, raceway, picnic tables, restrooms, and drinking fountains are accessible to people with disabilities. Contact Ennis NFH at (406) 682-4847 for additional information.


DAY TRIP ITINERARY



Day Trip #1 –Horseback Riding/ Outdoor Hiking
Head "up Jack Creek" to the Wolf Pack Outfitters for a trail ride or park at the trailhead for a beautiful day of hiking in the shadow of the Spanish Peaks and Lone Mountain.

Day Trip #2 – Golf in Ennis
Start your day with a great breakfast at Yesterday's Soda Fountain located at the Ennis Pharmacy followed by a round (or two) of golf at Madison Meadows Golf Course – call ahead for tee times.


Day Trip #3 – Explore Ennis
Sleep a little late and stop at the Maples Coffee for a breakfast sandwich or sweet breakfast breads. Then head on down to Main Street and check out the shops: The Trading Post and Plain Janes for unique clothing and gifts. Benji's is a must for silver and Native American jewelry lovers – the best part, all jewelry is 50%.


Day Trip #4 – Lewis & Clark Caverns
Have a Lewis & Clark adventure today! Put on walking shoes and grab some sandwiches from Kalena's Tea's then drive north about 45 miles on US Hwy 287 to MT Hwy 2 and follow the signs to Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park.

Viewing the caverns is especially fun for kids because it involves some climbing and scrambling in a really cool place.

Day Trip #5 – Road Trip to Bannack Montana
Bannack stands out among Montana's wealth of historical sites. Preserved rather than restored, Bannack offers perhaps the most accurate glimpse into the living conditions of the Montana gold rush era.

Just under 2 hours from Ennis, tours of Bannack are conducted from the visitor center, which is open from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Also, Bannack Days, with historic displays, re-enactors, and activities, are held annually the 3rd weekend in July.


Day Trip #6 – Bozeman, Montana
Just an hour from Ennis, Bozeman offers great shopping and dining options on main street. Be sure to check out Teds Grill, a Bozeman landmark, located at the Baxter Hotel.

Also, while you are there check out the Museum of the Rockies. Originally affiliated with Montana State University in Bozeman, and now also, the Smithsonian Institution, the museum is known for its paleontological collections.

Day Trip #7 –Yellowstone National Park/Quake Lake

Before you get to Yellowstone National Park, just about 40 miles south of Ennis on US 287 you will find Quake Lake. This lake was formed in 1959 by an earthquake in the Madison Canyon River Area.

Then just a little further up the road, about 30 miles, is Yellowstone National Park. A nearly 3,500-sq.-mile wilderness recreation area atop a volcanic hot spot. Yellowstone features dramatic canyons, alpine rivers, lush forests, hot springs and gushing geysers, including its most famous, Old Faithful.

If you get an early start, make sure to stop at the Campfire Lodge Resort Cafe, where you can dine in a rustic setting while enjoying the beautiful view of the Madison River and the Gallatin National Forest.  Reservations are suggested.