Gardiner is piled so tightly against Yellowstone National Park's north boundary it looks as if a massive train loaded with souvenir shops, hotels and mediocre restaurants crashed into it. This is a quintessential tourist town that exists solely to house and feed the 785,000 visitors that pour through the park's original entrance every year – a task it does passably well.
The border of the park is marked by the Roosevelt arch, constructed in 1903 and emblazoned with the powerful reminder, 'For the benefit and enjoyment of the people.' Originally visitors traveled through that arch on the old stagecoach road. Today the highway has to wind awkwardly back on itself to route you through the historic portal.
This is the only entrance to Yellowstone open to automobile traffic year-round. Mammoth Hot Springs is just 5 miles away.