Julie United States 67 Comments

If you only have one day in Yellowstone National Park, what should you do?

Yellowstone National Park is massive. It’s the largest national park in the United States outside of Alaska. With thousands of acres of land, five entrances, numerous canyons and geyser basins to visit, plus a drive through valleys filled with bison and elk, there’s no way you will get to everything with just one day.

However, with one day in Yellowstone, you have just enough time to see the highlights.

Since Yellowstone is so big, we have several different itineraries to choose from. If you only have one day, most likely you are on a road trip through the USA. Your perfect itinerary will really depend on where you are coming from and where you are going next.

Overview of Yellowstone

Yellowstone National Park is one of the most visited national parks in the United States. In 2019, it was 6th on the list of “most visited parks.” In July and August, crowds can be huge, so if you will also be visiting during these months, be prepared for traffic jams, difficulty finding parking spots, and high crowds.

Grand Loop Road is the main road in Yellowstone. It is here that you will find the most of the must-see sights.

Best Things to do with One Day in Yellowstone:
  • Old Faithful
  • Grand Prismatic Spring
  • Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
  • See the wildlife in Hayden Valley or Lamar Valley

Things to Do in Yellowstone

These itineraries are for the months of May through October. From early November through mid-April, many of the park roads will be closed due to snowfall. It’s still possible to visit the park in the winter, but you will get around by snowmobile or snow coach, which of course will be a much different experience than the summer months.

Important Update for 2021: There are planned road closures on Grand Loop Road between Tower-Roosevelt and Canyon Junction. Get the full details on the National Park Service website. All of these itineraries avoid the road closure.

One Day in Yellowstone

Here are six sample itineraries for how to spend one day in Yellowstone. Pick the one that most closely fits your planned route through the park. If you have any questions about these itineraries, or if you don’t see your option listed, let us know in the comment section below.

Since you only have one day in Yellowstone, it will be a long, busy day. I recommend that you start as early as possible, not only to give yourself as much time as possible, but to also see one or two sights with low crowds. We typically hit the road no later than 7 am.

Grand Teton National Park to Gardiner, Montana

Start: Grand Teton National Park or Jackson, Wyoming
End: Gardiner, Montana or Mammoth Hot Springs

How to Use This Map: Click the tab in the top left hand corner of the map to view the layers (places to go and the driving route). You can click the check marks to hide or show layers. If you click the icons on the map, you can get more information about each point of interest.
 
If you click the star next to the title of the map, this map will be added to your Google Maps account. To view it on your phone or computer, open Google Maps, click the menu button, go to “Your Places,” click Maps, and you will see this map on your list.

Grand Teton National Park sits just south of Yellowstone. Combining these two national parks on a road trip through the USA is a brilliant idea. In fact, it’s exactly what we did, starting in Grand Teton, then Yellowstone, and ending at Glacier National Park.

For a full list of things to do in Grand Teton, check out our article Best Things to do in Grand Teton National Park.

From Grand Teton National Park and Jackson, Wyoming, you will drive north on the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Highway to Yellowstone. The south entrance of Yellowstone is located north of Jackson Lake. To get to this entrance from Jackson, it is a 60 mile drive and takes one hour and fifteen minutes.

Optional: West Thumb Geyser Basin

This is the first sight you will see once you enter Yellowstone. If you got an early start and are doing good on time, you could consider getting out here to stretch your legs. At this small geyser basin you can see brilliant blue hot springs and wonderful views of Yellowstone Lake. A visit here is quick, taking most people 30 to 45 minutes. However, there is a lot to do today, so you could skip this and go directly to Old Faithful.

West Thumb

Old Faithful and the Upper Geyser Basin

Old Faithful is the world’s most famous geyser. It erupts on a very reliable schedule, erupting roughly every hour and a half, give or take ten minutes. Get the next predicted eruption time here.

To watch the eruption, you can either grab a seat on the very crowded boardwalk or hike up to Observation Point for a bird’s eye view (1 mile round trip).

Old Faithful

The view from Observation Point

While you are here, you can also explore the Upper Geyser Basin, which is one of the best places in the park to see hot springs, more geysers, and brilliantly colored thermal pools.

A visit to Old Faithful and the Upper Geyser Basin usually lasts about two hours, with time to watch the eruption and walk the boardwalk trails.

Grand Prismatic Spring

From Old Faithful, it’s just a short drive to the Grand Prismatic Spring.

There are two ways to see the Grand Prismatic Spring and I recommend doing both of them. That also means that you will have to park in two separate parking lots.

As you drive here from Old Faithful, you will first arrive at the parking lot for the Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook. Park at the large, gravel parking lot for Fairy Falls (RV’s, buses, and trailers are not allowed in this parking lot). From here, it is a 1.6 mile round trip hike to the overlook and it’s worth it! Here is the view.

One Day in Yellowstone

To walk the boardwalk trails and get up close to the Grand Prismatic Spring (called the Midway Geyser Basin), hop back in your car and drive a mile and a half up the road to the Grand Prismatic Spring parking lot. This lot is tiny for the number of visitors this place gets so most likely you will have to park along the road. Walk the 0.8 mile boardwalk trail past Grand Prismatic Spring and several other hot springs.

Grand Prismatic Spring

Hayden Valley

To get to Hayden Valley, you will have to do some backtracking. Drive past Old Faithful and the West Thumb Geyser Basin to Hayden Valley.

Hayden Valley is one of the best places in Yellowstone to see bison. If you are lucky, there will be a large herd on the roadside so you can get up close with these animals.

Hayden Valley

Bison in Yellowstone

Traffic jams in Hayden Valley are common. The bison tend to stop smack in the middle of the road, blocking traffic in both directions.

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

For thousands of years the Yellowstone River has been carving out this canyon. You can visit both rims of the canyon, either driving or hiking to the overlooks. If you have the time, it’s worth it to see both sides of the canyon.

On the north rim, our favorite experiences were hiking down the the Brink of the Lower Falls, hiking to Red Rock Point, and taking in the view from Lookout Point.

Brink of the Lower Falls

Brink of the Lower Falls

 

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

Lookout Point

On the south rim, walk Uncle Tom’s Trail and visit Artist Point. Artist Point is the iconic view of the waterfall and one of the most popular sights in Yellowstone (it is also the cover photo for this article).

If you visit both rims of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, a visit here can take between 3 and 4 hours, depending on traffic and how much you choose to do.

Optional: Mammoth Hot Springs

From Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, drive north towards Gardiner. You can either drive past Norris Geyser Basin and up Route 89 (this route is shorter and faster) or drive up Grand Loop Road, over Dunraven Pass, to Tower and then to Mammoth (this route is longer but more scenic).

If you still have time and energy left, you can visit Mammoth Hot Springs. It takes an hour to walk all the trails here, but with 15 minutes, you can park and see the Liberty Cap, one of the prettiest of the hot springs at Mammoth.

Mammoth Hot Springs

End your day in Mammoth or Gardiner, Montana.


Mammoth Hot Springs to Grand Teton National Park

Start: Mammoth Hot Springs or Gardiner, Montana
End: Grand Teton National Park or Jackson, Wyoming

This is the same itinerary as above, only you will do the drive in the opposite direction.

Important Update for 2021 & 2022: There are planned road closures on Grand Loop Road between Tower-Roosevelt and Canyon Junction. Get the full details on the national park service website. This driving route avoids this road closure. 

For this itinerary, you can start in either Gardiner, Montana or Mammoth Hot Springs. Visit Mammoth Hot Springs and then drive to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone on Highway 89. This avoids the road closure on Grand Loop Road.

Then, visit Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, keep your fingers crossed that you’ll see bison in Hayden Valley, and you have the option to visit West Thumb Geyser Basin. Visit Old Faithful and Grand Prismatic Spring before driving south to Grand Teton National Park.


Grand Teton National Park to the Northeast Entrance

Start: Grand Teton National Park or Jackson, Wyoming
End: Northeast Entrance of Yellowstone

From Grand Teton National Park and Jackson, Wyoming, you will drive north on the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Highway to Yellowstone. The south entrance of Yellowstone is located north of Jackson Lake. To get to this entrance from Jackson, it is a 60 mile drive and takes one hour and fifteen minutes.

You have the option to visit the West Thumb Geyser Basin once you enter Yellowstone National Park.

Watch the eruption at Old Faithful, walk the boardwalk trails around the Upper Geyser Basin, and then visit both the Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook and the boardwalk trails of the Midway Geyser Basin.

From here drive north towards the Norris Geyser Basin (but don’t stop here) and continue east to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Visit both the north and south rims if you have time.

Because of the road closure between Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and Lamar Valley, you will have to take a detour to avoid the road closure. The map above takes into account the road closure. After visiting Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, you will have to backtrack to Highway 89, take Highway 89 north towards Mammoth, and then take Grand Loop Road east towards Lamar Valley.

Lamar Valley is the best place in Yellowstone to see wildlife. Elk, bison, deer, bear, coyotes, and wolves can all make appearances here. Late afternoon and early evening are one of the best times for wildlife spottings, so your timing should be perfect.

Lamar Valley

Bison

Exit the park at the northeast entrance. Just beyond the northeast entrance is one of the most scenic drives in the USA. From Cooke City to Red Lodge, Montana, Beartooth Highway climbs up and over the mountains. Along the drive, you will have jaw-dropping views of multiple national forests and the Beartooth Mountains. This drive takes about 3 hours and can be done from June through early October. Read our Guide to Beartooth Highway to learn more.

Beartooth Highway

Beartooth Highway


West Yellowstone to Grand Teton National Park

Start: West Yellowstone
End: Grand Teton National Park or Jackson, Wyoming

West Yellowstone is located in Montana, just outside of the park. This is a great place to stay, with lots of hotel options and restaurants to choose from. We spent one night here at the Kelly Inn. If you are looking for good spot for dinner and like Spanish food and tapas, try Cafe Madriz.

From West Yellowstone, drive directly to Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. This is a great place to visit in the morning, since the roads and parking lots will still be relatively empty. It will be easy to drive from overlook to overlook on the North Rim this time of day. Visit the North Rim first and end on the South Rim.

Drive through Hayden Valley, see Old Faithful and walk through the Upper Geyser Basin, and then visit the Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook and the boardwalk trails at Midway Geyser Basin.

End your day in Grand Teton National Park or Jackson, Wyoming.


East Entrance to Grand Teton National Park

Start: East Entrance (Cody, Wyoming)
End: Grand Teton National Park or Jackson, Wyoming

The closest town to the east entrance is Cody, Wyoming. To get into Yellowstone, it is a 53 mile drive through a rugged, mountainous landscape. It takes an hour to drive to the east entrance from Cody, but what a beautiful drive! This stretch of road is called Wild Bill Cody Scenic Byway and it creates a spectacular entrance into Yellowstone National Park.

Wild Bill Cody Scenic Byway

Wild Bill Cody Scenic Byway

Once inside the park, drive north through Hayden Valley, visit the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Midway Geyser Basin, the Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook, and then Old Faithful. Before exiting the park, you also have the option to add on the West Thumb Geyser Basin.

Yellowstone Lake

Yellowstone Lake


East Entrance to Mammoth

Start: East Entrance (Cody, Wyoming)
End: Mammoth or Gardiner, Montana

From Cody, drive the Wild Bill Cody Scenic Byway to the east entrance.

Once inside the park, drive right to Hayden Valley. Continue north to Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, spending time on both the North and South rims. Then, drive counter-clockwise on Grand Loop Road to get to Old Faithful. See Old Faithful and walk the boardwalk trail at Upper Geyser Basin. Photograph Grand Prismatic Spring from the overlook, visit Midway Geyser Basin, and then drive north to Mammoth or Gardiner.

Old Faithful

Old Faithful


More Itinerary Ideas

I know that I did not include every possible route through the park. The above itineraries are for the most common routes through Yellowstone. If you don’t see your route listed and have questions, let us know in the comment section below.

Yellowstone Day Trip from Grand Teton

Visiting Yellowstone on a day trip from Grand Teton National Park works very well. We have a detailed day trip itinerary from Jackson, Wyoming, the perfect way to spend one day in Yellowstone if you will be visiting Grand Teton National Park. 

The Perfect Yellowstone Day Trip from Grand Teton National Park

Taking a Tour of Yellowstone

If you prefer to visit Yellowstone with an experienced guide, or want to avoid the hassle of driving and parking, here are several highly rated day trip tours to consider. One departs from West Yellowstone and two depart from Jackson.

 

With More Time in Yellowstone

If you have more than one day in Yellowstone, don’t miss our article Yellowstone Itinerary: Best Way to Spend 1 to 5 days in Yellowstone. 

Tips to Have the Best Experience

Get an early start. This will give you more time for sightseeing and let you visit at least one sight with low crowds.

Consider visiting Yellowstone in May or at the end of September into October if you want to have lower crowds and a more pleasant experience.

In July and August, be prepared for large crowds, traffic jams, and difficulty finding a parking space at most sights.

Visit the Grand Prismatic Spring midday or early afternoon. Yes, this is the most crowded time to be here but it’s also the best time to see the spring. Midday, the mist has burned off and the colors are vibrant, especially on a sunny day. Early in the morning, the spring is covered with mist and it can be a disappointing experience. For more information on how to visit the Grand Prismatic Spring, and add on the hike to Fairy Falls, read this.

Take a look at our Yellowstone article for more ideas of things to do. There is a lot more information about each sight in this article, plus, you might see something else on this list that really interests you.

More Information about Yellowstone

Yellowstone National Park Guide


If you are planning to spend one day in Yellowstone and have any questions, let us know in the comment section below.

 

Where Are You Going Next?

If your visit to Yellowstone is part of a bigger road trip through the USA, here are more ideas about nearby destinations.

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

Yellowstone One Day Itinerary

 

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Comments 67

  1. Hi Julie! I am NEW to EarthTrekkers blog and couldnt be more excited to find these itineraries. My husband and I have the rare chance to visit friends in Sheridan. So we’d be coming from the East through Cody. We only have about 36 hours before we have to fly back via Bozeman Mt airport so we are going to do the East to Yellowstone entrance and on up to Mammoth stay the night and they be relatively close to MT.

    Question….our dates are Nov 3-8th. I saw where you mentioned roads being closed in YS early November…do you think we should chance this trip over there?? I would so appreciate your advice or thoughts. Thank you again…love this site its so full of great inspiration and info for all us beginner Nat. Parkers.

    Thanks again,
    Manesseh & Joe in Texas

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      Author

      Hello Manesseh and Joe. We just did this same drive in the reverse order about a week ago. It is beautiful…not only Cody to the East Entrance but through the park as well. As far as if the roads will still be open…maybe?? That area just had its first real snow this autumn a few days ago. If it doesn’t snow again, you could be OK. But if the area gets another snowfall over the next few weeks, then the roads will most likely close. You will have to watch the weather and plan accordingly.
       
      We also drove through the Bighorn Mountains last week. There is a north route and a south route and we like the north route just a little bit more. But again, keep an eye on the weather because these roads can also close for snow. I will be writing more about this drive, hopefully in the next few weeks. It it snows and the roads are closed in the Bighorns and Yellowstone, then you will have to drive Interstate 90 from Sheridan to Bozeman. So, hopefully the weather will cooperate and you will get to see Yellowstone soon!
       
      Cheers, Julie

  2. Hello! Thank you for all of the wonderful advice. I have been reading the comments and I have three itineraries that I would like to run by you, if you don’t mind:

    We are going on October 15 – and our options are
    1: From Big Sky – Enter in Gardiner, visit Mammoth Hot Springs, Elk Park, Grand Prismatic Springs, Morning Glory Pool, Old Faithful, Kepler Cascades, and exit at West Yellowstone to return to Big Sky.

    2. From Big Sky – Enter in Gardiner, visit Mammoth Hot Springs, Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, Hayden Valley, Old Faithful, Grand Prismatic Spring, and exit at West Yellowstone to return to Big Sky.

    I was trying to figure out a route that would allow us to enter at West Yellowstone and exit at West Yellowstone without a lot of backtracking. One option we thought of was going in through West Yellowstone, (skipping Mammoth?), Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, Hayden Valley, Old Faithful, Morning Glory Pool, Grand Prismatic, and exiting again in West Yellowstone.

    Thanks for any advice you can give us . – Cesar

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      Author

      Hello Cesar. I recommend your second route. Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is one of the best places to visit in the park and not to be missed, in my opinion. And good timing…today I will be publishing a guide to the Grand Canyon which will have tips on what to do and how to plan your time. On October 15, I think crowds will be thinning out and parking won’t be an issue. We were just there a week ago, and although it was busy, it was not overly crowded. But again, I recommend your route #2 and doing it in the same order that you listed. Cheers, Julie

  3. Hello! Thank you for all the great information. My family is taking a road trip from California to bring our son to college in Minnesota in a few days (yikes!). We’ll be coming through West Yellowstone to the west entrance. We only will have about a day in Yellowstone. I think the Grand Canyon and Old Faithful are the things of greatest interest…my husband has been talking about the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center too. Do you know if that’s worth seeing?

    We’re doing this all kind of spontaneously, and finding places to stay without spending a fortune is challenging. We want to go to Glendive after the park. We’re not sure whether we should leave the park kinda the way we came in and then head north on 91, or go out the east entrance and through Cody and then north to Glendive. Mammoth Hot Springs sounds cool…what is the good stuff to see if we head out the east side? I’d love to hear your thoughts on all of this.

    Thank you!

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      Author

      We just dropped Tyler off at college (and miss him like crazy). But it’s cool that you are turning it in to a road trip! I have not been to the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center, but just looked it up online, and it looks neat. It is awesome to see grizzly bears up close. It also looks like it could be a quick visit, so it might be worth it.
       
      To get to Glendive, the main route I would recommend is exiting the park at the northeast entrance. You can see Mammoth Hot Springs on the way, then drive through Lamar Valley (great for more wildlife sightings), and drive the Beartooth Highway. We haven’t done this either but it looks like a spectacular scenic drive. Then take 212 to 90 to Glendive. The other way, through Cody, is also a very pretty drive, but I have heard great things about Beartooth Highway and it’s high on our to-do list. On the east side, you can see Hayden Valley (but Lamar is generally better for wildlife sightings), a mud volcano (sounds more interesting than it is), and West Thumb Geyser Basin (nice but not worth going out of your way for), as well as a few short hikes.
       
      Have a great road trip and good luck to your son! Cheers, Julie

  4. Hi –

    My husband and I are visiting Victor, ID Oct 6-12th with plans to tour Jackson Hole, Grand Tetons, and Yellowstone. Best itinerary suggestions?

    Thanks!
    Jeannine

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      Author

      From Victor, it is about a two and a half to three hour drive to get to Yellowstone, depending on the route. If you want to spend more than one day in Yellowstone, I recommend staying in West Yellowstone for one or two nights. This allows you to visit Yellowstone without driving 5 hours each day. Then, you can follow our 2-day itinerary in our Yellowstone itinerary post. If you already made hotel reservations or don’t want to change it, to visit Yellowstone, you can follow our Yellowstone day trip from Grand Teton. We did this last September and it worked very well. For Jackson Hole and Grand Teton, you can easily spend several days hiking here and exploring the town. Take a look at our Grand Teton itinerary for ideas on how to spend your time. If you have any other questions, once you go through all of this, please don’t hesitate to write ini again. Cheers, Julie

  5. Between august 22-28 my girlfriend, her son and I are going to be flying into Billings then renting a car and driving into Sheridan for 2 nights then to Cody for the remainder of the week. She wants to see the lower and upper falls. What would be a good itinerary from Cody for a one day excursion? I will probably leave Cody early in the morning and would like to see as much as possible and be back into Cody around 630pm.

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      Author

      Hello Sean. I recommend going right to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone first. It will take you several hours to see both sides of the falls. Then drive the lower loop counter clockwise, visiting Midway Geyser Basin, GPS overlook, Old Faithful, maybe West Thumb Geyser Basin, and then Hayden Valley, before driving back to Cody. Cheers, Julie

  6. My son and i will be staying in Rexburg Idaho for an elk hunt in mid Sept. We would like to take a day trip through Yellowstone ! We will have a rental car .What itinerary would you recommend ? Thanx –Curt Henry!!

    1. Post
      Author

      I recommend following the West Yellowstone to Grand Teton Itinerary, with a minor change or two. You can do it exactly as it is written, ending with the drive through Grand Teton National Park and continuing on to Rexburg. It will be a long day with a lot of driving but it’s a good option if you have no plans to visit Grand Teton NP but at least want to see the Teton range.

      OR, from Grand Prismatic Spring/Midway Geyser Basin, drive back to West Yellowstone and return to Rexburg from here. This option will be faster with less driving. With this route, you also have the option to add on Norris Geyser Basin or Mammoth Hot Springs (both at the end of the day after the Grand Prismatic Spring area), if you want to see more of Yellowstone and are doing great on time.

      Both routes work fine with a rental car of any type (all roads are paved).

      Have fun! Cheers, Julie

  7. Thank you so much for all of this great info! We will be doing the 1 day itinerary, coming in from Cody and ending up in Gardiner. How long will the drive be that you suggest for that route? Also are there any stops you’d recommend between Cody & the park entrance? Appreciate any other tips you may have! Thanks!

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      Author

      Without stops, it will take you 4 hours of driving to do this route as it is written. With stops, it will take a full day. I don’t know of any stops between Cody and the park entrance (we have not driven out this way yet) but a quick Google search or talking to your hotel/campsite/B&B in Cody might be able to give you some insight. But there is so much to see and do in Yellowstone that I would recommend getting into the park as early as possible. If you can get to the Grand Canyon early, you will be able to get parking spaces and see this part of Yellowstone without enormous crowds. If you are planning to visit Yellowstone before Labor Day, expect big crowds. It could be hard to find parking in some spots, but once you are parked, the areas you will be exploring are big enough that there is plenty of room to spread out. Cheers, Julie

  8. Good morning my name is Brent, and my girlfriend and I are taking a road trip her 55th birthday. We will be staying in Gallatin Gateway Montana and would like to go to Yellowstone for one day on around 25 July and I was wondering if you could suggest a good route for a loop to go through Yellowstone in one day and back I’m guessing the north entrance is the best way to go and exit? Looking for advice and comments. I looked at your one day itinerary and I don’t seem to find a loop for the one day trek? Do you have any suggestions of A good route to visit old faithful the grand prismatic springs Mammoth Springs Grand Canyon of Yellowstone Hayden Valley etc. in a loop with time duration? Also do you have any recommendations since we would be leaving or arriving around 7 AM in the morning I’m guessing 730 at the latest I’m thinking at the north entrance from Gallatin Gateway in Montana for food/ eats? Signed Lost in Yellowstone.

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      Author

      Hello Brent. I recommend entering through the North Entrance at Gardiner. Start at Mammoth Hot Springs. Then drive to Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone via Highway 89 south (take note of the road closure). From the Grand Canyon, drive through Hayden Valley, then visit Old Faithful and Grand Prismatic Spring. Exit the park in West Yellowstone. There are a bunch of restaurants where you can get dinner before driving back to Gallatin Gateway. This loop works just as well if you do it in the opposite direction. But I personally prefer putting Grand Prismatic Spring in the afternoon so you can see the colors without the mist. Try to leave as early as possible to avoid long wait times at the park entrance. I can’t really give you time estimates, because it depends on parking, crowd levels, and how long you spend at each place. Mammoth Hot Springs is fast. Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone will take at least 2 hours if you visit both sides of the river. Old Faithful can take a while depending on your luck of just showing up before the geyser goes off. If crowds are crazy, skip the north side of the Grand Canyon and visit Artist Point and Uncle Tom’s Trail on the south side. You’d get the iconic view and a close up of the falls from Uncle Toms Trail. Just be prepared for big crowds this summer in Yellowstone and you might have to circle the parking lots a few times to get a space. I hope you have a great trip and happy birthday to your girlfriend! Cheers, Julie

  9. This is fantastic/ very useful/ super cool! Well done. Headed East from living in BC Canada assuming the borders open up come september we booked west yellowstone Montana because like you mentioned it fills fast. Then trekking east to Cody. Eventually to Mt Rushmore then to Ontario, Canada. I cant wait this was very helpful.

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      Author
  10. Hi Julie!

    We are looking for some advice. We live in Georgia and are heading out west for the first time next week. We are flying into SLC airport and spending 4 nights at a ranch in Gallatin Gateway, MT (just south of Big Sky) and then spending 4 nights in Jackson, WY. My question is based on where we are staying in MT will we be able to see much of Yellowstone and what would be your suggested driving route? We were planning on leaving early one day to go to Yellowstone and then see Yellowstone again on the way down to Jackson. I see travel times on my phones but I know those don’t factor in traffic etc. I don’t have a good feel for how long it would take to drive from the West entrance down to Jackson if we were to drive through Yellowstone and Grand Teton. Should we even attempt to visit Yellowstone when we are staying in Jackson or is that going to be too long of a drive to go there and back in one day.
    Thanks for any advice you can give.
    Jim (traveling with wife and two daughters 13 and 15)

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      Author

      I’m going to answer your questions in reverse order. Yes, it is definitely worth visiting Yellowstone on a day trip from Grand Teton. Here is the link to our Yellowstone day trip post with the full route, distances, things to do, and driving times. Based on the traffic on our website, both Yellowstone and Grand Teton are going to be very busy this summer. I anticipate that you will have bigger crowds and more trouble finding parking than when we did this last September. If you don’t mind, you might want to get an even earlier start than what I mention in the day trip post. But that day trip loop will cover the top sights in Yellowstone.

      From Montana, I recommend visiting sights in northern Yellowstone. Again, leave early, to avoid waiting in a massive line at the west entrance (try to get through the entrance gate no later than 8 am but 7 am is better). Driving through Yellowstone typically isn’t bad. What takes so long is finding a parking space. On this day trip from Montana, start with Norris Geyser Basin (this is also listed on the Grand Teton day trip but doing it on your first visit gives you a lot more time to visit the sights on your second visit).Then drive north to Mammoth, see the hot springs, soak in the Boiling River if you like, and consider driving out to Lamar Valley to spot wildlife. Just note that it will be a very long drive to get back to Big Sky, so you might consider skipping this. But if you were to visit Lamar Valley, it is best to do it from Montana than Grand Teton, since it is located so far away from Jackson. If you skip Lamar Valley, visit the Artists Paintpots beforer heading back to Big Sky.

      Cheers, Julie

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