Though most people’s thoughts drift to Old Faithful when they think about Yellowstone National Park, we immediately think of the Fishing Bridge and Lake area. Located between Hayden Valley to the north and beautiful Lake Yellowstone to the south, this area is easily our favorite spot in the park. The Fishing Bridge area is home to plenty of food, lodging, and camping, too, because it also includes the area known as Lake Village. There are a lot of things to do near Fishing Bridge and Lake Yellowstone.
One of the best drives in Yellowstone is through the wide open area of Hayden Valley. The road follows the Yellowstone Rives as it winds through the valley. We’ve seen elk, buffalo, all types of waterfowl, otters, foxes, coyotes, and dozens of bears in Hayden Valley. There are several overlooks for the valley where plenty of cars can pull over, too. This drive connects you to Canyon Village, and is a great spot so spend a few hours enjoying the animals in the morning or evenings.
South and east along the lake, there are fewer animals, but pretty views. Lake Yellowstone is large, deep, and clear, and we always stop for a little while to throw rocks and enjoy the peace of the lake. Pelicans, geese, terns, and ducks are easily seen along the shore. One of our favorite short drives is Gull Point Drive because it takes you right out on the lake. This drive begins just south of Lake Village.
Natural Bridge is a trail near Lake Village. It actually begins at Bridge Bay Marina where you can take your boat out onto Yellowstone Lake. The trail is easy to follow, and wide enough for bicycles. The trail is only 2.0 miles round trip and it leads to a beautiful natural bridge in the heart of Yellowstone.
Lake Village is also one of our favorite places to stay in Yellowstone. First, and most importantly, it’s centrally located. Second, the cabins are fairly affordable, and there are other options such as tent camping and the more expensive hotel and lodge. Find more info on lodging below.
The actual Fishing Bridge is worth a visit and a walk. More than once, we’ve seen a beaver gnawing on sticks near the bridge. Our boys also love to look for fish swimming in the Yellowstone River. Swans frequent the area as well. Park on either side of the bridge and you can walk across.
Just past the bridge, you will find all of the visitor services. There is a Visitor Center, a gift shop, gasoline, and food. Fishing Bridge also has our favorite food in Yellowstone. In the back of the gift shop is a small grill café, with amazing hamburgers and fries. It stays really busy, so if you can’t get a seat, you may have to opt for the ice cream instead. We like to eat at the grill and then enjoy some huckleberry ice cream for dessert.
The Fishing Bridge Visitor Center and Trailside Museum is across the street from the main gift shop and general store. The small museum has a few animals on display and a ranger to answer questions. We enjoy this Visitor Center because of its focus on birds. Make sure to pick up a Junior Ranger booklet for your children, or turn your booklet in if you’ve completed it. You can also walk right down to the shore of Yellowstone Lake out the back door of the Visitor Center.
If you drive past the Fishing Bridge amenities area toward the east entrance, there are two family-friendly trails. The first is Pelican Creek Nature Trail. This short nature walk takes a short loop down near the shores of Yellowstone lake and back to the trailhead. We love this trail for spotting birds.
There is only one hike that will guarantee you a wildlife sighting in Yellowstone, and that is Storm Point. This easy trail takes you past a large colony of yellow-bellied marmots, and dozens of them come out to whistle at you as you pass. The trail also walks along Yellowstone Lake. This is one of our favorite hikes in Yellowstone and we look forward to hiking it every year.
Must-Do Things near Fishing Bridge & Lake Village in Yellowstone
Though it can be busy and you may find heavy traffic in this area, Fishing Bridge/Lake Village is definitely worth checking out! Here are our must-do activities in the Fishing Bridge-Lake Yellowstone area.
- Hayden Valley animal drive
- Gull Point Scenic Drive
- Natural Bridge trail
- Walk across Fishing Bridge
- Fishing Bridge Visitor Center and Trailside Museum
- Pelican Creek Natural Trail
- Storm Point Trail
- Food and Ice Cream at Fishing Bridge General Store
- Lake Lodge Cabins
- Lake Yellowstone Hotel & Cottages
- Campgrounds: Bridge Bay Campground. This campground accepts reservations, so reserve early at Yellowstone National Park Lodges. Fishing Bridge RV Park (closed 2021). This campground accepts reservations, too.
- Lake Hotel Dining Room
- Wylie’s Canteen at Lake Lodge
- Lake Hotel Deli
- Fishing Bridge General Store Grill
Located at Fishing Bridge
Located at Fishing Bridge General Store, Fishing Bridge Visitor Center, Lake Lodge, and Lake Hotel.
Visit our Yellowstone page to find information about seven other areas in the park and to find helpful tips for visiting. Some posts you might be interested in: