The town of Gardiner began to prosper when Yellowstone National Park opened in 1872 and is the north entrance to this first National Park. Gardiner began serving tourists when the Northern Pacific Railroad brought them from Livingston to the small town called Cinnabar, where they would get on a stagecoach to finish the journey to Gardiner. After many disputes, the railroad expanded the last few miles to Gardiner, making it the new gateway to the park. Roosevelt Arch was built in 1903, marking the entrance to the world’s first National Park.
Gardiner is a quaint town with lots of lodging, shopping, and dining to accommodate the large volume of tourists. Sitting in between the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness and Yellowstone National Park, seasonal outdoor activities abound in Gardiner. Fishing, hunting, horseback riding, whitewater rafting, and kayaking are all popular. Elk, deer, bighorn sheep, and an occasional bear will often be seen roaming on the various lawns throughout town.