We recently spent two full days in Yellowstone National Park. This park has stunning waterfalls, gorgeous hiking trails and of course plenty of erupting geysers.
The natural beauty in Yellowstone is absolutely jaw dropping! With so many extraordinary spots to see & explore in the park, it’s impossible to see everything in this amount of time. A large amount of time will be spent driving to each unique feature.
2 Day Itinerary for Yellowstone National Park
We started our journey by entering the south entrance. Then making the entire lower loop before heading to our cabin at Old Faithful for the night.
Day 1 in Yellowstone
West Thumb – These geysers overlook Yellowstone Lake, making it the perfect photo opportunity! There is plenty of parking & restrooms. Spend anywhere between 10-45 minutes here.
Old Faithful – From the entrance of the park to Old Faithful takes about 45 minutes to drive to. This is Yellowstone’s most famous attraction. This geyser erupts approximately every 90 minutes and reaches up to 184 feet hight. You’ll need to spend about 2 hours in this area. This is also a great place to souvenirs and food for the day.
After watching Old Faithful erupt, explore the Upper Geyser Basin Trail. This was my sons favorite spot in all of the park. Along the trail you will see the majority of the geysers in the park. Take the short loop or the entire 4.5 miles trek. You won’t be disappointed!
Black Basin Trail – Just a few minutes drive from Old Faithful. You only need to spend about 30 minutes. The highlights are the Rainbow Pool, Sunset Lake and Emerald Pool.
Grand Prismatic Spring – This is an extremely popular attraction and can be tough finding a parking spot. You’ll need at least 1 hour here.
Artist’s Paintpot Trail – This is a 1 mile trail that goes along a dirt trail through a pine forest, then onto a boardwalk. The mud pots are at the top of the trail and so incredible to watch and hear as they bubble up.
Artist’s Point – The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone is not to be missed. Has spectacular views of the awe inspiring canyon and waterfall. The canyon is 20 miles long and up t0 4,000 feet wide. There are multiple hiking trails you can take from here. or just enjoy the amazing overlook.
Hayden Valley – This is an amazing area to view wildlife. Herds of bison are known to block the road and cause bison jams to block the road. If you’re lucky you can view bears, wolves and coyote as well. You’ll need at least 1 hour to explore this area to check out the animals and get photos at the overlooks.
Old Faithful – We ended our day watching Old Faithful erupt, ate dinner and walked the boardwalk at sunset. We rented a cabin at Old Faithful Lodge Cabins. This is a great location for ending our day and able to start early the next day.
Day 2 in Yellowstone
Mud Volcano – Hike up the boardwalk to see the splattering mud volcano. This will take about 45 minutes.
Hayden Valley – Get there early and you’ll have the road to yourself and get some close encounters with bison. We spent several hours here looking for bears (no luck), seeing the bison roll in the dirt and see the eagles flying high.
Mammoth Hot Springs – This area is broken up into the Upper, Main and Lower Terraces. The lower terrace is close to all the restaurants, shops, post office and restrooms which makes it very difficult to find parking. I recommend spending 1-2 hours in this area.
Fairy Falls – You can take the 4 mile hike to the falls (narrow at some points) or the 1 mile hike to the Grand Prismatic Overlook trail. The boardwalk also has several beautiful thermophiles & hot springs. Can spend anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours.
Old Faithful – One last look at Old Faithful before leaving the park. We watched the old geyser, walked the boardwalk , picked up a souvenir, dinner and hit the road back to Jackson Hole.
Tips when visiting Yellowstone
Entrance Fee – $35 per vehicle each day or purchase the America the Beautiful Annual National Parks Pass for $80.
Packing – The park is pretty chilly during the summer early in the mornings and in the evenings. So a light jacket is a must.
Sunscreen – Make sure you keep some in the car. The sun is bright and doesn’t set until almost 10 in the summer. So you’ll want to apply sunscreen multiple times a day.
Driving in Yellowstone
Yellowstone is MASSIVE and requires hours in the car. The entire park is 2 lanes, so between road construction, bison jams and visitors stopping in the middle of the road, it takes time to drive through the park. There are a few gas stations situated around the park, so you need to fill up when you can.
Be patient and have lots of snacks on hand. It’s guaranteed to take longer getting places than you thinks and some of the restaurants or snack places may close early.