2 Days in Yellowstone National Park

20
Feb
2020

Two days in Yellowstone, yeah it’s a bit crazy ambitious. But I am the type of person that wants to see as much as I possibly can in the shortest amount of time possible. I think that’s coming from formerly being a part of the corporate world, where you’re only allowed 15 measly days off a year! That limited PTO bank has motivated me to plan trips in record time and see more than most people ever expect!

In fact, a year and a half before this trip happened, I told my dad I wanted to do Yellowstone in a long holiday weekend. He told me it couldn’t be done and I’m here to tell you, we did it! Although I don’t believe most people are into the express lane of national parks, we wanted to go even for a short time instead of not getting to go at all.

2 days in Yellowstone National Park
2 Days in Yellowstone National Park -Road trip Itinerary

We flew into Bozeman, Montana. As far as airport experiences go, Bozeman was good in terms of efficiency. We got our baggage quickly and were able to get a rental car easily too. We rented a Jeep there and headed to West Yellowstone.

When we got to West Yellowstone, I was happy to see there were several restaurants and little stores available. We ate at Bullwinkles Saloon & Eatery and then we stopped in at the Visitor’s Center and then headed into the park with the itinerary I had created through my research.

2 days in Yellowstone National Park
2 Days in Yellowstone National Park -Road trip Itinerary

I had done lots and lots of research. But apparently, not enough! This was our first true National Park visit that we didn’t strictly just drive through the park, and wow was it a big one to check off! Although it can be done as we did (a bit ill prepared!), I highly recommend preparing far better than we did! I’ve listed my best tips for you below.

2 days in Yellowstone National Park
2 Days in Yellowstone National Park – West Yellowstone
2 days in Yellowstone National Park
2 Days in Yellowstone National Park – Lower Geyser Basin
2 days in Yellowstone National Park
2 Days in Yellowstone National Park – Lower Geyser Basin
2 days in Yellowstone National Park
2 Days in Yellowstone National Park – Lower Geyser Basin
2 days in Yellowstone National Park
2 Days in Yellowstone National Park – Lower Geyser Basin

Our first stop was Lower Geyser Basin. Then Grand Prismatic Spring and I don’t know if it was because it was one of our first stops or if it’s because I didn’t expect such a cool experience, but I think this was one of my favorite parts of our trip!

2 days in Yellowstone National Park
2 Days in Yellowstone National Park – Grand Prismatic Spring
2 days in Yellowstone National Park
2 Days in Yellowstone National Park – Grand Prismatic Spring
2 days in Yellowstone National Park
2 Days in Yellowstone National Park – Grand Prismatic Spring
2 days in Yellowstone National Park
2 Days in Yellowstone National Park – Grand Prismatic Spring
2 days in Yellowstone National Park
2 Days in Yellowstone National Park – Grand Prismatic Spring
2 days in Yellowstone National Park
2 Days in Yellowstone National Park – Grand Prismatic Spring
2 days in Yellowstone National Park
2 Days in Yellowstone National Park – Grand Prismatic Spring
2 days in Yellowstone National Park
2 Days in Yellowstone National Park – Grand Prismatic Spring
2 days in Yellowstone National Park
2 Days in Yellowstone National Park – Grand Prismatic Spring
2 days in Yellowstone National Park
2 Days in Yellowstone National Park – Grand Prismatic Spring

Our next stop was Old Faithful and the anticipation of waiting made it more fun! As you can see, there was a crowd so you might want to plan this stop throughly before you go.

2 days in Yellowstone National Park
2 Days in Yellowstone National Park – Old Faithful
2 days in Yellowstone National Park
2 Days in Yellowstone National Park – Old Faithful

After Old Faithful we drove to the West Thumb Geyser Basin. It was also pretty too!

2 days in Yellowstone National Park
2 Days in Yellowstone National Park – West Thumb Geyser

After that we drove all the way back through the park exiting at the West Entrance. This was a good easy amount of stops for the day and it was enjoyable and leisurely. We could have even fit in more geysers if we would have been staying closer to Yellowstone! Instead we stayed in Big Sky, Montana, which is about an hour from the West Entrance of Yellowstone.

2 days in Yellowstone National Park
2 Days in Yellowstone National Park – West Thumb Geyser

After a completely full day of flying, driving to Yellowstone, seeing multiple spots within the park, and driving to our condo an hour away, we needed a day to rest in between! We chose Big Sky because it was a destination I’d always wanted to go to and it was beautiful! It was a small mountain town that was new and modern. I loved it!

2 days in Yellowstone National Park
Big Sky Montana Horseback riding

We spent the day going to restaurant and shops before going horseback riding up a mountain for the afternoon. This was a cool experience I can’t say I ever want to do again! Per usual, riding up the mountain was fine, it was coming down that was terrifying.

Horseback Riding in Big Sk
Big Sky Montana Horseback riding

Then we went to Beehive Basin Brewery for beer flights and to finalize our plans for day 2 in Yellowstone. Highly recommend stopping there if you are in Big Sky!

2 days in Yellowstone National Park
2 Days in Yellowstone National Park – Mammoth Hot Springs
2 days in Yellowstone National Park
2 Days in Yellowstone National Park – Mammoth Hot Springs

The next day we started out at the North Entrance of Yellowstone visiting Mammoth Hot Springs. We decided to hike the board walks. Again, not really prepared we just went along the trail with the crowd. It ended up being super steep and a little more strenuous than the sight seeing walk we thought we were going on. I do recommend it, but come prepared and bring water!

2 days in Yellowstone National Park
2 Days in Yellowstone National Park – Mammoth Hot Springs
2 days in Yellowstone National Park
2 Days in Yellowstone National Park – Mammoth Hot Springs
2 days in Yellowstone National Park
2 Days in Yellowstone National Park – Mammoth Hot Springs

We tried to stop for lunch at Mammoth Dining Room but they were completely full. If you can plan better than we did, it looks cool!

We made a quick stop at the Albright Visitor’s Center before driving to the Roosevelt Lodge Dining Room for lunch. It was pretty typical of a national park restaurant and it gave us what we needed for our next destination, which was the Tower Falls. We did a hike down to see the Falls and the Yellowstone River which was a perfect hike down. On the way up it was of course much harder!

2 days in Yellowstone National Park
2 Days in Yellowstone National Park – Grand Canyon of Yellowstone
2 days in Yellowstone National Park
2 Days in Yellowstone National Park – Tower Falls Hike
2 days in Yellowstone National Park
2 Days in Yellowstone National Park – Grand Canyon of Yellowstone
2 days in Yellowstone National Park
2 Days in Yellowstone National Park – Tower Falls Hike

Then we stopped at Tower General Store for a little snack break and it was nice how close it was when there wasn’t really anything else around!

2 days in Yellowstone National Park
2 Days in Yellowstone National Park – Grand Canyon of Yellowstone

There was a lot more driving the rest of the afternoon. Hayden Valley was a big highlight of our drive because we got to see so many herds of bison.

2 days in Yellowstone National Park
2 Days in Yellowstone National Park – Bison in Hayden Valley
2 days in Yellowstone National Park
2 Days in Yellowstone National Park – Bison in Hayden Valley

We drove by Yellowstone Lake for quite a while. It was gorgeous! We finally made our way through the park out the South Entrance. Let me tell you, starting at the North Entrance and ending at the South Entrance in one day while seeing the park is no easy feat! Overall, I’m glad we did it this way but it’s probably too much to realistically and enjoyably fit in to one day!

2 days in Yellowstone National Park
2 Days in Yellowstone National Park – Yellowstone Lake
2 days in Yellowstone National Park
2 Days in Yellowstone National Park – Yellowstone Lake

We started very early in the day and by the time we hit Grand Teton National Park it was sunset. Which was another extremely magical and unexpected moment in the trip! I absolutely fell in love with the Grand Tetons! They are the most beautiful mountains I’ve seen besides the mountains in Glacier National Park.

2 days in Yellowstone National Park
2 Days in Yellowstone National Park – Grand Teton National Park
2 days in Yellowstone National Park
2 Days in Yellowstone National Park – Grand Teton National Park
2 days in Yellowstone National Park
2 Days in Yellowstone National Park – Grand Teton National Park

And I couldn’t stop there because I had not yet been to Idaho. So instead of staying just outside of Yellowstone that night, we drove through Jackson Hole, and all the way to Victor, ID where we stayed at Teton Springs Lodge and Spa. This was a great idea in theory and it’s a gorgeous place to stay but we got there so late we didn’t even have time to enjoy it! The next day we drove all the way to Salt Lake City and flew home.

I actually can’t believe we packed all of this into one trip after sharing it! It was one of the most intense road trips I’ve planned but we made it happen! All in all, I think my dad ended up being right unless you have the sheer determination to make it happen. 😉

Best tips for Yellowstone:

  1. Allow for loads of extra time. Any time you enter the park – triple the amount of time you plan. That way, when there are lines of cars (there will be lines of cars!) or your stops take longer than planned, it’s not stressful!
  2. Expect to see wildlife. This may be a given, but I didn’t fully realize that until I was in the park. They get up close and personal so be prepared! Especially if you plan to hike. That’s also why you should allow for so much extra time because traffic stops when there are bison, bears, or other wildlife on or near the roads!
  3. Always always ALWAYS have enough water and snacks to get you through at least 3 hours, and take a bathroom break at any place it’s an option because you might not have another option for hours depending on where you are in the park.
  4. Pack lots of layers, hats, and shoes. You really never know what kind of weather you’ll have or if it will be the same all over the park so come prepared! I usually wear pants with a t-shirt, a long sleeve button up over it, then a jacket. I always bring extra sweat shirts or coats, and hats and gloves. Better to be safe than sorry!
  5. Be alert! National Parks are a fun adventure but you literally never know what can happen. Stay alert on the roads and trails.

If I could go back and do this trip over again here’s what I would recommend:

Day 1:

Explore West Yellowstone Entrance Restaurants & Shops

Spend afternoon inside the park seeing the geysers:

  • Grand Prismatic Spring
  • Lower Geyser Basin
  • Upper Geyser Basin
  • Old Faithful (Stop at the Old Faithful Restaurant for a snack or drink)
  • West Thumb Geyser Basin

Stay in Jackson Hole, WY

Day 2:

  • Mammoth Hot Springs hike up the boardwalks. (Expect at least an hour).
  • Lunch at Mammoth Dining Room or Roosevelt Lodge
  • Tower Fall Hike and see Yellowstone River
  • Stop at Tower General Store for a break
  • Stop at Yellowstone Lake Hotel to enjoy the Lake

Obviously there are so many things to do and see in Yellowstone but these to me are the highlights! If you don’t mind a far drive for lodging Big Sky, MT is a very cute mountain town and Teton Springs Lodge is also nice!

If I went back I would also take time to explore Grand Teton National Park and Jackson Hole!

You can see more of this trip on Instagram @amybrittonphotography

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

The Photos

Emotional, yet Enchanting.
Intentional, yet Carefree.

Why You're Here

see more

Download the guide that will have you getting all the goosebumps as you dream up your elopement plans!

Unconventional Ideas for Your Elopement

Free, Fabulous Guide

©2022 Amy Britton Photography  |  Based in Orlando, Florida. Available for travel  |  brand and website by with grace and gold | Copywriting by salted pages

A photographer for hopeless hopeful romantics.
Focusing on the details & fun so you can soak it all up.