Yellowstone in 2 Days Itinerary | Tips + FREE Map Yellowstone National Park

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2 Days in Yellowstone National Park Itinerary

If you plan on visiting any National Parks this year, Yellowstone is a perfect place to start! With over 3,400 square miles within 3 states (Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming), there is plenty to explore! In this Yellowstone itinerary, I am covering the best attractions to see self-driving with 2 days in Yellowstone National Park!

This Yellowstone in 2 days itinerary works for any entrance gate, however, if you are planning your trip from the Yellowstone West Gate entrance, you can follow this exact itinerary! Additionally, you will find tons of Yellowstone travel tips, where to stay, and more in this ULTIMATE Yellowstone guide! Feel free to check out the table of contents below to skip around.

Did you know Yellowstone is actually the United States’ first National Park which happened on March 1, 1872? Additionally, people have been living on these lands for over 15,000 years, including 27 Native Tribes. Yellowstone is also an active supervolcano!

Make sure to add the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone to your Itinerary
The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone – A must on every Yellowstone itinerary

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I may earn a small commission at no cost to you. Disclosure.

Yellowstone National Park Quick Facts

Location: Yellowstone is located predominantly in Wyoming. The park extends into Montana and Idaho. The park is 2.2 million acres.

Entrance: Yellowstone has 5 entrances to the Park. The West Entrance (in West Yellowstone), the North Entrance (in Gardiner), the South Entrance (in Jackson Hole), the East Entrance Gate (coming from Cody), and the Northeast Entrance Gate (near Cooke City).  

Admission: Yellowstone Day Entrance Fee per vehicle is $35 USD. Motorcycle/snowmobile $30 and walking/bicycle/ski is $20. 

Yellowstone Visitors Center: There are 10 Visitor Centers in the park. Old Faithful Visitor Education Center,  West Yellowstone Visitor Center, West Thumb Information Station, Madison Information Station, Grant Visitor Center, Albright Visitor Center, Canyon Visitor Education Center, Fishing Bridge Visitor Center, Norris Geyser Basin Museum, and Museum of the National Park Ranger. They offer exhibits, Ranger-led programs, a bookstore, Museum, and more.

Lodge/Camping: 9 lodges and 12 campgrounds. Many of the campgrounds and lodges close in the winter. The only campground open all year is Mammoth Campground. 

Yellowstone Climate: Most of the park is around 7,500 ft. above sea level, so the weather is mild. Summer temperatures are around 70-90 degrees high and a low of 30-40 degrees at night. During fall and winter months, daytime temperatures are around 26 -60 degrees, and nighttime temperatures of 3-24 degrees. 

Closest Airports: The closest airports to Yellowstone National Park are Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport (BZN), Yellowstone Regional Airport (COD), and Jackson Hole Airport (JAC). Check Skyscanner for flights!

Nearest Cities to Yellowstone: Popular cities between 5-200 miles from Yellowstone are Bozeman, MT, West Yellowstone, MT, East Yellowstone, WY, Cooke City, MT, Big Sky, MT, Cody, WY, Jackson, WY, and Billings, MT.

Operating Hours: Yellowstone is open 24/7 All Year Round, but roads and entrances are limited in the winter. Check Yellowstone operations here. 

Gas / Service Stations: Yellowstone has 6 gas stations/service stations located at Mammoth Hot Springs, Old Faithful (Lower and Upper), Fishing Bridge, Canyon, Grant Village, Lake Village, and Tower. All locations have General stores.

Best time to visit Yellowstone: May – October 

Dog-friendly: No

Closeup of Grand Prismatic Springs

How Many Days Do You Need in Yellowstone

How many days you will need in Yellowstone really depends on your travel style, however, 2 days in Yellowstone is a good place to start. If you start your days early (8 AM), you can easily see the most prominent attractions in the park and then some.

If you prefer moving at a slower pace, want to camp, or plan on hiking lengthy trails, you can spread out this Yellowstone itinerary to 3 or 4 days.

Our visit was done with a large family group (ages 13-68), so this 2 day Yellowstone itinerary will be perfect for just about any age.

Alternatively, if you plan on just doing a road trip through Yellowstone, you can still hit some major attractions in just 1 day by doing the lower loop. 

Furthermore, if you are concerned about not seeing wildlife (like me), don’t worry! There will be plenty of opportunities to see wildlife throughout the park.

Yellowstone Wildlife you will see in abundance includes the American Buffalo and Elk. Other animal sitings include Black bears, Grizzly bears, Coyotes, and Wolves (more likely to see in winter months).

Related: Have less than 2 days in Yellowstone National Park? Here are the Must-See Things in Yellowstone!

Make sure to add Lamar Valley to your Yellowstone Itinerary
Buffalo herd Pronghorn at Lamar Valley

FYI- All spots were vetted by our Airbnb host who was a Park Ranger at Yellowstone for over 15 years!

Best Time To Visit Yellowstone National Park

The best time to visit Yellowstone National Park is from May to October. This is because November through April might have too much snowfall, leaving roads closed.

Depending on the experience you want, it’s still possible to visit during the winter, but you will not be able to freely roam the park, like in the summer months. Many of the roads will be closed, but you will be able to ski and snowmobile in the park.

If you are interested in seeing baby wildlife in Yellowstone, the best time is May- June.

July through August will be the busiest time in Yellowstone. We visited in early July, and by midday, popular stops were crowded. Overall, Yellowstone saw over 4 million visitors in 2021!

September through October in Yellowstone will see fewer crowds than mid-summer, and you will have an opportunity to experience Yellowstone’s Elk rut (mating season).

Elk in Front of the Albright Visitors Center
Elk in front of the Albright Visitors Center

Getting Around Yellowstone

The best way to get around Yellowstone National park is to rent a car, and for this itinerary, you will definitely want to do just that. By renting a car, you will get to see Yellowstone on your terms and be able to avoid crowds if you’re visiting during the high season.

The next important thing to know is that there is very little cellphone reception in Yellowstone. If you have an Andriod, however, you might have better luck.

In our group, my husband was the only one with an Android (the rest of us are iPhone users). He was the only one getting a weak single, and the rest of us had zero service.

Because of this, you might also want to consider getting one of those old-school car GPS that runs on satellite.

You can also utilize Yellowstone’s app. They provide an interactive map and alerts if you have service. If you download the map from their app ahead of time, it should continue to work without the internet! It will also let you know if there are any road closures which will be very important in making sure your day goes smoothly!

Additionally, I will also include an interactive google map below with all Yellowstone stops in this itinerary!

Scenic views of Yellowstone National Park
Scenic views of Yellowstone National Park East upper Loop

Day 1 of 2 days in Yellowstone Itinerary: Bottom Loop

All entrances are expected to be by the end of May 2023.

Yellowstone is generally broken up into 2 loops, the upper and bottom loop, which covers most of the main attractions.

We stayed just outside the West Entrance of Yellowstone. FYI, when it comes to booking anything for Yellowstone, it’s best to do everything well in advance because it books up like crazy!

Your entrance can differ depending on where you choose to Lodge, but overall the loop attractions will be the same, just in a different order.

I’d recommend starting at the Yellowstone West Entrance because it is closest to a lot of main attractions and has a cute town with a lot of hotels. If you are planning to leave from a different gate, feel free to reach out in the comments, and I will be happy to help!

Additionally, an early start is the best way to avoid some of the crowds. However, traffic can happen at any time when wildlife decides they want to hang out on the road.

Buffalo traffic jam
These Buffalo finally decided to move to the side of the road

The map above covers each stop you should add to your Yellowstone Itinerary. You can save it to your Google maps to use for later!

Firehole Falls

A part of the Firehole River, Firehole Falls is a nice first stop from the West Gate Entrance of Yellowstone. Take a minute to stretch your legs and view the waterfall, which is about 40ft. There is no hiking involved, making it a popular waterfall to check out!

Firehole Waterfall
Firehole Waterfall

Fountain Paint Pot

Next, stop at Fountain Paint Pot, which will be the first geothermal attraction of many. This short trail brings you on a loop of petrified trees and various hydrothermal features, including geysers and mud pots.

The trail is a .5-mile loop bringing you around the boardwalk with mud pots and geysers surrounding you. You can also find restrooms here.

Leather Pool at Fountain Paintpots in Yellowstone
Leather Pool
Mud pot in Fountain paint pot
A mud pot at Fountain Paintpot

Midway Geyser Basin

Midway Geyser is one of the best Yellowstone attractions, in my opinion, so I would highly recommend this stop. Here you will get to explore one of the top attractions, Grand Prismatic Hot Springs.

Grand Prismatic Hot Springs is the 3rd largest hot spring in the world, stretching 370 ft in diameter. It’s as deep as a 10 story building, and the colors are insanely gorgeous rainbows of blues, oranges, and golds!

If you have extra time, you might also want to consider seeing Grand Prismatic Springs from above, which would give you the best view of the spring. To get there, you must hike from Fairy Falls Trailhead. The hike there and back is a total of 1.2 miles. It’s one of the best easy hikes in Yellowstone and the most rewarding.

While there, you can also see smaller features, including the Opal Pool, Turquoise Pool, and Excelsior Geyser. With even less than 2 days on your Yellowstone itinerary, Grand Prismatic Springs should be at the top of your list!

Grand Prismatic Springs is a must-see on any Yellowstone Itinerary
Grand Prismatic Springs
Excelsior Geyser in Yellowstone
Excelsior Geyser

Old Faithful Geyser

Old Faithful is probably the most famous feature of Yellowstone and a must-see with 2 days in Yellowstone. With that being said, it will also be one of the most crowded places.

The Old Faithful Geyser gets its name for, well being faithful in terms of eruptions. Located in the Upper Geyser Basin, this geyser erupts 22 times a day for about 1-5 minutes. So what makes this attraction so popular? It’s likely because it shoots out around 100 – 180 ft high and has temperatures that have clocked in over 350 F.

If you are unsure of the eruption time, the Yellowstone app should tell you when they are predicting the next eruption.

This is also a good rest stop area for food and restrooms while waiting for Old Faithful to erupt. If you are doing really well on time, you can even walk some of the 4.9-mile loop trail to see additional geysers, including Morning Glory Pool. 

Add Old Faithful to your Yellowstone Itinerary as its the most popular feature in the park
Old Faithful eruption

Old Faithful Eruption

West Thumb Geyser Basin and Yellowstone Lake

Next, head to Thumb Geyser next to Yellowstone Lake. Walk around the boardwalk loop to see tons of geysers and Yellowstone Lake. Did you know Yellowstone Lake is the largest high elevation lake in the USA at over 7,000 feet?

Yellowstone Lake also is known to have the largest population of wild cutthroat trout in North America. As you make your way around the boardwalk, some of the most notable features include Abyss Pool, Fishing Cone, Painted Pool, and Lakeshore Geyser. You will also find restrooms here and have the possibility to see wildlife. During our visit, we saw elk!

West Thumb Geyser Overview
Overview from West Thumb Geyser

Mud Volcano

Mud Volcano is actually one of the most acidic features in the park. At this point, I am sure you are used to the smell of rotten eggs, and you will get loads of that wif here! There are a couple of cool features here with a .6 mile boardwalk loop you can check out if you’re doing ok on time.

Trail to Mud Volcano in Yellowstone
The trail to Mud Volcano

Drive through Haydens Valley

From the Mud Volcano, you will continue driving up towards Lookout Point. Lucky for you, this drive brings you right through Haydens Valley! Known as one of the best places to see wildlife in Yellowstone, plan to see tons of buffalo, beautiful landscapes, and even have the possibility to see grizzly bears and coyotes.

Lower Falls of Yellowstone Lookout Point

The Canyon Village area is one of my favorite places in Yellowstone! It is at this stop that you can experience the Yellowstone Grand Canyon! The canyon is 20 miles long with a depth of over 1,000 ft! Scientists believe the lava flowed to create this canyon 484,000 years ago.

Furthermore, you will also be greeted by the Upper Falls and Lower Falls. The Lower Falls, which is the show stopper, in my opinion, is a 308-foot waterfall, and Upper Falls is 109 ft. 

There are several lookout spots, including Inspiration Point and hikes such as Brink of the Lower Falls that are popular to visit.

No matter how you view this area, just know it is beautiful!

Norris Geyser Basin & Artist Paintpots Trail

If you still have daylight left, then you can check out Norris Geyser Basin and  Artist Paintpots Trail on your way back to the West gate.

The Norris Geyser Basin is actually home to the hottest and some of the most acidic in Yellowstone National Park. 

The Norris Geyser Basin Trail offers 2 loops; The Porcelain Basin Trail (.75 miles) and The Black Basin Trail (1.5 miles).

Artist Paintpots also offers a short hike to see more geysers and hot springs with an overlook the landscape. If you are geyser’ed out at this point, or tired, you could probably skip this one.

Because it was on our way back to the West Gate entrance where we needed to exit, we figured we’d take a break to stretch our legs. To give you an idea of how long it took us to do the lower loop of Yellowstone, we got into the park at 9 am and left the park at 7:30 pm. 

Day 2 in Yellowstone Itinerary: Lamar Valley and Mammoth Hot Springs

So we have made it to day 2 of our Yellowstone Itinerary! Most of the excitement in Yellowstone is definitely in the lower loop, so if you only have one day in your itinerary, I’d recommend spending it there.

The upper loop has more scenic views and lots of Buffalo! You will also be driving through elevations over 8,000 FT, which is pretty cool if you ask me!

To give you an idea of how long it took to do the upper loop; we got into Yellowstone at 8:30 am, arrived at Lamar Valley around 10 am, and then left Mammoth Hot Springs around 12:30 – 1 pm. As you can see, there is still a lot more daylight left to enjoy in Yellowstone National Park.

Scenic Views of Yellowstone
Scenic Views of Yellowstone while driving the East side of the upper loop
Grizzly Bear in Yellowstone National Park
Grizzly bear spotting on the East side of the upper loop heading toward Lamar Valley

Lamar Valley

Update: Lamar Valley was closed last year due to flooding. It opened back up this year for the 2023 season – however, there are some delays. If Lamar Valley delays are bad, you can consider heading to Mammoth Hot Springs instead.

Again we started from the West Gate and headed East, back towards Canyon Village. From there, we drove up the right side of the Upper Loop to Lamar Valley. The best wildlife spottings are generally known to be in the morning or late afternoon so we got into the park by around 8 am.

The views of Lamar’s Valley are incredibly picturesque. The East side of the Upper Loop also has better chances for Black bears and bighorn sheep spottings!

Once we got to Lamar Valley, we saw a crazy amount of Buffalo in the distance, I mean herds!

I am a huge animal lover/ photographer, so driving all the way to Lamar Valley was very worth it to me, however, if you feel fulfilled with the amount of wildlife you have seen, you can consider skipping Lamar Valley.

If Lamar Valley is too far, consider checking out Tower Fall (near Tower Junction), a 132 ft waterfall, and Calcite Springs overlook.

Larmar Valley is a must on your Yellowstone Itinerary for lots of wildlife

Mammoth Hot Springs

After, watching the buffalo play, we headed to Mammoth Hot Springs, another very popular feature of Yellowstone National Park. Again, this is one I would definitely add to my Yellowstone itinerary because it’s really unique!

The area itself is like a little town. You can go to the Albright visitors center, see the Mammoth Chapel, Fort Yellowstone, and of course, the springs!

The terraces of the spring look like the inside of a cave. The only difficult part is trying to find parking here, but it’s worth it!

If you still have time left, also consider swimming at Boiling River, a Hydrothermal swimming hole. The Boiling River is a hot spring that flows into the cold river water, one of the very few places you are actually allowed to swim.

Boiling River opens after the snowmelt floods, which happen in spring. Therefore, Summer is the best time to go but always double-check to make sure it’s open before driving all the way there.

Elk in front of the Albright Visitors Center

Elk in front of the Albright Visitors Center

mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park, USA.
Photo by Jéan Béller on Unsplash

2023-2024 Yellowstone Road Update

Last year, the Tower-Roosevelt to Chittenden Road (near Dunraven Pass) was closed, making it difficult to get to Lamar Valley. This year, all roads will be open, but you can expect some delays.

It is always best to check current road conditions before starting your journey! Current Yellowstone road conditions.

Yellowstone Road Map
Photo Courtesy of the National Park Service

 How To Get To Yellowstone

Depending on where you live, getting to Yellowstone can be a little tricky. Coming from New York, it was easiest to fly into Bozeman, Montana (BZN).

Other options are Cody, Wyoming(COD), Billings, Montana(BIL), and Jackson, Wyoming(JAC). There is also a limited seasonal service to West Yellowstone, Montana(WYS).

We headed to Bozeman, which has some of the best bagels in Montana, from the Yellowstone West Gate after our visit to Yellowstone National Park, so it made the most sense for us.

Check Skyscanner to find the best flights near Yellowstone.

View of Yellowstones waterfall

Yellowstone Entrance Costs

Visiting Yellowstone National Park comes with a small price tag. It costs $35 USD per private vehicle for a 7-day pass. This does not include driving through Grand Teton.  Tickets can be given upon entrance.

If you plan on visiting 3 or more National Parks, you can also get an annual pass for $70 USD. However, for $80 USD you can get the America the Beautiful pass which will allow you entrance into all national parks and federal recreational land for 1 year.

You only need one America the Beautiful National Park Pass per car for up to 4 adults. Children under 15 are free. Additionally, two different people can use this National Park Pass.

America the Beautiful passes can be purchased here.

Where to Stay in Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone has lodges inside the park including Old Faithful Inn, Canyon Lodge and Cabins, and Lake Yellowstone Hotel and Cottages. All Yellowstone Lodging can be booked directly from Yellowstone’s Official Website. The campground can also be found on the National Park site here.

Keep in mind many lodges and campgrounds are only open from May-October. 

If you are planning to stay in Yellowstone National Park, you should look into booking your accommodations a year out. Especially now more than ever, National Park vacations have been at an all-time high, so accommodations are limited.

Alternatively, you can also camp inside the park. Use Yellowstone’s official website for campgrounds and RV lots!

Staying in West Yellowstone

Rather stay outside of Yellowstone National Park? There are tons of hotels and Airbnb’s that surround the park. Again, these go quickly, so you will want to book your stay ASAP since there has been such an uptick in National Park visits.

We came from Bozeman, Montana, so we decided to stay in West Yellowstone in Montana. 

The town is really cute with tons of places to eat and just about 5-10 minutes from the West Yellowstone Gate Entrance. This gate is also closest to most of Yellowstone’s main attractions, which makes this one of the best and most popular areas to stay in.

Some lodges to consider in West Yellowstone include:

Crosswinds Inn is one Booking(dot)com’s top picks with over 1.5k reviews! The lodge features a pool, complimentary breakfast, located .9 miles from the West Yellowstone Entrance, and just 30 minutes from Old Faithful! As a bonus, they are also pet-friendly.

Kelly Inn West Yellowstone is another top-rated hotel located in West Yellowstone. This hotel offers complimentary breakfast, an indoor pool, a hot tub, and a sauna. Kelly Inn is also pet-friendly and just a 3-minute drive from the Yellowstone entrance!

Best Western Weston Inn is located .9 miles from the West Yellowstone entrance, has a pool and hot tub, complimentary breakfast, and pet-friendly.

Alternatively, you can consider staying in Gardiner, Montana. It is located North of Mammoth Springs and is a good option if you are coming from Glacier National Park. View available lodging at: |

Additionally, if you have planned to do a whole West Coast National Park road trip through Yellowstone to Grand Teton National Park, you might also want to look in Jackson Hole for additional accommodation.

Jackson Hole is also extremely popular, so hotels go quickly. |

2 Days Yellowstone National Park Itinerary Wrap-up

Well, that was a mouthful, but I hope this itinerary helps you plan your perfect trip to Yellowstone! Of course, with just 2 days in Yellowstone, you won’t be able to see EVERYTHING, but as you can tell, 2 days is more than enough to get an idea of the park!

Additionally, consider checking out these Yellowstone Travel Tips, Easy Yellowstone Hikes, and Yellowstone Packing List.

If tours happen to be your jam, check out Get Your Guide Yellowstone options.

Additionally, you can find more Yellowstone guides and itineraries on this Wyoming travel page.

Remember, when visiting the park, please leave no traces, meaning anything you take into the park, TAKE BACK OUT, including litter.

Also, please follow all the park guidelines. These include staying on the trails and staying at a safe distance from wildlife. Many people have been seriously injured by breaking these rules.

Have any questions about this Yellowstone Itinerary or need additional help planning yours? Let me know in the comments below!

If you found any value from this Yellowstone 2 Day Itinerary, I’d really appreciate it if you could share it below! 

Yellowstone National Park itinerary in 2 days with Free Map included and travel tips.
Photo of author

Samantha Oppenheimer

Samantha Oppenheimer (Sam Opp) quit her corporate marketing job in 2018 to travel the world and become a travel writer, blogger and content creator. She loves experiencing authentic travel experiences, photography, and nature. Sam shares helpful travel itineraries, travel tips, budget tips, and travel advice from her personal experiences. You can also find Sam's words featured in large publications including Mirror, Thrillist, and Well + Good.

61 thoughts on “Yellowstone in 2 Days Itinerary | Tips + FREE Map Yellowstone National Park”

  1. We’re heading west soon! Will start Yellowstone in the afternoon from the South Entrance from Jackson Hole, and stay in West Yellowstone that night. We’ll start the next morning from the West entrance.

    Trying to figure out how much we can see in the afternoon starting from the south. Thinking we should do the east side of the lower loop then cut over to West Yellowstone. The next day I hope we’ll finish the loops. Thanks for all this information!

    • Hi Jen! I am glad you found it helpful! Animal traffic jams are unpredictable which can mess with your itinerary – but I hope you get to see everything you want and have a fabulous time!

  2. We are planning a trip to Yellowstone mid October and we will have two full days, Fri~Sat, in the park. We will come through the south entrance and try and stay outside the park on Thursday night. Thought about staying at Mammoth Hot Springs hotel on Friday and the Snowlodge on Saturday. What are your thoughts? Thank you!

    • Hi Kelli,

      If you plan to do that, I would recommend going up the right side of the Grand Loop through Yellowstone Lake, Canyon Village, Lamar Valley and ending at Mammoth Hot Springs. On your second day, I would come down the left side of the loop to stay by Old Faithful. You can consider doing that middle part between the two loops, but I don’t believe it is necessary, and then leave through the South Entrance again.

      Just my thoughts looking at the map. Hope it helps!

  3. We plan on entering the east entrance and staying both nights at the north entrance can you tell me the best order! Thanks so much

    • If you are staying at the North entrance but entering through the East, I think you should start going South and doing the lower Loop first, since you will end at the upper loop.

  4. We plan to use the west entrance and head down to Jackson and stay the night. Would you recommend we see the upper loop on the way down or the lower loop? Coming from Jackson the next day we plan to stop at Jenny Lake in the grand Tetons and then see either the lower loop or upper. Whichever you recommend. We will exit west entrance. I can skip Lamar if we don’t have time. But really want to see the waterfalls and mammoth if you think mammoth is worth it . Thank you

    • Hi Kathy, While they are unique, I have been hearing the colors this year are not as vibrant. To be honest, it is really hard to say, but if this is the only thing you plan to do on the upper loop, it may not be worth it. I think Grand Prismatic Springs (do the overlook hike) is probably the coolest feature aside from the waterfalls.

  5. Thank you for all of this info! We are staying in Gardinier in August. Everyone says there is timed entrance into the park? All I could see when I purchased my entrance ticket was a date. Is there another place to book a time?
    Also is it feasible to see some of the lower attractions coming from the north entrance in a day? We’ve rented a car.
    Thanks in advance!

    • Hi! Last year due to the flood there were timed enhances, but I haven’t heard anything about timed entry this year. You could if you start early. I would prioritize the west side of the lower loop. Have the best time!

  6. Thank you so much for sharing this! We are headed to Yellowstone in August and staying at Bridge Bay Campground so we can flip the itinerary around from the location we will be at!! Thank you for the tip for the app!

    • You’re very welcome! You can also download offline maps if you have google maps. This way they “should” work if you have no service =)

  7. This helps some. Actually, we are planning West Yellowstone trip in end July. We will stay at Wes Yellowstone but we didn’t have car and will be booking local 2 day group tour package by Bus .
    Is there any 2 day tour for upper and lower loop from West Yellowstone. (I saw torus from Jackson but not from West Yellowstone)…see if you can guide/recommed some tour operator.

  8. We are going to be coming up from Teton Village and then staying at the Old Faithful inn. What route would you suggest for 2 days in September?

    • Hi Jamee,

      Coming from Teton, if you can get to Yellowstone Lake early, I would do the loop starting from the lake, working your way all the way around, and ending in Faithful inn. The next day, follow day 2 but you will be leaving from Faithful Inn would be my recommendation. I hope this helps!

  9. We will be coming from Jackson Lake Lodge/Grand Teton. An advice on how to tackle your itinerary coming from this area?

  10. Very informative. We will be going in August 2023. Flying into Bozeman and staying there one night. Then second night staying at West entrance. Then 3rd day heading East. Any suggestions on itinerary?

    • I am glad you found it helpful! I would do everything just about the same as I mentioned, except on your second day, you will just be going from the east entrance North to Lamar Valley and then over to Mammoth. Day one from the west entrance, do the lower loop, sunset at Canyon Village, and then head back to the east entrance. Hope you find this helpful and have the best time in Yellowstone!

  11. This itinerary has been extremely helpful! A group of 8 family members is planning a trip within the next 2 years. This guide has tons of ideas and tips to make our trip easier. Great travel info!

  12. Hi Sam, you’re blog in being very useful, thanks a lot. On Mid-late September my husband, our 10 month son and myself are going to Yellowstone for 2.5 days, arriving in Bozeman so we can enter Yellowstone west entrance.
    and then we are going to Teton.
    What advice can you give us regarding accommodation, route and any recommendation that would make or trip better and easier.
    Also, any advice for Grand Teton would be grateful and appreciated.
    Thank you

    • Hi Ruth, thank you so much for your compliment. I think West Yellowstone is one of the best entrances. You will actually be able to follow this itinerary exactly how it is since we stayed at the west entrance as well. I linked some hotels towards the bottom of the blog post in West Yellowstone. You can also look to do a airbnb/vrbo. I unfortunately did not visit the Tetons and my articles are based off of my actual experience, but I can tell you that you will want to leave out of the South Entrance at Jackson hole. If you are going to the Tetons after Yellowstone, I would almost recommend doing the upper loop first and the bottom loop the next day to leave out of the south entrance onto the tetons. Any additional questions, feel free to reach out to my on Instagram @fndlovetravel or email

  13. We will be there for 2 days at the end of September, staying 1 night in Canyon Village. Coming from Jackson, assume through the South entrance. My question is, how would you layout the trip, knowing you will enter and exit the park at the south entrance and will be staying in Canyon Village. We would like to visit both upper and lower loops.


    • Hi TJ – I would probably start from going up towards old faithful and end in Canyon village. IF you are doing really well on this day with time, maybe even consider going up to Mammoth and back down to Canyon village. Then on day 2 in Canyon Village, drive the upper loop counter clockwise and then drive back down out the south. If you do Mammoth on day one, I’d prob skip the rest of the upper loop unless lamar valley re-opens and do do sunrise at canyon village, haydens valley and Yellowstone lake. Hope this helps!

  14. We will be visiting Yellowstone for 2 days in late August and entering through the south entrance. We will be leaving on the second day through the east entrance and staying in Cody. We haven’t booked a room for the first night so not sure where we’re staying. But I was wondering how you would plan your itinerary for this route? Thanks!

    • Hi Amy,

      Because Lamar Valley is currently closed, I would consider entering through the South entrance and driving up towards Mammoth Hot Springs or at least the west entrance. If you make it to Mammoth Hot Springs I’d Spend the night there, and then on day 2 drive back down and head towards Canyon Village and exit out of Cody. If you stay in West Yellowstone, then in the morning drive up to Mammoth, and then across to Canyon village and exit to Cody. You would be missing the Yellowstone lake and Hayden Valley though which I think is fine to miss unless you didn’t see much buffalo and wanted to drive a little past the east gate to drive some of Hayden Valley. If you have any further questions, feel free to reach out to me on Instagram or email =)

  15. Hi Sam, the guide you’ve provided is very helpful. We are flying into Jackson hole and will enter through south entrance. We have two days to spend in the park and will leave through the east entrance and head toward Cody to stay there. Then will head toward Mt Rushmore area for the next few days. Any suggestions on how to get through Yellowstone entering through south entrance and leaving through east entrance?

  16. We will get an old school map from the visitor center, but do you have a printable/PDF version of your itinerary? Since the cell service is poor, we’d like to have a printed copy of the itinerary to follow.

    • Hi Lisa, I do not have a pdf version but you should be able to print the page or copy and paste it into a google document or word document to print. You can also download the offline maps in the google maps app on your cellphone. Have the best time in Yellowstone!

  17. Hi,
    Visiting YNP last week in Aug. ‘22 (specifically Aug. 25-26) and traveling from Victor, ID. Which entrance would be best? Since the flooding are there places I definitely won’t be able to include with your 2 day itinerary? Planning to stay at OFI on the 25th but may cancel for something more cost effective but still want easy access to main attractions. Thoughts?

    • Hi Paula! It looks like you can easily enter from either West Yellowstone or the South entrance. Both seem to have a very similar ETA. The only thing you would not be able to currently do is going to Lamar Valley. They just opened the Upper Loop on 7/2. There is a chance that by the time your trip happens, they will open Lamar Valley. If not, I would spend more time at Mammoth Hot Springs, and anything else you may have missed the first day. Hope this helps!

  18. Hello, my family of 5 will visit in june and stay at Headwaters lodge just 5 minutes outside of south entrante. We’ll have 3 full days to (2)yellowstone/(1)grand teton and maybe Jackson this same day. What is the best option itinerary for yellowstone from south entrance? At this year will be road and closed roads works. South entrance at 7 pm will be closed some days. Thanks in advance!

    • Hello Esther,

      I think you would be best going up towards old Faithful first and making the loop around back to the South Entrance. By June, Canyon Village to Tower Roosevelt should be open. With the night road closure by old faithful, it would also make sense to head that way first in case you were running behind schedule. Hope this helps!

  19. Hi-
    We are headed there in a few weeks and coming from
    Jackson hole. Two days on the park. What order do you recommend we start with staying in the middle area of the park for two nights. Also things like snacks(easy to find food?) and gas for car?

    • That is so exciting! Assuming you are starting from Jackson Hole, I would start by going up towards Old Faithful and Grand Prismatic Springs since these tend to be the busiest tourist attractions so you can get to them early. Make my way by Grand Canyon around golden hour and drive through Hayden valley after since the morning and afternoons are best for wildlife viewing.

      However, if you are not staying in Jackson hole, I might change my mind. The next day, I would go up towards Mammoth. For food and gas – it is not so easy inside the park. I would get tons of snacks/drinks outside the park and fill up on gas. I believe there is a gas station at Old Faithful and there is food. Also near Canyon Village. Hope this helps!

  20. Hi! I know this was posted quite some time ago, but I am wondering if you can share some info on the timing of it all – how long you spent in the park each day? We will also be traveling in a large group – 3 adults and 8 kids and I want to be prepared for possibly how long we will be in the park each day following your exact itinerary.
    Thanks so much!

    • Hi Mar, thank you so much for your question and thanks to the time-stamps on photos, I can give you a pretty good time estimate, however, I must say that we did not hit any animal traffic jams. We were there during 4th of July weekend. Anyways, on our first day, we were inside the park at 9am and left Artist Paintpots Trail at 7:30 pm. Some family members skipped Artist Paintpots Trail and went home after Canyon Village.

      On day two we got into the park around 8:30 am and it was a pretty long drive to Lamar Valley. We didn’t arrive until 10 am. The drive is very scenic (right side of the upper loop – unfortunately, is closed to road work), however, if you have seen a lot of wildlife the day before and you don’t care to see more bison, you could probably skip Lamar Valley and just head by Mammoth Springs. Plus, on the upper loop, the whole right side of the highway is closed which might actually make it take a lot longer to get to Lamar Valley depending where you are coming from.

      From Lamar we went to Mammoth springs and probably left the park by around 12 pm. Depending on what gate you are coming from would depend on what else you can do.

      Please let me know if you have any more questions and I will do my best to help you out!

  21. Thank you for this! Hikes seemed pretty short these two days. Did you get by with regular gym shoes or do you recommend hiking boots?

    • Hello Nora, I am glad you found this guide helpful! We were a pretty large group of people and regular gym shoes were fine for all of us!

  22. I am in awe in front of those landscapes Sam! I would love to see these amazing views by myself! And all the wildlife is so impressive too!

  23. Yellowstone has always been on my bucket list, but beyond Old Faithful, I didn’t know what there was to do! I’m actually really relieved to see that everything else is even better/more amazing!

  24. Hi Samantha,

    Exploring Yellowstone Park is my dream! Geysers, mud volcanos, hot springs, rock formations, waterfalls… all in one place. And all the buffalos and dear hanging around is so cool!

    Thanks for this great post because I have learned a lot about Yellowstone by reading it!


  25. I had no idea there were geysirs here. Really cool guide that I’ll save for later. Yellowstone has been on my bucket list for a while but it will have to wait until we can enter the US again 🙁

  26. This is a great article Sam! I’m really trying to do Wyoming and Montana this fall and Yellowstone is high on the bucket list. All of your photos are beautiful and the sites you saw were amazing! 🙂

  27. Super helpful info, Sam! We are heading to Yellowstone in September and I will take advantage of all your tips. We still have an old school Garmin GPS for our cars so will use that since Google maps won’t work. Appreciate the heads up and all the tips on best places to see!

    • You guys are going to have the best time! It was so odd that only Alexs android phone would work, but just a little and all our iPhones had no service – go figure! I am so excited to see your wildlife photography there! Because we went with his whole family – I was slightly limited to how long I could go animal searching and it was also before my telephoto lens!

  28. I love visiting National Parks and while I’ve been to quite a few, I have not yet checked Yellowstone off my list! I can’t wait to visit one day as it looks absolutely beautiful. Thanks for the great guide 🙂

  29. I love Yellowstone. And I have to say my favorite time to visit is in the winter. It’s possible to get to many of the places listed with the snow coach. beautiful photos.

  30. This is on my US bucketlist! I’ve been wanting to visit for a while but still haven’t gotten around to it. Urgh!


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