Julie United States 20 Comments

Grand Teton, Yellowstone, and Glacier National Parks are three of the top parks to visit in the United States. With 10 days, you can visit all of them on an epic road trip.

Start in Grand Teton, where the lakes and the jagged mountain range create a hiker’s and photographer’s paradise. Journey north to Yellowstone, a national park that is situated on top of the world’s largest supervolcano. The land literally hisses, steams, and bubbles while bison and elk roam the grasslands. Your road trip ends in Glacier National Park, one of the USA’s most beautiful national parks.

About this Itinerary

We have done this road trip twice. The first time was way back in 2001, before we had kids. Tim and I did a condensed version of this itinerary, cramming Grand Teton, Yellowstone, and Glacier into a 7-day road trip, with a quick detour through Idaho, for a total of 10 days.

In August 2019, Kara and I went on a “girl’s trip,” doing an almost identical itinerary to the one that we have listed here. Kara and I had a total of 11 days so we were able to add in Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada. At the end of this article, I’ll let you know how to do the same thing. It’s worth it if you have an extra day to spare.

This itinerary is a road trip, so you will need to rent a car. On our recent trip, rental car prices were very expensive. Since this is done as a point-to-point road trip, there will be an extra fee for the drop charge. Our rental car fee averaged just under $100 per day, factoring in this drop charge.

If you want to avoid this fee, you can drive back to Grand Teton, the starting point of this itinerary, but you should know that this adds on an extra day and hundreds of miles of driving to this itinerary.

Finally, this itinerary can be done in the opposite order. You can start at Glacier National Park and work your way down to Grand Teton.

Lamar Valley Grand Teton Yellowstone and Glacier

Lamar Valley, Yellowstone

Best Time for This Road Trip

Due to snowfall and the road closures that come with it, there is a narrow window of time to do this road trip.

Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park is only open during the summer months (typically late June/early July through mid-October).

In Yellowstone, many roads close between mid-October and early November and don’t reopen until mid-April through mid-May.

Dates are very similar for Grand Teton. Teton Park Road is closed from November through mid-May.

At the end of this article, I give the links to each national park so you can get updates on park conditions and road closures.

You still can visit these parks in the winter, but your activities are limited and getting around is a lot more difficult. Therefore, the best time for this road trip is from early July through mid-October, when all of the roads in each park will be open. This is also the busiest time to visit the national parks, so make your hotel or campsite reservations many months in advance and be prepared for big crowds.

If you don’t have to travel during the summer months, the end of September into October would be an awesome time to visit. Crowds will be lower and you could see some fall colors.

Road Trip Map Grand Teton Yellowstone and Glacier

Day 1

Arrive in Jackson, Wyoming

On the Road: 15 to 280 miles (30 minutes to 5 hours) depending upon the airport

There are three main airports near Jackson, Wyoming.

The closest airport is Jackson Hole Airport, which is located in the park. In fact, Jackson Hole Airport is the only commercial airport located within a national park. Since this is a small airport, it could cost more to fly in here, but it will save you some driving today.

Idaho Falls Regional Airport is 94 miles away and is a 2-hour drive from Jackson. Salt Lake City International Airport is 280 miles away and it is almost a 5-hour drive to get to Jackson.

What We Did: We flew into Salt Lake City and drove up to Jackson, Wyoming in the afternoon. We picked Salt Lake City not only because we had a direct flight but also because flight costs were lower.

Spend the remainder of the day in Jackson. This is a cool little town, filled with great restaurants, art galleries, and boutique shops. You can even go to the rodeo. Don’t miss the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar and the Mangelsen Images of Nature Gallery.

For dinner, the Gun Barrel Steak & Game House is a popular spot in town. Other great restaurants include Bin22, Liberty Burger, and Blue Lion.

Jackson Wyoming Grand Teton Yellowstone and Glacier

Where to Stay

Here are ideas of where to stay in and around Grand Teton National Park. You will stay here for two nights.

Inside the Park: There are numerous lodges and campgrounds available inside of the park. Click here to learn more about your options.

Jackson: From Jackson, it takes just 15 minutes to drive to Moose (the southern end of Grand Teton National Park) and 30 minutes to drive to Jenny Lake. With a large number of accommodations and restaurants, this is a great place to base yourself for visiting the park.

This is where we have stayed both times that we visited Grand Teton National Park.

Wyoming Inn at Jackson Hole. This is one of the highest rated hotels in Jackson. It is not located in the city center, so you will have to drive to the town square and park your car if you want to visit the heart of Jackson. But we loved the spacious room, excellent Wi-Fi, and comfy beds.

Cowboy Village Resort. On our first visit to Grand Teton National Park, this is where Tim and I stayed. Western-style cabins come equipped with a private bathroom and a kitchenette.

The Wort Hotel. If you want an upscale experience in the city center of Jackson, the Wort Hotel gets rave reviews.

Teton Village at Jackson Hole: Ski resort by winter, outdoor playground by summer, this resort offers hotels and restaurants, plus gondolas, chair lifts, and a cable car that will whisk you up to Rendezvous Peak for stunning views over the Tetons. If you like the idea of staying in a resort town just outside of the park, this is a great place to consider.


Day 2

Grand Teton National Park

On the Road: 42 miles plus extra driving time to/from Jackson, if you are staying in Jackson

This is the first of two days in Grand Teton. Today, you will visit the most popular sites.

I recommend getting an early start. Not only will you get to tour the park crowd free, at least for a little bit, but you also get to see the park at sunrise.

Visit Mormon Row at sunrise and then spend the morning driving the 42-mile scenic loop drive. Schwabacher Landing, the Snake River Overlook, and Oxbow Bend are beautiful places to visit, and photograph, in the morning hours.

Grand Teton Itinerary

Grand Teton

As you head south, towards Jenny Lake, consider taking the detour up Signal Mountain for stunning views over the park.

Spend the afternoon in and around Jenny Lake. One of the most popular things to do in Grand Teton is to take the boat across Jenny Lake and hike up to Inspiration Point. Nearby, the walk around Leigh Lake is an easy, very pretty stroll. The hike out to Taggart Lake is longer but it’s also a very nice hike.

Inspiration Point Grand Teton Yellowstone and Glacier

For a full listing of what to do in the park, check out our article Best Things to do in Grand Teton National Park.

Tonight, sleep in Grand Teton National Park or Jackson.


Day 3

Grand Teton & Yellowstone

On the Road: 140 miles, 3.5 hours

Today, spend the morning in Grand Teton and the afternoon in Yellowstone.

Grand Teton

Here are several ideas on how to spend the morning in Grand Teton:

  • Rent a canoe and spend an hour or two paddling around Jenny Lake. Kara and I did this at 7:30 am and we had the lake to ourselves. It was wonderful!
  • Visit the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve and Visitor Center and hike to Phelps Lake.
  • Take your pick from longer hikes in the park. Cascade Canyon, Lake Solitude, and Static Peak Divide are great hikes. These range from 10 to 15 miles, so they will take up most of the day, but if you are big into hiking, it would be worth it. You’ll have less time in Yellowstone so you will have to adjust this itinerary.

Canoe Jenny Lake

Midday, start the drive to Yellowstone. Along the way, you can make a quick visit to Jackson Lake, since you will drive right past it before exiting Grand Teton National Park. At Colter Bay Village, there is a gas station and restaurants, a great place to refuel your car and your own batteries before continuing on to Yellowstone.

At Colter Bay, you also have the option to walk the Lakeshore Trail. This flat, easy trail is 2 miles long, takes about 45-minutes, and offers decent views of Jackson Lake.

Yellowstone

Head north into Yellowstone National Park. It’s a relatively short drive. From Colter Bay, it is less than 20 miles to the South Entrance of Yellowstone National Park (about a 30-minute drive).

Spend the afternoon at the Midway Geyser Basin. It is here that you will see the Grand Prismatic Spring, the most colorful hot spring in the park. At Midway Geyser Basin, you can get right up to it, while walking on raised boardwalk trails.

Yellowstone Hot Spring

Just a few miles away is the Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook. This is a jaw-dropping view of the hot spring and a must-do on a trip to Yellowstone.

Yellowstone Itinerary

From here, you have the option to hike to Fairy Falls, one of the tallest waterfalls in Yellowstone.

Where to Stay

Ideally, stay in the park. This will minimize how much driving you will do. However, reservations for the park lodges need to be made months in advance (as much as 6 to 12 months in advance!).

Pro Travel Tip: Consider staying in two different locations while you visit Yellowstone. Yellowstone is enormous so it can save you time, and driving, by staying in two separate locations. However, if you get lucky enough to get a room or a campsite at Canyon Village (a relatively central location within Yellowstone), you can spend every night here.

If you stay within the park, the Old Faithful Inn is the most convenient place to stay tonight.

If you are not lucky enough to get a room at the Old Faithful Inn, you should be able to get a room at a hotel in West Yellowstone. This is where we stayed and we booked our trip last minute. Kara and I stayed at the Kelly Inn and ate dinner at Café Madriz, a great tapas restaurant.

Old Faithful Inn Grand Teton Yellowstone and Glacier

Old Faithful Inn

Important Update for 2020: There are planned road closures on Grand Loop Road between Tower Fall and Chittenden Road. This section of road will be completely closed until April 2022. Get the full details on the national park service website. I have made some changes to this original itinerary because of this road closure.


Day 4

Hot Springs, Old Faithful & Hayden Valley

On the road: 75 miles, 2 hours (if you stay at Old Faithful and Canyon Village); if you stay in West Yellowstone, add 40 miles and 1.75 hours onto this driving estimate for a total of 115 miles, 3.75 hours

Geyser Basins

If you look at Yellowstone on a map, you will see that the roads make two loops through the park. Today, you will see the sights along the southern loop. This is the area of Yellowstone with the highest concentration of geysers and hot springs, including the famous Old Faithful geyser.

Starting near Midway Geyser Basin, you will hop from geyser basin to geyser basin. Visit Fountain Paint Pot Trail and Biscuit Basin first thing in the morning.

Thermal Pool Grand Teton Yellowstone and Glacier

Old Faithful and Upper Geyser Basin

The highlight of the day is the visit to Old Faithful, the world’s most famous geyser.

There are three different ways to view an eruption of Old Faithful: take a seat on the boardwalk that surrounds the geyser, hike to Observation Point for a bird’s eye view, or grab a seat at the viewing deck at the Old Faithful Inn.

Old Faithful erupts roughly every hour and thirty minutes, so there’s a good chance that you could catch two eruptions while you are here.

Old Faithful Grand Teton Yellowstone and Glacier

After the first eruption, spend some time exploring the Upper Geyser Basin and Geyser Hill. Within one square mile, there are over 150 geothermal features here, making this one of the best spots in the park to see geysers, hot springs, and thermal pools. It takes about 2 hours to thoroughly explore this area.

Morning Glory Grand Teton Yellowstone and Glacier

Morning Glory Pool

A visit to Old Faithful, combined with Upper Geyser Basin, typically lasts three hours.

Near the Old Faithful Inn, you will also find restrooms, gift shops, a convenience store, and restaurants, so this is the perfect place to grab lunch.

West Thumb Geyser Basin & Hayden Valley

Once you are finished at Old Faithful, continue your drive counter-clockwise around the lower loop. Make a quick stop at West Thumb Geyser Basin and then continue on the Hayden Valley. Keep your fingers crossed that the bison are hanging out along the road side (the first day Kara and I did this, we only saw two bison next to the road…the main herd were tiny specks way off in the distance).

West Thumb Geyser Basin Grand Teton Yellowstone and Glacier

West Thumb Geyser Basin

 Bison

Hayden Valley

If the bison are hanging out along the road, expect big traffic jams here. It can take 30 to 60 minutes to drive through the valley in this situation.

Stay Safe: Do not get out of your car to get a closer view of the bison. These animals look slow but they can move fast and have been known to charge at people. Pull into a turnout and view the bison from your car. Not only are you staying safe but you are also not blocking traffic. If you have an SUV with a sunroof, pop your head out of the sunroof and enjoy the view.

Where to Stay

In the park: Canyon Village is the best location to stay within the park.

Outside of the park: West Yellowstone


Day 5

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Norris Geyser Basin & Mt. Washburn

On the Road: 34 miles, 0ne hour if you stay at Canyon Village; 90 miles, 2.75 hours if you start in West Yellowstone and end in Gardiner

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

Spend the morning at Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. The Yellowstone River carved out this canyon. Stretching along each side of the river are scenic overlooks and hiking trails. You can either walk the rim trail or drive to each overlook.

I recommend starting on the North Rim. If you get here in the morning, before 9 am, traffic should be light enough that you can drive to each overlook. Visit Brink of the Lower Falls, where you can get up close to Lower Falls. Of the overlooks on the North Rim, Lookout Point and Inspiration Point were our favorites.


For more details on visiting the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, don’t miss our best things to do in Yellowstone post.


On the South Rim, the highlights are Artist Point (one of the most iconic views in all of Yellowstone) and Uncle Tom’s Trail.

Artist Point

Artist Point

A visit to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone will take all morning.

Norris Geyser Basin

From the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, it is a short drive to Norris Geyser Basin. Similar to Upper Geyser Basin, this is another large collection of geothermal features.

Norris Geyser Basin

Norris Geyser Basin

Pro Travel Tip: If you are staying at Grand Canyon Village, you can take a midday break at your lodge or campsite. Go back out at 3:00 or 4:00 pm, when crowds start to quiet down. It is possible to do this if you are also staying outside of the park but you will do a lot more driving.

Hike Mt. Washburn

Typically, we don’t recommend saving a big hike for the afternoon, but due to road closures, and to minimize driving time, this is the best time to add this hike to this itinerary. The hike up Mt. Washburn is a popular day hike and from the top you get panoramic views over the park.

Where to Stay

In the Park: Canyon Village is the best place to stay in the park, Mammoth is also a good option. 

Outside of the park: Gardiner, Montana

Gardiner, Montana is located just outside of Yellowstone, north of Mammoth. This is a cute little town with a small assortment of restaurants and hotels. To get into the park, it’s a bit of drive. I know, because we did this a lot. We spent three nights in Gardiner.

We stayed at the Yellowstone Gateway Inn and I highly recommend it. We had a one-bedroom apartment with a full kitchen. It was clean, it was quiet, and we loved having the space and the ability to cook our own food. There is a grocery store within walking distance of the hotel. Yes, it feels like a long drive to get into the park, but since we booked our trip so late, we were lucky to get this.

Gardiner Montana

Gardiner, Montana


Day 6

Mammoth, Tower Fall, and Lamar Valley 

On the road: 105 miles, 3 hours if you start at Canyon Village and end at Mammoth; 66 miles, 2 hours if you stay in Mammoth both nights; 80 miles, 3 hours if you stay in Gardiner

Spend the morning at Mammoth Hot Springs.

Mammoth Hot Springs

Later, drive to Tower Fall. If you have a 4×4, you have the option to take the scenic detour on Blacktail Plateau Drive. Once in Tower, see Tower Fall. It’s a bit mediocre, but since it’s a quick visit, it’s still worth it, if you find a parking space. Due to road construction, Tower Fall will only be open from June 5 to September 6, 2020 and June 4 to September 26, 2021. 

End the day at Lamar Valley. This is the best spot to view wildlife in Yellowstone. Elk, bison, pronghorn deer, bear, coyotes, and wolves can all make appearances. The best time for wildlife viewing is in the morning and evening, so time your visit for the end of the day.

Lamar Valley Yellowstone

Where to Stay

In the park: Mammoth is the best place to stay in the park. Tomorrow, you will head north out of Yellowstone. If you stay in Mammoth, you will eliminate an hour of the drive and you will avoid the road closures on Grand Loop Road. It means reserving another hotel room or campsite but it is worth the time savings.

Outside of the park: Gardiner, MT


Day 7

Drive to Glacier National Park

On the road: 394 miles, 6.5 hours from Gardiner, MT to Many Glacier

This is the biggest driving day of the trip. It takes almost six and a half hours to drive from Gardiner, MT to Many Glacier. If you are staying at Canyon Village, add another hour onto this drive.

There are several regions in Glacier National Park. On this itinerary you will visit two of them: Many Glacier and the heart of the park around Going-to-the-Sun Road. In order to maximize your time in the park, you will stay in both areas.

It’s worth staying in Many Glacier. This is a beautiful, sometimes overlooked region of the park that many people skip on a quick visit to Glacier.

On this itinerary, you will visit Many Glacier first. By ending near Going-to-the-Sun Road, you will be much closer to the airports near Kalispell.

Below is a map of the drive. The first half is fast, since you are mainly on highways. The second half is more scenic and feels much more remote, now that you are on smaller, country roads.

There are gas stations all along the route, although they become sparse once you get north of Helena. Before entering Glacier National Park, refill your tank in Babb.

Optional Detour: Butte, Montana

If you don’t mind a little extra driving, you can add on a quick visit to Butte, Montana. Tour the World Museum of Mining and/or take the bus trip up to see Our Lady of the Rockies. Grab a pork chop sandwich at Pork Chop John’s before hitting the road again.

Butte Mining Town

Many Glacier

Most likely you will arrive to Many Glacier in the mid-afternoon. You can either relax in the lobby of the Many Glacier Hotel or go on a short hike. Apikuni Falls is a 2-mile hike to a waterfall and it is located a short drive from Many Glacier Hotel.

Many Glacier

Many Glacier Hotel

Important Update for 2020 and 2021: There is planned road construction in the Many Glacier area of Glacier National Park. Access to Many Glacier will be closed from April 1 to May 17 and September 21 to December 16, 2020. From May 18 to September 20, the road will be open, but due to construction, the national park service website warns that there could be delays and wait times of up to 40 minutes. Learn more on the national park service website. Because of this road construction, you will have to decide if it is worth visiting Many Glacier, or instead, just visiting sights on Going-to-the-Sun Road or the Two Medicine area. I think it is worth it, and on day 8, you have to do little to no driving in Many Glacier, so your driving is minimal (and maybe construction will keep day trippers away). 

Where to Stay

In the park: Many Glacier Hotel or the Swiftcurrent Motor Lodge

Outside of the park: St. Mary Village. This lodge is located next to the Saint Mary Entrance of Glacier National Park. To get to Many Glacier, it is a 30-minute drive. If you stay here, expect big delays driving into the park because of road construction.


Day 8

Many Glacier

On the road: 0 to 5 miles, if you stay in Many Glacier

Many Glacier is one of Glacier National Park’s best spots for hiking. Since these hikes all come in at around 10 miles, you will only have the time for one. Grinnell Glacier and Iceberg Lake are the most popular hikes, but there are literally ten more hikes to choose from.

Glacier National Park Itinerary

Hiking to Grinnell Glacier

Kara and I hiked Grinnell Glacier and it was amazing. This hike has it all…alpine scenery, waterfalls, emerald green lakes, wildflowers, and of course, a glacier. On this hike we spotted moose, mountain goats, and a black bear with her cub. The wildlife sightings and the gorgeous scenery made this one of our favorite experiences in Glacier National Park.

If you are not a big hiker, ride the boat across Swiftcurrent and Josephine Lakes. You have the chance to spot moose right from the boat.

Where to Stay

Same accommodation as last night (Many Glacier Hotel, Swiftcurrent Motor Inn, or St. Mary Village)


Day 9

Going-to-the-Sun Road

On the road: 70 miles, 2.5 hours from Many Glacier to West Glacier

This just might be the moment you have been anticipating this entire trip…the scenic drive along Going-to-the-Sun Road.

For the best experience, you need to get a very early start today. Ideally, time your visit so you arrive at Logan Pass by 7:45 am. I know it is early, but if you want a parking space, that’s the latest I recommend getting here. During our visit, we got one of the last parking spaces right at 7:45 am (so getting here even earlier is better).

To get from Many Glacier to Logan Pass, it is a one-hour drive. Extra time for photos along the way can add 15 to 30 minutes. Ideally, plan on leaving Many Glacier by 6:15 am.

From Many Glacier, you will exit the park and re-enter at Saint Mary. As you drive to Logan Pass, there are numerous turn outs where you can stop and enjoy the view. One of the highlights is the view of Wild Goose Island at Wild Goose Island Lookout.

Wild Goose Island

Logan Pass

Now that you are at Logan Pass, you have several options on how to spend your morning. The most popular thing to do here is the short hike to Hidden Lake Overlook. This hike is 3-miles long and takes about an hour and a half.

Hidden Lake Glacier

If you are looking to add on an epic day hike, consider the Highline Trail. This is an 11.6-mile point-to-point hike. The trail literally clings to the cliffs above Going-to-the-Sun Road and you will be treated to some of the best views of this part of the hike. This is our favorite hike in Glacier.

Highline Trail

Hiking Glacier NP

Going-to-the-Sun Road

From Logan Pass, continue the drive towards West Glacier. In my opinion, this stretch of Going-to-the-Sun Road, from Logan Pass to the Loop, is the most spectacular. Traffic usually crawls here, but that’s OK, it just gives you more time to enjoy the views. There are turn outs where you can safely get out of your car to enjoy the view and take photos.

Avalanche Lake

As you continue the drive to West Glacier, you will pass the trailhead for the Trail of the Cedars and Avalanche Lake. Combining these two trails is one of the most popular hikes to do in the park. 

The Trail of Cedars is a 1-mile boardwalk and gravel trail that winds its way through a thick forest of cedars.

Trail of the Cedars

The hike to Avalanche Lake starts at the Trail of the Cedars. This hike is 4.5 miles round trip and is more strenuous.

Avalanche Lake

Finally, before you exit the park, you will pass Lake McDonald.

Read more about Glacier National Park: 10 Best Things to do in Glacier National Park

Where to Stay

This is a full day of sightseeing, especially if you added the Highline Trail. To minimize your driving today, stay near Lake McDonald or in West Glacier. If you have an early flight tomorrow, stay closer to the airport, either in Whitefish or Kalispell.

In the park: Lake McDonald Lodge or the Village Inn at Apgar Village

Outside of the park: In West Glacier, we stayed at the Great Northern Resort. This place is wonderful. We had an enormous room with two beds, air conditioning, and great Wi-Fi.

In Whitefish, we stayed at the Best Western Rocky Mountain Lodge and also had a great experience. From here it was a short drive to Glacier Park International Airport.


Day 10

Fly Home

Fly home from Glacier Park International Airport or continue your road trip.


How to Modify this Itinerary

With Less Time

If you want to visit Grand Teton, Yellowstone, and Glacier National Parks but don’t have a full 10 days, what should you eliminate?

To make this a 9-day itinerary, remove one day from Yellowstone. If you don’t mind early starts to your days, and making them a little bit busier, you can still see everything we have listed in two and a half action packed days in Yellowstone. Ideally, stay in the park to minimize your driving.

To make this an 8-day itinerary, drive directly to Yellowstone on day 3 of this itinerary. This eliminates a half day from Grand Teton and a half day from Yellowstone. Now, you only have two days in Yellowstone so you will have to skip several of Yellowstone’s top sights.

To make this a 7-day itinerary, take one day from Glacier. Now that you only have one day in Glacier, I recommend spending it on Going-to-the-Sun Road, the best experience if this is your first time in the park.

Sample 7 Day Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Jackson
Day 2: Grand Teton
Day 3: Drive directly to Yellowstone, visit the Grand Prismatic Spring and Old Faithful/Midway Geyser Basin
Day 4: Yellowstone: Grand Canyon and Lamar Valley
Day 5: Drive to Glacier
Day 6: Glacier
Day 7: Fly home

With More Time

If you have one or more days to add to this itinerary (lucky you!), here is what we recommend.

Waterton Lakes National Park, Canada

Waterton Lakes National Park sits just across the border from Glacier National Park in the United States. With beautiful lakes, jagged mountains, thrilling hiking trails, and a small town to explore, this is a smaller, laid-back version of Glacier National Park.

Waterton Lakes

One day is really all you need to see this park. Go hiking or biking or take a boat tour of Waterton Lake.

Visit Waterton Lakes from Many Glacier. For the best experience, consider staying one night in Waterton, although you can also visit Waterton Lakes on a day trip from Many Glacier.

Add More Time to the Parks

With more time, add your extra days to any of these three parks. If you like hiking, more time in Grand Teton and Glacier would be great.

Planning Your Trip

Hotel/Campsite Reservations

Here is where I recommend you stay. For a trip in the summer, make your reservations far in advance (6 to 12 months before your trip to get a room in one of the lodges in Yellowstone National Park).

Day 1 & 2 (Grand Teton): Jackson, Wyoming
Day 3 (Yellowstone): Old Faithful Inn (1st choice); Canyon Village (2nd choice); West Yellowstone (3rd choice)
Day 4 (Yellowstone): Canyon Village (1st choice); Old Faithful Inn (2nd choice); West Yellowstone (3rd choice)
Day 5 (Yellowstone): Canyon Village (1st choice); Mammoth (2nd choice); Gardiner MT (3rd choice)
Day 6 (Yellowstone): Mammoth (1st choice); Gardiner MT (second choice)
Day 7 (Drive to Glacier): Many Glacier Hotel (1st choice); Swiftcurrent Motor Inn (2nd choice); St. Mary Village (3rd choice)
Day 8 (Glacier): Many Glacier Hotel (1st choice); Swiftcurrent Motor Inn (2nd choice); St. Mary Village (3rd choice)
Day 9 (Glacier): Stay in West Glacier or Whitefish

National Park Fees

Here are the fees to enter each park. When you pay the entrance fee, it is valid for 7 days.

Grand Teton NP: $35
Yellowstone NP: $35
Glacier NP: $35

Grand Total: $105

America the Beautiful Pass

If you have plans to visit Grand Teton, Yellowstone, and Glacier National Parks, it is worth it to purchase the America the Beautiful Pass. This annual park pass costs $80 and is valid for one year. Not only will you save money on park fees for this trip but you will also get free admission to any other national park or federal recreation sites that you visit within 365 days of purchasing this pass.

Purchase your pass at the first national park that you visit (in this case, at Grand Teton) or you can get it online.

Click here to learn more. 

Important Links for Grand Teton, Yellowstone, and Glacier

Here are the links to each national park website. Check park conditions and road closures before you go.

More Information about Grand Teton, Yellowstone, and Glacier


If you have any questions about this road trip through Grand Teton, Yellowstone, and Glacier National Parks, let us know in the comment section below.

Learn more about the national parks and planning a trip through the USA in our United States Destination Guide.

You Might Also Like:

 

Grand Teton Yellowstone and Glacier Road Trip Itinerary

 

Note: This post contains affiliate links. When you make a purchase using one of these affiliate links, we get paid a small commission at no extra cost to you.

All rights reserved © Earth Trekkers. Republishing this article and/or any of its contents (text, photography, links, etc.), in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited.

Comments 20

  1. So helpful. Do you think you could do this trip in 7 days? What location would you skip? Why did you not take the highway #89 when you were in Browning just curious? Thanks in advance

    1. Post
      Author

      We have a sample 7-day itinerary at the end of this post. We did not take highway 89 because it was quicker to take 404. Cheers, Julie

  2. This is a great article! You not only took the time to describe everything, but also including the photos is super helpful. I am interested in doing this trip with my two boys 7 & 9. They are in a good age to travel, but still what would you say isn’t that kid friendly? We would probably cut it to 7 days max. Also, we are not hikers, so probably would skip some of the long hikes. Any tip would be helpful. Appreciate it so much.
    A.

    1. Post
      Author

      Hello Antonia. If you are not big into hiking, skip the Many Glacier area of Glacier National Park (since this is where the longer hikes are located and this year it could be a headache trying to get here because of the road construction) and just spend one full day in Glacier National Park. For this one day, drive Going to the Sun Road and hike to Hidden Lake. Your kids should be able that short hike and they will probably like seeing the mountain goats along the way. As far as the length of time of your itinerary, at the end of this article I give suggestions on what to take out to shorten it. Basically, Yellowstone is very kid friendly, and so are the viewpoints in Grand Teton, the boat trip across Jenny Lake, and the hike to Inspiration Point. Cheers, Julie

  3. This is SO helpful! Thank you! Based on the original itinerary, what can you expect to spend on lodging? Assuming you book well in advance… just a ball park figure (or range) if possible? Thanks again!

    1. Post
      Author

      Lodging is all over the place as far as price goes. I booked everything in June for a trip in August. I spent anywhere from $175 per night to $300 per night. The national park lodging in Glacier NP were our cheapest accommodations. The Best Western in Whitefish (go figure) and the Wyoming Inn at Jackson Hole (this place is nice so I can understand the price) were our most expensive. Cheers, Julie

  4. The only commercial airport near Glacier NP is Glacier Park International (FCA). The Kalispell City airport does not have any commercial flights.

    1. Post
      Author
  5. The Many Glacier area will be having some major road work in 2020 so check the GP NPS website for details. Because we are on the western edge of the time zone, it stays light really late in June and July. It will give you a lot more time.

    1. Post
      Author
  6. Hello! I am so thankful for this blog post! It has helped me plan our entire GTNP/Yellowstone 5 year anniversary trip!! The only question I have: After 2 days in GTNP, we had to book our trip the following: night 1: Old faithful inn, night 2: mammoth inn, night 3&4 Lake Yellowstone hotel
    Based on that, how would you recommend reworking the trip? Wondering if day 2 in Yellowstone, after old faithful & upper geyser, we should just continue on to Norris & Mammoth/boiling river/Roosevelt arch, day 3 Grand Canyon, mt Washburn, Lamar valley, & day 4, west thumb, Hayden valley, and enjoy lake Yellowstone area. Any thoughts / wisdom is much appreciated!!!! THANK YOU

    1. Post
      Author

      For your first day in Yellowstone, visit Old Faithful, Grand Prismatic Spring, and the geyser basins in that area and then drive to Mammoth. On day 2, visit Mammoth, the Roosevelt Arch, Tower, and Lamar Valley. I have heard from someone else that Dunraven Pass will be closed, but I haven’t confirmed it myself yet. If it is totally closed, you will have a long drive to get to Lake Yellowstone. But it’s worth it…Lamar Valley is one of my favorite spots in Yellowstone. Then, once you are in Lake Yellowstone, you can visit Hayden Valley, Grand Canyon area, and the Norris Geyser Basin.

      During our visit in 2019, they were doing road construction between Norris Geyser Basin and Mammoth. The road wasn’t closed, it was just one lane, so we could drive it, but it took forever, since they alternated traffic on the road. It wasn’t unusual for us to sit and wait 20 minutes until it was our turn to go. We were staying in Gardiner and chose to drive the long way down Dunraven Pass, so I know how annoying it can be. But the national park service has a narrow window of time each year to work on the roads, so it seems each year there are closures of some sort.

      Cheers, Julie

  7. I am planning this exact trip! Trying to figure out if better to start in Glacier or Jackson. Rental car fees are crazy from my initial searches. We are going mid Aug 2021 but have read on how quickly in park accomodations book up. My issue is that now Dunraven Pass will be closed so that complicates how to visit Yellowstone as there will now have to be more backtracking.

    Any thoughts on how to incorporate? Given this – would it be easier to start in GT/YP and then end in Glacier? Completely flexible right now so trying to figure out the optimal route the minimizes driving (as much as possible anyway).

    1. Post
      Author

      Hello Jill. Yes, rental car fees are insane. We were shocked at what we had to pay. You can do this in either direction and I don’t think one direction minimizes driving. Flight costs could determine which way to go, however. I’ve done this trip twice in this direction and I really like doing it this way…Glacier is my favorite of these 3 parks, and one of my favorite national parks ever, so it’s nice ending here.

      During our visit, the road between Mammoth and Norris Geyser Basin was “closed” – they had one lane open so we had to sit in long delays to get through this road. We ended up driving back and forth along Dunraven Pass a lot. I guess, since there is such a short window of good weather, the NPS is forced to do road work during the summer months. If Dunraven Pass is completely closed, that does make it difficult to choose a place to stay. Canyon Village still might be a good location, but you will need to group Tower, Lamar Valley, and Mammoth into one day, to minimize driving. Hopefully the road closure won’t impact your trip too much.

      Hope this helps and let us know if you have any more questions. Cheers, Julie

    2. How do you find out about road closures? Headed to GTNP/Yellowstone in August. I see Dunraven pass on my itinerary 😳 Thx!

      1. Post
        Author

        You can check the websites of each National Park. On the home pages, right at the top, there is usually statements about road closures, trail closures, etc.

  8. Hi,
    Thank you very much for the very comprehensive guide. This is the exact itinerary I’m planning to do in next summer. However, im stuck with finding a reasonable rental car from Salt Lake City. The prices are outrageous. Any recommendations of finding a good rental car from SLC for a reasonable price. I already have booked the plane tickets, so no way to change them.
    Thank you

    1. Post
      Author

      Yes, we were shocked at rental car prices as well. Tim priced out all the major companies and they were similar. He even looked into renting a car from SLC and dropping it in a city in a major city in southern Montana and then taking a second, different rental car for the second half of the trip. That offered no savings and would just be a big hassle. The only way to get a cheaper price (that we know of) is to drive back to your starting point, but that will cost you a day of vacation. However, you can keep other trip fees low, by getting your food at grocery stores and staying in cheaper lodges or hotels. Plus, if you get the America the Beautiful Pass, you save some money on park entrance fees, and can use the pass the remainder of the year for another trip. Good luck in your rental car search! Cheers, Julie

  9. If you are looking for a good, less expensive place to stay in Jackson, I recommend the Virginian Lodge. We stayed there during our trip to Grand Teton; it was a nice motel, one of the cheapest in expensive Jackson, and even had a swimming pool for the kids. Ask for a room on the garden-side.

    1. Post
      Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *