Located between the Gallatin and Crazy Mountain ranges and surrounded by the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Area, the town of Livingston is nestled along the free flowing Yellowstone River. Main Street and the historic districts are reminders the city’s bygone golden era. The downtown buildings from the 1880s and 90s still stand as a testimony of the old west and give Livingston its special turn-of-the-century charm. Because of its historic flavor and beautiful natural surroundings, Livingston has also been seen on the silver screen in several movies, including the very popular A River Runs Through It.
Livingston has much to offer locals and tourists alike. Located on blue ribbon fishing waters of the legendary Yellowstone River, Livingston is home to the International Federation of Fly Fishers. Stop by their Discovery Center and learn what flyfishing is all about. If you are interested hunting and fishing, the area abounds with outfitters and guides to accommodate all sportsmen.
Over the decades, Livingston has become an arts mecca with many artists and writers living in the area. The downtown area has over 15 art galleries, and there are over 200 artisans throughout Park County. From June through September, the Livingston Gallery Association presents the Downtown Art Walk every fourth Friday of the month. In late summer, the Park County Studio 2-Day Tour allows art lovers to see artists working in their own studios.
The Livingston Area offers live theater at The Blue Slipper Theatre and the Firehouse 5 Playhouse. Movie goers will enjoy The Empire Theater with its art deco motif. History lovers can delve into Park County history at the Yellowstone Gateway Museum. Railroad enthusiasts must make a stop at the Livingston Depot Center. Kids of all ages are welcome to view the three-room Livingston Model Railroaders display also at the depot. Travelers will peruse unique shops and tempt their pallets at excellent restaurants throughout the area.
For adventure, whitewater rafting is very popular on the Yellowstone River, and there are plenty of trails to hike, bike, birdwatch, horseback ride, hunt, fish, golf, ski, rock climb and camp in the area. For a western-life experience, there are working ranches in the area that are willing to take in a tenderfoot too.
Ranked as the nation’s tenth top rodeo over the Independence Holiday, the Livingston Roundup is held every year July 2-3-4 and draws competitors and visitors from all over the USA and Canada. Before the rodeo, don’t miss the big parade downtown on July 2nd. Also in July, enjoy the music-filled Summerfest Along the Yellowstone, the Kids’ Trout Derby, the Festival of the Arts, and the CNR Sustainability Fair. (For more things to do, view the Calendar of Events at www.livingston-chamber.com .)
Nearby take the family for a soak just 25 miles south into the beautiful Paradise Valley to the historical and romantic Chico Hot Springs. If you are missing the big city, travel 25 miles west to Bozeman. And, of course, the wonders of Yellowstone Park are only an hour south from Livingston. To travel the Scenic Byways of Park County, stop by the Livingston Chamber Visitor Center at 303 East Park St. and pick up a copy of the driving loop.
No matter what your interests are, there’s always something to enjoy throughout the year in or near Livingston, Montana. Come visit and take home memories to last a lifetime!
Originally occupied by Native Americans for thousands of years, this special place along the Absaroka Mountains was named after the Crow Indian Nation. Captain William Clark’s expedition brought some of the first white men to travel through this area. He, with his men and Sacajawea, stopped here along the great bend of Yellowstone to rest and eat on July 15, 1806.
Soon traders, trappers and miners discovered the area and established a small settlement on the river called Benson’s Landing. Then came the great “iron horse” and in the early 1880’s the Northern Pacific Railroad sent Joseph McBride to find a location to open a store that would supply railroad workers. He chose the site of present day Livingston, bypassing the settlement of Benson’s Landing just a few miles down the Yellowstone. Soon the town was a base camp with repair shops.
Though the original tent town was called Clark City, by 1882 Livingston was renamed for a Northern Pacific Railroad executive. The railroad’s presence created a thriving community with a busy downtown complete with 30 saloons, 6 general stores, 6 hotels, 6 restaurants and a red light district. At one time, up to 2,200 men who worked for the railroad were based right in Livingston. With the West not yet completely civilized and characters like Calamity Jane in town, there was plenty of excitement in Livingston.
By the time 1902 arrived, the Northern Pacific opened its third and most prestigious depot in town – the largest depot west of the Mississippi River at that time. Livingston soon became known across the country as ‘the gateway to Yellowstone National Park’. For 43 years, everyone traveled by rail through Livingston to the park’s north entrance in Gardiner. Though the rail line to the park is gone, the Livingston Depot Center still stands as a railroad museum and beautiful monument to that era.
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