Sunset over Bozeman seen from the top of Peets Hill in Spring. Getty Navigate to John Mellencamp’s ‘Little Town’ and embark on a mountain adventure filled with lodge pine and Rocky Juniper trails, western-style shops lining a quintessential Main Street, and a national park with large herds of bison and moose, packs of wolves, grizzly bears and black bears, all living in an active volcanic environment with hydrothermal geysers, hot springs, travertine terraces, fumaroles and mud pots . Bozeman, MT is the kind of town where craft brewing thrives, where you’ll see cowboys, college students, farmers, hippies, and hunters all jostling at the same bar. Read on to find out why this city is so indelible, and why you should visit it when you feel safe. Yellowstone is a Dangerous Place A bison makes eye contact in Yellowstone National Park. Wendy Altschuler Inside the visitor’s guide for the current Yellowstone National Park newspaper is a bright yellow insert that says, “Think Safety, Be Safe. Yellowstone is a dangerous place ”. There is a drawing of a bison goring and flipping a stick in the air to illustrate caution. That’s right: park visitors have died or been seriously injured by bison, as well as grizzly bears (although bears are rarer). Burns, falls and drownings were also the plight of many tourists. Heed the warnings – be aware of bears, give bison plenty of room, and stay on designated trails and boardwalks – and visit this colorful playground in the west. Good to know: Hot springs, of different depths, colors and viscosities, are the most common hydrothermal features in the park. Mud pots, sour and gurgling, are a crowd favorite. The highest temperature ratings are given to fumaroles, which can be seen without a doubt during the cooler months. The Old Faithful Geyser, also known as “Eternity’s Time Piece,” is one of the park’s 500 geysers, erupting approximately every 98 minutes. Pro Tip: The best time to experience the awe-inspiring scenery, wildlife, and history of America’s first national park is off-season and off-season, outside of July and August. Best Hikes Near Downtown Bozeman Two women heading into the mountains for a snowshoe adventure. getty The great outdoors and fresh air draw many visitors to Bozeman, and there’s no better way to experience the great country from the sky than by hiking, whatever the season. You will see lots of adorable dogs running past their owners, tongues escaping the sides of their mouths. Over 80 miles of trails are part of the Main Street to the Mountains trail system. Drinking Horse Mountain Trail: This hike is right across from the famous ‘M’ Trail, making it a great option for the initiated, located just under five miles from downtown. This 2.2 mile loop trail is perfect for a short run or for hanging out with little ones in tow. “M” Trail: For breathtaking views of the Gallatin Valley, choose the “M” trail, a short 1.7 mile loop with a moderate trail that zigzags the side of the mountain as well as a more direct one that climbs to 850 feet expressly. Baldy Peak Summit: Go further off the ‘M’ trail and hike to Baldy Peak Summit in the Bridger Mountain Range which is 10.9 miles round trip and will likely take you most of the day. Gallagator Trail: This is an easy 2.2 mile round-trip urban trail that connects the Museum of the Rockies (a must-see paleontology museum) to the city center, ending at Lindley Park, where another trail takes you will lead to the top of Peet’s Hill (a great place to watch the sunset or go sledding in winter). View from the famous “M” trail in Bozeman, Montana. Wendy Altschuler Good to know: Other great trails, inside and just outside of Bozeman, include: Hyalite Creek Trail, Sourdough Trail, Sypes Canyon Trail, Middle Cottonwood Creek, Palisade Falls, Grotto Falls, Emerald Lake , Bozeman Creek Trail, Lava Lake Trail, and Painted Hills Trail. Pro tip: Make sure you take plenty of water with you as well as sun protection, diapers if needed, and healthy snacks. Bozeman’s elevation is between 4,600 and 5,000 feet above sea level, depending on where you are in the valley, and the six surrounding mountain ranges have many peaks over 9,000 feet. Plan accordingly. Education A beautiful sunset in a rural Montana scene. A simple barn sits in a field at sunset while … [+] the crescent moon rises above. getty A great way to start your travel research is to read local magazines and newspapers, powered by local coffee – Treeline Coffee Roasters’ “Outdoors (Wo) man” is a solid choice, to get an overview of how locals live and play in Bozeman. Edible Bozeman spotlights the stories of local chefs, farmers, food writers and business owners. Big Sky Journal, a culture and lifestyle publication, is full of beautiful photographs and eye-catching covers. Outside of Bozeman, planning for outdoor adventures, from gear to buy and maps, to local skiing, trail and hunting conditions, is essential. Good to know: Other key magazines include Montana Quarterly, Distinctly Montana, and Mountain Outlaw. Rest your head The rooms at the Kimpton Armory Hotel, with their white linens and wooden pendant lights, are … [+] the best excavations of Bozeman. Wendy Altschuler Bozeman is one of the fastest growing towns in the west and the busiest street, it seems, is Mendenhall Street, where new hotels are being built near the city center. In 1941, the Armory, which housed the 163rd Montana National Guard Infantry Regiment during World War II, was built on two floors. Now in the same spot, along with the facade of the armory, is the tallest building in the city center: the Kimpton Armory Hotel, Bozeman’s first and only four-star hotel. From olive window treatments throughout the hotel to the concrete walls of the existing armory building outside the conference rooms to the little green plastic army men toys in every room, clapboards eye to a bygone era exist. Fielding’s, the chic restaurant that serves regional American cuisine, was named after Fred Fielding Willson, the architect of the original armory building, along with dozens of other Bozeman buildings that are now listed on the National Register historic places (Bozeman Sheet Metal Works, Coca-Cola Bottling Plant, Bozeman YMCA, Emerson School, Gallatin County Courthouse, Baxter Hotel, etc.). Visit the basement bar, Tune Up, and admire the art decorating the armory’s original music room. Acquired through acquisitions, a horizontal metal sign in red, white, gold and navy blue, which reads “163 Armored Calvary Regiment. Motto: men, do your duty. Montana Army National Guard ”adorns the wall. These are the things you want to see when a new upscale hotel is built in a mountain town to the west. View of the iconic Baxter Hotel from the Sky Shed of the Kimpton Armory. Wendy Altschuler And, it’s chic. The Kimpton Armory Hotel has a beautiful Sky Shed on the roof, which offers views of the Bozeman Mountain Ranges and the town center, protected from glass to protect you from the elements. From a comfortable seat by the fire, you can see the Art Deco Baxter Hotel, which was built in 1929. The 32-foot red electrical panel above the building is as iconic to Bozeman as the Eiffel Tower is to Paris. or the Burj Khalifa is in Dubai or the Colosseum is in Rome. Good to know: The creative works throughout the hotel are a highlight of the experience. Admire a black and white image of the Ladies Imperial Band in the Tune Up Bar, one-of-a-kind multi-colored chandeliers in the Armory Music Hall, local cowboy art in the boardrooms, a landscape of the park National Park and shelves lined with hardcover books in the lobby and Bozeman-centric paintings at Fielding. Pro Tip: The best part about Kimpton is consistency across the brand. Even though you will experience something unique to the destination (design touches, nod to history and location), you can expect certain standards such as free tea and coffee in the lobby, hours of wine and / or beer every night, availability of workout equipment and yoga mats, and the pet friendly atmosphere. Connect with Wendy Altschuler on Instagram. .