6 Best Road Trips to Yellowstone National Park with Detailed Stops https://www.yellowstonepark.com/road-trips/road-trip-itineraries/ Plan your Trip to Yellowstone National Park Fri, 24 Mar 2023 21:29:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=6.0.2 https://www.yellowstonepark.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/cropped-np-favicon-32x32.png 6 Best Road Trips to Yellowstone National Park with Detailed Stops https://www.yellowstonepark.com/road-trips/road-trip-itineraries/ 32 32 Yellowstone to Glacier National Park Road Trip https://www.yellowstonepark.com/road-trips/road-trip-itineraries/yellowstone-glacier-road-trip/ Thu, 23 Mar 2023 15:55:29 +0000 https://www.yellowstonepark.com/2020/04/30/yellowstone-glacier-road-trip/ Yellowstone to Glacier National Park Road Trip

Soak up the outdoors as you travel through the best of Montana.

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Yellowstone to Glacier National Park Road Trip

Between Yellowstone and Glacier National Park lie some of the most wondrous parts of the West. Take this epic road trip through the west side of Montana, under its big blue skies, up mountain peaks and skirting sparkling Flathead Lake.

In Yellowstone, unhurried bison roam past shooting geysers. Wolves hunt in the dawn light and a massive lake stretches to the horizon. Five hundred miles north, on the Canadian border, lush forests give way to alpine lakes with colorful rocks making up their shores in Glacier National Park. Grizzly bears roam underneath ancient glaciers while towering peaks guard stunning valleys.

Bison grazing in Yellowstone's Upper Geyser Basin
Bison grazing in Yellowstone’s Upper Geyser Basin (Photo: Getty Images)

These two incredible parks might be what draw you to Montana, but the real magic lies in the small towns, fascinating history, amazing trails and famous big skies in between.

Start in Bozeman, a vibrant, outdoorsy town with a great local food and beverage scene. As you drive south to Yellowstone, you’ll get the chance to experience some of the West’s most incredible rivers whether you choose to float them, tackle their rapids or soak in hot springs on their banks. Enter the park through Gardiner and the North Entrance, before continuing your journey in West Yellowstone. Lone Peak stands watch over the town of Big Sky, which you might know as a ski destination. The secret is that it’s equally worth visiting in the summer.

Rafting near Big Sky, Montana
Rafting near Big Sky, Montana (Photo: Visit Big Sky)

You’ll discover a deep rooted history that laid the foundations for the thriving communities you see today in southwestern Montana towns like Virginia City, Butte and Philipsburg where you can watch vaudeville plays and unearth sapphires.

See herds of magnificent creatures roaming at the Bison Range, which saw management restored to the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes in 2022. Farther north lies Missoula, a fun university town with its own flavor. As you drive over Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier, mist hugs waterfalls cascading down mountain faces.

Make your way south through central Montana where cities like Havre hold secrets under their streets. Walk in Lewis and Clark’s footprints in Great Falls before hitting the trails in the state’s capital.

Along the way you’ll discover jaw-dropping views, friendly and inspiring locals and a landscape that seems brushed with magic at every seam. This is Montana.

Road Trip Map

Start: Bozeman

Bozeman Spirits, Award-Winning Montana Distillery
Located in historic downtown Bozeman, the distillery produces whiskey, vodka, gin, and rum, distilled and bottled on site. Proud to support Montana farms.

A Serene Soak at Yellowstone Hot Springs
Just eight miles from Yellowstone’s North Entrance, these naturally hot pools feel surprisingly remote and far from the park’s crowds.

Gardiner, Montana is Where the Wild Things Are
Stay at the park’s North Entrance, Gardiner, Montana, for incredible outdoor recreation and a great local scene.

Montana’s Rafting Rivers
The waters of the Yellowstone, Gallatin and Madison rivers provide for some of the best Montana whitewater rafting and floats. Rafting companies out of Gardiner, Big Sky and Bozeman include Flying Pig Adventures, Wild West Rafting and Montana Whitewater Rafting. Want more adventure? Check with these outfitters about ziplining, river tubing, horseback riding and fly fishing.

Bison cross the road near Roosevelt Arch at the North Entrance to Yellowstone
Bison cross the road near Roosevelt Arch at the North Entrance to Yellowstone (Photo: NPS/Jacob W. Frank)

Yellowstone National Park

Enter the North Entrance

48 Hours in Yellowstone
Only have 48 hours? Make the most of your time by visiting some of our favorite spots in the park. Read more.

GyPSy Guide’s Yellowstone Audio Tour App
Download the Yellowstone audio tour app that’s like having a tour guide in your car. GyPSy Guide automatically plays interesting and entertaining commentary as you go.

Watch Wildlife in Yellowstone’s Lamar and Hayden Valleys
Yellowstone’s huge, wide valleys make excellent habitat for wildlife. For your best chance of spotting them, point your compass toward the Lamar and Hayden.

Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone
Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone (Photo: Unsplash/Todd Cravens)

Mammoth Hot Springs Looks Like an Inside-Out Cave
These springs are a must-see feature of Yellowstone National Park in part because they’re so different from other thermal areas in the area. This is largely because limestone is a relatively soft type of rock, allowing the travertine formations to grow much faster than other sinter formations.

4 Active Yellowstone Adventures to Test Your Stamina
Push yourself with these heart-pounding activities in Yellowstone National Park from backpacking to canoeing to cross-country skiing.

Exit the West Entrance

West Yellowstone

7 Sights at West Yellowstone
The town of West Yellowstone sits right at the West Gate to Yellowstone National Park. Here are the top seven ways to avoid the park’s crowds and see the best of the area.

True Yellowstone Vacations
Stay a couple blocks from the park in West Yellowstone and leave the park driving to a guide. Make yourself at home within walking distance to attractions and downtown at the Yellowstone Park Hotel and the pet-friendly Gray Wolf Inn & Suites and Explorer Cabins.

Big Sky

Best Basecamp
Born next to a ski area, the town of Big Sky offers music, food and tons of trails under its piece of the enormous Montana sky.

Southwest Montana’s True Gems

Virginia City Barber Shop northwest of Yellowstone
Virginia City Barber Shop northwest of Yellowstone (Photo: by Andy Austin courtesy of Southwest Montana)

Ennis is Montana’s Drinking Town with a Fishing Problem
Halfway between Yellowstone and Glacier national parks, this colorful town holds on to it’s western roots. Learn more about Ennis’ storied past then feel like part of the family when you tour Willie’s Distillery and sample its spirits.

Relax at El Western Cabins & Lodges in Ennis, Montana
A five minute walk from Ennis, Montana, this beautiful property is made up of log-hewn cabins and lodges set amongst a gorgeous meadow, a pasture with horses grazing in it and expansive mountain views.

10 True Gems in Southwest Montana
You’ll find everything from spirits and sapphires to ghost towns and river canyons. Here are our top picks for places to stop in southwest Montana.

Anaconda’s Unexpected History on the Continental Divide
This unique town has access to the outdoor recreation you’d expect from southwestern Montana with a surprising and delicious culinary history that lives on today.

Boom Town Butte
See dramatic mining history come to life at a pit mine, a giant statue, and a distillery, then dance at a signature event. It’s a melting pot of friendly people between Yellowstone and Glacier national parks.

9 Reasons to Visit Dillon
Dig for crystals, catch a glimpse of stunning trumpeter swans, eat amazing sourdough pancakes and more in smalltown Dillon, Mont.

Soak it In at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort
On your road trip between the two national parks, stop midway to stay in a luxury spa resort, golf, and swim in hot springs pools – one with a water slide.

Magical Philipsburg
You’ll find sapphires and a palace of sorts tucked into the gentle folding hillsides and valleys of this swath of southwestern Montana. With flowers and gorgeously restored historic buildings lining its main street, Philipsburg is one of Montana’s most charming towns.

Missoula & Glacier Country

Paddling on Flathead Lake with rental kayaks.
Paddling on Flathead Lake with rental kayaks. (Photo: by Noah Couser courtesy Glacier Country Tourism)

Magnificent Missoula
Kayak, raft or tube through town or take a hike in 60,000 acres of wilderness minutes from your hotel. Missoula is known for its blue-ribbon trout fishing and spectacular natural beauty. Here are our seven favorite things to do in Missoula.

13 Stops on the Road to Glacier National Park
Pull over at these great sights lining the road on the 140-mile trip from Missoula to Glacier National Park including the best food, where to jump in the water and places to watch wildlife.

Uncrowded State Park Gems
In between Yellowstone and Glacier national parks, you’ll find gorgeous trails and scenic views without any of the crowds of the national parks. Here are our 4 favorite Montana State Parks.

Stay Close to Glacier National Park at The Pine Lodge on Whitefish River
Located in downtown Whitefish just over 30 minutes from the park’s West Entrance and 15 minutes from the slopes of Whitefish Mountain Resort, you’ll find family-friendly lodging and have access to some of the best shopping and dining near the park.

The Quest for a More Adventurous Life
The journey that forever changed this author started with paprika and stalled in an obscure Montana Town.

Glacier National Park

Do I Need a Reservation?
If you’re visiting Glacier during peak season in 2023, you’ll need a $2 vehicle reservation in addition to your park pass.

2 Days in Glacier National Park
Favorite things to do in Glacier from a peaceful boat ride and breathtaking hike to eating one of the best huckleberry pastries ever.

Glacier National Park's Going to the Sun Road at Logan Pass
Glacier National Park’s Going to the Sun Road at Logan Pass (Photo: Getty Images)

Tour Glacier’s Going to the Sun Road with the GyPSy Guide App
Download the tour app that’s like having a tour guide in your car. GyPSy Guide automatically plays interesting and entertaining commentary as you go.

Where to See Wildlife in Glacier National Park
You’ll see more than incredible views when you visit Glacier. Keep an eye out for these six fascinating animals.

A Grizzly Encounter
When a bear charged a family on a trail, bear spray likely saved their lives. Take the advice of a former national park ranger and Counter Assault, the company that makes the longest range bear spray.

The Four-Legged Ranger at Glacier National Park
Gracie the dog ranger works hard to keep Glacier National Park visitors and wildlife safe.

Standout Stops in Central Montana

Great Falls, a Town to Fall For
Located along the Missouri River in central Montana, on the route Lewis and Clark took to explore the West, Great Falls, Mont., is bursting with places to explore. Discover urban trails, waterfalls, craft beer and more.

Canoes and kayaks adorn the shores of the White Cliffs, part of the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument.
Canoes and kayaks adorn the shores of the White Cliffs, part of the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument. (Photo: by Roland Taylor courtesy of Great Falls Montana Tourism)

Explore the Heart of Montana
Explore small towns in central Montana like Fort Benton, Havre and White Sulphur Springs on your way to Glacier National Park.

Welcome to Helena
Explore Montana history, hit the trails or enjoy a beer in the state’s capital on your way from Yellowstone to Glacier National Park.

End: Bozeman


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Chicago to Mount Rushmore to Yellowstone Road Trip https://www.yellowstonepark.com/road-trips/road-trip-itineraries/chicago-dakota-to-yellowstone-road-trip/ Thu, 23 Mar 2023 15:40:28 +0000 https://www.yellowstonepark.com/2020/10/02/chicago-dakota-to-yellowstone-road-trip/ Chicago to Mount Rushmore to Yellowstone Road Trip

Take the All-American Road Trip to Yellowstone, starting in Chicago.

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Chicago to Mount Rushmore to Yellowstone Road Trip

Public lands tend to conjure images of towering peaks and sandstone arches, tumbling waterfalls and calving glaciers. But here on the Great Plains, a different kind of natural beauty abounds.

Meadowlarks, their yellow bellies glowing in the sun, sing their distinctive song. Blue skies stretch as far as the eye can see over rolling prairies that give way to badlands and forests. President Theodore Roosevelt said of his home in North Dakota that’s now his namesake national park, “it was here that the romance of my life began.” The plains hold many beautiful things, if you look closely.

Road trip from Chicago or fly into Rapid City Regional Airport in South Dakota where five diverse national park sites lie within a few hours of each other. At Badlands National Park wildlife is abundant, from bighorn lambs leaping over colorful rock formations to bison grazing in a sea of grass and prairie dogs chirping their warnings.

Bighorn lambs in Badlands National Park
Bighorn lambs in Badlands National Park (Photo: Michael Hancock)

Go underground at Wind and Jewel caves, where stalagmites reach for the ceilings, see the presidential faces of Mount Rushmore or learn about our country’s nuclear history at Minuteman Missile Site.

From Rapid City, head west through the Black Hills towns of Sturgis and Sundance towards the rock monolith rising out of the prairie at Devils Tower. The plains give way to the Bighorn Mountains as you drive the stunning Bighorn Scenic Byway through Ten Sleep and Worland to reach the healing waters of Thermopolis. Learn about two tribes that reside on the Wind River Indian Reservation as you make your way towards the wildlife and natural wonders of Yellowstone.

The drive over Beartooth Highway towards Red Lodge, as you exit the park, will make you feel as if you’re on top of the world at 10,947 feet. Mountains turn into the Great Plains again as you find outdoor recreation and big city culture in Billings. Stay in a historic hotel in Lewistown before exploring the charming towns that make up southeastern Montana. There’s so much to explore in the heart of the U.S.

Road Trip Map

Start: Chicago

In Chicago, join locals and travelers alike at Millennium Park downtown. A showcase of who’s who in architecture, this interactive park is an adult playground. Check out these three architectural gems, Cloud Gate, the kidney-bean-shaped stainless steel sculpture, Jay Pritzker Pavilion designed by architect Frank Gehry, and Crown Fountain which features the faces of 1,000 Chicago residents on two 250-foot glass towers.

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park in South Dakota
Badlands National Park in South Dakota (Photo: Abby Krim)

2 Days in the Badlands and Black Hills
Hit the best of the South Dakota parks with these top spots including national parks, steam trains, wild bison and a legendary store.

Minuteman Missile National Historic Site
Explore nuclear weapon history near the northeast Pinnacles Entrance to Badlands National Park in South Dakota.

Wind Cave National Park

Journey deep into the Earth on a tour of one of the world’s most complex cave systems. Want more? Visit Jewel Cave National Monument nearby.

Mt. Rushmore National Memorial

Mount Rushmore at sunset.
Mount Rushmore at sunset. (Photo: Depositphotos)

Constructed from 1927-41, the memorial features the faces of four U.S. presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.

Hidden History
Before the faces of four U.S. presidents were carved into Mount Rushmore, this mountain was called The Six Grandfathers by the Lakota Sioux. Learn more.

Crazy Horse Memorial

See the world’s largest monument carving in progress, the Crazy Horse Memorial. Seventy years after the first blast, you can watch crews drilling, carving and removing rock at the memorial still under construction.

Black Hills Adventures

Spearfish Falls in the Black Hills of South Dakota
Spearfish Falls in the Black Hills of South Dakota (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Alternative Rapid Route: Fly Into Rapid City
For an alternative launch point to your road trip, fly into the Rapid City Regional Airport. It’s the most direct route to the Black Hills, Badlands National Park and Mt. Rushmore. While your main destinations may be the national parks, make sure your travel plans include spending time in Rapid City itself.

Rapid City Guide
If you’re looking for a basecamp to explore some of our most iconic national park sites in South Dakota, stop and stay in this City of Presidents.

Find More Than the World’s Largest Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis
Learn the history of the town’s famous motorcycle rally but also explore its outdoor recreation and year-round events.

The Lodge at Deadwood
Experience the past in the luxury of today. The Lodge at Deadwood Gaming Resort is one of the newest, most beautiful Deadwood hotels.

Follow That ATV
Everything is included – equipment and gas – when you do a 4-hour tour on majestic trails with Black Hills ATV/UTV Tours.

Devils Tower National Monument

Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming
Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming (Photo: Grant Ordelheide)

The Magic of Devils Tower
Travelers roaming through the northeastern Wyoming prairie will be treated to a strange and wonderful sight: a striking stone column rising seemingly out of nowhere.

The Other Black Hills in Sundance
In the heart of the Black Hills but away from the commercialization and traffic, Sundance, Wyo., offers a deep dive into the Old West and is the closest town to Devils Tower.

Gillette’s Top Six
Dubbed the “Energy Capital of the Nation,” the Wyoming towns of Gillette and Wright are home to an enormous bison ranch and an ever-evolving, eclectic culinary scene.

Buffalo and Kaycee, Wyo.

6 Ways to Experience the Old West
Go on a trail ride, visit a saloon and learn about Wyoming’s history in the towns of Buffalo and Kaycee, Wyo.

The Scenic Route to Yellowstone

The best way over the Bighorn Mountains on the way to Yellowstone is U.S. Hwy. 16, known as the Sweet 16. Passing through Ten Sleep, it’s also known as the safest route because of the road’s gentle curves and lower-grade hills.

Thermopolis, Wyo.

Soak at Hot Springs State Park in Thermopolis east of Yellowstone
Soak at Hot Springs State Park in Thermopolis east of Yellowstone (Photo: Getty Images)

The World’s Largest Mineral Hot Spring is in Thermopolis
It’s a small, picturesque town where the elevation is higher than the population. Come soak in the famous mineral hot springs. And at one of the best dinosaur museums in the world, locate the prehistoric dinosaurs beneath Thermopolis on a Dig for a Day adventure.

Wind River Range

Feel the Wind in Your Face
In the shadow of the Wind River Range, the communities of Riverton, Lander, Dubois and the 2.2 million-acre Wind River Reservation offer incredible outdoor recreation and Wyoming history.

See Bighorn Sheep
The largest herd of bighorn sheep in the Lower 48 live just outside of this Wyoming town. See them just 90 miles from the park.

Yellowstone National Park

Lower Falls in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone on the east side of the park.
Lower Falls in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone on the east side of the park. (Photo: Depositphotos)

Enter South Entrance

2 Days in Yellowstone
Only have a couple of days? Make the most of your time by visiting some of our favorite spots in the park.

Early Birds and Night Owls
Bluebird days are great, but Yellowstone comes alive when the sky lights up at sunrise and sunset.

GyPSy Guide’s Narrated Driving Tour App
Download the Yellowstone tour app that’s like having a tour guide in your car. GyPSy Guide automatically plays interesting and entertaining commentary as you go.

Watch Wildlife in Yellowstone’s Lamar and Hayden Valleys
Yellowstone’s huge, wide valleys make excellent habitat for wildlife. For your best chance of spotting them, point your compass toward the Lamar and Hayden.

Exit Northeast Entrance

Silver Gate Lodging Has the Closest Cabins to Yellowstone
A 1/2 mile from Yellowstone’s northeast entrance, this quiet cabin resort is surrounded by snowcapped mountains and wildlife. silvergatelodging.com

Eastern Montana

Curve on Beartooth Highway near Yellowstone
Curve on Beartooth Highway near Yellowstone (Photo: Grant Ordelheide)

Drive the Dramatic Beartooth Highway Northeast of Yellowstone
One of the most breathtaking routes to Yellowstone is the 68-mile stretch of the Beartooth Highway – named a National Scenic Byway’s “All-American Road.”

Montana’s Charming Town of Red Lodge
From incredible outdoor recreation in every direction to world-class rodeo and unique glamping, plus a scenic drive on the stunning Beartooth Highway, Red Lodge is a can’t-miss stop.

Savor the City in Billings, Montana
In Montana largest city, you’ll find an airport, James Beard nominated restaurants, craft breweries and museums. But this is still Montana, which means Billings is also nestled amongst incredible outdoor recreation and the vast history of the American west.

Go Big in Southeast Montana
When you drive through the towns of Southeast Montana, like Billings, Glendive and Miles City you’ll notice that the skies are big and that means that when the sun goes down, the stars are big, too. After boating and hiking in Bighorn Canyon and learning about history at the Little Bighorn Battlefield, explore the stars at local parks and recreation areas.

Watch Wildlife and Scenery from a Train in Lewistown
From big game hunting to fishing, camping, biking, hiking and skiing, take advantage of the outdoor recreation opportunities in the beautiful Judith Basin.

Have an Historic Stay at The Calvert Hotel
This historic building is beautifully remodeled to retain the classic design of the past while adding luxury amenities to provide the utmost in comfort.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Badlands Formations in Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Badlands Formations in Theodore Roosevelt National Park (Photo: Depositphotos)

This 3-unit park is known for amazing wildlife (bison and elk), 95 miles of hiking trails, horseback riding, water sports, and inspiring a president.

End: Chicago

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Salt Lake City to Yellowstone Road Trip https://www.yellowstonepark.com/road-trips/road-trip-itineraries/salt-lake-city-to-yellowstone-road-trip/ Wed, 22 Mar 2023 09:18:23 +0000 https://www.yellowstonepark.com/2020/06/22/salt-lake-city-to-yellowstone-road-trip/ Salt Lake City to Yellowstone Road Trip

Find ancient history, the best Americana and a mirror image of the Tetons many visitors miss.

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Salt Lake City to Yellowstone Road Trip

Traverse the western side of the Rockies for hidden gems, gorgeous views and fresh mountain air.

Start in Salt Lake City, a vibrant community set against the backdrop of snow-dusted peaks, capped by impossibly blue skies. From here, you’ll cross Utah, Idaho and Wyoming on your way to Yellowstone, escaping the crowds to see a side of the West that’s often overlooked.

Hit wildflower-filled trails in Park City before discovering pioneer history as you make your way north to Logan. Across the border in Idaho, Fort Hall offers a glimpse into the culture of the Shoshone-Bannock tribes. If Idaho makes you think potatoes, stop in Blackfoot to learn everything there is to know about this humble tuber. Then, dive into communities like Idaho Falls, St. Anthony and Ririe where you’ll discover that this state is so much more than just fields of spuds.

The Traveling Child kayaking to Shoshone Falls with AWOL Adventure Sports
The Traveling Child kayaking to Shoshone Falls with AWOL Adventure Sports (Photo: Southern Idaho Tourism/Earth to Sarah)

As you approach the Tetons from the west, you might be surprised by the mirror-image view of the range you’ve seen photographed from the east. This side of the Tetons is home to uncrowded trails, hot springs soaks and more. Head into Wyoming where you’ll find summer fun at Snow King Resort before exploring Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks.

Exit Yellowstone via the West Entrance, taking a quick jaunt through Montana before you’re back in Idaho. Three national park sites filled with weird and wonderful rock formations and fossils, along with a massive and stunning waterfall will fill your drive back to Salt Lake City.

There’s no denying it, west is best.

Road Trip Map

Start: Salt Lake City Area

Bison on Antelope Island in Great Salt Lake, Utah
Bison on Antelope Island in Great Salt Lake. (Photo: Getty Images)

Rent an RV with Outdoorsy
Do this road trip in an RV to stay close to nature. Or check out Destination Delivery: Have an RV delivered directly to a campground or parking site to camp in style without having to get behind the wheel. www.outdoorsy.com

The Center of it All in Salt Lake
Salt Lake is where the tradition meets a progressive and energetic cultural scene.

Follow Your Trail in Park City
In Park City there’s a trail for everyone, from mountain biking to al fresco dining to live music, and there’s no better time to hit them than summer.

Explore Antelope Island on Great Salt Lake
This salty oasis is home to birds, bison and pronghorn. Explore on your own or take a tour on horseback or e-bike.

Cache Valley and Bear Lake

Spend the day out on the water on Bear Lake
Spend the day out on the water on Bear Lake (Photo: Courtesy Sun Outdoors)

Go Local in Logan and Cache Valley
Catch a glimpse into pioneer living, enjoy live theater performances and stroll a charming downtown with a stop in Logan.

Stay Right Next to the Water at Bear Lake
Stay in a cabin, hotel room or your RV on the shores of sparkling Bear Lake with Sun Outdoors Garden City.

Best of Southeast Idaho

Floating the Portneuf River through the city of Lava Hot Springs.
Floating the Portneuf River through the city of Lava Hot Springs. (Photo: Idaho Tourism)

Take a Dip in Lava Hot Springs
Soak in hot springs and float down a river in this charming town in Idaho.

Location, Location. Pocatello Offers Affordability
Explore these four stops where you’ll see Stripes and Shoni, a place devoted to cleaning up, ancient curious creatures and a hub of ethnic flavors.

Have a Shoshone-Bannock Native Experience
The Shoshone-Bannock Casino Hotel offers a spa, a gift shop selling Shoshone-Bannock crafts and a place to watch your favorite sports team. Here are seven reasons to visit.

Get a Potato Selfie at the Idaho Potato Museum
Discover the stories behind this unsung hero of a vegetable including VP Dan Quayle’s potato incident.

On the Fly in Idaho Falls
Basecamp in Idaho Falls, two hours from Yellowstone and Grand Teton, with direct flights from across the country. Here’s the top six reasons to visit.

6 Amazing Places on the Other Side of the Tetons
Whether you like motorized recreation or exploring via your own two feet, there’s an adventure for everyone on the Tetons’ western and – if you ask a local – better side. Here are can’t-miss stops from Idaho Falls to Ririe on the way to Yellowstone.

Jackson and Grand Teton National Park

John Moulton's barn on Mormon Row in Grand Teton National Park, Wyo.
John Moulton’s barn on Mormon Row in Grand Teton National Park, Wyo. (Photo: Depositphotos)

2 Days in Grand Teton National Park
Here are some of our favorite things to do in Grand Teton from amazing hiking trails to scenic boat rides and the best huckleberry milkshake ever.

3 Roadside Stops in Grand Teton National Park
From historic homesteads to breathtaking river valleys, here are our top stops for a fantastic scenic drive plus road-trip advice.

Fun on the Snake River and Grand Teton Lakes
With temperatures reaching new highs, figuring out how to stay cool is key to enjoying your summer. Enjoy adventures in Jackson and nearby Grand Teton National Park.

Barker Ewing by Jackson Hole Whitewater
Barker-Ewing Scenic Float Trips
Mad River Boat Trips
Solitude Float Trips
Grand Teton Lodge Company

Barker Ewing rafting on the Snake River in Jackson Hole.
Barker Ewing rafting on the Snake River in Jackson Hole. (Photo: Courtesy Barker Ewing)

Three Park Entrances and a Surprise
Grand Teton National Park is shaped a bit like your left-hand thumb and is dotted with three main entrances. A surprise for many visitors is there is no Grand Teton entrance station when you head south from Yellowstone into Grand Teton.

GyPSy Guide Yellowstone and Grand Teton Tour App
Download the Yellowstone tour app that’s like having a tour guide in your car. GyPSy Guide automatically plays interesting and entertaining commentary as you go.

Headwaters Lodge & Cabins at Flagg Ranch
Just minutes from the South Entrance to Yellowstone National Park and the northern section of Grand Teton National Park, stay at the Headwaters Lodge & Cabins at Flagg Ranch.

Saddle Up in Jackson
Just 15 minutes from Grand Teton National Park and two hours from Yellowstone, Jackson is a great stop if you’re looking for an old West town with a touch of class and a lot of fun.

6 Big Adventures at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
Right next to Grand Teton National Park, spend a day on the new Via Ferrata assisted climbing course, riding the gondola, tackling the ropes course or biking and hiking downhill.

Summer Fun Starts at Snow King Mountain Resort
Jackson, Wyo.’s best-kept secret offers a ton of activities for all ages, plus bike and SUP rentals.

Town Square Inns of Jackson Hole
With four Jackson locations and over 400 rooms and cabins, the Town Square Inns have more options to meet your style and budget than any other area hotelier.
Elk Country Inn
Antler Inn
Cowboy Village Cabins and Lodge
49er Inn and Suites

Yellowstone National Park

Morning Glory Pool in Yellowstone's Upper Geyser Basin
Morning Glory Pool (Photo: Depositphotos)

Enter the South Entrance to Yellowstone

2 Days in Yellowstone
Only have 48 hours? Make the most of your time by visiting some of our favorite spots in the park including wildlife watching, dining at historic lodges and see geysers erupt.

Top 5 Vistas in Yellowstone National Park
If you want to feel on top of the world, here are 5 views you must see including Artist Point, Lamar Valley, and the Yellowstone River cutting thru lava spires.

Fun on the Water in Yellowstone National Park
Leave dry land behind to explore the rivers and lakes of Yellowstone. Go paddling, fishing, boating, or take a boat cruise tour in the national park.

A misty morning at Lower Falls in Yellowstone
A misty morning at Lower Falls in Yellowstone (Photo: Doreen Lawrence)

Whose Land Am I On?
Long before Yellowstone became the country’s first national park, this land was important to a diverse group of people. Philetus W. Norris, the park’s second superintendent, convinced America that Native American tribes avoided Yellowstone because of their fear of the park’s geysers. This came at a time when the U.S. was at war with many tribes so it was a convenient story, but it couldn’t have been further from the truth. Native Americans hunted, fished and gathered plants in the park. Some tribes visited the geysers and conducted ceremonies while others collected obsidian. The Fishing Bridge area was used as a gathering place and the thermal waters of the park were used for ceremony and healing. There are 27 tribes with historic ties to Yellowstone who are now spread across Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and the Dakotas.

Exit the West Gate of Yellowstone

West Yellowstone

7 Sights at West Yellowstone
The town of West Yellowstone sits right at the West Gate to Yellowstone National Park. Here are the top seven ways to avoid the park’s crowds and see the best of the area.

Natural Beauty in Southern Idaho

Shoshone Falls in Idaho
Shoshone Falls in Idaho (Photo: Courtesy Visit Southern Idaho)

Craters of the Moon National Monument
Feel Like You’re On Another Planet as you explore volcanic formations, including lava tube caves, on the trails and scenic drives at this uncrowded national park site.

9 Uncrowded Gems in Southern Idaho
After Yellowstone, dip into southern Idaho to explore nine attractions, including two national park sites, you won’t find elsewhere.

End: Salt Lake City


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Yosemite to Yellowstone Road Trip https://www.yellowstonepark.com/road-trips/road-trip-itineraries/yosemite-to-yellowstone-road-trip/ Wed, 04 May 2022 02:53:51 +0000 https://www.yellowstonepark.com/2019/03/29/yosemite-to-yellowstone-road-trip/ Yosemite to Yellowstone Road Trip

Hit the road with this ultimate California and Wyoming road-trip itinerary from Yosemite to Yellowstone with a details on where to stop and what to do.

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Yosemite to Yellowstone Road Trip

See granite domes, desert landscapes and rare wildlife on this 1,564-mile Yosemite to Yellowstone road trip adventure. From your starting point in California, head to Yosemite National Park where you’ll find awe-inspiring granite domes and waterfalls, historic hotels, interactive visitor centers and amazing trails.

Beyond is Lake Tahoe, the open desert landscape of Nevada, a slice of Idaho and Wyoming. In Pocatello, Idaho, stop by a museum dedicated to all things “clean” and press on to Jackson, Wyo., a mix of cowboy culture, glamour and breathtaking scenery. From there, explore by foot or boat the stunning Grand Teton National Park, which sits at the doorstep of Jackson, and then drive north to Yellowstone National Park where geysers and the best wildlife show in the Lower 48 await.

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Road Trip Map

Start: Yosemite National Park

Half Dome from Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park. Photo by Grant Ordelheide
Half Dome from Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park. Photo by Grant Ordelheide

Hit Yosemite’s legendary trails and scenic overlooks to see waterfalls, granite domes, and mountain lakes. Read more on our sister website at www.myyosemitepark.com/things-to-do/which-yosemite-hiking-trail

Southeast Idaho

Clean and Green in Pocatello
Explore these four stops where you’ll see Stripes and Shoni, a place devoted to cleaning up, ancient curious creatures and a hub of ethnic flavors.

Have a Shoshone-Bannock Native Experience
The Shoshone-Bannock Casino Hotel offers a spa, a gift shop selling Shoshone-Bannock crafts and a place to watch your favorite sports team. Here are seven reasons to visit.

Parks Galore in Idaho Falls
Stroll or jog along the Snake River on the Greenbelt. Along the way, you’ll pass fishing ponds, waterfalls, overlooks and the Friendship Garden. Then visit a drive-in movie theater, catch a world-class theater performance, see a pair of lions and find out where all those potatoes you eat come from.

The West Side of the Tetons

Curbside Attractions in Idaho’s Yellowstone-Teton Territory
From TV inventors to root beer floats, you’ll find great Americana in eastern Idaho. Visit the Spud Drive-Inn and a summer music scene.

Local Color of the Yellowstone-Teton Territory
Three locals from the west side of the Tetons share their favorite trails, sights and why they love where they live.

The West Side Story of Teton Valley and Grand Targhee Resort
With so much attention on the east side of the Tetons, leave the crowds behind and experience the top nine things to do on the Teton’s west side.

Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park

John Moulton's barn on Mormon Row in Grand Teton National Park, Wyo.
John Moulton’s barn on Mormon Row in Grand Teton National Park, Wyo. (Photo: Depositphotos)

Row your Boat with , Barker-Ewing or Grand Teton Lodge Co.
Escape the heat with these kayaking, rafting and boating options in and around Grand Teton National Park.

Yellowstone’s Sister Park, Grand Teton
Located at the heart of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the Rockefeller Parkway connects Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone.

Three Park Entrances and a Surprise
Grand Teton National Park is shaped a bit like your left-hand thumb and is dotted with three main entrances. A surprise for many visitors is there is no Grand Teton entrance station when you head south from Yellowstone into Grand Teton.

GyPSy Guide Yellowstone and Grand Teton Tour App
Download the Yellowstone tour app that’s like having a tour guide in your car. GyPSy Guide automatically plays interesting and entertaining commentary as you go.

6 Big Adventures at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
Right next to Grand Teton National Park, spend a day on the new Via Ferrata assisted climbing course, riding the tram, tackling the ropes course or biking and hiking downhill.

Town Square Inns of Jackson Hole
With four Jackson locations and over 400 rooms and cabins, the Town Square Inns have more options to meet your style and budget than any other area hotelier.
Elk Country Inn
Antler Inn
Cowboy Village Cabins and Lodge
49er Inn and Suites

7 Best Places to Eat and Sleep in Grand Teton National Park
It’s easy to get distracted by the park’s world-class views, but don’t miss these places at Grand Teton Lodge and Jackson Lake to eat and sleep.

Headwaters Lodge & Cabins at Flagg Ranch
Just minutes from the South Entrance to Yellowstone National Park and the northern section of Grand Teton National Park, stay at the Headwaters Lodge & Cabins at Flagg Ranch.

3-Day Eco-Friendly Vacation Itinerary for Yellowstone and Grand Teton
Want tips on how to be a sustainable traveler? We’ve put together ideas for a three-day vacation.

End: Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone's most famous geyser, Old Faithful at Twilight
Yellowstone’s most famous geyser, Old Faithful at Twilight (Photo: iStock)

Enter the South Entrance to Yellowstone

48 Hours in Yellowstone
Make the most of your time by visiting some of our favorite spots in the park including wildlife watching, dining at historic lodges and seeing geysers erupt.

Top 5 Vistas in Yellowstone National Park
If you want to feel on top of the world, there are five views you must see including Artist Point, Lamar Valley, and the Yellowstone River cutting thru lava spires.

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Denver to Yellowstone Road Trip https://www.yellowstonepark.com/road-trips/road-trip-itineraries/denver-to-yellowstone-road-trip/ Sat, 03 Apr 2021 03:12:04 +0000 https://www.yellowstonepark.com/2020/06/22/denver-to-yellowstone-road-trip/ Denver to Yellowstone Road Trip

Explore the Rocky Mountains on this loop from Colorado to Wyoming and dipping into the corner of Utah

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Denver to Yellowstone Road Trip

Stretching from the high deserts of New Mexico across 3,000 miles into Canada, the Rocky Mountains are North America’s biggest range. This road trip traces a small section of these iconic peaks from the Mile High City of Denver, Colorado, to the Wyoming-Montana border before looping back south through the canyons of Utah and western Colorado.

Touch the clouds as you drive Rocky Mountain National Park’s 12,183-foot-high Trail Ridge Road. Then, cross into Wyoming and visit a bison ranch or watch a rodeo in the state’s capital, Cheyenne. Drive through some of the prettiest scenery in the West on the Snowy Range Scenic Byway and get out on the water at beautiful lakes near towns like Wheatland and Casper. You can learn about the history of the West from ranching to the WWII incarceration of Japanese Americans to the iconic Buffalo Bill Cody as you make your way through Buffalo, Powell and Cody. Two national parks await, both filled with wildlife like grizzly bears, bison and wolves.

After visiting Yellowstone and Grand Teton, loop south through Wyoming towns like Kemmerer, along with Vernal, Utah and Craig, Colorado, where you’ll discover a region full of history and fossils.

Rafting the Yampa River in Dinosaur National Monument
Rafting the Yampa River in Dinosaur National Monument (Photo: Grant Ordelheide)

As you take in the views of snow-capped peaks, herds of mighty bison and rivers cutting their way through striking cliffs, take a deep breath and soak it all in. You just might feel the Rocky Mountain High that John Denver sang about in 1972. It’s a feeling you can still capture today, if you slow down and enjoy the journey.

Road Trip Map

Start: Denver, Colorado

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park
Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park (Photo: Katie Lee)

Two Perfect Days in Rocky Mountain National Park
Only have 48 hours? Make the most of your time by following our itinerary covering both sides of the park.

Longs Peak
It is impossible to stare at the skyline of Rocky Mountain National Park and not be compelled to at least wonder what it would be like to climb Longs Peak. Dominating the park’s peaks and topping out at 14,259 feet, Longs is the ultimate adventure for experienced hikers.

Southeast Wyoming

A New West in Cheyenne
As you drive to Wyoming’s capital from Denver, Colo., you’ll pass herds of bison at the Terry Bison Ranch where you can go on a trail ride or train ride to see these iconic creatures up close. Each July, you can visit Cheyenne Frontier Days, a world-renowned festival full of pro-rodeo, country music and Western heritage. If you’re not visiting in July, the Hell on Wheels Rodeo Series on select Friday nights throughout the summer, complete with a Chuck Wagon Dinner, will give you a taste of cowboy culture. The Old West traditions are still a vital part of Cheyenne’s culture, but there’s so much more to this city than cowboy charm.

Sunrise on Wyoming's Snowy Range Scenic Byway near Laramie
Sunrise on Wyoming’s Snowy Range Scenic Byway near Laramie (Photo: Albany County Tourism Board)

Laramie’s Top 6
Escape the crowds by taking the scenic route to Yellowstone. Located on the edge of the Snowy Mountain Range, Laramie has a ton of outdoor and cultural attractions for travelers from great microbrews to uncrowded alpine hikes. Here are the top things to do.

Small Wyoming Towns and Open Spaces in Carbon County
In southern Wyoming, you’ll discover a string of towns woven together by hot springs, ranching, coal, oil and a growing wind turbine industry. Break up your drive to Yellowstone by stopping at some of these attractions.

Connect with Nature at a Dude Ranch
Experience cowboy life firsthand. Make reservations at one of the the West’s top dude ranches and guest ranches. You’ll find four ranches in the Laramie-Carbon County area, one in Lander and a dozen near Jackson along this road trip route.

Central Wyoming

Go Off the Radar on the Oregon Trail
From Glendo to Chugwater in Platte County, Wyo., this Pony Express route in southeast Wyoming’s Platte County is full of little-known gems including a state park and multiple historical sites.

Kayaking and paddleboarding in Freemont Canyon near Casper
Kayaking and paddleboarding in Freemont Canyon. (Photo: Courtesy Visit Casper)

Casper’s Top 7
As the heart of the Wild West in the 1880s Casper sat at the intersection of the Mormon, California, Oregon and Pony Express Trails. Today, it still serves as a crossroads for travelers. Stop in Casper on your way to Yellowstone National Park to relive the history of the West with trail landmarks, wagon rides and cowboy boots. Or get a taste of Casper’s unexpected culture with its 100-year-old art scene, festivals and craft distilling.

6 Ways to Experience the West
Stop in the towns of Buffalo and Kaycee, Wyo., for a dose of Western culture including going on a trail ride, visiting a saloon and learning about Wyoming’s history. Nearby, stay at Paradise Guest Ranch to see how a week with family at a 100-year-old dude ranch will create memories for a lifetime.

Hot Springs, Bison and Dinosaurs in Thermopolis
You’ll find Thermopolis tucked among the foothills of the Owl Creek Mountains beside the Big Horn River. It’s a hot springs paradise with multiple places to slip into the hot mineral waters and soak.

Drive the Yellowstone Sweet 16 to Bighorn Mountain Country
Stop in the small towns like Worland and Ten Sleep on U.S. Hwy. 16, known as the Sweet 16. It’s touted as the best and safest way over the Bighorn Mountains due to a less steep grade and gradual curves.

Heartbreak at Heart Mountain
During World War II, more than 14,000 Japanese Americans ended up behind barbed wire at Heart Mountain Relocation Center. Discover what life was like for them at Heart Mountain Relocation Center in Powell, Wyo.

Cody, Wyoming

Find the Wild West in Cody
When Buffalo Bill Cody helped found the town that bears his name, the year was 1895. One hundred and 25 years later, Cody, Wyoming, offers travelers to and from Yellowstone the best of the Old and New West. Plan your multi-day adventure with these must-sees.

Audio-visual exhibits in the Plains Indian Museum of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West
Audio-visual exhibits in the Plains Indian Museum of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West (Photo: Courtesy Buffalo Bill Center of the West)

Old West Experiences at Buffalo Bill Center of the West
Watch your dinner get prepared at a chuckwagon at the Cowboy Chuckwagon Experience at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody. It’s one of many experiences you can have at this Smithsonian-affiliated complex that’s home to world-class art, remarkable Indian artifacts and cultural exhibits.

Where to Stay Between Cody and Yellowstone
Buffalo Bill [Cabin] Village at Buffalo Bill Village Resort
Holiday Inn Buffalo Bill Village Resort
Comfort Inn at Buffalo Bill Village Resort
Lodges of East Yellowstone
Elephant Head Lodge
Pahaska Tepee Resort

Yellowstone National Park

Enter the east entrance.

Yellowstone's most famous geyser, Old Faithful at Twilight
Yellowstone’s most famous geyser, Old Faithful at Twilight (Photo: iStock)

2 Days in Yellowstone
Only have 48 hours? Make the most of your time by visiting some of our favorite spots in the park including wildlife watching, dining at historic lodges and see geysers erupt.

Top 5 Vistas in Yellowstone National Park
If you want to feel on top of the world, here are 5 views you must see including Artist Point, Lamar Valley, and the Yellowstone River cutting thru lava spires.

Fun on the Water in Yellowstone National Park
Leave dry land behind to explore the rivers and lakes of Yellowstone. Go paddling, fishing, boating, or take a boat cruise tour in the national park.

Exit the south entrance.

Grand Teton National Park

Moulton's Barn at Grand Teton National Park.
Moulton’s Barn at Grand Teton National Park. (Photo: Sandeep Gali)

Yellowstone’s Sister Park, Grand Teton
Located at the heart of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the Rockefeller Parkway connects Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park with Yellowstone.

2-Days in Grand Teton National Park
Here are some of our favorite things to do in Grand Teton from amazing hiking trails to scenic boat rides and the best huckleberry milkshake ever.

3 Roadside Stops in Grand Teton National Park
From historic homesteads to breathtaking river valleys, here are our top stops for a fantastic scenic drive plus road-trip advice from Nokian Tyres.

8 Best Places to Eat and Sleep in Grand Teton National Park
It’s easy to get distracted by the park’s world-class views, but don’t miss these places at Grand Teton Lodge and Jackson Lake to eat and sleep.

A Level Up with Great Western Expeditions
Tour Yellowstone and Grand Teton with Great Western Expeditions for a touch of luxury. It’s not just another Jackson, Wyo., tour company. Family-owned and operated, the staff has taken national park touring to the next level.

GyPSy Guide’s Yellowstone and Grand Teton Tour App
Download the Yellowstone narrated driving tour app that’s like having a tour guide in your car. GyPSy Guide automatically plays interesting and entertaining commentary as you go.

3-Day Eco-Friendly Vacation Itinerary for Yellowstone and Grand Teton
Want tips on how to be a sustainable traveler? We’ve put together ideas for a three-day vacation.

Jackson, Wyoming

Downtown Jackson, Wyoming, with its Million Dollar Cowboy Bar and a town square cornered with antler arches
Downtown Jackson, Wyoming, with its Million Dollar Cowboy Bar and a town square cornered with antler arches (Photo: Courtesy of Visit Jackson Hole)

Saddle Up in Jackson
Just 15 minutes from Grand Teton National Park and two hours from Yellowstone, Jackson is a great stop if you’re looking for an old West town with a touch of class and a lot of fun.

Fun on the Snake River and Grand Teton Lakes
With temperatures reaching new highs, figuring out how to stay cool is key to enjoying your summer. Enjoy adventures in Jackson and nearby Grand Teton National Park.

Barker Ewing by Jackson Hole Whitewater
Barker-Ewing Scenic Float Trips
Mad River Boat Trips
Solitude Float Trips
Grand Teton Lodge Company

6 Big Adventures at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
Right next to Grand Teton National Park, spend a day on the new Via Ferrata assisted climbing course, riding the gondola, tackling the ropes course or biking and hiking downhill.

Head to Snow King Mountain Resort for Family Fun
Jackson, Wyo.’s best-kept secret offers a ton of activities for all ages, plus bike and SUP rentals.

Town Square Inns of Jackson Hole
With four Jackson locations and over 400 rooms and cabins, the Town Square Inns have more options to meet your style and budget than any other area hotelier.
Elk Country Inn
Antler Inn
Cowboy Village Cabins and Lodge
49er Inn and Suites

Wyoming’s Fossil Basin

Lost in Time
Explore a 52-million-year-old graveyard that preserves an ancient underwater world of fish, turtles, crocodiles, insects, mammals, birds, and leaves. Visit a private fossil quarry to hunt for your own fossils.

Flaming Gorge, Utah

Desert Oasis in Flaming Gorge Country
Take a break from the desert heat by jumping in the sparkling water at Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area and spend several days exploring this 91-mile-long reservoir.

Dinosaur National Monument, Utah/Colorado

Steamboat Rock in Dinosaur National Monument
Steamboat Rock in Dinosaur National Monument (Photo: iStock)

The dinosaur bones at this park straddling northwestern Colorado and northeastern Utah would be reason enough to stop here. The quarry displays the remains of Allosaurus, Diplodocus and Stegasaurus, among other dinosaurs. But the monument also has excellent river rafting, hiking and ancient rock art panels. Two visitor centers, one in Colorado and one in Utah, each have interactive displays. See the wall of bones at the Quarry Exhibit Hall and raft the Yampa River past the iconic formations such as Steamboat Rock.

10 Best Things to Do at Dinosaur National Monument
Seeing dinosaur bones, going rafting and more of our favorite things to do.

Vernal’s Hidden Gems
Looking to avoid the crowds and see one of the country’s most spectacular national monuments? You’ll dig ancient animal history in Vernal, Utah, located close to Dinosaur National Monument

A Jurassic Journey through Moffat County
See wild horses, hundreds of elk and the eastern side of Dinosaur National Monument near Craig, Colo., on the way back to Denver.

The Grand Side of Rocky Mountain National Park

River Run RV Resort’s Rocky Mountain Retreat
Just 20 minutes from the park’s West Entrance, which sits in Grand Lake, Colo., lies River Run RV Resort, a new 200-acre resort with unparalleled amenities for the area. There’s actually so much to do on property that it may be hard to leave it. Learn more on MyColoradoParks.com

End: Denver


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Texas to Wyoming Yellowstone Cowboy Road Trip https://www.yellowstonepark.com/road-trips/road-trip-itineraries/texas-to-yellowstone-road-trip/ Tue, 23 Jun 2020 20:44:54 +0000 https://www.yellowstonepark.com/2020/06/23/texas-to-yellowstone-road-trip/ Texas to Wyoming Yellowstone Cowboy Road Trip

Get roped into fun as you explore the best cowboy culture on this 1,729-mile route through New Mexico, Colorado and Wyoming.

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Texas to Wyoming Yellowstone Cowboy Road Trip

From the high plains of New Mexico to horses galloping on Wyoming’s dude ranches, this Lone-Star Cowboy Texas to Yellowstone road trip takes you to the heart of cowboy country.

From El Paso, Texas, head to New Mexico to explore the mesmerizing landscape of White Sands National Monument and the underbelly of the Earth at Carlsbad Caverns National Park. Farther north, spend time in gorgeous Santa Fe County with vibrant art scenes and incredible Southwestern food.

Cross into Colorado and stop at Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve before heading north to Denver for art and culture.

From Denver drive north to Cheyenne, Chugwater, Ten Sleep, Greybull and Lovell, a string of authentic western towns that’ll lasso you into outdoor and cultural activities. In Powell, you’ll find Heart Mountain Interpretive Center where thousands of Japanese and Japanese Americans were held during World War II.

Before you reach Yellowstone, stop in Cody, named after the legendary Buffalo Bill Cody. It is the closest town to the park’s East Entrance and home to a world-class museum and fun, authentic cowboy entertainment.

Download Trip PDF [13MB]

Road Trip Map

Start: El Paso, Texas

White Sands National Park

Park visitors watching the moon rise in White Sands National Park
Park visitors watching the moon rise in White Sands National Park Photo: National Park Service

There are few things as striking as the glistening white sands in southern New Mexico, so stop here to experience this vast field of dunes yourself. 

White Sands National Park is the world’s largest gypsum dune field, which spans 275 square miles. It’s also one of our newest national parks, having transitioned from monument to park in 2019. Start your adventure at the park’s historic visitor center. Housed in the 1930s-era Pueblo Revival building are interactive exhibits, information on daily activities and a great film A Land in Motion to orient you. You’ll find the White Sands Trading Co. in there as well, which sells snacks, sandwiches and drinks.

From the visitor center, take Dunes Drive, an 8-mile one-way ride sprinkled with roadside exhibits, picnic areas, restrooms and trails. The first four miles are paved and the last four are hard-packed. Learn more on our sister website: www.mygrandcanyonpark.com/tag/white-sands-national-park/

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Rock of Ages platform on the Big Room Trail in Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Rock of Ages platform on the Big Room TrailNPS/Public Domain

In 1898, when 16-year-old cowhand Jim White first entered what would become Carlsbad Caverns National Park, the Texas-born teen discovered another world.

Once part of a reef in an inland sea, Carlsbad Caverns has more than 119 limestone caves.

While its disputed whether White was the first Anglo to enter the caves, one thing is clear: this national park is stunning. Explore the Big Room, North America’s largest single-cave chamber that’s as large as six football fields.

To explore other caves, make reservations at least 48 hours in advance for a guided tour that range from easy to very difficult. Each cave has a different minimum age requirement, based on difficulty. To learn more, visit our sister website: www.mygrandcanyonpark.com/tag/carlsbad-caverns-national-park/

True New Mexico in Santa Fe County

Looking for adventure that feeds the soul? Check out our top six things to do in Santa Fe County including an adobe built in 1816, a scenic byway, trails through mining history, a national monument and a Japanese spa. Read more on our sister website: www.mycoloradoparks.com/road-trips/road-trip-stops/new-mexico-places/santa-fe-county-nm/

Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve

Medano Creek in Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve
Medano Creek in Great Sand Dunes National ParkSurjanto Suradji

Bring your sled and your beach umbrella to Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve 37 miles from Alamosa, Colo, and explore the tallest sand dunes in North America.

Hike the striking High Dune on First Ridge, a 2-hour, 2.5-mile round trip walk up 699 feet of sand to the top. Then sled down with a sand sled rented at Kristi Mountain Sports in Alamosa for extreme speed. Or beach it along Medano Creek, which flows April through June. Having water is critical to cooling down, so track the current and forecast flow at nps.gov/grsa.

With so much fun to be had, don’t leave your common sense behind. The sand’s surface can reach 150 degrees mid-day in summer, which may be hard to imagine when it’s cooler in the morning. Wear closed-toe shoes and avoid lightning strikes by getting out early in the morning. Blowing sand can be an extremely painful hazard if the wind picks up, so dress in layers. Lastly, the park’s elevation ranges from 7,515 to 13,604. Drink a lot of water.

From Alamosa, take either Hwy. 160 east and Hwy. 150 north, or Hwy. 17 north and County Lane 6 east from Mosca. Great Sand Dunes National Park officials urge visitors to rely on Colorado printed maps rather than digital mapping programs since the online maps have incorrectly led people to hiking paths or remote trailheads. Read more on our sister website: www.mycoloradoparks.com/national-parks/gsdnpp/

Explore the Frontier in Cheyenne

Enjoy authentic cowboy culture, craft beers and the uncrowded outdoors in Cheyenne, Wyo.

“It’s really the best of both worlds,” says Jim Walter of the Visit Cheyenne Convention & Visitors Bureau. “You’ve got some great historical resources here, whether it’s trains or the West or carriages or the history of rodeo. But then you’ve got the best of what the West is today — craft breweries, rock climbing, hiking, mountain biking.”

Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo
Many of Wyoming’s rodeos are known throughout the world, including Cheyenne Frontier Days, the “Daddy of ‘Em All” held the last week in July. But it’s so much more than a rodeo.

Order brisket, beans, potatoes and cobbler at the Chuckwagon Experience. Stop by Indian Village where Native Americans have been performing since 1898, returning each year to entertain and educate visitors about American Indian heritage and culture with dances, handicrafts and storytelling. Rounding out the festivities is a carnival with rides, an air show, top-name music entertainment and several parades that include antique carriages and automobiles.

 This year’s dates are July 23-Aug. 1, 2021. Get up-to-date information at CFDRodeo.com. If you’re traveling the last week in July, it’s a definate stop on this Texas to Yellowstone road trip.

Off the Radar along the Oregon Trail

Time to jump in the water and discover American history in these small Wyoming Pony Express towns from Chugwater to Glendo. Here are four sights that can’t be found in any other place including the national park site Fort Laramie, an original Pony Express stop.

Casper’s Top Seven

World-class fly-fishing is not the only game in town. From a rowdy ride on a pioneer wagon to a hike up Casper Mountain, you’ll be doing your own trailblazing in Casper, Wyo. Check out Casper’s Top Seven.

Experience the Old West in Buffalo and Kaycee

Paradise Awaits on the Ranch
Paradise Ranch is the perfect place to disconnect from the grid. With so much to do on the isolated 160 acres, it’s easy to forget during your weeklong stay that the outside world even exists.

6 Ways to Experience the Old West
Go on a trail ride, visit a saloon and learn about Wyoming’s history in the towns of Buffalo and Kaycee, Wyo.

Bozeman Trail Steak House
Try a bison steak or the New York Strip at this local restaurant near the historic Bozeman Trail in Buffalo, Wyo.

East Side Stories of Greybull and Ten Sleep

The Hills are Alive with Music in Bighorn Mountain Country
Stop in the small towns like Worland, Wyo., and Ten Sleep, Wyo., on U.S. Hwy. 16, known as the Sweet 16. It’s touted as the best and safest way over the Bighorn Mountains. Don’t miss two music festivals this summer.

From Ancient to Recent History in Greybull
Back in the day, bootleggers stashed liquor in tunnels they built underneath the heart of Greybull’s downtown, or so the legend goes. Today you can see what’s become of the speakeasy and catch a glimpse of other eras of history when you walk among World War II bombers and see dinosaur tracks. See our list of top things to do.

Heart Break on Heart Mountain

When President Franklin Roosevelt ordered all people with Japanese ancestry to be removed from the West Coast during World War II, more than 14,000 Japanese Americans ended up behind barbed wire at Heart Mountain Relocation Center.

Learn About Your Food at Powell

In Powell, the miraculous happens. Despite the fact this town of 6,500 only get 6 inches of precipitation per year, it harvests sheer tons of sugar beets, barley and beans from its fertile soils. How does it do it? Join one of Powell’s 3.5-hour agriculture tours to find out where it gets its water, how it grows its crops and raises its livestock, or go on a self-guided tour.

Find the Wild West in Cody’s Yellowstone Country

Locals like to brag Cody and the surrounding area is where your great American adventure begins. Located near one of Yellowstone’s least-crowded entranced, Cody and the area around it offer great attractions. Here is our list of the top 10 things to do in this town founded by Buffalo Bill Cody.

Don’t miss stops on this Texas to Yellowstone road trip:

Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Smithsonian-Affiliated 5-Museum Complex
He rode for the Pony Express, entertained Queen Victoria, called Mark Twain a friend. Learn about the legend and the world and culture Buffalo Bill loved. 

Also:

Rest Stops:

Buffalo Bill [Cabin] Village at Buffalo Bill Village Resort in Cody
These 83 historic cabins maintain the exterior historic cowboy hand hewn log; the interior is a complete, full service non-smoking hotel room.
Read more.

Comfort Inn at Buffalo Bill Village Resort in Cody
The Comfort Inn is located 52 miles from the East Entrance of Yellowstone/Grand Teton National Parks and eight blocks from the Buffalo Bill Historical Center. Complimentary deluxe continental breakfast.
Read more.

Holiday Inn Buffalo Bill Village Resort in Cody
Cody’s only full-service hotel is conveniently located downtown, 52 miles from Yellowstone’s east entrance and eight blocks from the Buffalo Bill Center of the West.
Read more.

Pahaska Tepee Resort
Originally Buffalo Bill’s hunting lodge, the Pahaska Tepee Resort is the closest lodging to the park’s East Entrance at only 2 miles.
Read more.

Lodges of East Yellowstone
The Lodges of East Yellowstone offer some of the most beautiful views with the closest access to east Yellowstone. Choose between a variety of lodges, guest ranches, hotels and RV sites.
Read more.

Elephant Head Lodge
Less than 12 miles from the park, this small resort sits along a national forest. Stay in a log cabin listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Read more.

End: Yellowstone National Park

Enter the national park’s east entrance.

Black Pool at the West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake
Black Pool at the West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake (Photo: Depositphotos)

GyPSy Guide’s Narrated Driving Tour App
Download the Yellowstone tour app that’s like having a tour guide in your car. GyPSy Guide automatically plays interesting and entertaining commentary as you go.

2 Days in Yellowstone
Only have 48 hours? Make the most of your time by visiting some of our favorite spots in the park.

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