Big Sky and the Gallatin Valley
Highway 191 follows the swift Gallatin River north from Yellowstone National Park through a narrow valley speckled with dude ranches and resorts. The Madison Range is west of the Gallatin Valley; the Gallatin Range rises to the east. In the rugged northern part of the Madison Range, the Spanish Peaks rise as high as 11,000 feet.
Tourism is not new to the Gallatin Valley. The Milwaukee Pacific Railroad built the Gallatin Gateway Inn in 1927 at the terminus of its tourist spur line down from Three Forks. Tourists generally dined at the hotel but slept in their train cars before boarding buses to Yellowstone National Park.
Once tourists began traveling more by car than by train, the railroad was forced to sell off the elegant hotel, which passed through a series of owners and foundered for many years; fortunately, it was never the victim of remodeling and is now an elegant historic landmark.
© W.C. McRae & Judy Jewell from Moon Montana, 7th Edition