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A Local Guide: The Best Summer Activities in Bozeman, Montana

A Local Guide: The Best Summer Activities in Bozeman, Montana

A Local Guide: The Best Summer Activities in Bozeman, Montana

Adventure awaits in the Rocky Mountains. Experience the true spirit of the Wild West this summer in Montana with help from our local guide.

2022-05-17

You’ve probably seen the picturesque landscapes of Montana in several of your favorite movies and television shows, but Montana offers so much more than what you see on the big screen. Home to a portion of the iconic Yellowstone National Park, Montana is a popular destination for outdoor activities and breathtaking mountain backdrops, especially in the summertime.

If you’ve been inspired by the Big Sky country you’ve seen on-screen and are yearning to experience the freedom and true spirit of the Wild West, planning a trip to Montana is the perfect place to start. We teamed up with our retail partners in Montana to round up some of the best spots to explore this summer in Bozeman – and beyond.

For your morning caffeine…

A cup of joe is the perfect way to jumpstart your morning, no matter what’s on the itinerary. Two local favorites are Cold Smoke Coffee House, a spacious location that specializes in sourcing fresh and seasonal beans, and Treeline Coffee Roasters, an atmospheric roasting room that offers a full coffee bar, coffee-tasting flights, and freshly baked goods. If you consider yourself a tea person, check out locally owned and operated Steep Mountain Tea House in downtown Bozeman for a wide selection of loose-leaf teas available either hot or iced.

Derik Olsen Photography

For outdoor adventures…

There’s no shortage of fun outdoor activities in Bozeman, especially in the summertime. From camping and hiking to kayaking and white-water rafting, you’ll surely find an outdoor activity that is suitable for your speed.

A trip to Montana isn’t complete without an equine adventure, and there are several companies that offer guided horseback trail rides in the greater Bozeman area. Ride through well-trodden or remote areas of Yellowstone National Park and soak in the beautiful mountain scenery while learning about local flora and fauna for an unforgettable outdoor experience.

Fly fishing is another popular activity during summer months in Montana, and for good reason: the state is home to some of the best fly-fishing rivers in the world. Considered a home water to Bozeman due to its proximity, the Yellowstone River is a sought-after spot for both beginner and expert anglers alike. Known for being the longest undammed river in the country, the Yellowstone River is filled with native Yellowstone cutthroat trout upstream and a variety of rainbow and brown trout swimming free throughout.

If you’re looking for the ultimate adrenaline rush, book a white-water rafting trip on the Gallatin River just outside of Bozeman. For a more mellow ride through the same beautiful waters, consider a tubing excursion later in the summer when water levels are lower and perhaps better suited for families and first timers.

Of course, there are countless options for hiking and camping near Bozeman. We recommend searching by your experience level and making sure you’re equipped with the right clothing and gear to ensure a comfortable and safe experience.

Get outfitted for adventure…

Whether you’re searching for an Ariat VentTEK shirt for a day of fly fishing or a new pair of Ariat boots for the Bozeman Stampede, our retail partners in Bozeman have all your Ariat needs covered. Head to Murdoch’s Ranch & Home Supply in north Bozeman for ranch supplies, tools, and your favorite Ariat gear. Situated west of Murdoch’s is Sportsman’s Warehouse, another local retailer with a wide selection of Ariat footwear and apparel as well as hunting, fishing, and camping gear. Schnee’s in downtown Bozeman has been a staple for serious outdoor needs since 1946 and is another great option for a day of shopping. Here, you’ll find Ariat footwear, apparel, and any products you might need for your upcoming outdoor adventures. Last but not least, Boot Barn in downtown Bozeman offers all your favorite Western wear and accessories, including Ariat boots and apparel.

For family fun…

Here at Ariat, we’re all about activities the whole family will enjoy. If you’re searching for an activity suitable for any age or activity levels, check out the Museum of the Rockies, located near the Montana State University campus. Home to the most T. rex specimen in the world, the museum is a dinosaur-lover’s dream that will delight all visitors. The museum also offers regional history exhibits, planetarium shows, and other rotating attractions.

For another fun family activity, head to the Montana Grizzly Encounter in east Bozeman. This Grizzly bear rescue and educational sanctuary offers an up-close glimpse of the majestic animals in their natural environment. Plus, all proceeds go to the care of the Grizzly Bears and the educational mission of the rescue.

For good eats…

Start your day off on the right foot by indulging in one of the best breakfasts in Bozeman at Nova Cafe. Situated right on Main Street, the restaurant supports local and regional farmers by offering dishes crafted from the finest ingredients including grass-fed beef and locally baked bread. Another downtown spot known for making fresh, locally sourced ingredients shine is Revelry Plates + Pours. Here, you’ll find pastas, burgers, pizzas and more that will please even the most discerning palates.

Revelry Plates + Pours

For good drinks…

Craft beer aficionados will find their happy place at any of the craft breweries in the greater Bozeman area. Local favorite Montana Ale Works offers sustainably sourced food alongside over 40 draft beer selections and distilled spirits. Nearby Mountains Walking Brewery is another local favorite that offers craft beer flights and wood-fired pizza in cozier digs. If you’d rather sip on a glass of whiskey, check out Copper Restaurant and Whiskey Bar in downtown Bozeman. The sophisticated tavern offers upscale comfort food and an extensive selection of whiskeys perfect for enjoying neat or on the rocks.

Copper Restaurant and Whiskey Bar

For fans of the Yellowstone series…

Countless iconic movies and television shows have used Montana as a backdrop to bring the spirit of the West to the big screen. With a little bit of research, you can experience these jaw-dropping settings during your own summer adventure and get a glimpse at the true grit and cowboy culture you’ve seen on screen.

The popular Paramount Network series Yellowstone* has captivated viewers around the globe, and fans will be excited to discover that a trip to the real Dutton Ranch can become a reality. Situated near Darby, Montana (close to the Montana/Idaho border), the show’s Dutton Ranch is indeed a real, working 2,500-acre cattle ranch known as Chief Joseph Ranch. When the show isn’t filming, you can rent out a cabin on the property and spend your time living like the locals: fishing, hiking, and horseback riding.

Other famous filming locations in Montana you can scout come from flicks including Jurassic Park (2003), The Revenant (2015), A River Runs Through It (1992), and The River Wild (1994).

For the perfect day trip…

There’s so much to explore in Montana beyond the city of Bozeman. Fortunately, you can experience other beloved destinations without having to travel very far.

Livingston, located at the edge of the Yellowstone River is only about a 30-minute drive east of Bozeman, and offers a tight-knit community feel with the same magnificent mountain backdrop. Perhaps best known for being an artsy and eclectic counterpart to Bozeman, Livingston is home to breweries, art galleries, and restaurants you won’t want to miss.

Another small town situated 30 minutes west of Bozeman is Three Forks, Montana. Celebrated for its rich history and Western charm, Three Forks is where you’ll find some of the best summertime rodeos and more incredibly scenery.

You can also venture a little further out of Bozeman to discover other fun destinations including Flathead Valley/Glacier National Park, Missoula, and Bitterroot Valley. Regardless of region, one thing is certain: adventure awaits in Montana.


Saddle up for a fun-filled trip to Montana, and don’t forget to tag us in your adventures with #myAriat.

*Ariat is not a sponsor or affiliate of Paramount Networks or the television show Yellowstone. This article does not constitute an endorsement.