Did you know that Grand Teton and Yellowstone are next to each other? Go to the two parks in one fantastic road trip through Wyoming! These are 💫 two of the very best national parks 💫 in the entire country. Fall in love with the vibrant geothermal features in Yellowstone and the towering mountains of the Tetons!
I have spent plenty of time in both of these wonderful parks and I have seen most of the best sights. Below you will find all the amazing things to see in both Grand Teton and Yellowstone as well as my suggestions for a one week visit! If you enjoy hiking then I recommend spending more time in the Tetons. Either way you really can’t go wrong. Have an amazing time on your trip!
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Table of Contents
Grand Teton and Yellowstone Itinerary
Things to Know Before You Go
💵 Grand Teton costs $35 for a private vehicle that covers 7 day. Yellowstone costs $35 per vehicle as well. You will need to pay both entrance fees to enter the parks. However, you can also use any of the annual passes like the America the Beautiful Pass to get in to both of them.
⚠️ Teton Park Road and Moose Wilson Road are closed from November through May. You will not be able to access this hike during that time. Most roads in Yellowstone are closed in the winter. Only the road through the park from the Gardiner entrance to Montana is usually open.
🚗 This trail gets very crowded. Get there early if you want to get a parking spot close to the trailhead.
☀️ Weather changes quickly in the Grand Tetons, especially up in the mountains. Make sure that you stay updated and that you take the proper precautions. If there are signs of bad weather, then stay in the lower elevations.
🐻 The Tetons and Yellowstone are bear country, so make sure to stay bear aware and make loud noises when hiking on the trails. Use the rule of thumb when viewing wildlife, so that you stay the correct distance away. Pack bear spray in case of emergencies.
🦮 Pets are allowed in the park, but they are not permitted on any of the hiking trails, beaches, swim areas, or inside Park buildings. They must be on a leash at all times.
⛺️You can camp overnight in the Tetons and Yellowstone. There are a number of campgrounds in the park, but they all require advanced reservations. Book on recreation.gov months in advance for your best chance at getting a space!
🍃 Remember to follow the Leave No Trace Principles. As always, you want to leave nature looking better than you found it.
Grand Teton (3-4 Days)
Grand Teton is one of the ✨ most fantastic parks ✨ in the entire country! If you are a mountain lover or hiker then you will absolutely adore this park. I recommend you spend a few days in the park and go on a different hike every day. Then, spend sunrise or sunset going to the scenic spots or wildlife spotting. You really can’t go wrong, when you are in such a beautiful setting!
Teton Park Road and Route 191 go through the entirety of the park from the North end to the South. You can spend a couple hours driving the length of either road and stopping along the way at the best overlooks. It’s really wonderful to see the imposing mountains from various angles and perspectives.
This is without a doubt one of the best views of the Tetons 🏔! This is a boat landing spot in the park, but it is also just a magnificent area. You can observe the mountain’s reflection in the Snake River. Go here for sunrise to watch the light reflect off the tall peaks ahead.
Snake River Overlook
Go to Snake River Overlook and see another stunning snapshot of the Tetons. This spot became famous when Ansel Adams took a fantastic picture 📸 of the curves of the river in front of the majestic mountains. It’s a viewpoint that you won’t want to miss!
Visit the historic Mormon Row in the Southern area of the Tetons. Drive down along the houses to see where the Mormon villagers used to live and thrive 🏠. Go to the John Coulter house at sunrise for spectacular views with the Tetons in the background.
Signal Mountain Overlook
Drive up to the tallest point that you can access by car 🚙 in the park. Once you get to the top you will get a wonderful vantage over the landscape. It’s a great spot for sunrise or sunset, because you can see both sides of the park at either of the two overlooks. Stop at the first one for the best views of the Tetons at sunset.
You cannot leave the Tetons without seeing a moose! Hundreds of them roam through the park and call it home. Other animals that you may see in the park include mountain goats, bighorn sheep, elk, deer, or grizzly bears 🐻. If you want the best chance to see wildlife go early in the morning at dawn or late at night around dusk.
Aptly named, Moose-Wilson road is one of the best places to spot Moose in the park 🔭. Go early in the morning or late at night to improve your odds. The Moose love to hang in the river and munch on the grass there. This road is only open from June-October, so you will only be able to travel there in the summer time.
This is a spectacular spot to watch sunrise 🌅, which is perfect because it’s also the best opportunity to see Moose. Go here to see the colors change in the sky with the reflection of the mountains in the water. It gets fairly crowded, so get there early to snag a good spot.
Grand Teton National Park is one of the best places to go hiking in the US. There are hundreds of miles of great hiking and backpacking trails 🥾. Go for a long day hike and see beautiful alpine lakes or get a permit and head into the backcountry. There are hikes for people of all lengths and difficulty levels.
Jenny Lake to Cascade Canyon
Visit the most popular area in the park, Jenny Lake, and go on a fantastic day hike. There are many options for hiking around the lake and across the way. You can take the shuttle boat 🚤 from the shores of Jenny Lake to get to some of the best hikes that start across the way.
The Cascade Canyon trail leaves immediately from the dock across the lake. This beautiful hike passes great sights like the magnificent Hidden Falls and the panoramic Inspiration Point before continuing through the canyon. Lookout for wildlife like moose and bighorn sheep as you walk deeper into the canyon. Plus, in the summer you will be surrounded by 🌸 wildflowers 🌸!
Many people walk just about a mile or so further into the canyon before turning around. You can go to the end of the Cascade Canyon trail for a 9 mile hike or continue to Lake Solitude for a 13 mile hike. The toughest part of the Cascade Canyon trail is the steep climb to Inspiration Point and from there it flattens out. If you continue to Lake Solitude then expect more elevation gain! It’s a great way to spend a day and you can take a dip 💦 in Jenny Lake when you’re done!
Climb 2200 feet over boulder fields and switchbacks to get to this stunning turquoise glacial lake. This is the most popular “unofficial” trail in the park ⭐️. That means it is not maintained by the park service, so just be wary. Although it is a very difficult trek, most individuals in good shape can complete it. You just have to take breaks and go slowly!
Get there early to get parking in the parking lot, because it often fills up before 8 am!
Along the way, you will get stunning views over the park and Taggart and Bradley Lakes. Once you get to the end, you will be blown away 🤯 by the views over the lake. It’s a great spot to stop and enjoy some lunch. If you are really brave, you can even jump into the frigid waters.
Phelps Lake Loop
Take the Phelps Lake Loop trail to get to the serene mountain lake or hike to the Jumping Rock for a thrilling adventure 🪨! This trail is around 5-6 miles depending which way you go around the lake. Jumping Rock is a 30 foot boulder that juts out above the lake. Daring individuals will jump from the top into the cool lake below. It’s one of the best hikes in the summertime!
Taggart and Bradley Lakes
Spend a day hiking to two stunning lakes nestled below the Tetons. This entire trek is a moderate 5 miles if you go to both lakes. You’ll have wonderful views of the mountains as you start walking towards the first lake. You can choose to start either by going to Bradley or Taggart lake.
Once you get to the lakes, you can take time for a break or a dip in the waters 💧. We swam in Taggart Lake and it was invigorating. There’s no better way to end a hot summer hike than getting in a gorgeous lake!
String Lake Loop
This is a fantastic 4 mile hike around String Lake. Many people complete this trail and then go swimming or kayaking 🚣♂️ in the clear waters there. It’s one of the very best places to swim in the park, because the water is usually a bit warmer than other areas.
Other Things to Do in the Grand Tetons
Spend a Day at the Beach in Colter Bay
Head up to the Northern part of the park and spend a day by beautiful Colter Bay. Colter Bay has a large village with a campground, showers, visitor center, marina, and beach. You can hang out in this area for an entire day. Bring a boat or paddleboard and spend time on the water. If you’d rather soak up the sun ☀️, set up camp on the rocky beach and relax for the day.
Take a Boat Ride at Jenny Lake
Jenny Lake is one of the most popular areas in the park and for good reason. There are plenty of amazing hikes and views that surround this stunning lake. You can choose to spend a day in this area and go on the shuttle boat across the lake, swim in the water, or take the trail around it.
Yellowstone National Park (2-3 Days)
Visit the first park in the USA and see why this place is so sacred. I highly suggest doing the entire Grand Yellowstone Loop and stopping at the highlights! Yellowstone is one of the largest parks and many of the sights are great distances away from each other. Plan to spend more time in the car than you think, especially because you may hit traffic in the park!
Millions of people go to Yellowstone every year to see the amazing sights and view the large herds of Bison 🦬. You have probably heard about traffic jams caused by bison and people getting too close to them. It’s one of the best things to do in the park. So, go for a drive to one of the valleys and bring your binoculars for fantastic wildlife viewing.
Remember to stay two bus lengths away from all wildlife! View wildlife at dusk or dawn for the best chance of spotting them.
Drive South of Yellowstone Lake to get to the sprawling Hayden Valley. Hayden Valley follows the Yellowstone River and is home to many types of wildlife. Hundreds of bison usually roam the hills of Hayden Valley, which allows for great sightings. Stay in your car or maintain a good distance away to observe the wildlife in their natural habitats.
Lamar Valley is in the far Northeastern area of the park, but it’s worth the drive. This area is home to animals like bison, wolves, and bighorn sheep. Herds of bison roam the hills. Catching sight of the elusive wolf 🐺 is one of the very best sightings in the park! Spend time at dusk or dawn for your best chance of seeing them.
Yellowstone sits on one of the largest volcanoes in the entire world 🌋! This volcanic landscape creates incredible geothermal features like geysers and hot springs. You cannot visit Yellowstone without seeing one of these remarkable spots.
Arguably the most famous spot in the entire park, no trip to Yellowstone is complete without a stop at Old Faithful. This geyser was named for its eruptions predictability ⏰. It goes off every 90 minutes or so and you can check the schedules online or at the various visitor centers. Once it gets closer to the eruption time, crowds form around the benches that surround the geyser. It’s quite a spectacle to behold!
There is a whole village around Old Faithful with lodging, cafeterias, and other geysers to explore. So, make sure to set some time aside to visit this area and grab parking. It gets very crowded! They have a wonderful soft serve spot 🍦, which is a great way to cool down while visiting the park.
West Thumb Geyser Basin
This is my favorite geothermal area in the park. Here, you will find geysers and paint pots that are right off the shores of Yellowstone Lake. Yellowstone Lake is the largest high elevation lake in North America 😮. It is a beautiful blue that extends for miles. Some of these interesting features even lie under the lake when there is a lot of water.
You can take one of two trails around the geysers: the inner loop (.25 miles) or the outer loop (1 mile). This path follows along a boardwalk and is a fairly easy walk to see the features. If you want to learn more about the individual features, then I highly recommend getting the trail guide 🗺. You can get them int he small ranger station there for a $1 donation. It really helps to understand what you’re seeing!
Midway Geyser Basin
Midway is the smallest geyser basin in the park, but also one of the most spectacular. This basin is North of Old Faithful and is home to some gorgeous features. The Grand Prismatic spring is the most notable spot in this area. The large pool is a bright blue with dark orange that surrounds the edges from the algae. There are two ways to see this spot: either go on the boardwalk next to it or park at the Fairy Falls trail and walk to the Grand Prismatic Overlook 👀.
If you have extra time in this area, then you can visit some of the other geysers. Excelsior geyser used to be the largest in the world and is located here. Spray and Imperial Geyser area also small ones in the Midway Geyser Basin.
One of the hardest spots to get to, but definitely worth it! It’s at the very Northern end of the park. Mammoth Hot Springs consists of a terraced hill where hot water spills down. It is one of the most unique looking features and it is definitely a highlight of any Yellowstone trip. It’s definitely worth it to go North and see them!
Norris Geyser Basin
Visit the oldest geyser basin in the entire park when you go to the Norris Geyser. It also has the highest recorded temperature 🥵 in the entire park at 459 degrees Fahrenheit! You can visit these boiling geysers in the Black Basin and Porcelain Basin. It’s incredible to see so many bubbling and steaming features in one area.
Lower Geyser Basin
This is the largest geyser basin in all of Yellowstone. Make sure to stop by to see some of the incredible features in this vast area. Some of the best parts of this geyser basin are located in the fountain paint pot section. You can drive down Firehole Lake scenic drive to see many of the areas.
Continue past the Grand Prismatic Overlook to get to the beautiful Fairy Falls. This trail is 4 miles round trip and is relatively easy. The path is flat for most of the hike and at the end you will get to see the falls cascade over the cliffs above. It’s a great way to get a little off the beaten path for a nice rewarding hike.
Climb up to the highest point in Yellowstone National Park and go to Mount Washburn. At the top, you will be greeted with fantastic panoramic views of the park and beyond to the Tetons. You’ll be able to get a wonderful picture of the entire park.
There are two options for this hike. You can choose to start at Dunraven Pass or go to Chittendon Road instead. Both of these hikes are relatively difficult and take a good 4-5 hours to complete. Make sure to pack plenty of water 💧 and watch out for wildlife along the way. Always give them plenty of space.
If you want a truly challenging hike, then visit Avalanche Peak 🏔. Many people say that this is the best hike in the park. At the top, you’ll get fantastic vistas over the park and you may even have to walk over some snow. It’s worth it to see areas that very few visitors get to at all!
Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is truly one of the most magnificent areas in the park. This large canyon cuts through the park and creates a vibrant landscape. You can drive the North or South Rim of the canyon, visit the Upper Falls and Lower Falls lookouts, or get stunning photos at Artist’s Point 🎨. It’s definitely worth adding to your itinerary!
You could spend weeks exploring both Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park. However, if you only have one week to see them both, you can still see many of the best highlights! These parks are truly spectacular and this is one of the best vacations you can take.
Let me know in the comments if you enjoyed this guide!
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