Gardiner is located in southwest Montana, at the north entrance to Yellowstone National Park. The town is situated in breathtaking Paradise Valley with the Yellowstone River running right through town. Founded in 1880, Gardiner is a center of activity for visitors to the region, serving as the original, and only year round entrance to the Park.Year-round activities include hiking, flyfishing, snowmobiling, whitewater rafting, cross-country skiing, dogsledding and horseback riding.
In 1870, the Washburn-Langford-Doane party, exploring the area that became Yellowstone National Park, named this area Gardiner. It had been known by early trappers as Gardner's Hole, after Johnson Gardner, who trapped in the Yellowstone region in 1831-32. The town was established in 1880 and began thriving as the park's northern entrance. In addition, in 1883 gold was discovered northeast of town up Bear Gulch. Prosperity increased when the Northern Pacific Railway extended its branch line from Cinnabar to Gardiner in 1903. That same year, on April 24, Theodore Roosevelt attended the ceremony to mark the placement of the cornerstone of the Roosevelt Arch, which was designed to act as the gate to the park's northern entrance. Constructed of basalt, it stands 50 feet tall and 20 feet wide and is inscribed "For the Benefit and Enjoyment of All People", a line from the congressional act that created the park. Today Gardiner bustles with tourist activity as a year-round entrance to Yellowstone National Park. (Copyright 2009, Montana Historical Society: Montana Place Names from Alzada to Zortman, Montana Historical Society Research Center Staff)