Jurga Rubinovaite is an avid traveler, photographer, and chief adventure planner behind the popular family travel blog Full Suitcase. On her blog, you can find more information and all the details for planning a trip to Yellowstone and Grand Teton.
If you love nature, stunning landscapes, and colorful wildlife, Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park in the U.S. should definitely be top of your bucket list. Both these parks are worth a trip in their own right, but the good thing is that they are so close to each other that you can easily visit both in just 1 action-packed trip.
This perfect 3-day itinerary takes you to the most beautiful places in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. I’d recommend doing this route in summer, from around mid-May to the end of September. It starts and ends in Jackson, WY, or in Teton Village.
Early morning – Head to Grand Teton National Park
Start your day early and head to Grand Teton National Park. If you’re without a car, this Grand Teton day tour from Jackson or Teton Village is a great alternative option.
Early morning is the prime time for wildlife viewing, so make sure that you get to the park as early as you can.
8:30 AM – Photograph the Antelope Flats
Antelope Flats Road is one of the best places to see wildlife in Grand Teton. So start your day here. Expect to see bison, but also moose, antelopes, and maybe even wolves in this area. The scenery here is stunning, and you can enjoy great views of the Teton Range.
This area is also known as Mormon Row Historic District. It’s here that you’ll find the picturesque wooden barns that are among the most photographed features of Grand Teton.
10:00 AM – Jenny Lake
Afterward, head to Jenny Lake for a scenic boat ride. You can simply stay on the boat and enjoy the views, or you can disembark on the other side and do some hiking. You can choose between the easy Hidden Falls hike or go a bit further to Inspiration Point for incredible views of the area. Upon return, take the boat back to where you started.
Midday – Lunch and visit more lakes
Enjoy a picnic lunch at one of the scenic spots in the area. In the afternoon, discover more scenic spots in Grand Teton National Park. Don’t miss Jackson Lake and String Lake. The views at Schwabacher’s Landing spot are also amazing.
7: 00 PM – Watch wildlife at sunset
Want to spot more wildlife? Stay at the park until sunset. Animals are more active at dusk and dawn. In summer, the sunset here is at around 8 – 9:00 PM, so the best time would be about an hour or 2 before then.
Since your trip goes on to Yellowstone, it’s best to stay in the area along Hwy 191. However, accommodation options are limited here, so you may have to return to Jackson or head straight to Yellowstone.
9:00 AM Go to the west side of Yellowstone National Park
Since you have 2 days in Yellowstone before returning to Jackson Hole, we recommend visiting the western side of Yellowstone Loop one day and exploring the eastern side of the Yellowstone Loop the next day. If you don’t have a car or don’t have time to fully plan the logistics of your trip, this convenient Yellowstone tour will take you to all the best places in 2 days.
Start your day with a visit to the Old Faithful Geyser that erupts at pretty regular intervals of about 1.5 hours. While you wait, make sure to check out the historic Old Faithful Inn and to explore the Upper Geyser Basin.
1:00 PM – Lunch and the Grand Prismatic Spring
Remain at the Old Faithful Inn where you can indulge in a much-needed lunch to refuel. Take advantage of the full-service restaurant and snack bar.
The next stop is the famous Grand Prismatic Spring. On a sunny day, the colors are incredible and yes, they are just as beautiful as in the pictures!
4:00 PM – Visit the Norris Geyser Basin
Depending on how much time you have, you may want to stop at the Norris Geyser Basin. It’s a huge area that comprises 2 very different sections – Porcelain Basin and the Back Basin. With the limited time, we recommend briefly visiting the Porcelain Basin.
6:00 PM – Stay in Mammoth
After that, continue to the Mammoth Hot Springs area. It’s another geothermal area, but very different from the other places in Yellowstone. Don’t miss Minerva Terrace, Liberty Cap, and Palette Spring.
Finish the day by staying the night in the Mammoth Gardiner area.
8:00 AM – Drive through Lamar Valley
Start your day very early and head to Lamar Valley. This is the best place to see wildlife in Northeast Yellowstone! At any time of the day, you can expect to see big herds of bison here. But if you get here early in the morning, you could be lucky and spot bears or wolves.
Afterward, make a short stop at Tower Fall. You can easily see this waterfall from a viewpoint located just next to the road, so don’t miss it.
Continue south via the Dunraven Pass. There are some nice viewpoints along this scenic road – definitely worth a few minutes of your time.
12:00 PM – Lunch in Canyon Village
If you are looking for a place for lunch, stop at the Canyon Village. Otherwise, head straight to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River. This is one of the must-see sights in Yellowstone and the views will take your breath away. The Canyon can be admired from various viewpoints on both sides of the river. Don’t miss Artist Point!
3:00 PM – Spot wild bison
Next, drive through Hayden Valley. This is another excellent place to see wildlife in Yellowstone. Big groups of bison roam here, often causing major traffic jams. So you’ll likely have plenty of opportunities to admire these impressive animals from close-by and from the safety of your car.
If you have time, you can quickly stop at Mud Volcano and visit Dragon’s Mouth Spring.
6:00 PM – Walk around West Thumb Geyser Basin
Afterward, continue to West Thumb Geyser Basin along Yellowstone Lake. This is a great place to end your Yellowstone trip and stretch your legs before heading back to Jackson or Teton Village where you started this trip.
See more travel tips and things to do in Jurga’s extended guide Yellowstone and Grand Teton Itinerary.
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