Julie United States 201 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 several times. 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.

In 2020, we spent one week in Jackson, Wyoming to hike the trails in Grand Teton National Park. On one of these days, we day tripped to Yellowstone. And most recently, we visited Yellowstone on a road trip from North and South Dakota, mainly to drive the spectacular Beartooth Highway.

This itinerary is a one-way, point-to-point road trip. It can be done in the order outlined here or in reverse order. 

If you plan on flying in and out of the end points then we suggest looking at the flight cost plus rental car cost for following this itinerary in the order presented here and comparing that to the cost for following this itinerary in the reverse direction. Lodging availability could also be a factor in deciding which direction to travel.

If you will be driving back to your starting point then plan on adding on an extra day and hundreds of miles of driving to this itinerary.

Finally, if you need to shorten this itinerary (for example, you only have one week rather than a full 10 days), consider only visiting Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. We have a detailed Yellowstone and Grand Teton itinerary that can be done in 7 to 8 days it is is still an amazing national park vacation.

Grand Teton Yellowstone Road Trip Map

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 with re-openings occurring in stages between mid-April through mid-May.

Dates are very similar for Grand Teton. Teton Park Road is closed from November through early to 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.

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. You still can visit these parks at other times of the year, but your activities are limited and getting around is a lot more difficult. 

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.


Teton Yellowstone PDFGet a Digital Download of this Itinerary

Do you want a printer friendly version of this itinerary? How about an eBook version of this itinerary that can be downloaded onto your computer or mobile device?

Our Grand Teton, Yellowstone, and Glacier National Parks itinerary eBook includes this full itinerary, with detailed daily schedules, insider tips, and travel planning resources. It is a 20-page version of this post that you can download to take with you or print at home.

Click here to purchase the eBook on Etsy.com.


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. Flying into here 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.

IMPORTANT: We suggest researching rental cars and lodging options before finalizing your flights. If you are renting a car to travel point-to-point, there will be a drop fee, which can be expensive. 

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. Our favorite restaurant in Jackson is Local Restaurant & Bar. Miazga’s has a wide range of food. Persephone’s Bakery is an awesome breakfast/brunch spot in town. Other great restaurants include Cafe Genevieve, 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 stay when we visit Grand Teton National Park.

Wyoming Inn of 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.

The Lodge at Jackson Hole. This hotel is located next door to the Wyoming Inn, mentioned above. We stayed here on our most recent visit. We had a great stay…the room was clean, very quiet, and comfortable. We liked the Wyoming Inn a little bit better but we wouldn’t hesitate to stay here again, especially since prices are a little lower. To get into the heart of Jackson, it is a short drive or a 20-minute walk.

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 on the scenic loop plus extra driving time and distance depending on where you are staying.

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.

Morning: Viewpoints and Short Hikes in Grand Teton

Start at Mormon Row, on Antelope Flats Road, which you can get to from Highway 191/89/26. There are two excellent photography spots to visit. In Google Maps, one is listed as Mormon Row and the other is listed as Mormon Row Historic District.

Grand Teton Itinerary

Sunrise at Mormon Row

Next, drive north on Highway 191/89/26 and stop at Schwabacher Landing and Snake River Overlook for more photo opportunities.

Grand Teton

Schwabacher Landing

Continuing north, when you reach the junction where Highway 26 splits from Highway 191/89, turn left onto Highway 191/89/287. You will pass through the Moran Entrance Station before you reach Oxbow Bend, another scenic photographic spot.

Keep following Highway 191/89/287 and turn left onto Teton Park Road. As you head south on Teton Park Road, consider taking the detour up Signal Mountain for stunning views over the park.

After the optional detour to Signal Mountain, continue south on Teton Park Road and turn right onto Jenny Lake Road. If you want to get out and stretch your legs, turn right onto String Lake Road and park in the parking lot at the end of the road. From the Leigh Lake Trailhead, follow the String Lake Trail north along String Lake to Leigh Lake. If you hike to Leigh Lake, it’s just 1.8 miles round trip. If you go farther, walking along the eastern shore of Leigh Lake, the hike becomes 3.7 miles round trip.

Continue south on Jenny Lake Road and make sure you stop at Jenny Lake Overlook for one of the best views of the lake.

Follow Jenny Lake Road until it re-intersects with Teton Park Road. Turn right (south) onto Teton Park Road, which will eventually intersect with Highway 191/89/26 a little south of Mormon Row and then complete the 42 mile scenic loop. A little more than a mile before this intersection you will have the opportunity to see the Chapel of the Transfiguration, a rustic log chapel with a gorgeous backdrop.

Afternoon: Take Your Pick

Before completing the loop, consider the follow options for how to spend the rest of your day:

Option #1: Jenny Lake, Inspiration Point & Hidden Falls

You can ride the shuttle across Jenny Lake and hike to Inspiration Point now OR have lunch in Jackson and do this hike in the late afternoon.

Grand Teton National Park gets extremely crowded midday. You may find that you cannot get a parking space midday at Jenny Lake, or the boat shuttle line is extremely long. Rather than joining the crowds, I recommend leaving the park for a few hours to have lunch in Jackson. I know that sounds crazy but it actually works quite well (we have done this several times in recent years).

After lunch, return to the park, ride the shuttle across Jenny Lake and hike to Inspiration Point and Hidden Falls. This hike is 2-miles round trip and takes 1 to 2 hours. In the summer, the Jenny Lake Boat Shuttle operates from 7 am to 7 pm. Plan to board the Jenny Lake shuttle by 4:30 pm. This gives you two and a half hours, which is plenty of time to ride the shuttle and do the hike. Afterwards, have a picnic dinner next to Jenny Lake or return to Jackson.

Note: Adding Cascade Canyon is a nice add-on to the Inspiration Point hike and a great thing to do if you like hiking or you want to go deeper into the park. If you plan to do this today, do not go to Jackson for lunch. You need to start this midday to give yourself enough time for the longer hike.

Inspiration Point Grand Teton Yellowstone and Glacier

Option #2: Rendezvous Peak

Have lunch in Teton Village and then spend the afternoon in the mountains. Ride the Aerial Tram to Rendezvous Peak. From here, you can ride the tram back to Teton Village or hike to one of the other chairlifts or gondolas on the mountains. We hiked the Cirque Trail, a 1.8-mile mostly downhill trail to Bridger Gondola and then rode this back to town.

Whichever option you choose, consider adding on the drive along Moose Wilson Road. Moose Wilson Road runs from the southern end of Teton Park Road to Teton Village and then onward to Highway 22. You have a chance of spotting moose on Moose Wilson Road. 

IMPORTANT: In 2024, Moose Wilson Road will have closures or delays between the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve and the Granite Entrance Station (learn more here). An alternative way to get to Teton Village from the Jenny Lake area is to drive through Jackson and then take Moose Wilson Road north from Highway 22 (Teton Pass Highway). This drive takes 40 minutes. If you take the alternative route, then make sure you still drive the north section of Moose Wilson Road, which in our experience, has been the best place to spot moose.  

Rendezvous Peak

Rendezvous Peak

For suggestions on how to plan your time today, read our post One Perfect Day in Grand Teton National Park. 

Tonight, sleep in Grand Teton National Park, Jackson, or Teton Village.

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.

Drive to 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 (and allow you to visit Yellowstone every day…with the Alternating License System you can only visit the park every other day if you stay outside of Yellowstone). 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 found it to be a great location just outside of the park. Kara and I stayed at the Kelly Inn.

PRO TRAVEL TIP:  For recommended hotels and locations, both inside and outside of Yellowstone National Park, read our article Where to Stay in Yellowstone.  

Old Faithful Inn Grand Teton Yellowstone and Glacier

Old Faithful Inn

Day 4: Hot Springs, Old Faithful & Hayden Valley

On the road: 75 miles, 2 hours (if you stay at Old Faithful or 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 ninety 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. Get full details on what to see and do at Upper Geyser Basin in our Guide to the Geyser Basins.

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 onto 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


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 is the best option followed by Gardiner, Montana.

Yellowstone National Park Guide

Day 5: Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Mt. Washburn & Norris Geyser Basin

On the Road: 38 miles, 90 minutes if you stay at Canyon Village; 90 miles, 3 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, Red Rock Point, and Inspiration Point were our favorites.

For more details on visiting the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, read our Guide to Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

On the South Rim, the highlight is Artist Point (one of the most iconic views in all of Yellowstone).

Artist Point

Artist Point

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

Optional: Hike Mt. Washburn

Typically, we don’t recommend saving a big hike for the middle of the day, but to minimize driving and to avoid the crowds at the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, 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. It is 6.2 miles round trip and takes 3 to 5 hours.

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.

Artist Paintpots

Just south of Norris Geyser Basin is Artists Paintpots, a small area that contains several hot springs and mud pots. This is a great place to visit in the afternoon. On this 1 mile loop, you get to see more bubbling mud pots and hot springs. We loved the view from the upper boardwalk.

If you still have free time this afternoon, consider driving back to Hayden Valley to see the bison. 

Where to Stay

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

Outside of the park: Gardiner, Montana is the best option, followed by West Yellowstone.

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 both nights

Spend the morning at Mammoth Hot Springs.

Mammoth Hot Springs

Midday, if you have a 4×4, you have the option to take the scenic detour on Blacktail Plateau Drive. This 7-mile, one-way dirt road heads parallel along the Grand Loop Road between Mammoth and Tower. If you get lucky, you can spot bison, elk, and bear. It’s a fun, enjoyable ride with beautiful scenery. Once in Tower, see Tower Fall. It’s a bit mediocre, but since it is a quick visit, it’s still worth it, if you find a parking space.

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 Grand Teton Yellowstone and Glacier

Lamar Valley, Yellowstone


Lamar Valley Yellowstone

Lamar Valley at Sunset

Where to Stay

In the park: Mammoth is the best place to stay inside the park, followed by Canyon Village. Tomorrow, you will head north out of Yellowstone so you will do a lot less driving if you stay in Mammoth.

Outside of the park: Gardiner, MT is the best place to stay followed by West Yellowstone. 

Day 7: Drive to Glacier National Park

On the road: 394 miles, 6.5 hours from Gardiner, MT to Many Glacier; 394 miles, 6.5 miles from West Yellowstone to Many Glacier; that is not a typo…it’s the same distance from Gardiner and West Yellowstone to Many Glacier.

This is the biggest driving day of the trip. It takes almost six and a half hours to drive from Gardiner and West Yellowstone to Many Glacier. If you are staying in Canyon Village in Yellowstone, 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 West Glacier and 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

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 St. 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.

PRO TRAVEL TIP: If you will be visiting the park between late May and early September, you will need a timed entry ticket to visit Glacier National Park. Learn more here.

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 St. 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 the 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.

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 Glacier Park International 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.

Glacier Travel Guide

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 7 days, it is a whirlwind trip to visit all three national parks. It works, but you will be doing a lot of driving over those 7 days. Another alternative is to spend a week in Yellowstone and Grand Teton, saving Glacier National Park for a future visit. 

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 at any of the national park lodges).

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 as you are planning your trip and again just before you go.


Teton Yellowstone PDFGet a Digital Download of this Itinerary

Do you want a printer friendly version of this itinerary? How about an eBook version of this itinerary that can be downloaded onto your computer or mobile device?

Our Grand Teton, Yellowstone, and Glacier National Parks itinerary eBook includes this full itinerary, with detailed daily schedules, insider tips, and travel planning resources. It is a 20-page version of this post that you can download to take with you or print at home.

Click here to purchase the eBook on Etsy.com.


More Information about Grand Teton, Yellowstone, and Glacier

GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK: Check out our Grand Teton National Park Travel Guide for important travel information, sample itineraries, and how to plan your visit. For a list of must-have experiences, read our article Best Things to Do in Grand Teton National Park.

HIKING IN GRAND TETON: Check out our article Best Hikes in Grand Teton for great hikes to add to your to do list. We also have detailed hiking guides for Paintbrush and Cascade Canyons, how to hike Death Canyon to Static Peak, and how to hike to Delta Lake.

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK: Read our Yellowstone National Park Travel Guide for important travel information, sample itineraries, and how to plan your visit.

BEST OF YELLOWSTONE: For a list of the top experiences in Yellowstone, don’t miss our article Best Things to Do in Yellowstone. We also have guides to the top sights in Yellowstone, such as Old Faithful, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, how to visit Grand Prismatic Spring, and a Guide to the Geyser Basins.

SCENIC DRIVES IN WYOMING: Beartooth Highway is located along the border of Montana and Wyoming, near Yellowstone, and is one of the most scenic drives in the USA. If you have plans to drive between Yellowstone and Devils Tower or Mount Rushmore, take your pick between Cloud Peak Skyway and Bighorn Scenic Byway.

GLACIER NATIONAL PARK: Check out our Glacier National Park Travel Guide for important travel information, sample itineraries, and how to plan your visit. Don’t miss our article Best Things to Do in Glacier National Park for more great things to do in the park.

YELLOWSTONE, DEVILS TOWER & MOUNT RUSHMORE: This 10-day road trip itinerary is one of the best in the USA. Traveling point-to-point, start in Grand Teton and visit Yellowstone, Devils Tower, Mount Rushmore, the Black Hills of South Dakota, and Badlands and Wind Cave National Parks.

VISIT THE US NATIONAL PARKS: Looking for your next big adventure? Read our post Best National Parks in the USA, where we narrow down the long list into 15 must-see parks. You can also learn more about the national parks (and get the full list) in our Guide to the US National Parks. Finally, if you are traveling as a family, here are the best parks to visit with kids.

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.

Read all of our articles about the United States in our United States Travel Guide.


Grand Teton Yellowstone and Glacier Road Trip Itinerary

Yellowstone Glacier Road Trip Itinerary


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Comments 201

  1. Avatar for Laura M
    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      We don’t have a packing list. We wore shorts and hiking pants, some short and long sleeved shirts, and a hoodie/jacket. Bring a pair of hiking shoes, rain jacket, maybe an umbrella, a swimsuit if you are staying at a place with a pool or hot tub, and of course a camera. Have a great trip! Cheers, Julie

  2. Avatar for Emily Taylor
    Emily Taylor

    Thank you for all you do to make these itineraries so detailed and well thought out! We completed your Utah Mighty 5 road trip last fall and had the trip of a lifetime! We loved every bit of it!! Now we are looking to do your “10-day Grand Teton, Yellowstone and Glacier” itinerary. Question for you: We will be traveling mid-October. Would you recommend doing this itinerary in reverse order (Glacier first) to avoid any chance of the Going-to-the-Sun Road being closed? Or do you think we will run into closures no matter what way we plan this trip? Thank you for your time and suggestions!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Hello Emily. In mid-October, there is a chance you could have some closures no matter which way you did it. But starting in Glacier is a good idea because driving Going to the Sun Road, and seeing the sights along it, is a must-do. There is a chance you could have some snow in Yellowstone (it snowed in Yellowstone just after our visit in early October 2 years ago). One advantage of doing it this time of year is that crowds should be low. Have a great trip! Cheers, Julie

  3. Avatar for Caroline Lowe
    Caroline Lowe


    Thank you so much for all this information. This is so helpful.
    If we follow your itinerary, what is the budget for a SUV? Any car rental company you would recommend?
    Where did you drop your car?
    Thank you again for all your precious recommendation.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Hello Caroline. I don’t recall which company we used but most likely it was Avis or Hertz (the most recent time we did this road trip was in 2019). The budget is hard to answer. It can cost anywhere from $75 to $200 USD per day to rent the car and then there will be an additional drop fee, which will be at least several hundred US dollars. When we did this, our rental car fee was bigger than round trip flights from Maryland for 2 people, so it can be expensive. We dropped our car at the Glacier Park International Airport and picked it up at the Salt Lake City Airport. Cheers, Julie

      1. Avatar for Caroline Lowe
        Caroline Lowe

        Hi Julie,

        Thank you so much for your prompt response.
        I really appreciate it. We are currently finalizing our trip and your recommendation are so helpful.
        Thank you again.
        Greetings from Maryland (Columbia) .

        1. Avatar for Julie Post

          Columbia! We are practically neighbors. We live in Howard County too! Have a wonderful time on your trip! Cheers, Julie

  4. Avatar for Waylon

    Thanks for your time and energy into making this for us all!!

    Is there any disadvantage to doing the trip in reverse (North to South). That seems to be working out better for me (planning for just after labor day weekend) and I was just curious if you chose to do the other direction for a reason.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      You’re welcome! 😊 This works just as well north to south. I’m can’t remember why we did this south to north (the first time we did this road trip was in 2001 and then repeated it in 2019). The biggest factor will be making sure you can pick up a rental car somewhere near Glacier and then drop it at a different airport later, if you don’t plan it as a big loop. Cheers, Julie

  5. Avatar for Troy

    I appreciate your well written itineraries and pro tips. I’m wondering with the NE entrance open, if Beartooth Highway is feasible on Day 5 prior to visiting the NW section and a stay in Gardiner the next day. Currently thinking GC of the Yellowstone in the morning, Beartooth Hwy in the afternoon, and a return through Lamar Valley in the early evening. If this is a viable itinerary would you drive all the way to Red Lodge or just partway before turning around and heading back?

    We are staying in Canyon Lodge to start and end day.

    Appareciate the help.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Hello Troy. Thanks for writing in. Yes, it is doable to add on Beartooth Highway to day 5, but as you probably know, it will be a long day with a lot of time in the car. That’s great that you will be starting at Canyon Village. I recommend starting very early at GC of the Yellowstone, maybe as early as sunrise or a little bit afterwards and then moving somewhat quickly between the viewpoints. Without stops, it will take you 2 hours and 45 minutes to drive from GC of the Yellowstone to Rock Creek Vista on Beartooth Highway. Once you get to this point, it is a 30-minute drive to Red Lodge. You can make a decision at this point if you want to keep going, but you don’t miss much if you make Rock Creek Vista your turn around point. From Rock Creek Vista, it’s another 3 hour drive to Gardiner, without stops. It will probably work out that you will drive through Lamar Valley in the late afternoon, which is perfect timing for wildlife. Bring some snacks or a picnic lunch. You can also get food in Silver Gate and Cooke City, and Red Lodge if you go all the way there. Have a great time in Yellowstone! Cheers, Julie

  6. Avatar for Anna

    Hi Julie,

    Thank you so much for this blog – after a wonderful grand circle trip in 2022 based on your recs, we are planning to do this itinerary in 2023! A practical question: would you recommend doing this with an RV? Or are RVs not allowed in the park? And any idea which companies offer one-way RV rentals between Jackson and Glacier?

    Appreciate your guidance and all the time you put into your blog!

    Best wishes for 2023,

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Hello Anna. We always travel with a car or SUV. We find it is much easier to find parking and to get around the national parks in a smaller vehicle vs. an RV. Some parking lots in the national parks do not accommodate RV’s, so in advance, you will have to do some research about where to park in each park with an SUV. There can also be regulations as to where you can drive RV’s (for example, large vehicles are not permitted on Going to the Sun Road in Glacier). If you wanted to rent an RV, we see a lot of RV’s from Cruise America, so this would be a good starting point. Cheers, Julie

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