Livingston to Emigrant
At Livingston (population 8,240), a good-time river town, the Yellowstone leaves Paradise Valley and takes a hard turn east. A beacon to artists and novelists, river guides and guitar players, Livingston gets lively (cue the Jimmy Buffett song “Livingston Saturday Night”), but you can find plenty of quiet walking through the cottonwoods along the Myers’ River View Trail. Local artists share their visions in paint, ceramics, fabric, and pixels at the Livingston Center for Art and Culture’s Community Art Show, March 7 through April 1 this year. It’s a mainly beer-and-burgers town, but you can also try the locally sourced lamb ragu or bison short ribs at Campione, an Italian-style eatery on historic Main Street.
Heading south from Livingston on Highway 89, it’s 24 miles of river bends, mountain views, and trailheads to Emigrant, a town of just a few hundred people at the foot of Emigrant Peak, which soars more than a mile above the valley floor. (Stop along the way to hike the easy 2.5-mile round-trip trail to Pine Creek Falls.) In town, you can sign up for a guided float trip or pick up spring nymphs and the latest fishing info at the Angler’s West Flyfishing Outfitters. On a day when the sun shines and the mountains sparkle, sitting on the patio at the Emigrant Outpost with a slice of pizza qualifies as fine dining.
From Emigrant, take the four-mile detour to Chico Hot Springs Resort and its two naturally heated outdoor pools, which have been steaming away stress since 1900. The Chico dining room—refined but relaxed—always lights up when someone orders the classic Flaming Orange dessert. Rockin’ HK Outfitters can help Chico visitors explore their surroundings. Depending on the conditions, options vary from snowshoe rentals to guided trail rides on horseback.