Our Yellowstone Travel Guide will make planning a trip to Yellowstone National Park a breeze. This travel guide will allow you to soak in picture-perfect scenery, while also sharping your scientific mind. Yellowstone National Park is known for its wildlife and array of geothermal features. There are four main types of geothermal features present in the park: fumaroles, hot springs, geysers, and mudpots. Each instance of these features has its own uniqueness and beauty.
Overview & Map
Planning Tips Overview
Best Time of Year to Visit:
- Peak Season: July & August (largest crowds, weather is warm enough to camp)
- Still wear layers (~80ºF during the day and ~30ºF at night)
- April-May & Sept-Oct (colder weather, fewer crowds)
How to Get There:
- There are multiple entry points into the park, we detail them below. (How To Get There)
- Rent a Car near the airport
- Yellowstone is easy to navigate without a guide.
Where to Stay:
- Highly recommend staying inside the park! (we camped at the Madison Campgrounds)
- If staying outside the park: West Yellowstone or Gardiner
- Download an offline Google Map before you go. You won’t have cell service in the Park. (How to)
- “Follow” our Yellowstone Travel Guide Google Map. This will save our recommended stops directly onto your Google Maps App.
- Check the website for Yellowstone Road Closures. Winter weather and construction cause often closures.
Yellowstone Travel Guide Map
Clicking on “Save Google Map” will automatically save it to your Google Maps (If you are signed in)
Download the Gypsy Yellowstone and Grand Tetons Audio Driving Tour App: This audio tour app explains geological features, animal spotting, and lesser-known areas of the park. It connects to your phone’s GPS and automatically plays location-specific information as you drive around the park.
Yellowstone Things To Do
This is our Yellowstone Travel Guide of things not to miss when planning a trip to Yellowstone National Park. First, get acquainted with the different geographic aspects of the Park. We broke it up into the 3 main regions with our recommended time allotment.
We aren’t going to walk you through every little detail because we feel this is too much info to have to sift through before going. At most of the stops, you’ll park your car, go the boardwalk, and be able to walk past all of the geological features.
Many stops will offer a paper map and a detailed description of all of the hydrothermal features (for a $1 donation). Definitely use these! You don’t need to research every little stop before going here, we will provide you with the “must not miss” things but all the other little stops will be included on those paper maps.
Time: 2-3 Days
- Upper Geyser Basin – Old Faithful
The Old Faithful Inn
Biscuit & Black Sand Basin
- Midway Geyser Basin – Grand Prismatic
Lower Geyser Basin
Firehole Lake Drive
Time: 1 Day
Norris Geyser Basin
Mammoth Hot Springs
- Lamar Valley – Animal Spotting
Time: 1 Day
- Grand Canyon of Yellowstone – Waterfalls
- Hayden Valley – Animal Spotting
West Thumb Geyser Basin
Recommended Time: 2-3 Days
We would start our trip here! This section has tons of GEYSERS. It is broken up into 6 main stops.
1. Upper Geyser Basin
2. The Old Faithful Inn
3. Biscuit & Black Sand Basin
4. Midway Geyser Basin
5. Lower Geyser Basin
6. Firehole Lake Drive
Check the Yellowstone Website for Latest Geyser Eruption Predictions: There are 6 geysers with predicted eruptions in the park (Old Faithful, Castle, Grand, Daisy, Riverside, and Great Fountain). Old Faithful has the most frequent and accurate predictions, but the others are worth planning for. Here are our videos of Grand Geyser Eruption and Castle Geyser Eruption.
1. Upper Geyser Basin:
- Old Faithful Geyser – (most well-known geyser), blows every 25 min to 2 hrs
- Geyser Hill Loop – 1.3 mile easy, on a boardwalk. This loop is full of geysers and hot springs.
Follow the Artemisia Trail: You’ll find various geysers (some of our favorite were here)
- Castle Geyser – predicted eruption
- Grand Geyser – predicted eruption
- Riverside Geyser – predicted eruption
- Morning Glory Hot Spring
Morning Glory Hot Spring
2. The Old Faithful Inn
- Built-in 1903-1904
- National historic landmark
- Out front, you can see the infamous Old Faithful Geyser with a lot of seating.
- Great place to grab a drink on the 2nd outdoor floor outdoor balcony!
Old Faithful Inn
3. Biscuit Basin & Black Sand Basin
- Biscuit Basin: 2/3 mi easy walking loop (has a boardwalk) – worth stopping at, pretty quick
- Black Sand Basin: Quick out and back boardwalk
Black Sand Basin
4. Midway Geyser Basin (Hell’s Halfway Acre)
- Grand Prismatic (Don’t Miss) It has amazing colors from the thermophilic bacteria
- Largest hot spring in the US and 3rd largest in the world!
- We recommend visiting in the early morning or late evening to avoid the crowds<
Hike Fairy Falls Trail for Aerial Photo of Grand Prismatic: At 0.8 mi along the trail, you’ll get to see an amazing view of the grand prismatic below. The trail is 5 miles in total if you’re feeling adventurous.