The Ultimate 7-day Teton & Yellowstone Road Trip Itinerary
Follow this detailed 7-day Teton and Yellowstone road trip itinerary to travel to the best sites, hikes, and attractions in these two incredible national parks.
A few years ago, I went up to Jackson, Wyoming for an awesome winter weekend at the Triangle X Ranch just outside of Teton National Park. We did some cross-country skiing and snowmobiling, and ever since I’ve been itching to get back for some summer adventures. But with so much to do up there, planning a trip to the region can be overwhelming. That’s why I was so excited when former Bearfoot Theory Community Manager, Kim Vawter offered to share her 7-day road trip itinerary that took her through both Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks.
Kim says, “Ever since reading about Bryce Thatcher’s 1983 record for climbing & descending the 13,770 foot Grand Teton I’ve had a passion to visit the region. With Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park being just 31 miles apart, the two parks make for an incredible weeklong road trip. By following this Teton and Yellowstone road trip itinerary, you’ll hit up a large number of the best sites in the parks in just 7 days without spending too much time in the car.”
Below she shares her favorite spots, photos, and best travel tips for maximizing your time in the area. Sounds like an incredible week on the road if you ask me, and with the information she provides, planning a trip to Yellowstone and the Tetons is going to be a cinch.
Here’s the ultimate road trip itinerary for a week well-spent in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks!
As it goes in all of the destinations we share, please be a responsible visitor, practice good trail etiquette, and remember to Leave No Trace. This means packing out all of your garbage, being respectful to others on busy trails, and following the established rules.
How to Get to Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks
There are a couple of options for starting your Yellowstone road trip, depending on where you are coming from.
If you’re flying, you can fly into Salt Lake City and enjoy a 5-hour drive to Grand Teton National Park. Or you can fly into the much more expensive, yet scenic Jackson Hole airport.
If you chose the budget-friendly version, there are two routes from SLC to Grand Teton National Park which make for a great loop. On your way up to Teton National Park, take I-15 North through Swan Valley and Victor, ID. This route provides a glimpse of the backside of Grand Teton, building anticipation for what’s ahead.
Then for your return home, take US-89 S/I-80 W which follows the Snake River and makes for a nice change of scenery on the way back to Salt Lake.
Be aware that many of the roads close in both parks during the winter season (typically November through early May), including the southern entrance of Yellowstone.
For seasonal road closure information, see these pages on the official National Park Service Grand Teton and Yellowstone websites.
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Yellowstone & Grand Teton Road Trip Itinerary
This road trip itinerary starts with two days in Grand Teton National Park before venturing into the completely different, otherworldly scenery of Yellowstone National Park. Read on for tips on what to do and see each day of your trip to maximize your time in this area.
DAYS 1-2: Grand Teton National Park
Get an early start and begin your day at the Grand Teton Visitor Center near the South Entrance. The park video gives you a great intro to the park. Then, after the video make sure to stay seated as they open the blinds to reveal a floor-to-ceiling window that showcases the Grand Teton.
Next, head over to explore the southeast corner of the park on foot. Start at the Death Canyon Trailhead and hike just over a mile to a gorgeous overlook that peers down 700 feet into Phelps Lake. This section of the trail is easy, gaining just about 200 feet. After taking in the views, continue from the overlook down the switchbacks that drop you into the entrance of Death Canyon—it’s neat to see the large canyon walls loom above you! From here you can stay and hang out at the lake or venture further down into the canyon. Bears frequent the lake, so be on the lookout and bring bear spray! Check out this blog post for some notes on bear safety.
Post-hike head on over to camp at Jenny Lake for the evening. If the campground is full or you’d prefer not to camp, here is a list of alternative lodging in Grand Teton National Park. There is also camping available outside of the park. Check out this blog post for tips on finding free campsites.
NOTE: Campsites in Grand Teton National Park are now reservation only and sites will no longer be available on a first-come first-served basis. Reservations fill up quickly so plan your trip far in advance if possible.
** New to Hiking? Read Back to the Basics: Hiking 101 Tips **
Get on one of the first boats across Jenny Lake to the trailheads on the other side of the lake. You’ll find short and simple trails leading you to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point.
Escape the crowds by continuing on past Inspiration Point to Lake Solitude. From the boat landing, Lake Solitude is around 14 miles round trip with 2,400 feet of elevation gain. It makes for a longer day, but traveling below the jagged peaks of Cascade Canyon provides very different scenery from the prior day in Death Canyon. The trail meanders through lush forests, along a flowing river, and past several waterfalls. For more information on this trail, see this trail guide.
Another option is to walk around the lake, which will lengthen your trip by about 4 miles. So, the total hike would be around 17-18 miles.
One more thing to keep in mind is that moose frequent this area, so you might get to see one (or more). If you encounter wildlife, give them space and observe from a distance.
When you return from your hike, reward yourself with huckleberry margaritas and nachos at the Signal Mountain Lodge—it’s a local favorite among the park staff and a delightful post-hike treat!
Afterward, drive up the Signal Mountain Road for an impressive aerial view.
For a change of campsite scenery, relocate your tent on night 2 to the Colter Bay Campground. This way, you’ll wake up on day 3 a little closer to Yellowstone.
DAYS 3-6: Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone or bust! Be prepared to see a whole new world in a very short distance on your Yellowstone trip. My friend referred to Yellowstone as “extraterrestrial” or “something from another planet.” And, it’s true, it really has that feel.
On your way into the park, swing by the Grant Village Visitors Center to see the video about the famous 1988 Yellowstone fire that burned a third of Yellowstone— it helps visitors understand the devastation Yellowstone has faced, and why it has a rough appearance in certain areas.
One of the best parts of Yellowstone is that the main road is a loop, so you basically just keep working around the circle. On your first day, I recommend heading clockwise to Old Faithful and getting this tourist-packed attraction checked off the list. The geyser erupts every 90 minutes; there are signs everywhere in the area informing you of the next eruption. The viewing area is big, but it does get super crowded. So, I suggest arriving about 15 minutes before the eruption to secure a good viewing spot.
The visitor center is equally impressive and very informative. Don’t miss the Old Faithful Inn tour, SERIOUSLY. You might think, “I came to a national park to explore the great outdoors, not a building…” but just wait until you walk into the lobby of the Old Faithful Inn. The tour is free and provides so much history about not only the hotel but the park itself and its first visitors. Then, once you’ve seen Old Faithful erupt, follow the boardwalk around to explore the Upper Geyser Basin, which has the largest concentration of colorful hot pools in the world.
After you’re done in the Old Faithful Area, hop back in the car and drive 5 miles up the road to the Midway Geyser Basin – home to the Park’s most colorful geyser – Grand Prismatic Spring. There are two ways to explore Grand Prismatic. The first is a short hike on the boardwalk that puts you right at the base of the springs. The other option is to park at the Fairy Falls parking lot and take the 1.2 mile round trip trail to the Grand Prismatic overlook where you’ll get a birds-eye view.
As the sun sets, head on over to the small town of West Yellowstone for a night at a local motel. This town also has a great little family-owned grocery store so you can restock on food (you will get bored with the park food really quickly—it is the same between both parks and at all stores in the parks).
Camping in Yellowstone is also a convenient option on your road trip as it minimizes the amount of driving you’ll have to do, but it requires advanced planning. Check out our guide to the campgrounds in Yellowstone with tips for getting a reservation.
Today on your Yellowstone vacation, you’ll head north towards Mammoth. Make a quick stop at the Park Ranger Museum to learn the history of the National Park Service. Then, if you aren’t totally “geysered-out”, stop at the Norris Geyser Basin for a short walk to stretch the legs and get your morning dose.
If you think you’ve seen it all after driving by the various geyser turn-offs… just wait. Mammoth Hot Springs is the definition of unique in Yellowstone and it’s very different from everything you’ve seen so far. The water that pours over the hot springs has been in the ground for over 1,000 years and is responsible for all of the formations in the area as it cascades down. Take a peek into the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel and check out the map room—it features a map of the United States made from several different kinds of wood. The Mammoth Hot Springs Visitor Center is also worth stopping in.
Next, head to the Tower-Roosevelt area and take a drive through Lamar Valley. It’s a beautiful area and home to the largest concentration of bison in Yellowstone.
From here, continue on driving through Yellowstone’s Canyon. It’s a busy area of the park, but this drive is unbelievably beautiful, especially during wildflower season. Take your time and enjoy the scenery, especially the areas on this side of the park that were not hit by the 1988 fire. The power of the Yellowstone River and the upper and lower falls which carve the canyon is astounding.
Camp at Canyon Village for the night.
Kick off the fifth day of your trip by visiting Artist Point. It’s a beautiful lookout on the edge of a cliff that showcases a cascading waterfall in the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. The lower falls are 308 feet and are super photogenic. So, bring your camera and make a memory of one of the most photographed waterfalls in the country.
After this stop, keep cruising along the road to visit Sulphur Cauldron and Mud Volcano. These are the park’s most acidic hot springs and are worth a stop along the way.
To wrap up the day, camp at Grant Village Campground at the south end of Lake Yellowstone. You’ll pass the West Thumb of the lake, which formed 150,000 years ago after a big volcanic eruption. This campground is only open through June – September, so plan ahead accordingly.
DAY 6: Drive Back to Jackson
One of the great things about having a full day left to start heading home towards the end of our road trip is if you missed anything in the Tetons you now have the opportunity to check it out! I recommend heading to Jackson, Wyoming for a lunch stop and afternoon walk-about. It’s a tourist town but has a unique tempo to it and lots of individual mom-and-pop stores.
Don’t miss stopping in at the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar too. It has so much history and is a neat spot to get a drink. Then, as you’re heading out of Jackson in the evening, grab dinner at The Bird just south of town. They have a beautiful outdoor porch perfect for watching the sunset and toasting the end of your vacation.
DAY 7: Head Home from Salt Lake City
Travel back to Salt Lake City and fly home! If you get to SLC and have a few hours to burn I highly recommend you check out Park City (famous for incredible winter skiing and hosting the Sundance Film Festival) or if you really want to indulge (won’t lie, we did) then check out the Kura Door Spa. Their prices are average and all services include access to relaxation rooms, sauna, steam room, and yummy treats & tea. For food and drinks near downtown, check out Whiskey Street (21+), Red Iguana (killer classic margs and amazing guacamole), or Spitz (delicious donor kabobs).
If you have a full day in town, Kristen has written posts about some cool outdoor spots near Salt Lake, such as Diamond Fork Hot Springs and Red Pine Lake.
Are you planning a Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park road trip or have you been? Share your comments, questions, and experiences below.
Great itinerary! I do want to point out that for the Lake Solitude hike, it will likely be at least 15 miles like the external link says (it was 20 miles roundtrip for us without using the boat). There is a multi-year trail maintenance project in progress for the trail system at Jenny lake, and the detours may extend the route. I just thought I’d mention it because 10 is quite a bit less than 15-20 when it comes to hiking and it’s always good to be prepared. It’s definitely worth seeing though!
Thanks for clarifying Emily! I went ahead and updated the post to reflect the trail maintenance that’s going on up there.
I lived in the area near Jackson for 2 years and had some of my most memorable fishing moments there! This place is worth visiting, great itinerary.
I was just up there last week and got to spend some time on the Snake and Gros Ventre Rivers. Sooooo pretty! Jealous you got to live up there. Seems like a super fun place to spend some time in.
Could someone please let me know when the best time to visit the above parks would be? Would love to visit in 2016!! Great itinerary!!
The Tetons and Yellowstone will be best in June-October. The fall if you want to avoid the crowds.
I worked at Signal Mountain Lodge for 8 years and served many a plate of nachos so it was fun to see you mention it. This is a great itinerary. I would just add white water rafting in Jackson as a don’t miss.
Great addition Donna! Thanks for checking out the post and glad you liked it.
Yellow Stone is one of the next places on my traveling list. It looks super cool, I have always wanted to go!
Hopefully this post inspires you to plan that trip you’ve been dreaming about!
Planning a trip there now! Your post was so very helpful! I cannot wait to get there! Hope you get to the Great Smoky Mountains- awesome hiking there too!
Awesome Anna! Have fun and tell me how it goes.
Hey Kristin and Kim! Thanks so much for this awesome itinerary. Currently using it as inspiration for planning my own week-long adventure!
Annnnd sorry for COMPLETELY misspelling your name Kristen!
ha no worries holly! glad it was helpful!
Great info. I pinned it. We are planing on going to Yelowstone, Teton, and Glacier. Is May to early to visit? Will it be cold?
Some of the roads will still be closed in Yellowstone in May. Check this page for the latest info: https://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/parkroads.htm
Hey Kristen! This is super helpful in trying to plan an upcoming trip sometime in July, so thank you. Can I ask what your thoughts are on solo hiking and travel through Grand Teton/Yellowstone?
I think you’d be fine, especially if you stick to popular trails. They do recommended bear spray in the Tetons, so i would definitely plan on carrying that with you when you are hiking. I also use a SPOT transponder when I hike alone: https://bearfoottheory.com/spot-gen3-review/
Kristen. Great info. – we are going late August into the beginning of September but we are staying in Jackson Hole and Bozeman not camping any suggestions?
I don’t have any suggestions for hotels, but I’d suggest you try Airbnb. I bet you can find some cool places.If you haven’t ever used Airbnb, you can get $30 off your first stay by signing up at my link: http://www.airbnb.com/c/kbor
We did our Grand Teton and Yellowstone trip based on your itinerary and had a blast! Thank you!
Do you have your hotel/lodging by each day you used with this itinerary?
I believe the author camped at the campgrounds described in the post.
I visited Teton / Yellowstone from Aug 13 to 20th with my family and followed this itinerary with little alteration. For instance, as we were not camping, we just stayed in hotels along the way.
As we moved through itinerary, it became obvious that we should not alter our path much from what was suggested as most of it seemed to have purpose. For instance, being able to compare Death Canyon with Cascade Canyon or visiting Signal Mountain Lodge (we stayed there) for awesome views, nachos and blackberry margaritas (no huckleberry while we were there).
In Yellowstone, besides the great sight recommendations, we also stuck with the little things such as Woodside bakery stop, Park Ranger Museum and map room in Mammoth. These were the type of things that were off the beaten path but well worth it. The suggestion to hike the Wapiti trailhead to see the Yellowstone Grand Canyon from the south side was also spectacular as was the suggestion to visit Lake Butte lookout (we almost didn’t do it, but reminded ourselves that Kim had not steered us wrong to this point).
Here is the only minor alterations we made:
– We added a trip to Jackson to look around and go white water rafting down the Snake River between day 1 and 2 instead of waiting until day 6
– We detoured in Mammoth to visit the boiling river which was a hoot (total time about 2 hours)
All in all, this is one of the best itineraries I found anywhere and it was a huge help in planning our trip. Many thanks to Kristen for posting and Kim for writing.
Wow! Those pictures are incredible. I hope to be able to visit the Tetons soon. Thanks for sharing your trip!
Would you say March a bad time to visit?
Many of the roads will still be closed in March due to snow. This itinerary is a summer itinerary
This looks great! I know this is an old post, but if you see this – I’m trying to put together an itinerary for a large family trip to Jackson and Yellowstone. Not everyone in our party will be up for a 15 mile hike(small children and grandparents). Any thoughts on what we could cut out and what stays?
Bourbon thanks so much for your message! There are some great short paths that are excellent for children and grandparents alike, especially in Yellowstone! A majority of the major sights in Yellowstone are under 0.5 mile paths. There is a Jackson Hole Children’s Museum so make sure to check that out for the kiddos!
Just found your blog and it will be put to use! Thanks!
My husband and I are interested in a one week vacation from 5/27 to 6/3/17. We are in mid-50s and fairly active. We would be flying into Bozeman MT and check out a bit of Montana, we well as visit Yellowstone np and Grand Tetons. Can this be done in this short timeframe? Your recommendations for how to approach trip? We live on the east coast, so checking out the beauty and the uniqueness of the west is our goal.
Hey Barbara – If you are flying into Bozeman, I think your best bet would be to drive down through Big Sky and enter through West Yellowstone. Then go south on the loop once you reach Yellowstone and then exit back to Bozeman at the north end of the lake. You might be pressed to also visit Teton National Park too, but it depends how much hiking and exploring you want to do vs driving.
Hi Kristen, this is the best itenerary I’ve seen for the area, thanks for sharing! Would love your thoughts on how to approach if we are driving in from the east (coming from Wi). Trying to decide if we should start south in grand Tetons, or come in from the north and work our way down. But how to do the loop then? We would also like to add in rafting in Jackson (or elsewhere?) and possibly the rodeo in Cody? We can do 9 days, but just lost on how best to route everything out. Would love to hear your thoughts!!
Hi Stacie! Thanks for your support. I was super excited to share my itinerary for the Tetons & Yellowstone on Bearfoot Theory! That is so awesome to hear you are road tripping out west from Wisconsin. Are you visiting both the Tetons & Yellowstone? If so, I would do the Cody rodeo on your way in then do Yellowstone first, starting North at Mammoth Hot Springs and drive down to Old Faithful Inn then around to Canyon Village and then back down towards the Tetons and Jackson. You could also maybe make a game time decision based on the best weather for whitewater rafting! Feel free to drop me a person email if you want to discuss more options or even hop on the phone and discuss what you potentially could drop off the trip. The best part of your adventure though is then your drive back home from the Tetons will be a little bit different to stop! Sounds great! Can’t wait to hear about it!
Would love to hear how this goes- I am looking to plan a road trip from MN- with kids ranging in age from 4-16.
Just one tiny correction. The river that flows over the 2 falls and forms the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone (I like it better than the other Grand Canyon), that river is the Yellowstone, The Snake is further south in Grand Teton. Really enjoyed the itinerary. Have been to Yellowstone and the Tetons multiple times, but discovered a new trail that we will try in October.
Thanks Mick for the correction! Great to hear you enjoy the parks! Happy adventuring!
This is great! We just got back from a trip to Yellowstone/Grand Teton and loved it. Unfortunately we didn’t have 7 days but still managed to see a ton.
Hi! Thanks so much for all the great info! I have been attempting to plan this trip forever, but have been overwhelmed with too many options! Ha! One question, how limited would we be if we had our dog with us? We really want to bring her, but know it can limit what you can do. Thanks!!!
Hey, Natalie! Great question–Kristen actually just hit Yellowstone for 5 days in her Sprinter with her dog, Charlie, so it is definitely possible! We are working on a post right now about traveling with your dog so make sure to subscribe to our newsletter so you know when the post is live. Pets are not allowed on boardwalks, trails, or in the backcountry so it definitely does limit your experience in the park. There are numerous boarding and doggy day care places though in the small towns surrounding the park. Lots of options to consider to make the most of your trip for you AND your four-legged friend.
We are doing a LONG road trip next month: Glacier (Sunday-Tuesday)–> Yellowstone (Chico HS: Tuesday-Friday) –>Teton –> Jackson–> SLC (fly out Monday)
Do you have suggestions for coming “down” from Yellowstone and making our way to SLC? We don’t have anything nailed down once we leave Chico on Friday…
Thanks in Advance!
Hello Lindsay, thanks for reaching out. Not sure if you are speaking in terms of things to do or places to stay. In terms of things to do honestly, if you are leaving Yellowstone on Friday and heading through the Tetons & Jackson Hole to be in Salt Lake City by Monday you’ll be totally fine. You can easily spend a full day in the Tetons and another full day in Jackson Hole. Once in Salt Lake City if you have any extra time there are great hikes near Alta or you can also check out Park City, Utah. In terms of places to stay, I don’t have any stand out favorites but there are tons of options along that route. You could even look into a cute AirBnB.
Thank you so much for great info. Esp. like the idea of coming thru Victor Idaho, then returning difft route to SLC, where we would first arrive. Not BIG hikers, but my husband and i certainly could do the short route on Death Canyon Trailhead. You do not mention how to get back UP if we decide to go down to Lake. UT OH.Might catch us by surprise, and we cannot do an extensive trek.
Good to know where to get margueritas, plus great view at Signal Mt. Lodge.
Just starting to plan for trip in 2018. Thanks again for good details.
Have you personally taken the I80/89 route? I have been the other route in 2016. Both take you close to Bear Lake
Hi Melanie, this is Kim and I took the I80/89 route in 2015 when I visited the parks for the first time. I loved it.
Great itinerary! I’d add a soak in the Boiling River when you are at Mammoth. It’s the only hot spring in the front country where you are allowed to soak. You can also get into the Firehole River in one spot, but it’s bathtub temperature not hot :).
As an FYI, it’s the Yellowstone River that flows through the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, not the Snake River. That’s down in GTNP.
I agree that the Fishing Bridge store is the best one in the park!
Thanks, Mel! We love these soaking spot recommendations! Will definitely check them out on our next trip through the park.
I live about an hour away from Yellowstone and go as often as possible! This was a great post and I would suggest this 7 day trip to anyone going to the Jackson Hole and Yellowstone! I will say this – There are still so many things that you should see if you have the time! For example, when exploring mammoth hot springs, take a short drive north to the Gardiner Entrance where you will get to see the Roosevelt Arch! It is really cool and you can get some iconic family pictures! Here is a article I wrote about the arch I think you will find it interesting!
Help! I am trying to plan a great trip for my family the summer of 2018. Having never done this I am a little overwhelmed by all of the options to chose from. Including what to see, where to stay and what activities to try. My plan is to fly into Rapid City SD. Spend one night and see the Badlands, Mount Rushmore, and Custer park. The next day travel to Devils Tower and then on into Red Lodge MT. (any advice on where we should stay (reasonably priced) and anything else we should see or do I would love to hear!) I want to take the north entrance into Yellow Stone from Red Lodge. From here I am at a loss!? Where should we stay, and how long? From YS I want to head down to GTNP and Jackson Hole. Again where to stay, see and do? I have 3 adult kids, and we would like some adventure. Any place we stay has to accommodate 5 people at a reasonable price. The plan is a 9-10 trip. Not trying to sound cheap but everything must be reasonably priced! I would love some advice 🙂
Hi Diane, have you checked out our lodging guide to Yellowstone? Here is the link: https://bearfoottheory.com/yellowstone-campgrounds-lodging/ Are you considering camping or potentially renting an RV? That would be the most reasonable option and there are some great options. When I plan long lengthy trips for a group I generally only pick 1-2 things at max to do/see a day, I find this makes it easier on me and allows time for things to be added to the list that we might discover. I haven’t been to Badlands, Mt. Rushmore, Devil’s Tower, etc. so I can’t talk a lot about that area. I would plan to only do Badlands and Mt. Rushmore in one day, especially if you want to hike and explore Badlands–that is easily a full-day trip. Maybe you could do Devil’s Tower and arrive late to Red Lodge then head into the park the next morning. If you take the North entrance into Yellowstone, I’d stay near Canyon Village and spend one day doing the North Loop (we list plenty in this area to do for a full day in our itinerary) and then spend 1-2 nights in Grant Village before heading on to the Grand Tetons. Sounds like an incredible trip! Our itinerary has some great items for you to do and see. Feel free to email us @ firstname.lastname@example.org, if you have more questions or need support!
Hi Diane, It sounds like you will have a blast this coming summer! I have to agree with Kim with the places to stay- That article is well written and informative! When we take our kids to Yellowstone they love to go to Mammoth Hot Springs! There are a lot of fun things to do and see while you are there! Check out this article I wrote about the place: https://outdoorsconnected.com/blog/10-things-to-experience-during-your-next-trip-to-mammoth-hot-springs-in-yellowstone/
Have fun next summer!
We are planning a trip out in September. We have a 37 foot Class A. Would we have any troubles sticking to your itinerary using our camper? I am worried about narrow roads and dropoffs. Also, would you recommend towing a vehicle or are there car rental places in the area?
Hi Kristie, you’ll be fine on the roads in the park with a trailer that large. There are no car rental locations in the park but there are options in most major cities outside the park. I would consider towing a car.
Your itinerary and blog are great! What a resource!
I’m starting my early planning for an early summer trip with my daughter (her first trip camping) where we will be flying from Hong Kong to either LA or SF and then likely up to Jackson. As time is limited can you advise:
1 . How many days do we need for Yellowstone and can we just drive through GTNP on way to Yellowstone (From JH) and if so how many days and where can we make first night camp. Eg our day 1 is your day 3?
2. Any recommended outdoor / camping stores in Jackson Hole as need to get (again) all my gears . Rentals possible?
3. Any recommendation where my wife might stay in hotel and we camp near by. She isn’t a camper but the little one wants to try out camping.
Hi Kelvin, thanks for reaching out! I would recommend at least three days for Yellowstone and at least one full day in GTNP. Check out our lodging post for lots of ideas on hotels that are literally steps away from some of the campgrounds: https://bearfoottheory.com/yellowstone-campgrounds-lodging/
Regarding gear, you should check out http://www.lowergear.com
So for this itinerary, you rented your camping gear and rented a car?
Hi Jennifer! We did rent a car for this itinerary (from the Salt Lake City Airport) but we just flew with our camping gear, we didn’t rent any camping gear.
Hello, We are 2-3 families planning to visit Grand Teton and YSNP July 2018, coming from East coast, 7/8 nights, starting/finishing ,Jackson/SLC,,
Could you please suggest Lodges and number of nights to book(DAY 1 to7)
Hi Anil, check out our Yellowstone lodging guide: https://bearfoottheory.com/yellowstone-campgrounds-lodging/
This is the best itinerary I have read and I have read a lot ! Hubby and I are in our 60’s will be flying into Jackson in September. We have reservations at Lake Yellowstone and Canyon then on to the Tetons for two nights. Our first trip so I really appreciate all of the information. We will be coming in the South entrance , is there a link to which way we should start out ? Thank you for all of the info.
Hi Linda, so awesome to hear you are heading to Jackson this Fall. You’re going to love it. I started at the South entrance as well. You can take either route to loop all the way up and around.
I’ve convinced my husband to make this our one year anniversary trip in June. Unfortunately due to his work schedule we will be flying in on a Wednesday and Flying out on a Sunday. Anyone have recommendations for being able to stick to this itinerary best we can with a shorter stay? This is, by far, my favorite I’ve found thus far.
Great suggestions! We’re going this summer with our 3 kids, ages 3, 7 and 10. I saw the one suggestion about the Jackson Hole children’s museum – any other fun kid ideas? They’ll hike 1-2 miles, but there’s only so much hiking we can do… We’re staying in Colter Bay 2-3 days and are flying in and out of Idaho Falls. Looking for where else we should stay. Thanks!
Hey Katie! That is awesome to hear you are taking your kids to the Tetons! Check in with the National Parks regarding talks & programs geared towards kids for the time you are there. Every Wednesday & Saturday there is a rodeo in town–might be a fun night out! If you’re traveling in July there is also the County Fair to visit. Good luck with your trip!
Hi – We are from the East Coast and hoping to go to Yellowstone/Jackson Hole this August. Original thought was to fly into Billings or Bozeman and checking out Beartooth pass on the way into the park. Also looking to do some fly fishing. Any thoughts on how to adapt your itinerary by coming in from the North? Also on my initial list was Lamar Valley with hopes to see some wildlife at dawn. Is that something that should be reserved for another visit perhaps when the wildlife is more active in the spring? Thanks for any thoughts.
Hi Ted, thanks for a great question! For coming in by the North you can easily adapt the itinerary. Day 4 on our itinerary, visiting Mammoth Hot Springs, would be your first day and then I would head to Yellowstone’s Canyon & Lake the next day (Day 5 on our itinerary). You could then circle back to do the Grant Village area the following day before heading to the Tetons where you’d just do our itinerary in reverse. Lamar Valley is 100% worth seeing, even if you don’t catch a glimpse of any wildlife it’s a beautiful area worth including.
Thank you Kim!
I have spent some summers in both parks. I like the itinerary you have for the week stay. If you ever get back you need to stop at Leeks Marina and go to Leeks Pizza a mile north of Colter Bay . Really, really good pizza with a great selection of toppings. Very good pasta also, you will love it. A great beer selection and a porch view of Jackson Lake and the Tetons. Did all the hikes you had listed. So much to see, you have picked some good ones.
what suggestions do u have for camping… are there places there to rent equipment or do people bring their own stuff on the airplane, we plan to stay at an airbnb for a few nights when we r outside the park but wanted the experience of camping for a night or 2 inside the park , any suggestions would be appreciated we are flying in salt lake city. plan on going to Grand Tetons for a day or two… then do Yellowstone for 3 or 4 and head back to SLC Thank you!!!!
Hi Jackie, I recommend packing your own gear for camping in the pack. Just pack the bare minimum that you’ll need to be comfortable. We are actually working on a gear rental blog piece so stay tuned! So great to hear you are heading to the parks!
I was wondering for Day 1 when you mentioned “Grand Teton Visitor Center near the South Entrance,” exactly which visitor center you’re referring to? I am planning my trip and want to follow your plan as closely as possible!
Hi Farheen, we are referring to the first Visitor Center when you enter. It is located at 1 Teton Park Rd, Moose, WY 83012 and is formally called the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center.
Can you tell me how many miles this trip is. I’m renting a camper van and need to know if we should purchase additional miles. Do you have any recommendations on where to rent a Camper Van?
Hi Liz, the entire trek from Salt Lake City airport to Yellowstone and back to the airport is at least 720 miles but with side trips and such I’d estimate about 800 miles to be safe. Have you checked out our post on the best places to rent camper vans? We have lots of great recs & ideas in there: https://bearfoottheory.com/campervan-rental-companies-us-road-trip/
We are planning a trip out West this September leaving AL. on the 15th going to stop at MT. Rushmore 16th and then go to Yellowstone the 17th we’re staying there til the 19th then we thought about going to Teton and Jackson Hole then make our way to Cal. to Sequoia Nat. Park maybe stay there 2 days then thought about going to Las Vegas for the night then going to the Grand Canyon for 2 days then maybe Texas for 1 day then back to AL. Do you have any suggestions? We like seeing Wildlife. And is September a good time to come?
Hi Suzie, September is a great time for Yellowstone as long as snow doesn’t come too early! I would 100% allow time for Tetons; wildlife is abundant and it is breathtaking. Have you visited Yosemite before? Is there a reason you are leaving it out? Grand Canyon sounds amazing as well. Have you checked out our Ultimate Utah roadtrip itinerary of the National Parks? You might want to consider visiting one or two of those parks if it works within your schedule. https://bearfoottheory.com/utah-national-parks/ Zion generally has pretty good wildlife.
Thank you! I had the exact same question 🙂
Thank you for this wonderful and detailed itinerary! My partner and I have been planning to drive and hike around Yellowstone in June, but unfortunately I broke my ankle last week skiing 🙁 I should be out of the cast by June but likely not much of a hiker still. We are now trying to revise the plan to be primarily a driving trip with only light hiking/walking. Will you have a sense of which of the must-sees along the Yellowstone route will not be accessible without a substantial hike? We gotta return to Bozeman at the end of the trip, so we’ll likely be starting from there as well to make it a loop. Thank you for your insights – and thanks again for this travel guide which is obviously a labour of love!
Hi Mariya, this itinerary is still absolutely breathtaking without taking any of the dayhikes. Especially in Yellowstone there are numerous small paths that you can enjoy to really get a sense of the park. You can definitely see both parks without long day hikes/backpacking.
When we booked our trip to Grant Tetons/Yellowstone, I felt overwhelmed with the amount of things we wanted to see in our short 6 day trip, until I found this! AMAZING! I have a few questions… we will be coming from Salt Lake, stopping in Jackson for a day then heading into the parks. We will have 4 nights and 4.5 days to spend in the parks. How would you recommend shortening the trip a little? We were thinking 2 nights in the Grand Tetons, and 2.5 days spent hiking the Tetons. Then travel to Yellowstone midday our 3rd day, hit Old Faithful and the Upper Geyser Basin, and pitch camp at Canyon campground. Spend the most of the next day doing the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. Our last day in the park, going up to Mammoth Hot Springs before heading back to Salt Lake since we fly out very early the next morning (about an 8 hour drive). Do you think that sounds reasonable? Thanks in advance for your input!
Hey Frankie, you have done your research! Your trip sounds AMAZING! Honestly, I wouldn’t really change anything. I’d try on your first day to get there as early as possible to the Tetons to explore and honestly you might only need 2 days to explore the Tetons and then head on up to Yellowstone that way you’ll be building in some extra time in case you need it in Yellowstone or in case on your way back to SLC you decide to stop to see anything missed in the Tetons.
We have booked our trip! Flying into Jackson Hole 7/31 and then flying out of Jackson on 8/8
We plan to follow the itinerary as closely as possible. The question i have is regarding the camping gear.
would it be best to rent camping equipment from someplace local? Anyone with experience doing this?
This is Exactly what I Have been looking for quite some time. We plan on going to the Yellow stone National Park in the end of may this year. I have made my own itinerary covering Yellow Stone, Bad Lands and Mt Rushmore in 4 days. But, this coming from a person who has already been there should certainly help us. Thanks.
I am trying to plan my days for Yellowstone/Tetons. My wife and I will be with three of our children 12-14-16. We will be staying 3 nights in West Yellowstone and 5 nights in Jackson Hole. I am trying to figure out a plan to get the most out of our days with our launching points. Also we are interested in a good float for the family,more sight seeing than adventure but my 16yr old and I also want to do white water one day. Any advice would be appreciated!!
Hi Craig, sounds like you’re going to have a great time–those are awesome launching points and you’re set up for a good number of nights! I didn’t raft when I was there so I, unfortunately, can’t recommend a good vendor for rafting trips but personally, I utilize TripAdvisor and you might want to start there.
Thank you so much for this amazing, detailed, thorough itinerary! It is EXACTLY what I was looking for. Do you mind providing a list of what you guys packed? As far as camping/hiking gear etc? We are currently trying to decide on whether we want to do camping vs hotels/lodging due to the baggage fees on airplanes. If we do hotels/lodging, we could easily pack one carry on each which would save us $.
You bring up a really great point! I think if you did a cost comparison you’d find that camping is still less expensive even if you have to pay for 1 additional bag. We flew Southwest so we could each fly with 2 bags for free so we weren’t concerned about baggage fees. I think you’d be able to fit all your camping gear in one bag (I love the Patagonia Black Hole duffels and they work well for this situation). You really only need your tent, 2 sleeping pads & 2 sleeping bags. Those items for me all fit easily in a backpack and I traveled with my backpack and then put clothing in a rolling suitcase (carry-on size). I carried my trekking poles on the plane as well & we wore our hiking boots on the plane with flip-flops in our bag. Hotels are really expensive in the area so again I think you’d save more on camping. All of my camping gear is also lightweight & built for backpacking so it really depends on the quality/level of gear you have. We ate out so we didn’t pack any camping kitchen items. The only additional items we packed were headlamps.
Lotus cafe is closed.
Thanks so much, Sean, for the update. We are saddened to learn that.
Thanks for sharing, really helpful. We are planning to visit this August. We have made bookings and will stay first in Mammoth Frontier Cabin for 2 nights, then Canyon Lodge Western Cabin for 2 nights and in the end 3 nights in OF Inn Old House.
Would you suggest how should be plan our visit as per the bookings we have made. Thanks !
Hi Ram! Nice job getting all those reservations; you’re going to have an incredible time. When you stay at Old Faithful that will be the best time to visit Grand Teton National Park (Day 1 & 2); that also is the best location for Day 3 on our itinerary. When you’re at the Mammoth Frontier Cabin you’ll want to focus on that area which is Day 4 on our itinerary. Day 5 will be best to accomplish when you are at the Canyon Lodge. If you’re wanting to visit Jackson at all you’ll also want to do that when staying at Old Faithful (but it is still a bit of a drive).
We’re planning our first trip to Yellowstone, but will barely have 7 days to do it all. Plus, we’re not campers, so we’re looking at staying at the lodges in the park. Is your itinerary doable in 6 days? By the way, the header for your “Day 5” is missing above. Where does your “Day 5” begin?
This page is great and full of great ideas. We plan on following it as best we can in the time we have.
Kristen and crew – I’ve been following your blog and instagram as I research camper van options. Love your posts!!
I’m renting a sprinter from Venture Vans in May for a Yellowstone/Grand Teton 6 night trip. They want $100/day (not including camp fees) to assist. $600-700 seems like a lot for the itinerary, but I have not been before. I understand late-May weather can be iffy. Do you think I can follow this itinerary with a 4×4 144″WB that time of year? Camping where you suggest?
Thanks so much! I appreciate any insights:)
Hi Lisa- It looks like no one here got back to you, but I think you will be fine in Late May. There has been a ton of snow, so you won’t necessarily be able to do all the hikes, and some of the campgrounds in Yellowstone might not be open yet, but the one near Mammoth should be great (It’s my favorite and we usually spend mother’s day weekend there). May is great for seeing baby Bison, and it shouldn’t be too crowded. 🙂 If you are headed to Jackson, check out this post too: myoffpistelife.com/tips-for-exploring-jackson-hole-and-grand-teton-national-park/
Great article, enjoyed reading it, especially the way you divided your trip day by day made it a much more interesting and easier read.
Copying the Yellowstone portion of this itinerary except in reverse! Canyon Village lodging was only available if I went their first and then to West Yellowstone and back down to Old Faithful area. Hope it still works well in reverse but I’m so excited 🙂
am planning on visiting grand tetons and yellowstone later this month with a group of 11- adult children in their 20’s and their parents. Renting an airbnb just outside the parks. Do you recommend any particular books for the area with hiking trails and information? Will try to follow your itinerary somewhat but will be staying in Jackson hole for part of the week and at the west gate of Yellowstone for part of the week. Thanks. Any suggestions?
Do you have an recommendations on where to stay with your group of 11?
We travel back to Texas from Alaska every summer and this year had hoped to come back for a week in Yellowstone and the Tetons in September.
With life a bit unsettled now, we aren’t making definite plans, but if it works out we can hopefully use this plan from north to south, and find accommodations for our trailer. Last year we came back through Glacier National Park and had a magical trip.
It is hard to make plans right now, hopefully things settle down by the time September comes around. This itinerary will be here when you’re able to head out there! All the best from the Bearfoot Theory team 🙂
Thanks for all of these tips! We are going to be spending a month in Jackson, WY this September and can’t wait to see the Tetons and explore Yellowstone!
Nice, enjoy and travel safe! Thanks for reading 🙂
We followed a lot of recommendations from Bearfeet Theory on our visit to Yellowstone. It was the the first tie I had been and this was helpful. I suggest that you make the trip there interesting as well with fun stops along the way and also that you create video clips and edit them together to remember the whole adventure. We came from San Diego and had so much fun. Check out my video for some ideas…
Glad you found this blog post helpful! Thanks for reading and for sharing your video. Looks like you guys had a great trip 🙂
We did! Thanks for the helpful post!
Excellent video of a great road trip. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks! My kids watch it over and over…we just got back from another roadtrip and I have started to put the new video together this week. Subscribe to my channel and hit the notification bell to be notified when it comes out.
Headed to Jackson next week. So thankful I found your itinerary! Would this itinerary be your choice with all the smoke in the area?
Glad you found it helpful! We can’t speak to the current situation out there, but I’d recommend looking up fire maps and smoke/air quality maps for the area before deciding if it’s safe to head that way. Best of luck!
In visiting Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, one os the 10 most scenic drives in the West, per National Geographic magazine was missed. That is the 255 mile loop to the west of the mountain range. It goes from Jackson Hole across scenic and beautiful Teton Pass to Victor Idaho. Then North on Hwy 33 to Tetonia, seeing the quaint western Town of Driggs and passing two breweries and Grand Teton Distillery. Stop for samples of Huckleberry bodka and award winning whiskeys. Then further north through Mesa Falls and Island Park where there is great fishing at Henry’s Fork of the Snake River. You end up at the West Hate of Yellowstone where you can enter the Park and loop around both upper and lower falls, pinic along the river and then bisit the lidge at Olf Faithful before heading south again through Grand Teton Park and exiting the South Gate back to Jackson. The Loop can be easily done in a day with lots of activities and magnificent views of both sides of the mountains all day.
That sounds like a fun and scenic loop. Thanks for the tip, Jennie!
My son and I visited the park last August [2020) . This would have been a great itinerary but there were road closures for mud slides, an overturned tanker, fires and road construction. The road from Canyon Village to the Tower was closed foe construction and maybe again this year. Be sure to check road closures when making your plans. We had foe days in the park and saw amazing sites including a day of snow (yes in August) . Be prepared for traffic at all the major attractions and parking. And remember a bison parade can stall your plans as they have the right of way.
Just planned a trip with our 4 adult children for this June. First time to JH area & very excited but feeling a bit overwhelmed with how/where best to drive vs hike vs raft, etc. Staying in Teton Village. Will be using this itinerary for many tips!! Can’t thank you enough for sharing; any other tips from anyone would help!
Sounds like it will be a great family adventure!
We are planning a trip this July to Yellowstone & Grand Tetons. We will be coming from the east. Should we start in GT or Yellowstone? We also would like to know the best place to rent a VRBO? Do we rent in between the two parks? Is it doable to have an in between point or just move lodging to be closer to each park?Also, is Glacier doable if we only have about 8 days for entire time out there? Would love to do the Road to the sun road trip. I have lots of questions, this is a huge trip with so many options! Your itinerary is extremely helpful.
The two parks are about three hours apart, so it’s probably best to enjoy one before heading over to the other. Which one you start with really depends on which route you coming in on from the East (rt 14 or 26). Glacier would be a lot to add to an 8-day trip, maybe keep that one for next summer!
Hello we are planning a trip this June We will be flying into Vegas, hoping to visit Hoover dam, west rim of Grand Canyon, visiting Zion NP, Bryce NP. What would be best route to go to Arches, Grand Teton, Jackson Hole and Yellowstone from Bryce We will be flying back home from Salt Lake City.
The fastest way from Bryce to Arches would be Rt 70, but you could also take Rt 12, which would pass by Capitol Reef National Park
Thanks! Great itinerary. We are planning to visit Yellowstone and GTNP this summer coming from ND. We want to go to the rodeo in Cody also. Where would be the best place to add that stop?
Since Cody is closer to Yellowstone, it probably makes sense to tack it on at the end if you plan on following this itinerary.
Is it possible to make this 7 day trip yet only stay at two locations? I’m not sure I want to pack up my family of 6 every day. Are there central cities that we could find lodging that you would recommend (to eliminate as much repeat driving as possible?
You could stay definitely at one place within or near each Park and explore them individually. Jackson Hole is the largest town near Grand Teton and Yellowstone has nine different lodges within the park.
We are planning a 7 day trip leaving Florida on August 16th to visit both parks beginning in SLC..Both of us are looking for recommendations on economical/budget hotels during the trip as we will be enjoying the scenery from our rental car. We love to take walking trips and plan to do so when the trails are available and noted.
Any advise would be helpful.
This itinerary is awesome!! If you only had one day at Grand Teton, how would you alter the itinerary? Your help is much appreciated!!
It really depends on what you’re interested in. If you want great scenery and don’t mind some crowds, the Death Canyon Trail is stunning and the Visitor Center is a great intro to the park, especially if you don’t have a lot of time to explore it. But if you prefer to get off the beaten path a bit, heading to the other side of Jenny Lake offers more hiking opportunities and more of a backcountry feel if you hike up to Lake Solitude. Both days are great, it just depends on what you’re looking for!
We are planning a Yellowstone/ Grand Teton trip this fall. Fly into Cody on Sept. 25. Will spend that night in Cody and last night in Cody on Oct 3, fly out on the 4th.We were thinking 4 nights Yellowstone and three for Grand Teton but having trouble deciding which park first and how to divide our nights. Do we come in the northeast entrance and out the east entrance?
Would two nights in west Yellowstone then two in canyon, one in Colter and two in Jackson make sense? Or one in Gardiner, one west Yellowstone, 2 Canyon? Or in east entrance and down to grand Teton first? We are so confused not knowing the area at all!
Hi Christina, you could follow this 7-day itinerary by entering Yellowstone from Cody, but instead of going to Jackson at the end of the trip, head back to Cody via rt. 20. If you want to break up the drive, Boyson State Park could be a great stop.
Hi! On Day 2, as opposed to camping, what alternative lodging do you recommend?
Signal Mountain Lodge would be a great choice with beautiful views.
My husband and I did a 12 day road trip through SD/WY/MT/ND 3 years ago and did not spend anywhere near enough time in Grand Teton and Yellowstone. We’ve talked about going back to specifically spend the whole time in those 2 places. This itinerary is exactly what we need to make that trip. Guess we’ll start planning for 2023!
Hi Margaret, we’re so glad you found this itinerary helpful! Agreed that Yellowstone/Grand Tetons are magical places – glad to hear you’re planning a return visit 🙂
We are planning an 8 night round trip for Yellowstone/Tetons from Bozeman in early September and I am trying to pin down our route. We arrive late the first night and will stay in Bozeman or Big Sky. I think we are too late for reservations in the park, so here are my preliminary thoughts on a route:
Night 1 Bozeman or Big Sky
Night 2-4 West Yellowstone
Night 5-6 Jackson
Night 7 Cody
Night 8 Gardiner
Day 9 Depart Bozeman
On the drive from Cody to Gardner I was thinking entering northeast entrance of Yellowstone and seeing Lamar Pass and some of the other northern sites along the way. Any thoughts or suggested adjustments to this route?
Hi Mark, unfortunately the person who wrote this guide no longer writes for us, and I haven’t been to the Tetons/Yellowstone (yet!). Best of luck on tripping planning and enjoy!