Julie United States 125 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.

Most recently, 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. 

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.

Important Update for 2021: There are road construction projects in both Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks which will impact travel. In Yellowstone, Grand Loop Road is closed between Tower-Roosevelt and Canyon Junction. I wrote this itinerary so that you can still visit almost everything in Yellowstone without being impacted by this road closure. In Glacier, there are minor construction projects along Going-to-the-Sun Road and a major road construction project in Many Glacier. In Glacier National Park, the roads are open but major delays are to be expected. As of March 2021, the road into Many Glacier is projected to close on 9/17/21.

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 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 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

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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.

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 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.

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.

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.

The park gets extremely crowded midday. Rather than joining the crowds, I recommend leaving the park for a few hours. I know that sounds crazy but it actually works quite well. You can either ride the Aerial Tram to Rendezvous Peak at Teton Village or have lunch in Jackson. Read our one day Grand Teton itinerary for full details on how to do this.

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 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.


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.

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

Important Update for 2021: There are planned road closures on Grand Loop Road between Tower-Roosevelt and Canyon Junction. This section of road will be completely closed until May 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 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

For more information about Yellowstone National Park, click here to read our Guide to Yellowstone National Park. Get important travel planning tips, sample itineraries, advice on when to go, where to stay, and more.

Day 5

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone & 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 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.

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 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 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.

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 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.

Important Update for 2021: There are numerous road construction projects in and outside of the park. The road to Many Glacier will be open, but due to a major construction project, expect delays of up to 40 minutes. The road to Many Glacier will close on 9/17/21. There is also road construction near St. Mary and along Going-to-the-Sun Road, which could cause minor delays. Visit the NPS website for full details.

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.

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.

PRO TRAVEL TIP: If you will be visiting the park between May 28 and September 6, you will need a timed entry ticket to drive Going-to-the-Sun Road. Learn more here.

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.

For more information about Glacier National Park, read our Guide to Glacier National Park. Get important travel planning tips, sample itineraries, advice on when to go, where to stay, and more.

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 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

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Comments 125

  1. Thank you so much for the great information and inspiration! We will be spending a week in July in Big Sky, Montana with family. My husband and I were thinking of extending our stay using your travel itinerary for the Glacier Park trip. BUT when I checked the links you provided I can see there are some significant road work happening at that time. I imagine there may always be road work as their window is so short but I was just wondering if you would advise waiting until next year to experience Glacier NP (and maybe doing the entire itinerary) or if we should go ahead this year as there is probably always going to be construction?
    We are retired so we are flexible with time and don’t have to connect to the current plans, just thought it would make a nice extension. Thanks again! ~ Cindy

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      Hello Cindy. That’s a good question about skipping Glacier National Park this year. Yes, there are some big challenges with visiting Glacier, due to the road closures and COVID. Last year, only the west entrance was open and there was no park shuttle, because of Covid, and there is a chance it could be the same way this year. However, with the vaccine roll out in the USA, I have a hunch that the east side will open, but I have not read that anywhere…it could just be my wishful thinking. With all of that being said, I think it’s a good idea to skip Glacier this year and go next year. You can plan out your itinerary now (for 2022) and then book your lodging/campgrounds far in advance. And if you want to visit Waterton Lakes, the border should be open in 2022 (that is also very questionable for this year). Cheers, Julie

  2. This is a great plan and will use it for our 10 day trip out west! Trying to book hotels for Sept. of ’21 and can find availability in Teton but not Yellowstone. How would it be to stay in Colter Bay to tour Teton for two days and then travel in and out of Yellowstone for the first two days there, rather than staying in West Yellowstone? Could we easily get to the sites you recommend? We would then go to the Yellowstone Gateway Inn in Gardiner for the next two days in Yellowstone? Then it’s on to Glacier.

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      That works. You will have a longer drive, but it’s not a major difference. From West Yellowstone it takes almost an hour to get to Old Faithful and from Colter Bay it takes 1.5 hours, so that’s only a 30 minute difference. And for the next day, you might only be tacking on an additional 30 minutes to get to those sights. I recommend starting 30 minutes earlier, because of the additional driving times, and to avoid any back ups at the entrance gates into the park (these typically start around 8:30 am and get very bad by 10 am). Colter Bay is very pretty, and there is a gas station and food services so that will be a great place to stay. Have a great trip! Cheers, Julie

      1. Thanks Julie – great info and it will help. Now I have a question regarding Glacier. We’re planning on staying at Great Northern 2 nights because Many Glacier will be closed at the end of September. How does this sound – go directly to many Glacier from Gardiner and hike to Apikuni Falls that afternoon, then drive to Great Northern that evening. And on the full day, go to Logan Pass leaving at sunrise to get there early enough and then we’d do the Hidden lake hike. Not sure where we would go after that – maybe over to Many Glacier for a boat ride across Swiftcurrent to Josephine. Then take a more leisurely drive back to Great Northern. We’re headed down to Helena the next day, so we could spend the morning in Glacier if we needed to get to a spot we miss. You highlight the spots we’ll want to see but hoping since we’re starting in the West we’ll be okay to get them in. Any suggestions are very welcomed. And thanks again for the site and for your responses to the many questions. Very much appreciated!

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          I have 2 suggestions. #1: don’t change your plan, but see if there is another place you can stay without backtracking back and forth across the park. It’s a gorgeous drive, but you could end up doing it about 4 times, which is a lot. If you can’t stay in Many Glacier, there are several options near St. Mary that you could look into.

          #2: if you can’t stay on the east side of the park, I recommend changing your order a bit. You can do Gardiner to Apikuni Falls to the Great Northern Lodge in one day, but it is a BIG day with a lot of driving. What if you drove up the west side of the park and hiked to Avalanche Lake that evening? On your next day, the first full day in the park,do Logan Pass/Hidden Lake first thing in the morning (you could be done by 10 am) and then visit the Many Glacier area. Spend the afternoon in Many Glacier. The potential issue with this is that sometimes they cut off traffic once the lots in Many Glacier fill. So you run the risk of this happening. Hopefully in September, since it is no longer summer, crowds won’t be too bad. If for some reason you can’t get into Many Glacier on day 2, you could start very early on day 3 and drive right to Many Glacier.

          So, I just thought of a 3rd option. From Gardiner, go to west Glacier/Avalanche Lake. On the first full day, drive right to Many Glacier and spend the morning and midday here. On the drive back across the park, hike to Hidden lake…it might not be too crowded in the late afternoon. But save some daylight so you can enjoy Going to the Sun Road. If, for some reason, you can’t do Hidden Lake on your full day in the park, you still have the following morning as contingency time.

          And of course keep checking the national park service website to make sure that the east side of the park opens up this year. I really hope it does!!

          Cheers, Julie

  3. Loving this plan! Would this be suitable to bring along a 3 year old and 9 month old (in harness of course) or too rough of terrain?

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      You can do this itinerary with your kids. Just keep the hikes short. In Yellowstone, the hikes/walks are relatively short. In Grand Teton, you can see and do a lot without doing big hikes. In Glacier, the hikes are longer, so if one adult wants to get out and hit the trails this would be the place to do it. With a 3 year old, Hidden Lake is possible, Avalanche Lake is a bit more strenuous. But I think that it is great that you are planning to travel with your young kiddos to the national parks! Cheers, Julie

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      We should have this available very soon. Sorry, it’s taking a little longer than anticipated (this will be our first eBook). It should be available by March 7. Cheers, Julie

    2. Post

      The e-book is now ready for purchase. You can click the link in this post to purchase it on Etsy. Sorry for the delay! Cheers, Julie

  4. Hello! I have been trying to figure out a plan to hit all these location and I came across this article! Very informative. My husband and I are planning to do this for our 20th Anniversary during the first two weeks of July. We haul campers for a living and will be driving an F350 dually, as we will be delivering a camper up there and then make our way back. Our plan is to tent camp for most of our trip. Will we be able to drive all the roads and get into all the parks with our truck? This is the first time we will be doing something like this, so any advice or tips are helpful. Thank you!

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      All of these roads are suitable for RV’s so you should have no issues with your F350 with or without a trailer. The only road you could not drive with the trailer is Blacktail Plateau Drive, but it would be fine with the F350 by itself. Happy early Anniversary! Cheers, Julie

  5. Is there any way to print the itinerary or is there a booklet I can buy, very interested in the 10 day grand teton, glacier and yellowstone road trip. My husband and I are now unable to hike due to medical issues but if we could drive to most of the places that would be great.
    At this time rooms are still available at the canyon lodge, now real dates yet but thinking late September

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      We are working on that and getting very close to publishing a printer friendly version of this itinerary. I expect to have it available in a few days so check back soon. That’s great that lodging is available and September is a gorgeous time to visit Yellowstone. Cheers, Julie

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          Yes, there are two links in this post to Etsy (one at the top and one at the bottom), where you can purchase a printer friendly version of this itinerary ($3). A lot of work goes into making the PDF so that is why we charging the small fee. You can also save off a copy of this as a blog post, right from the website, for free, but it is 71 pages with lots of photos to print. The printer friendly version is 16 pages long and has all of the info in this post, plus some extra travel tips and planning advice. Cheers, Julie

  6. Great article! I did almost this exact itinerary a couple of years ago and it was a trip I will never forget.
    One more suggestion: Take in the Chuck Wagon Horseback Ride out of the Roosevelt Corral in north Yellowstone. It was a fantastic way to see some of the remote beauty on horseback and enjoy a chuck wagon dinner and sing-a-long around the campfire.
    Keep up the great articles!!!

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  7. Any comments on whitewater rafting? Also, on the Yellowstone portion do you recommend staying 2 days in West and then another night in Gardiner before going up to Glacier?

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      I don’t know much about rafting in these areas to give you any good advice. However, you can go rafting near Grand Teton National Park. But you would have to do some more research if this is something that you want to add to this trip. As far as where to stay, if you can’t get lodging inside of Yellowstone, then I recommend 2 nights in West Yellowstone and then 2 nights in Gardiner. Cheers, Julie

    2. There are some good rafting outfits out of Gardner that raft the Yellowstone River. We are planning a similar trip but are extending it a few days and going to Banff. We had been looking at trying rafting up near glacier. Hope this helps and happy travels.

  8. This is amazing information! Thank you! We are curious if you have an approximate range for this trip for two adults?

    Thank you,

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      Hello April. When Kara and I did this trip in 2018, we spent $100 per day for the rental car, about $200 per night for a hotel, plus fees for gas and food. Food was cheap, as we mostly made our own meals. The America the Beautiful parks pass costs $80. With food and gas, a rough estimate is $3500 – $3750 for 2 people. Any additional fees would be for souvenirs and your travel costs to get to and from this road trip. You can travel cheaper by staying in budget accommodations or camping. But the rental car fee is expensive because of the drop charge. Cheers, Julie

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      Hello Teresa. We don’t have any experience traveling by RV so I am unfamiliar with RV sites and getting around by RV (which is why I do not include info about RV’s in our itineraries). With a little bit of extra research, you could Google where to stay with an RV, either inside or outside of the parks. Cheers, Julie

      1. We took this trip in an RV (except Glaicer) a few years ago and as we do all the time we made our plans using on line apps (Allstays) which worked great. We found 5 different parks in Yellowstone and Teton NPs.

        happy travels, chris

  9. I am planning a trip for me and my elderly mom. She is in very good health but I’m not sure of the hiking. Is this itinerary still good if we don’t hike??

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      Yes, this itinerary is great if you don’t hike. There is minimal hiking on this itinerary in Grand Teton and Yellowstone. In Grand Teton it is just a few short walks to some viewpoints. You can ride the shuttle across Jenny Lake but skip the hike to Inspiration Point. Another easy walk to consider is Leigh Lake. In Yellowstone, it’s worth the walk to the overlook to see Grand Prismatic Spring. There will also be a few short walks here and there but nothing too strenuous. In Glacier, you can ride the shuttles across Josephine and Swiftcurrent Lakes rather than hiking. And finally, the drive along Going to the Sun Road is spectacular and there is no need to hike to enjoy those views. Keep an eye on the Glacier national park website for closures on the east side of the park. Last year it was closed and this year it is still uncertain what they are planning this summer. Hopefully, with the vaccine, everything will be open. Cheers, Julie

  10. Hello. We are planning our family vacation for August 2021 and would like to add in a 2 hour horse back riding session in Moran. Do you think it would be too much to do on “Day 2” of your 10 day itinerary if we kept our time at Jenny Lake shorter or would you recommend it for another day?

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      I think you could squeeze it in. I would do it before you visit Jenny Lake if possible. You will just have to keep in mind the Jenny Lake boat shuttle schedule so you can get back and forth across the lake without doing a lot more walking. Kara and I did this same itinerary and actually took a break midday, going back to Jackson for a little bit and then returned to Jenny Lake in the late afternoon, so adding in the horse back riding is possible. Have a great trip! Cheers, Julie

      1. Thanks Julie for your quick response. You do an awesome job with all your itineraries. They are easy to follow and so informative. As a planner, I truly appreciate your time devoted to details.

  11. My sister and I are making this trip for the first time in August. We want to go to Cody, WY for a night and trying to decide where it would best fit in. Do you have any recommendations? I was thinking maybe stay at the East Entrance on night 5 then make the way north on day 6.

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      Your timing looks perfect, since you will be visiting the east side of the park on day 5. I haven’t been to Cody yet but it looks great. In our Where to stay in Yellowstone post I have some recommendations on where to stay in Cody and near the east entrance. I hope you have a great trip! Cheers, Julie

  12. This was very informative and well written. I just found this while planning my exact trip! I am planning the opposite order and was looking for stops between Glacier and Yellowstone. Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences.

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  13. Is there a way that I can print this itinerary? I am not sure if the website or my computer is not allowing me to print.
    Thank you! Looking forward to planning this trip!

    1. Post

      You should be able to print this. Using Google Chrome, to go file -> print -> more settings -> open PDF in preview and then print it. If you still have trouble please let us know. Cheers, Julie

  14. Thanks for this article! I am planning to do this trip with my friends .Do you have any suggestion if we want to add Idaho Falls in our trip?

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      If you do this itinerary as it is written (starting in Grand Teton), instead, start at Idaho Falls. If you are flying out this way, you can fly into Idaho Falls, visit it, then drive to Jackson/Grand Teton. I think it works best to visit Idaho Falls before you start this itinerary. Cheers, Julie

  15. Hi! In total do you know how many miles on the road this trip is? I’m looking to use my own car and am looking for a rough estimate. Thanks!

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      It’s about 700 miles to drive from Jackson, Wyoming, through Grand Teton and Yellowstone, to Many Glacier, to Whitefish, MT. In addition to this, you will have extra driving within the parks (could be up to 50 miles per day in Grand Teton and Glacier and up to 100 miles per day in Yellowstone. Plus, you will have the drive from the airport to Grand Teton National Park to start the trip. So, it could be somewhere around 1200+ miles, as a rough estimate. Cheers, Julie

  16. I am so excited to start planning after reading this. I appreciate all the tips at each stop. I plan on doing this trip in reverse order as we’ll be coming from a wedding in Spokane. I’ve been wanting to do this trip since the second I left Yellowstone the first time. Thank you for sharing 🙂

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  17. Wow great article! We’re thinking about making this trip in a few years with a 5th wheel camper. Driving from the UP of Michigan. Can you direct us to good RV spots to stay at on this trip? Thanks for all this information.

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      Hello Nancy. I’m glad you like our itinerary! We don’t travel by RV (and did not do so on this trip) so I don’t know where the good RV spots are, unfortunately. But I know they exist…this is a popular RV road trip destination. Cheers, Julie

  18. Great website! Do you all buy or rent bear spray and if so, where can you rent it? Also, do you have a suggested packing list and were you able to wash clothes along the way?

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      Hello Peter. I’m glad you like our website! We bought bear spray at the grocery store in Jackson. We did not do laundry, just brought enough clothing to make it through the entire trip. Unfortunately, I don’t have a packing list. But essentially we brought hiking shoes and a pair of tennis shoes, lots of shorts and T-shirts, one pair of long pants, one to two long-sleeved shirts, a sweatshirt/fleece, and a rain jacket.

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