The Perfect 2 Days in Yellowstone Road Trip Itinerary

Seemingly endless opportunities for adventure wait for you on this Yellowstone National Park itinerary.

With 3,500 square miles of wilderness terrain, over 10,000 hydrothermal features, more than 500 active geysers, and approximately 1,000 miles of exciting hiking trails, it’s hard to know where to start in this giant outdoor playground.

Where do I go first? What Yellowstone attractions do I absolutely need to see?

There’s no need to feel overwhelmed by the massive selection of recreation and site seeing options in America’s first national park because we have put together the ultimate 2 days in Yellowstone road trip itinerary.

You’ll get to make the most of your visit with famous attractions, insider tips (this itinerary was written by a Big Sky, MT local who lives less than an hour from the park!), hidden gems, and a thoughtfully designed driving route!

Have your camera, binoculars, and park map handy while tackling this Yellowstone itinerary! 

We have a lot of exploring to do to tackle one of the USA’s most bucket list-worthy destinations in such a short amount of time.

Photo of the waterfall at Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone (Lower Falls) surrounded by canyon and trees
PLANNING FOR YELLOWSTONE AT A GLANCE: 

When to Go: While Yellowstone is beautiful in winter, all its main roads close off to passenger cars which means that you won't be able to go on a self-drive. So the best time to visit Yellowstone National Park is in late spring, summer, and early fall.

Where to Stay: There are so many places to stay in Yellowstone both inside and outside the park but those inside can only be book directly at the Yellowstone National Park Lodges website!

However, if you don't book early enough and find the accommodations inside the park full, you can stay at one of these cabins in West Yellowstone which is next to the park entrance, or The Adventure Inn if you want a luxurious stay and if you're on a budget, Kelly Inn is the best option.

And if you're unable to get accommodation in West Yellowstone, you can opt to stay in Jackson, WY especially if you plan to visit Grand Teton National Park as well. In that case, I recommend The Elk Country Inn for budget travelers, Wyoming Inn (mid-range boutique), and Teton Mountain Lodge and Spa for a luxury stay. And for a homey feel, I suggest staying at this cozy and luxurious cabin.

How to Get Around: A car is key for Yellowstone National Park; there is no shuttle, and without a car, you'd have to rely on tours. If you're renting a car, compare car rentals and prices from here. Alternately, you can rent an RV or campervan via RVShare and save on accommodations.
 
Don't want to drive or plan? You can book this two-day Yellowstone tour from Jackson, or this full-day Yellowstone tour from West Yellowstone. And if you plan to visit both Yellowstone and Grand Teton, then I recommend going for this two-day tour of both Grand Teton & Yellowstone. 

3 Things Not to Forget to Pack: Binoculars are key for spotting wildlife like bears, elk, moose, and bison-- I suggest these Nikon binoculars. For hikes, you'll want a sturdy pair of hiking boots -- I love my Ahnu boots -- and some bear spray for safety reasons. 

Know Before You Go: If you plan to visit multiple national parks in a year, the America the Beautiful Pass will save you a bundle! It costs $80 for an annual pass (for an entire vehicle traveling together) to all US national parks and federally managed sites.  

How This 2 Day Yellowstone Itinerary Works

The Old Faithful geyser at sunset, a plume of steam shooting high into the air as the sun sets behind it, a classic sight on any Yellowstone itinerary.

Yellowstone is one of the largest national parks in America, so of course, there is simply no way you can see all of Yellowstone National Park in 2 days.

Since time is limited, we’ve picked the most essential sights in Yellowstone. I mean, you can’t visit Yellowstone and NOT go to the Grand Prismatic Spring or Old Faithful, right?

But as magical as those spots can be, they can also be rather crowded. With 4 million annual visitors, most of those in the summer months, you’re definitely not alone!

So we’ve also filled in the gaps between those busy-but-beautiful spots with some (relatively) off-the-beaten-path suggestions. 

These will allow you a chance to break away from the crowds a bit and experience the beauty of Yellowstone for yourself, away from masses of selfie sticks!

Of course, “off the beaten path” is relative to a place as well known as Yellowstone National Park! 

But Yellowstone is a park where most people simply drive between overlooks and drive-in spots, so allocating time for some of these short Yellowstone hikes that I’ve outlined is the best way to get away from the crowds.

This is the best way to experience the beauty of the park as it was intended to be experienced, before a time of mass tourism.

This 2 day Yellowstone itinerary is intended to be done by self-drivers, those with their own car or a rental car.

You don’t need any sort of 4×4 or special bells and whistles on your car, though if you are visiting in the early spring or fall, you may need tire chains depending on road conditions (check with the Yellowstone website for up-to-date information).

Be aware that Yellowstone is almost entirely closed to vehicle traffic in winter — more on this below.

Visiting Yellowstone in 2 days actually divides quite neatly due to the structure of the park’s main roads, which form a figure 8.

On the first day, we’ll tackle the lower loop, and on the second day, we’ll tackle the upper loop.

This way, you’ll see the main park highlights and some lesser-known spots without backtracking excessively and wasting precious time of your two days in Yellowstone!

Renting a Car for Yellowstone

A car on the road heading towards snow-covered mountains on a Yellowstone road trip between Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.

If you’re road tripping to Yellowstone from your home state, disregard this section.

If you need to fly in to get to Yellowstone, I suggest flying to Jackson Hole Airport (JAC).

In the peak summer season, 15 destinations fly directly to Jackson Hole, including NYC, Chicago, LA, Denver, Salt Lake City, Dallas, and others.

American Airlines, Delta Airlines, United Airlines fly to Jackson Hole year-round, and seasonally, Alaska and Frontier also service the airport.

At Jackson Hole Airport there are plenty of car rentals available.

Not sure where to get the best deal on your rental? I’ve rented cars dozens of times through various search engines and have settled on RentalCars.com as the best car rental search aggregator – it sifts through dozens of trusted rental companies to find the cheapest price for your rental! Compare prices for your car rental here.

There is also the West Yellowstone Airport, but flying here is usually more expensive and car rentals are often pricier here. I don’t recommend this one if you are on a budget!

Another option is the Bozeman-Yellowstone airport in Montana, though this requires a 1.5-hour drive to the park. That said, you may be able to find cheaper car rentals via Bozeman.

How to Do 2 Days in Yellowstone Without a Car

A bison on the edge of the orange part of Grand Prismatic Spring, the turquoise center of the spring is close by in the upper right corner of the photo.
This bison clearly didn’t read the “keep off” safety signs!

If you don’t have a car, you may be wondering how to tackle this 2 day Yellowstone itinerary. Honestly: it’d be basically impossible to do it without either A) your own car or B) a guided tour.

Unlike other national parks, Yellowstone does not have its own shuttle service, and there are no local buses that serve Yellowstone (just the area around Jackson Hole).

So, if you don’t have a car or don’t want to drive, you’ll definitely need to take a guided tour. I recommend staying in Jackson or West Yellowstone where most tours depart.

From Jackson: I recommend this two-day Yellowstone tour which covers both the Upper and Lower loops.

It’s a bit pricy but you will see all the best things to see in the park without missing out. Alternately, you could do this Lower Loop tour for Day 1, which pretty closely tracks this itinerary, and on Day 2, you could explore the lovely Jackson Hole area which has plenty to see!

Book your two-day Yellowstone tour here!

Another option if you’re staying in Jackson is doubling up on National Parks and visiting two-in-one with this 2-day Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone tour.

The parks are surprisingly close together and it’s quite easy to combine the two into a tour that’s been organized for this purpose. This tour is wildlife-focused so it’s perfect for people who are more interested in wildlife over landscapes.

From West Yellowstone: This full-day Yellowstone tour will cover most of the best things to see in the park in just one day, including most of the Lower Loop such as Old Faithful, Fountain Paint Pots, and Grand Prismatic Spring.

For your second day, you can go on a zipline adventure or rafting trip departing from West Yellowstone.

Best Time of Year to Visit Yellowstone

The waterfall at Tower Falls, a long exposure photo of a waterfall going off of a sheer cliff drop, surrounded by green trees in summer.

This Yellowstone itinerary is really only suitable for late spring, summer, and early fall, when you are able to drive yourself into the park and self-guide. 

This is because once there is significant snowfall, the main roads in Yellowstone all close to passenger vehicles, and the only way to access the park becomes by snowcoach tour (which can get pricy!) or by snowmobile (even pricier, unless you happen to already own your own!).

While Yellowstone in winter is an absolutely incredible experience, and one that I have no qualms recommending, this itinerary for Yellowstone simply will not work in winter because you won’t be able to access the roads needed in order to see the sights in the order suggested.

If you’re planning a winter Yellowstone trip, I suggest you read this post on 30 things to know before visiting Yellowstone in winter, written by the same Montana local who wrote this post!

I would suggest that the best time to visit the park would be in the shoulder season just before or just after summer.

May and September are brilliant months to visit Yellowstone, especially if you don’t have kids (or if you’re homeschooling), since the park definitely fills up with families during the summer vacation months. You’ll find better prices on accommodations as well outside of the peak season.

A nice thing to know about visiting Yellowstone in the summer is that temperatures are never that hot!

Even in July, the hottest month in the park, the average high temperature is 72 degrees F.

It can get quite cold in the evening due to the high elevation (8,000 feet!) though, so you’ll want to come prepared with layers for the evening chill!

Where to Stay in Yellowstone

Old Faithful Lodge near the geyser, a large wooden mountain lodge surrounded by trees, a popular place to stay on a Yellowstone road trip
The Old Faithful Lodge in Yellowstone books up months and months in advance!

There are so many options for where to stay in Yellowstone! I’ll make a few suggestions both inside and outside of the park.

Between May and October, some lodges are open in Yellowstone. You can find the full list here, which is also where you can book the accommodations.

You cannot book these accommodations on other booking portals, only directly. You must book several months in advance… like, we’re talking 6+ months for places like the Old Faithful Inn and the Canyon Lodge!

If you didn’t book your lodge inside Yellowstone on time, or if you’d prefer to stay outside the park, I’d suggest either West Yellowstone, Idaho or Jackson, Wyoming as your base.

West Yellowstone is closer to the park entrance and is better for following this itinerary. It’s where I strongly recommend you stay!

However, Jackson is doable if you are also planning to visit Grand Teton National Park during your stay, and it can be done as long as you get an early start each day of this itinerary.

There are options that are further afield, like Gardiner, Montana, and Cody, Wyoming. However, these will definitely add extra travel time to your trip and may not be worth it for a short 2 days in Yellowstone itinerary.

West Yellowstone, ID Accommodations

CABINS | If you want to stay in a self-contained cabin (great for social distance!), Explorer Cabins at Yellowstone is ideal.

The grounds are made up of 50 cabins which have plenty of space between them, and each unit is self-contained so there are no communal areas except for the fire pit (where you can toast your welcome s’mores!).

Plus, they’re dog-friendly, and just a few minutes from the West entrance to the park!
>> Check photos and reviews on Booking.com | Book on Hotels.com

VRBO | For a homey feel, I suggest this stylish and luxurious loft.

The cabin is perfectly located near Henry’s Lake and stylishly designed for your comfort. It is fully equipped with all the appliances you might need. It might be a little pricy but the comfort and serenity it provides will make up for that.
>> Check photos and reviews on Vrbo

BOUTIQUE | For design lovers who want a hint of luxury, I suggest the hip The Adventure Inn.

This stylish spot has a minimalist style, with a Scandinavian sensibility mashed up against a woodsy edge. It’s like a Brooklyn loft and a mountain cabin had a baby: it’s beautiful. 
>> Check photos and reviews on Booking.com | Book it on Hotels.com

BUDGET | If money is a concern but you want a place that’s comfortable, clean, and convenient, it doesn’t get much better than Kelly Inn.

This cozy, rustic hotel has perks like an indoor pool, sauna, and hot tub while not breaking the bank. However, the rooms are a little dated, but for the price, it’s perfect.
>> Check photos and reviews on Booking.com | Book it on Hotels.com

Jackson, WY Accommodations

BOUTIQUE | If the design and the personality of a hotel is important to you, I suggest Wyoming Inn.

This cozy inn features Western-style decor complete with a roaring fireplace, warm woodsy colors, rustic design touches, and large, modern rooms. 
>> Check photos and reviews on Booking.com | Book it on Hotels.com

BUDGET | If you’re traveling Yellowstone on a budget and want to stay in Jackson, I’d pick The Elk Country Inn.

It’s highly rated by fellow travelers and affordable (well, by Jackson standards). It’s located just 4 blocks from Town Square in central Jackson, and the rooms are modern, spacious, and clean.
>> Check photos and reviews on Booking.com | Book it on Hotels.com

LUXURY |  If cost is not a factor, the stunning Teton Mountain Lodge and Spa (a Noble House Resort) is a no-brainer.

Located in Teton Village, the rooms all have their own fireplace and cooking area, and there are rooms ranging from queen studios to two-level, two-bedroom suites.

There are indoor and outdoor pools and hot tubs (all heated year-round) and a massage and spa center for those who want a little luxury on their Yellowstone trip.
>> Check photos and reviews on Booking.com | Book it on Hotels.com

Your Perfect 2 Day Yellowstone National Park Itinerary

Day 1 of Your Yellowstone Itinerary

Sign that reads "Welcome to Montana, entering West Yellowstone".

Rise and shine! After spending a restful night in the gateway town of West Yellowstone, you’re conveniently located right near Yellowstone National Park’s West Entrance.

There’s no time to waste because your first day is going to take you on an exciting tour of the Yellowstone Lower Loop.

What’s the Lower Loop? Take a quick look at your map. Notice how Yellowstone National Park’s road system is shaped like a figure 8, which is broken into three loops, as follows:

Upper Loop: the northern circle of the figure 8

Lower Loop: the southern circle of the figure 8

Grand Loop: the outside perimeter of the figure 8

Now that you have a better idea of where Day 1 is taking you, we’re ready to get into the fun stuff — the heart of this Yellowstone itinerary!

Start at the West Entrance.

Sign that reads "Yellowstone National Park National Park Service", made of wood, surrounded by trees.

Welcome to Yellowstone! Excited?

This first section from the West Entrance to the Madison Junction is famous for phenomenal fly fishing.

The Madison River hugs the road providing the perfect view to spot anglers and the occasional moose wading the waters.

As you approach the Madison Junction, look to your right for a view of National Park Mountain standing 7,500 feet tall with the junction of the Firehole River and Gibbon River in the foreground.

We’re headed south at the junction to work the Lower Loop counterclockwise.

Firehole Canyon Drive

View of a rushing river, with rocks in the river bed, surrounded by mountains and trees.

Trust us… You do not want to miss the scenic Firehole Canyon Drive. The turn comes up pretty fast on the right, so be ready!

On this 2-mile detour, you’ll get an up-close look at the 40 ft tall Firehole Falls. We have a little bit more driving to do before the first hike of this Yellowstone road trip, but it’s coming!

For now, take a pullout and scope the hillsides with your binoculars. You’re bound to spot some wildlife in the Firehole River Valley.

Fountain Paint Pots

A geyser in Yellowstone, orangeish deposits on one side of it with a deep blue spring in the middle.

Yellowstone National Park is famous for its colorful hydrothermal pools and you’re going to witness them first hand.

The 0.6-mile loop at the Fountain Paint Pots will bring you past a variety of colorful pools. Don’t forget your camera!

Grand Prismatic Spring

The brilliant colors of Grand Prismatic Spring: purplish-brown, orange and yellow on the rim and deep turquoise in the middle, with a tree-covered mountain behind it.

The next hot spring is surely one you have seen before in photographs, but there’s nothing quite like standing in front of the real thing with its beautiful rainbow of colors.

There’s no way you can skip putting this on your Yellowstone National Park itinerary — it’s probably why you came in the first place!

It’s located in the Midway Geyser Basin, which also includes the Excelsior Geyser, the Turquoise Pool, and the Opal Pool. 

Note: Always stay on the boardwalk or designated hiking trail – it’s illegal and extremely dangerous to walk off the path here!

If you’re visiting Yellowstone with kids, be sure to be extra cautious here!

View of Grand Prismatic Spring and its orange and blue colors from afar, with a treeline in front of the view.

Most visitors stay on the lower boardwalk loop to see Grand Prismatic Spring, but if you’re looking for the best view available on foot, we know exactly where to go.

Drive to the Fairy Falls Trail parking lot and park your car. From there, head to the Grand Prismatic Spring lookout point, located about 0.6 miles into the Fairy Falls Trail, about a 20-minute walk one way.

From the trailhead, you’ll gain about 105 ft of elevation before ending up at the scenic overlook.

You could continue this hike all the way to Fairy Falls, which is a 5.4-mile roundtrip hike, that takes about 3 hours. 

However, with limited time on this Yellowstone itinerary, I think it’s best to just hike up to the lookout point and back.

Remember: Anytime you’re hiking in bear country, carry bear spray and understand how to use it.

Old Faithful

A geyser of steam bursting a hundred feet into the air, surrounded by a barren landscape, on a partly cloudy day with afternoon light.

Old Faithful is named such for its predictable eruptions which make it easy to schedule a trip around. 

It’s not the largest geyser in the park — that would be Steamboat Geyser, which is the world’s tallest active geyser — but it is the most predictable and thus the most popular to see.

The beautiful Old Faithful geyser is located in the Upper Geyser Basin, a separate part of the basin of Yellowstone than the previous springs on this itinerary.

Just outside the Old Faithful Visitor Center, there are rows of benches set in front of the geyser for a stadium-style viewing.

But… That’s not actually the best place to view the eruption of Old Faithful!

Insider tip: After checking the next eruption time in the visitor center, take the Observation Point – Geyser Hill Trail for a birds-eye view of Old Faithful!

This 2.3-mile loop is well worth the hike and will bring you past some less-trafficked thermal features like Doublet Pool and Giantess Geyser!

West Thumb Geyser Basin

A deep blue and turquoise geyster, with orange and white mineral deposits beside it, next to a deep blue lake.

Take the boardwalk along Yellowstone Lake and check out the geysers that hug its banks.

This is also a perfect spot for a picnic lunch if you didn’t already stop for a bite at Old Faithful!

Hayden Valley wolves and grizzly bears on your must-see Yellowstone wildlife list? This is one of the best places to spot bears, wolves, and many other YNP residents roaming the valley.

Be patient, scan the landscape with your binoculars, and use the pullouts off the main road for thorough searches.

Mud Volcano

Bubbling mud pool in Yellowstone National Park with steam rising off the top at the Dragon's Mouth part of the loop

As you head north towards the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, you can stop off at the Mud Volcano, where you’ll see many incredible volcanic elements in one easy 0.8-mile loop trail. 

Don’t miss the Dragon’s Mouth part of the loop — it’s a brief detour but it’s an incredible sight to see!

You’ll also see Mud Caldron, Sizzling Basin, Churning Caldron, Black Dragons Caldron, Sour Lake, and Grizzy Fumarole as you pass through this short, boardwalk hike.

Grand Canyon of The Yellowstone

A giant waterfall in a massive canyon surrounded by trees and orange-yellow rock canyon.

As you approach the Canyon Village area, turn right onto South Rim Drive towards Artist Point.

This is one of the most iconic viewpoints of the 308 ft tall Lower Falls. You definitely don’t want to miss the view on this short 0.1-mile paved walk!

Want a closer look? Take Uncle Tom’s Trail down to a viewpoint of the Lower Falls. Just remember that there are 328 steps: so easy to take down, so much harder to take back up!

There is also the shorter but still impressive Upper Falls, which are 109 feet but still massively impressive. Stop at the Upper Falls View for great photos.

Gibbon Falls

A waterfall in a river going over the steps of a tiered rock formation, forming a veil shape.

The 84 ft Gibbon Falls is another must-see waterfall. With its convenient location right off the road, there’s no reason not to stop and take a look!

There’s also an easy 0.5-mile roundtrip walk down to the falls if you’d like to get closer.

For a convenient starting point on your second day, we recommend camping at Madison Campground or Norris Campground.

If camping isn’t in the books for this Yellowstone road trip, there are cabins and hotel accommodations in the Canyon Village area near the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Get a good sleep to tackle the next day of this Yellowstone itinerary!

Day 2 of Your Yellowstone Itinerary

Yellowstone River meandering through grassy plains surrounded by trees on a partly cloudy day.

There’s still so much to see, and an early start gives you a better chance for some exciting wildlife sightings!

Today, we are going to visit the best of the Upper Loop.

We’ll start at the Norris Geyser Basin Area and head North towards Mammoth Hot Springs to take the loop clockwise.

Obsidian Cliff

This National Historic Landmark is a neat way to start the day!

The obsidian from these cliffs was first collected by hunters and gatherers over 11,000 years ago and has been traced across the country along historic trade routes. Obsidian was once used to make arrow and spear heads!

Sheepeater Cliff

Gray basalt columns with lots of smaller, broken apart rocks at the base, on a sunny blue sky day with a patch of clouds.

Here’s another interesting geological site that’s worth the stop.

If you’re ready to give your legs a morning stretch, take the fishing trail out of the picnic area. Follow the trail about for about 0.5 miles to get awesome views of the Gardner River and a small falls.

How’s that for a morning stretch?

Mammoth Hot Springs

White and rust-colored calcium deposits form a travertine staircase of a hot spring at Mammoth Hot Springs, a must on your 2 days in Yellowstone.

Park in the Lower Terrace Parking Area and hop onto the intricate boardwalk paths that weave around the many hot springs. 

It’s easy to spend over an hour exploring these intriguing thermal features formed by travertine deposits over the millennia!

This is also a popular area to spot elk! 

Look in the grass below the terraces and around the cone-shaped Liberty Cap, which is one of the area’s most prominent feature standing at 37 ft tall.

Optional: Boiling River

A 7-minute drive from Mammoth Hot Springs, the Boiling River is one of the few hot springs in Yellowstone that you can actually swim in!

There is a designated soaking and swimming area where a hot spring mixes and mingles with the Gardner River, creating a bath-like temperature where you can soak and enjoy the geothermal features of Yellowstone for yourself!

At the time of the last update (6/2/2021), this hot spring is still closed due to the pandemic, but check the NPS website for updates to see if that’s changed!

Blacktail Plateau Drive

Late afternoon light falls onto the landscape on Blacktail Plateau, illuminating a distant mountain and a grassy plain.

After you’ve taken a thorough tour of the Mammoth Hot Springs, head west to continue on the Upper Loop.

This section is famous for wildlife viewings, so keep your eyes peeled. It’s never a bad idea to take the scenic route! Right? Turn onto the Blacktail Plateau Drive and get off the main road for 6 miles.

Petrified Tree

The trunk of a tree which has been petrified, surrounded by trees and blue sky.

Almost immediately after rejoining the main road, the turnoff for the Petrified Tree will be on the right.

Is it a tree or a rock? Worth the very short walk up the trail to get a closer look!

Tower Falls Optional Detour

View of Tower Falls from above, a waterfall plunging into a pool below it, surrounded by rock formations and evergreen trees.

If you’re interested in checking out the 132-foot drop of Tower Falls, it’s only a short detour south at Tower Junction. The rock pinnacles framing the massive falls truly make it a sight to see. The trail to the viewpoint is less than one mile round-trip.

After the falls you will head back to the intersection and turn towards Lamar Valley… Have your binoculars in hand!

Insider tip: The Yellowstone River Picnic Area in the Lamar Valley is a great spot to stop for lunch. It even comes equipped with a quiet scenic trail down to the Yellowstone River.

Lamar Valley

Three bison walking next to a small river, with yellow grass and several mountain peaks behind them.

Lamar Valley is a wildlife lover’s dream. Take your time driving through this section and use pullouts frequently to scan the hillsides with your binoculars or scope.

Bison and antelope sightings are almost a guarantee, but you’ll have to be very observant to spot the resident bear and wolf packs.

For a short hike following your wildlife safari, check out Trout Lake. The trailhead is a small signed pullout on the main road. This lollipop loop trail is only 0.6 miles, and offers beautiful mountain views!

Beartooth Highway

A view of a highway going through some pine trees with a slight bit of fog on some of the distant trees.

As you approach Cooke City after your hike, prepare to say goodbye to Yellowstone National Park as you exit via the scenic Beartooth Highway to head towards the fun mountain town of Red Lodge!

This is where we leave you to discover your next adventure — hopefully you enjoyed this Yellowstone itinerary!

If You Have More Than 2 Days in Yellowstone…

Turquoise and white geyser and geothermal area with a boardwalk trail and pine trees in the distance on a hill

I’d suggest getting off the beaten path (no, not literally — stay on those boardwalks, for your sake and the park’s!) and checking out some of the more sedate areas of the park.

One such area is Porcelain Basin, part of the Norris Geyser Basin area on the West side of the park. There are two loops which will have you see all of the Porcelain Basin area, and the total walking distance for tackling both of the loops is only 1.1 miles. 

Tired of all the driving and want to stretch your legs? Take a hike up Bunsen Peak, a 4.6-mile roundtrip hike that is moderate in difficulty but outstanding in views.

Enjoy views of Mammoth Hot Springs, the Yellowstone River, and other stunning sites from a bird’s eye view on this lesser-visited hike.

What to Pack for 2 Days in Yellowstone

A woman wearing an orange hat and orange rain jacket and a backpack taking cellphone photos at one of the hot springs in Yellowstone by a lake.

I have a full guide to what to pack for a road trip here, but here are the quick packing essentials for a 2-day itinerary for Yellowstone.

Travel Guides: While I’ve given you as much information as I can in this info-packed Yellowstone itinerary, there’s no denying that a dedicated travel guide does it better as they just have so much more time to dedicate to research! Combine our firsthand experience with a travel guide like this Moon Yellowstone & Grand Teton guide for a more epic adventure.

Layered Clothing: Even if you are visiting Yellowstone in summer, due to the high elevation, it can get chilly at night so plan accordingly!

You’ll want at least 2 shirts (synthetic or wool, long and/or short sleeve depending on the season), 2 pairs of leggings or pants, 2 pairs shorts, 1 fleece outer layer, a waterproof jacket, beanie, gloves, and 3 pairs of socks.

Comfortable Footwear: You can go with sneakers or hiking boots (I love my Ahnu Sugarpine boots for women, and for men, I suggest theKEEN Durand boot.) However, if you pick sneakers, make sure they have good traction and are comfortable enough for 2-3 mile hikes.

Sunscreen: At 8,000 feet elevation, it’s so much easier to get sunburned even on a cloudy day (I learned this the hard way in Quito, Ecuador!). Bring and wear sunscreen every day of your trip, and be sure to reapply it every couple of hours. I like this chemical-free organic sunscreen.

Sunhat: I recommend a packable hat like this one which has a strap. It won’t blow off in gusts of wind (Yellowstone can get windy — it’s that high elevation!) and you can easily wear it on your back when you don’t feel like wearing it on your head.

Day pack: A compact day pack is helpful to have when in Yellowstone so you can easily put everything you need accessible and handy. I like this inexpensive and lightweight Osprey day pack.

Snacks: None of these Yellowstone hikes are particularly intense, but you should have some snacks just in case you get hungry and don’t want to waste time on your Yellowstone itinerary sitting down for a long lunch. Pack or pick up a picnic lunch or have plenty of snacks for the day. I recommend protein bars (I love CLIF bars), nuts, or other high-density snacks that give you a lot of energy for their weight.

Camera: I use and love my Sony A6000! It’s mirrorless, so it’s lightweight and perfect for a high-quality camera that won’t weigh your pack down. I suggest bringing a zoom lens for wildlife and a wide-angle lens for landscapes.

First aid kit: Don’t let things like blisters or scrapes ruin your Yellowstone trip! I recommend tossing a first aid kit like this HART Weekend First Aid kit in your day bag. It’s lightweight, but if you ever need it, you’ll be so glad to have it.

Headlamp (and extra batteries): If you want to do any sunrise or sunset hiking, I recommend bringing a headlamp like this Petzl headlamp.

Water filter bottle: While there are water fountains around Yellowstone, I still suggest having a water bottle with a filter so you can fill up anywhere there’s a water source! There are a wide variety of water filtration systems and treatments, but I love the GRAYL Geopress, which allows you to filter water from any source — perfect for filling up on a hike if you see water. It’s compact and easy to use and filters out 99.99% of microplastics, viruses, bacteria, and particles.


Don’t forget travel insurance!
Travel insurance coverage helps you recoup your losses in case of emergency, accident, illness, or theft. I’ve relied on World Nomads for my travel insurance coverage for four years with no complaints, and I’m a happy paying customer. I recommend them highly to fellow travelers!

Get your free quote here.

The Perfect 2 Days in Grand Teton Itinerary: Road Trip Style

The Teton Range stands tall over Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.

Their recognizable formation is alluring to mountaineers, photographers, hikers, and road trippers alike.

We will be traveling across the park from south to north with stops at all of the best attractions! 

Grab your camera, binoculars, and hiking gear, and get ready for an adventure you’ll never forget – a memorable Grand Teton National Park road trip.

view of a marina with all the boats out on the lake with lots of mountains in the distance
PLANNING FOR GRAND TETON AT A GLANCE:

When to Go: While winter in Grand Teton is beautiful, summer is when Grand Teton shines the most. It's also when it's at its most crowded, so get an early start, especially if you are following this itinerary which uses the Moose entrance (the most convenient, but also the most crowded!).

Where to Stay: There are so many places to stay in Jackson Hole area! I stayed at the Gros Ventre Campground right outside the Elk Refuge and Mormon Row and loved it. 

There are a few lodges in the park (Colter Bay Cabins, Jackson Lake Lodge, Jenny Lake Lodge) but they book up quickly, often 6 months in advance.

If the lodges are all booked up, there is usually plenty of availability in Jackson and Teton Village. I suggest Wyoming Inn (mid-range boutique), the Elk Country Inn (budget/mid-range), or the Teton Mountain Lodge & Spa (high-end luxury).

How to Get Around: A car is key for Grand Teton National Park; there is no shuttle, and without a car, you'd have to rely on tours. If you're renting a car, compare car rentals and prices from here. Alternately, you can rent an RV or campervan via RVShare and save on accommodations

Don't want to drive or plan? You can book a wildlife tour of Grand Teton, a Jeep tour with boat ride, or a two-day tour of both Grand Teton & Yellowstone.

3 Things Not to Forget to Pack: Binoculars are key for spotting wildlife like bears, elk, moose, and bison-- I suggest these Nikon binoculars. For hikes, you'll want a sturdy pair of hiking boots -- I love my Ahnu boots -- and some bear spray for safety reasons.

Know Before You Go: If you plan to visit multiple national parks in a year, the America the Beautiful Pass will save you a bundle! It costs $80 for an annual pass (for an entire vehicle traveling together) to all US national parks and federally managed site.  

How This Grand Teton Itinerary Works

The snow-covered Teton Range is reflecting in a pond or river in the afternoon sunlight, surrounded by grass and trees.

This is a self-guided itinerary that assumes you’ll have access to your own car throughout the duration of your time in Grand Teton. 

Road tripping Grand Teton is definitely the best way to experience the park at your own pace and maximize your time.

If you don’t have a car, there is a free shuttle available. It connects Jackson, the Jackson Lake Lodge, Colter Bay Village, and the South Jenny Lake Visitor Center. 

However, besides these stops, there is no shuttle service within the park. As a result, it’d be pretty hard to follow this itinerary, which is designed to be a Grand Teton road trip itinerary.

This itinerary for Grand Teton is best suited for people who want to see the best of Grand Teton National Park’s main highlights, while also having time to hike and experience the beautiful wilderness of the region.

 It affords opportunities for appreciating the area’s wildlife while also seeing the natural wonders and highlights of the park.

However, since this itinerary just allows for 2 days in Grand Teton National Park, it’s not going to be possible to see everything.

We’ve had to make a few omissions in order to have an itinerary that is reasonable, not stressful!

This Grand Teton itinerary will work best if you are staying in the park itself or in the nearby town of Jackson, WY or Teton Village, WY. 

These destinations together (along with Hoback, Kelly, Moose, Moran Junction, and Wilson) make up the region of Jackson Hole, but Jackson and Teton Village have the most accommodation options.

Renting a Car for Grand Teton

An empty road leading towards the distinctive peaks of the Teton Range near Grand Teton National Park on a cloudless summer day.

If you are driving to Wyoming in your own personal vehicle, you can disregard this section!

If you are flying into Grand Teton, you’ll want to pick the Jackson Hole Airport (JAC). 

This offers the easiest access to the park by a long shot. If you are also visiting Yellowstone first, you may want to look into flying into West Yellowstone or Bozeman-Yellowstone Airport.

In the peak season (summer), there are 15 destinations that service Jackson Hole directly, including but not limited to Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, Denver, Salt Lake City, Dallas-Fort Worth, and more. 

American, Delta, United, Alaska, and Frontier all service the airport, though Alaska and Frontier are only seasonal.

Therefore, I suggest renting a car from the Jackson Hole Airport.

Not sure where to get the best deal on your rental? I’ve rented cars dozens of times through various search engines and have settled on RentalCars.com as the best car rental search aggregator – it sifts through dozens of trusted rental companies to find the cheapest price for your rental! Compare prices for your car rental here.

How to Do 2 Days in Grand Teton Without a Car

The pale turquoise water of Jenny Lake, surrounded by evergreen trees and steep mountain peaks in the Tetons, on a sunny day visiting Grand Teton National Park in summer.

Honestly — it would be very tough! 

While there is a shuttle between Jackson and 3 key park stops, it’s not nearly enough to be able to handle this Grand Teton itinerary.

If you were to try to tackle this without a car, you’d end up fairly limited. 

You could spend one day at Jenny Lake and hiking to Inspiration Point and the next day visiting Colter Bay Village and the area around Jackson Lake, including Christian Pond Loop.

However, you’d miss all the wonderful scenic overlooks in between, as well as the National Elk Refuge which is a true highlight of the park (well, technically just outside the park).

If you can’t drive but you want to maximize what you can see inside Grand Teton in 2 days, the best option would be to go with a guided tour. 

I’d recommend this full-day tour which includes stops at Antelope Flats, Mormon Row, Oxbow Bend, Pacific Creek, Jackson Lake, Signal Lake, and Jenny Lake, as well as a light breakfast and hearty picnic lunch.

Book your full-day tour of Grand Teton here!

The following day, you’ll still have plenty of opportunities to enjoy the landscapes around Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons.

You could enjoy all the fun things to do in the town of Jackson, enjoy a scenic flight over the Grand Tetons or even a sunrise hot air balloon ride, or take a day trip to Yellowstone’s Lower Loop to see all the highlights of Yellowstone National Park in a single day!

Best Time of Year to Visit Grand Teton National Park

Mt. Moran at Oxbow Bend in Grand Teton National Park, reflected in the river which is surrounded by orange foliage in the autumn.

The peak hiking season in Grand Teton is quite short, mostly consisting of late spring, summer, and early fall. 

If you are going to Grand Teton and hoping to hike without significant snow on the ground, you’re best off if you wait until at least late June, and better yet going in July or August. However, note that crowds at that time will be at their peak then!

September is a delightful month to visit Grand Teton National Park: the crowds are far fewer, due to school resuming and families disappearing from the park, and the temperatures are still warm in the day but there’s little risk of snow disrupting your plans.

The fall foliage is brilliant in September, generally from the middle of the month towards the end, and October usually has beautiful leaves as well, though the weather becomes colder and more unpredictable towards the end of the. month. 

However, the fall foliage season does shift year to year, so this is not a guarantee, but end of September / beginning of October is generally the “safest” window for beautiful fall foliage.

However, winter in Grand Teton is not a no-go! The park is absolutely beautiful in the wintertime, with lots of great winter activities and landscapes to enjoy. You simply have to be prepared and know what to expect in terms of closures and access. 

I have a guide to 30 things to know about visiting Grand Teton in winter that will help you plan a trip in the winter season.

Plus, unlike Yellowstone in winter which almost entirely shuts down to passenger vehicles and requiring the pricy booking of snow coaches and snowmobiles, much of Grand Teton National Park is still able to be visited in the winter independently, making it a great choice for the winter season.

Spring in Grand Teton is beautiful, with alpine wildflowers replacing the snow as its melts. 

However, you can expect snow on the hiking trails until at least the end of May, making hiking more treacherous unless you are experienced and equipped for hiking in the snow.

What to Pack for Grand Teton National Park

A female hiker looking at a valley in Grand Teton National Park, well-prepared with a backpack, hiking poles, and a sunhat on her back.

I have a full road trip packing list here, but here’s the quick rundown.

Travel Guides: I have included so much information in this Grand Teton Itinerary that I believe will be helpful in your trip planning process but sometimes guide books provide more than I can fit in one piece! Combine my personal experiences with this Moon Yellowstone & Grand Teton guide and you’ll be set for an adventure of a lifetime.

Layered Clothing: Even if you are visiting Grand Teton in the summer, due to the high elevation, it can get chilly at night so plan accordingly!

For summer or early fall, you’ll want at least 2 shirts (synthetic or wool, long and/or short sleeve depending on the season), 2 pairs of leggings or pants, 2 pairs of shorts, 1 fleece outer layer, a waterproof jacket, a beanie, gloves, and 3 pairs of socks.

For winter, you’ll skip the short sleeves and shorts and add in thermal layers, a parka, a scarf, waterproof pants, waterproof gloves, and snow boots.

Comfortable Footwear: Visiting the Grand Tetons is all about hiking! A sturdy pair of hiking boots with strong ankle support is really worth the investment. I love my Ahnu Sugarpine boots for women, and for men, I suggest the KEEN Durand boot.)

However, if you pick sneakers, make sure they have good traction and are comfortable enough for several 2-4 mile hikes over the course of this Grand Teton itinerary. Be sure your choice of footwear is waterproof if visiting any time there might be snow on the ground.

Sunscreen: At 6,500+ feet elevation for much of the park (such as Jenny Lake, Taggart Lake, etc. — you’ll go higher on any mountain hikes!), it’s easy to get sunburned, even if the weather seems cloudy. Trust me — I’ve learned this the hard way. Wear sunscreen every day, and ensure that you reapply it every few hours. I suggest this chemical-free organic sunscreen –especially if you plan on swimming, you don’t want to be polluting the pristine lakes with chemical-filled sunscreen!

Sunhat: I recommend a lightweight but packable hat that has a strap, so that you can ensure it won’t get blown off, never to be seen again, by a gust of wind. It’s also handy because you can just wear it on your back when you don’t feel like having it on your head (or for Instagram pics — no judgment).

Day pack: A lovely lightweight day pack is essential to have when in Grand Teton so you can easily put everything you need for a day out hiking in a place that is both easily accessible yet unobtrusive for active days out. I like this inexpensive and lightweight Osprey day pack, which has mesh panels on the back to allow for airflow (goodbye, sweaty backs!).

Snacks: None of these Grand Teton hikes are that strenuous, but I strongly recommend you always have some snacks on you when you hike, just in case you get hungry. You also may not want to waste time on your Grand Teton itinerary waiting for a sit-down lunch or heading to Moose or Jackson for a meal.

I suggest you make or pick up a picnic lunch on your way into the park, or have plenty of snacks for the day. I suggest things like protein bars (I love CLIF bars), nuts, or other high-density snacks that give you a lot of caloric energy for their weight!

Camera: I absolutely love my Sony A6000! It’s a mirrorless camera, not a D-SLR, so it’s lightweight and perfect for a high-quality camera that won’t weigh your daypack down like a larger camera will. That’s just the body: I also suggest bringing a zoom lens for wildlife and a wide-angle lens for landscapes, as the kit lens is OK, but nothing to write home about.

First aid kit: Don’t let a little thing like blisters ruin your Grand Teton trip! I recommend always keeping a first aid kit like this HART Weekend First Aid kit in your daypack. It’s lightweight and unobtrusive, but if you ever need it, you’ll be glad to have it.

Headlamp (and extra batteries): If you want to do any sunrise or sunset hiking, I recommend bringing a headlamp like this Petzl headlamp.

Water filter bottle: While there are water fountains around Grand Teton, I still suggest having a water bottle with a filter so you can fill up anywhere there’s a water source — like all the beautiful alpine lakes around you!

There are a wide variety of water filtration systems, but I personally have and love the GRAYL Geopress, which allows you to filter water from any source. It’s perfect for filling up on a hike if you see water anywhere on the trail. It’s compact and easy to use and filters out 99.99% of microplastics, viruses, bacteria, and other nasty particles, making water instantly safe to drink without plastic waste.

Where to Stay in Grand Teton

A two-story cabin overlooking a lake in Grand Teton National Park, surrounded by mountains and trees, with a few boats out on the lake on a sunny day.

There are lots of options for where to stay when visiting Grand Teton on a road trip! If you’re visiting in the summer, you can stay in the park… but you’ll need to book way in advance!

For where to stay in the park itself, I recommend Jenny Lake Lodge. It has a beautiful location and they have cute rustic cottages, each with its own entrance, as well as an on-site bar and restaurant serving delicious meals, including a 5-course dinner every night.
>> Book your stay at Jenny Lake Lodge on Booking.com | Book it on Hotels.com

However, for most people, unless you plan extremely far ahead in advance, lodging within the park isn’t that feasible. If you find yourself booked out of park lodging, I suggest staying in Jackson, WY or Teton Village, WY.

It’s just a short drive and there’s so much to do in Jackson any time of year (especially in winter!) that it’s worth the extra drive time… especially since the road between Jackson and the Moose entrance of the park is one of the prettiest in the United States!

Jackson Hole Accommodations

BOUTIQUE | If you love a hotel with design that’s packed with a punch of personality, I’d stay at the Wyoming Inn. This charming hotel is super cozy and rustic, with Western-inspired decoration on the interior: we’re taking roaring fireplaces, woodsy colors with lots of natural light, rustic touches and design elements, and large, renovated rooms.
>> Check photos and reviews on Booking.com | Book it on Hotels.com

BUDGET | While Jackson isn’t the biggest budget destination, if you’re trying to save a few bucks on accommodations without sacrificing comfort, I’d suggest The Elk Country Inn. It’s very highly reviewed and offers modern, clean rooms with plenty of space, just 4 blocks from the Town Square in Jackson.
>> Check photos and reviews on Booking.com | Book it on Hotels.com

LUXURY |  While not technically in Jackson but rather in Teton Village, the beautiful  Teton Mountain Lodge and Spa is an absolute stunner. The rooms each have their own fireplace, kitchen, and seating area, and the property has both indoor and outdoor heated pools and hot tubs, as well as a world-class massage and spa center perfect for some well-deserved R&R.
>> Check photos and reviews on Booking.com | Book it on Hotels.com

CABIN | The incredible views you get on the Grand Teton are why you should sleep at this beautiful cabin.

With large windows and a rustic but modern interior, you’re guaranteed an amazing stay at this place while taking in beautiful mountains views from every room. The cabin has a large kitchen, sitting area, a dining area, and a number of bedrooms to accommodate even big groups. The best part is that it’s near Teton River and Big Hole Mountains so you’ll never run out of outdoor activities to do.
>> Check photos and reviews on Vrbo

Your Grand Teton Itinerary

Day 1 of Your Grand Teton Road Trip

This Grand Teton National Park road trip departs from Jackson, Wyoming.

A popular ski town in the winter, Jackson becomes the ultimate gateway town to the Tetons for summer road trips and recreation.

National Elk Refuge

Focus on two elk interlocking horns, several other elk in the background with a tiny bit of snow on the ground on a summery day.

As you make your way north toward the Moose Entrance, the National Elk Refuge hugs the road to the right.

This area is home to one of the largest elk herds ever recorded! There is no fee to enter the refuge if you’re interested in getting a closer look.

Stop and take some photos of these gorgeous elks and start to get pumped for the wildlife and scenery that await you once you enter the park proper!

Mormon Row Historic District

The historic barn or homestead along Mormon Row with the Teton Range in the background

One of the first stops in the national park itself is the Mormon Row historic district located in the Gros Ventre section of the park. 

This is likely one of the photos you’ve seen in all the travel guides (including this one!) to promote Grand Teton. 

The view of the historic barns and homesteads from the 1800s, built by Mormon settlers, juxtaposed against the Teton Range are simply unforgettable.

Stop here to walk around and take some photos, but let’s keep it moving: you have a full day itinerary ahead of you!

Moose Junction

View of Moose Junction and the river snaking below it with a sunburst coming out of the trees as the sun sets behind the Teton range.

Welcome to the park! When you arrive at the Moose Junction, clearly marked, turn left onto Teton Park Road.

Soon after turning, you’ll cross over the Snake River, the largest tributary to the Colombia River.

The Moose Visitor Center is located down a road on the left and is a great place to ask questions about the park.

Windy Point Turnout

A grassy, brushy landscape with mountains in the distance and spotty clouds.

As you’ve probably noticed, there are no bad views in Grand Teton National Park!

If you’re eager to get some early morning photos of the mountains, use the Windy Point Turnout soon after the Moose Entrance Station.

From here, you’ll be able to see Grand Teton, Mount Owen, Middle Teton, and Teewinot Mountain in the distance.

Taggart Lake

Very clear lake water, showing rocks and logs at the shallow end of the lake, deepening in color as the water goes out deeper, and mountain peaks behind it.

Time to get the blood flowing with a 3-mile short hike to Taggart Lake. Fair warning, the Taggart Lake Trailhead parking area fills up early in the day. Arriving in the morning will be worth it!

From the Taggart Lake Trailhead, head down the trail until you come to the loop junction. Take a right at the junction to stay on the Taggart Lake Trail. 

A little farther down the trail, you’ll cross a bridge over Taggart Creek. Check out that waterfall!

Not much farther now, Taggart Lake sits at the base of the Teton Range with the mighty peaks standing proudly in the background.

After completing your photo op and taking in some mountain air, continue back the way you came… or add an extra mile to your round-trip by taking Beaver Creek Trail back to the Taggart Creek Trailhead. Both paths lead back to your vehicle and onto the next adventure!

Jenny Lake

Deep blue water reflecting two large mountains, and two pines in front of the lake.

There is so much to do at Jenny Lake! 

If the views weren’t enough for you, there’s also a visitor center, boat shuttles, camping, concessions, and amazing trail access.

All aboard! Park near the Jenny Lake Visitor Center and take the short trail towards the docks to catch the boat. 

The boat shuttle runs every 15 minutes and there is a small fee for riding. Worth every penny! 

Enjoy the ride until you hop off the boat ride on the west side of the lake at the base of the magnificent peaks.

The fun is just getting started. Any waterfall lovers here? From the dock, Hidden Falls is only a 2-mile round trip hike. This easy-to-access falls drops 100 feet!

Close up of a section of a waterfall cascading down rocks with some green trees in the foreground.

If you’re looking to add in some more hiking miles and really want to earn that ice cream waiting for you at the Jenny Lake Store, forgo the return boat shuttle.

Instead, take the loop trail 4 miles along the southern half of the lake for prime wildlife and mountain viewing opportunities! 

If you want to spend more time at Jenny Lake, there’s also the Cascade Canyon area near the West Shore Boat Dock area, which is really beautiful and scenic. 

hike to Inspiration Point is also fairly easy from the West Shore Boat Dock, taking about 1.8 miles roundtrip and gaining about 500 feet.

Back at the parking area, it’s time to refuel and relax by the rocky shore before hitting the road!

String Lake

Perfectly still water acting like a mirror to reflect the evergreen trees and green-covered low mountains at String Lake, a must on a summer Grand Teton itinerary.

Take the One Way South scenic road and don’t forget to stop at the Cathedral Group Turnout for more breathtaking mountain views. 

Not much farther down the road, you’ll want to make a right to head to the String Lake Picnic Area.

Hot summer days and String Lake were meant for each other! 

The picnic area at the crystal clear lake has an inviting sandy beach with plenty of room to set out chairs and towels for an afternoon swim.

If your legs aren’t cooked from the day’s hikes, there is an easy 4-mile loop trail that rounds the lake and offers additional views of the neighboring Leigh Lake. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife as you make your way around the loop.

Day one ends back at the beaches of String Lake. 

Insider Tip: Watch the sunset over the Teton Range from the Jenny Lake Overlook off of the One Way South scenic road, take a peek at the uninterrupted starry night sky and rest up for another exciting day. 

Day 2 of Your Grand Teton Road Trip

Good morning road trippers! Ready to start this adventure-filled day?

The northern half of Grand Teton National Park awaits! Make your coffee to go because this mountain sunrise is going to be epic.

Mountain View Turnout

Alpenglow (the reddish glow at sunrise on mountain peaks) illuminating a peak of the Teton Range with a pastel lavender sky.

Just past the turn to head toward Sting Lake on the Teton Park Road, you’ll find the Mountain View Turnout on the left.

Appropriately named, this viewpoint is a great spot to set up a tripod. Bring some camp chairs, blankets, and that hot coffee we talked about to watch the sunrise over the Teton Range.

Signal Mountain Road

Trees in front of a lake in the distance with a large mountain with a little bit of snow on it far away, on a clear sky day in summer in Grand Teton National Park.

Soon after leaving the Mountain View Turnout, Jackson Lake begins to come into sight.

Sitting at 6,772 feet above sea level,  this massive lake has a surface area of 4,750 acres! 

Take the scenic drive up Signal Mountain Road to get a look at the lake from above via the Jackson Point Overlook. 

Take this road slowly. There’s no rush. The switchbacks become very tight at the top and require conservative speeds to travel safely.

Up for a longer hike? You can get to the Jackson Point Overlook on Signal Mountain on foot. The moderate 7-mile round trip hike is well worth the early morning incline. 

For the sake of time, it may be worthwhile to opt for the scenic drive up to the viewpoint today, but if you’re a quick hiker, you may want to make the hike!

Jackson Lake Dam

A very large cement dam showing rushing water in a long exposure photo rushing underneath the dam, turquoise water coming from the dam, and pine trees on the sides of the dam.

Just after passing over the Jackson Lake Dam, there is a road on the right leading down to a parking area next to the river.

Walk up the steps toward the sidewalk and make your way across the dam for awesome views of the Tetons over Jackson Lake. 

Across the road, there are some paved interpretive trails along the lake that are fun and easy to explore.

The parking lot next to the Snake River at the dam’s outflow is a popular spot to stop and cast a fly!

Christian Pond Loop

Yellowing grass surrounding the pond at Christian Pond with brilliant blue water and rolling hills in the background on a blue sky summer or fall day.

Wildflowers and wildlife wait for you along the Christian Pond Loop Trail! 

This easy 3.5-mile hike departs from the trailhead parking next to the horse corrals at the Jackson Lake Lodge. 

As you approach the pond, be on the lookout for moose and elk grazing as well as trumpeter swans gliding through the shallow water.

The trail leads to the shores of Emma Matilda Lake before looping back toward the trailhead. Take a little detour and hike along the lake’s edge. Another great spot for wildlife viewing! 

When you’ve taken it in all in, head back to the Christian Pond Loop and back to the parking area.

Colter Bay Village

A mountain perfectly reflecting in the still water at Colter Bay, with lots of boats sitting still in the water, anchored.

It’s easy to spend a full day in the Colter Bay Village area, so we have narrowed it down to the best activities!

From the Colter Bay Visitor Center, take a leisurely hike along the Lakeshore Trail. 

This 2-mile nature trail offers amazing views of Mount Moran behind Jackson Lake. The trail will bring you along the lake’s astonishing shore. Don’t forget the camera!

After your short hike, make your way over to the nearby Colter Bay Marina just in time for the Jackson Lake Scenic Lunch Cruise! 

The boat will take you to the shore of Elk Island in the middle of the lake, where you can explore and enjoy a picnic-style lunch. There’s nothing like the panoramic views from this scenic cruise.

Want to guide your own watercraft around the lake? You can also rent canoes and kayaks at the marina and explore the lake shores on your own time! 

Paddling away from the high-use areas around Colter Bay provides great opportunities to catch a glimpse of wildlife along the water.

Lakeview Picnic Area

Boats on Jackson Lake in Grand Teton in summer

Take in one last good view of Jackson Lake at the Lakeview Picnic area on the northern part of the lake. From the picnic area, there is easy access to the lake’s shore for photos.

Those who are feeling extra brave can jump in for an icy swim!

Your exciting two-day Grand Teton itinerary ends on the shore of Jackson Lake.

From here, continue north toward Yellowstone National Park, where we leave you to discover your next adventure!

Have More Time in Grand Teton?

While this itinerary will completely fill 2 days in Grand Teton, if you are tempted to add extra time — and you should be! — there is a number of ways you could spend more time in the park.

If you want to get more hiking in, consider a hike to Surprise Lake and Amphitheater Lake. This is a hard hike, numbering 10 miles roundtrip and 3,000 feet of elevation gain. 

It is spectacular, though, so if you have the prowess for a hike of this difficulty, consider it! If not, I have a post on several other day hikes in Grand Teton that are a little easier.

Tired of hiking but want some outdoor adventure? You could go rafting on the Snake River with one of the many rafting outfitters that operate within the park. 

This 7-mile float down the river is a low-intensity rafting trip with a guide that would make an awesome addition to your Grand Teton itinerary.

Book your rafting excursion here!


Don’t forget travel insurance!
Travel insurance coverage helps you recoup your losses in case of emergency, accident, illness, or theft. I’ve relied on World Nomads for my travel insurance coverage for four years with no complaints, and I’m a happy paying customer. I recommend them highly to fellow travelers!

Get your free quote here.

11 Most Unique Airbnbs in Wyoming

Wyoming is a state known for its intense natural beauty, home to two of the most renowned national parks in the United States: Yellowstone and Grand Teton.

The entire Wyoming area is rich is beauty, though, beyond the area around Jackson Hole which is the center of much of the tourism in the state.

This guide to where to stay in Wyoming includes quirky and beautiful Wyoming Airbnbs all over the state for all budgets.

These Airbnbs in Wyoming range from log cabins made from reclaimed wood to renovated sheepwagons to baller penthouse suites in Jackson Hole. Truly, there is something for every one and every budget in the Cowboy State.

Wyoming Airbnbs in Cody

Rocky Mountain Getaway

Image courtesy of the property

A rustic retreat nestled in the heart of Cody that’s an easy walking distance to downtown yet tucked away in a quiet neighborhood, while the Shoshone River and Paul Stock nature trails are just blocks away,

This home is tastefully decorated to convey an authentic western experience. It features a spacious open living room, leather furniture, and a wood stove for cool evenings. The kitchen is open and fully stocked with all the necessary utensils.

Here, you’ll be able to enjoy your morning coffee in the cheery four seasons sunroom before heading out to explore Cody and Yellowstone.

The home also features two bedrooms and a roomy bathroom with a full-size washe

There is a private, fenced backyard with fire pit, grill, and outdoor furniture that allows you to enjoy the evenings outside

Book this charming Wyoming home!

Almosta Ranch Lodge

Image courtesy of the property

This rustic log cabin lodge is the perfect Wyoming Airbnb for those who want a touch of the rustic Old West.

Spacious enough to comfortably house seven, this 3-bedroom cabin has a good-sized modern kitchen, a separate dining area, and an enormous living area complete with taxidermy, leather couches, antlers, and just an overall Western vibe!

Besides the spacious 2,000+-square-foot lodge with 3 bedrooms, plenty of room for a large family or group of friends, there is a large amount of ranch area to enjoy.

There’s a large pond and a small island with bridge access, as well ranch animals such as Highland cows (the fuzziest and cutest cows in existence) and Hereford cows, as well as chickens and dogs.

There’s also a vintage railcar bridge on the property and a privately-owned covered bridge. While the house itself is beautiful, the impressive grounds of this ranch are the true selling point!

Book this Wyoming Airbnb!

Heart Mountain Japanese Cabin

Image courtesy of the owner

This beautifully designed cabin in Powell, just outside of Cody, combines a classic Western location with Eastern-inspired architecture, particularly Japanese elements.

The door to the bedroom is classically Japanese, recalling a tea house with a red-gridded sliding screen door, whereas the bed is a simple, comfortable bed a step above a tatami mat but still reminiscent of the same simplicity of a traditional Japanese ryokan (rural Japanese guesthouse).

The Japanese also love their ritual bath (onsen) so you will find a full bath with an elliptical bathtub as well as a two-person shower inside the cabin, as well as a cedar-lined dry sauna room.

The Japanese cabin is located on the Big Quiet Farm Stays property, a 400-acre organic farm with plenty of space for hiking and taking in the views of the Big Horn Basin. While you could easily enjoy the solitude of the Japanese cabin as much as you like, there is also a communal firepit where you can meet others staying on the farm property.

There’s also a horseshoe pit, plenty of hiking and mountain biking trails, as well as the ability to tour the farm — one of Wyoming’s only organic farms!

Book this unique Wyoming home

The Molesworth House

Image courtesy of the property

This charming vintage-decorated house dates back to 1937. It’s kept its retro charms inspired by cowboy, Native American, and Western design elements, all while remaining modern and up-to-date.

The wooden walls make everything feel warm, cabin-y, and oh-so-cozy. There’s a great living room area to enjoy a fire around while sitting in on a cozy leather sofa or a rocking chair, as well as a full kitchen and spacious dining area.

Despite the vintage style, expect modern amenities like WiFi, A/C, and televisions in the main bedrooms.

With five bedrooms, this is a great place to stay with a group of friends, or perhaps multiple families traveling together, as everyone gets their own space.

The outdoor area is quite spacious and encompasses a covered outdoor kitchen, a farmhouse dining table that seats ten, 2 BBQ grills, a fire pit, a covered porch with patio seating, and a private yard.

Book this Wyoming home!

Past guests say:

“Host was very accommodating! The Molesworth House is a well-loved place!!

Yurt Next to Clarks Fork of Yellowstone River

Image courtesy of the property

Have you ever wanted to stay in a yurt? It’s one of my favorite types of unique accommodation!

There’s something about the round environment that makes it far more spacious-feeling than it is in terms of square footage, and this yurt in Cody is extremely charming and well-designed for the perfect Wyoming glamping experience.

Because of the yurt’s construction and lack of heating, it’s not available in the winter months, so look for this Airbnb from May through August.

The interior is really charming, with exposed cross-hatching showing the yurt’s construction, and furniture and rugs that complement the colors of the yurt.

The kitchen is small but well-appointed, perfect for making some meals which the group can enjoy together around the five-person dining table.

There are 3 beds sleeping a total of five people, so it’s great for a family of 5 or a group of five friends that don’t mind bunking up in a few of the beds.

However, do note that because it’s a yurt, there’s no bathroom inside the yurt itself, but rather an outhouse extremely close by. It’s fit with an Incinolet toilet and an outdoor shower (which is private and closed off).

If an outhouse icks you out, this isn’t the Airbnb for you! But if it sounds like the beginning of a fun adventure, you won’t regret staying in this charming Cody Airbnb.

Book this Wyoming home!

Past guests say:

“We loved our stay here! What a fun adventure in a very cool and unique property! JK was wonderful about meeting us, an arrival tour, answering questions… and the breakfast, YUM! We really enjoyed everything about the Yurt… including the tree climbing, fire pit, shower, and the toilet/incinolet, ha! They were crowd favorites for my crew! Plenty of room inside to sleep 5 comfortably. It was a little further from Yellowstone than we would have liked, but the local hikes and waterfalls made up for it. Plus on our way out we took the scenic Beartooth Highway, a must! The drive included rise to nearly 11,000 ft elevation – beautiful!”

Wyoming Airbnbs in Jackson Hole

Baitshop Cabin

Image courtesy of the property

The Baitshop Cabin is the perfect Airbnb in Jackson: not too basic, not too luxe. The house strikes the perfect balance between rustic and modern with its vintage-feeling furniture and coordinated color palette.

On top of being spacious, the living room area features a fireplace, and the extra bathrooms are a much-needed bonus considering the house’s six-guest capacity. The price is a bit high, but split between a large party, it can be more than reasonable.

Image courtesy of the property.

Boasting large windows and sliding doors that connect to the deck, the Baitshop Cabin is sure to be bright and lively throughout the day. Speaking of the deck, this is a great place to sit back and enjoy the view of Snow King and the surrounding neighborhood.

Skiers will especially appreciate this resort, thanks to how close it is to Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and Grand Targhee Resort.

If that’s not your scene, worry not – you’ll be within walking distance of Jackson’s Town Square, giving you plenty of places to shop, dine, and wine, as well as an easy drive from Grand Teton National Park or even Yellowstone National Park just a bit further away.

Book this Jackson home here!

Past guests say:

“The cabin was very nice! It had a view of a mountain in the background. It had the perfect location to go anywhere. Everything you needed was provided! Great stay!!”

Pearl at Jackson

Image courtesy of the property

This incredible house puts the extra in extravagant with its stunning design that’ll keep you coming back to this Airbnb in Jackson year after year!

The main living area features stylish furniture with just a hint of vintage – it comes equipped with a fireplace, designer chairs, a guitar, and plenty of windows that keep the place bright and add to the amazing atmosphere.

Image courtesy of the property

While some Airbnbs in Jackson may boast two bathrooms, The Pearl has two full-blown baths, and you can see Jackson and the surrounding mountains in the best light from the third-floor deck.

What’s more, you’ll have access to a fitness area, spa, and an on-site restaurant. Then there’s the outdoor hot tub – completely private and with stunning views of Snow King Ski Resort.

Book this Jackson home!

Past guests say:

“Wonderful location beautiful views!”

Adobe at Moosehead Cabin

Image courtesy of the property
  • 8 guests
  • 2 bedrooms (5 beds, some are sofa beds)
  • Prices from $930/night
  • Check the listing on Booking as well as on VRBO for details

This beautiful log cabin with Western inspiration located in Jackson Hole is the perfect escape, winter or summer.

The crown jewel of this beautiful luxury cabin is its great room: combining the living room, dining area, and kitchen into one open-flow room that’s insanely spacious and inviting, centered around a grand fireplace.

The windows are huge, streaming in natural light into the main level of the house. The lower level contains the home’s two bedrooms, with gorgeous mountain views. The master room includes an en-suite bath with a deep soaking tub with separate shower. The second room contains either two twin beds or it can be converted into a king bed upon request of the property. This room also has a private bathroom, with his-and-hers sinks and a shower and a tub.

The outdoor spots are plentiful as well. There’s a stone terrace on the lower level for enjoying a cup of coffee with a mountain view, whereas the upper wooden deck has a gas grill, hot tub, and picnic table.

Book this Wyoming place on Booking or on VRBO!

Past guests say:

“My wife and I rented moose head lodge for our 10th anniversary. We loved the cabin and the decor. A perfect Wyoming getaway. The cabin and mountain view was surpassed only by the moose we saw just outside the cabin window. one morning! Awesome stay.”

Wyoming Airbnbs in Buffalo

U2 Horse Glamping

Image courtesy of the property

This lovely 20-are property is located on Rock Creek, where they run a fishing camp in the summer months. The property is home to one yurt, built on a platform right in front of the pasture where horses graze.

So if you want to wake up to views of horses grazing right outside your glamping tent windows, this is exactly the place!

This glamping tent is 14 by 16 and fits a large queen bed with a memory foam mattress, as well as two side tables, interior lights, and a patio space.

Note that the glamping tent does not have a private toilet, but there is a camp toilet as well as a sun shower (outdoors but private) available.

Families will love the smaller tipi-style tent space with cots and pads, where up to 3 kids can play, relax, and even sleep away from their parents if the parents want the glamping tent to themselves.

There’s also a charcoal grill on-site for grilling and plenty of space to enjoy an outdoor meal in the summer.

Book this Wyoming glamping tent on Hipcamp!

Wyoming Airbnbs in Casper

Geodesic Dome Cabin

Image courtesy of the property

Have you ever wanted to stay in a geodesic dome house? Well, in this gorgeous mountainside Wyoming Airbnb, you can do just that!

This geodesic dome house is the perfect winter escape, located right on groomed snowmobile trails which you can access by snowmobile, snowshoe, or cross-country skis.

In the winter, you’ll need to trek in the 1.6 miles on a snowmobile (or skis or snowshoes!). In summer, though, it’s an easy road to drive in as long as your car has decent clearance.

This beautiful dome cabin is located on 2 acres of mountainous land, and the Airbnb includes a main floor, a lofted room, and a deck. There’s a full kitchen, cplete with oven, stove, microwave, and coffee pot, as well as a dining area for enjoying meals as a group.

The loft can hold up to two air mattresses (sleeping 4 people), whereas the main floor has a queen sleeper sofa. Use your discretion as to whether a loft is suitable for children.

While there is electricity and running water, due to the remoteness of the location, the water isn’t potable, so be sure to bring your own water for drinking and cooking.

Book this cool Wyoming Airbnb here!

Past guests say:

“A great place set in a very primitive setting. The Dome comes with some nice amenities making for a perfect place to relax or explore.”

“We wanted to immerse ourselves in the mountains and the dome exceeded our expectations. If you are traveling in winter, it is worth every penny to rent the ATV. Expect to have a beautiful sunrise in a cozy dome when you stay here. Hosts are very helpful!”

Wyoming Airbnbs in Saratoga

Encampment Forest Ranger Cabin

Image courtesy of Airbnb
Image courtesy of the property

Staying in Encampment? Trust me, you’ll love it!

If you can forgive the awful pun, I’ll show you why this is one of the most unique homes in Wyoming worth staying in!

Yes, it’s rustic, and yes, that’s kind of the point! The key of staying in a property like this it to get away from it all and reconnect with nature.

Just under 11 miles from the quaint town of Encampment. This warm and welcoming 1-bed, 1-bath log cabin boasts a rustic interior with a kitchenette, vaulted ceilings, natural sunlight, and plenty of charm.

You’ll be able to relax on the deck, and fire up the grill for a sunset dinner while enjoying the peaceful, natural open space all around you.

Designed with fly fishers in mind, this single-story cabin offers all the mountain essentials, plenty of jaw-dropping views to immerse yourself in Wyoming!

There’s also a well-equipped kitchen featuring cookware, cooking basics, knife set, drip coffee maker, mini-fridge. For your winter comfort, there’s also central heating available

If you’re a fishing enthusiast, remember that Encampment River is 10 miles away, North Platte River, 11 and Water Valley Fish and Recreation Pond, 19.9 miles. In Encampment you can visit Grand Encampment Museum, Saratoga (28.2 miles), and Saratoga Hobo Hot Springs.

Book this unique Wyoming home!

Past guests say:

“The cabin was just what I had hoped it would be. I loved the fact it was very isolated and rustic. The conveniences in the cabin were fine and appropriate for the setting. Would not hesitate to recommend for a tranquil stay.”

Pin These Wyoming Airbnbs!

10 Best Jackson Hole Airbnbs Near Grand Teton National Park

There are so many great places to stay in Jackson Hole at any time of year, for easy access to Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park, and so much more of wild Wyoming.

Jackson Hole is not a town so much as a region, which includes Jackson, WY as well as Teton Village, Wilson, Moran Junction, Moose, and other smaller villages and towns.

Jackson, WY is the largest city in Jackson Hole and the majority of these Jackson Hole Airbnbs are located here.

The lovely Jackson Hole mountain resort area is truly an all-season wonder, and whether you’re visiting Jackson Hole in winter for skiing and touring Grand Teton in winter, or you’re visiting Jackson Hole in the summer to tour Yellowstone and hike in Grand Teton, you’re sure to find the perfect activities to keep you busy during every day of your trip.

But what about where to stay? Luckily, the Jackson Hole Airbnb scene is full of incredible places to pick from, including cozy cabins, cute cottages, cool condos, and premium penthouses: there’s no shortage of places to stay near Grand Teton National Park in the Jackson Hole area.

While Jackson Hole is a bit of a pricy destination, you can save a bit of money by skipping the pricy ski resort in Teton Village and instead opting for one of these beautiful Jackson Hole Airbnbs that won’t break the bank.

As a bonus, having your own kitchen area means that you can do a combination of dining in and dining out, saving money on food costs as well as compared to a traditional hotel or resort stay.

Here is my curated list of the best Airbnbs in Jackson Hole: note that all these Airbnbs are near Grand Teton too, less than a 30 minute drive away!

10 Best Jackson Hole Airbnbs (Near Grand Teton NP)

Town Square Hideout 4B

Image courtesy of the property

If you want a sunny, homely apartment in the Jackson area, you’d be hard-pressed to come up with anything better than this beautiful Jackson Airbnb.

Featuring luminous rooms complemented by bright, eye-catching furniture, the apartment evokes feelings of peace and serenity in a vibrant location.

This is amplified by the soothing balcony view, with nothing but green (or white, depending on the season!) whichever way you look. Just by stepping out on the beautiful street, you can get a taste of what Jackson is all about.

If you want a good hub for exploring all things Wyoming, there are few options that can top this apartment – you’ll be within walking distance of various dining and shopping venues, not to mention the variety of arches, filled to the brim with wildlife.

If you’re up for something a more challenging hike or some awesome ski slopes, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is 30 minutes away by car, and Grand Teton National Park, which is even closer, is just about the most scenic natural landmark in the Jackson area!

Book this beautiful Jackson home!

Meadows Family House

Image courtesy of the property

If you want to strip things back to basics, the Meadows Family House is the perfect fit for you, in all its rustic glory.

The interior features an unpretentious, decidedly cabin-like feel, courtesy of the wooden construction and earth-toned walls and furniture.

The house also features a large living room with a fireplace, as well as the always-welcome second bathroom.

The cherry (or cherries!) on top are the other amenities, namely the swimming pool, fitness area, jacuzzis, and free breakfast in the shared areas, as this Jackson Airbnb is part of the 49er Inn & Suites complex.

The house’s location in downtown Jackson makes it the perfect hub of operations if you plan on exploring the area thoroughly.

Alternatively, if you’re just here to warm your bones in a cozy house at night and hit the slopes by day, a ski shuttle is included under your already-long list of amenities at this amazing rental.

It’s worth noting that said the pool and hot tubs are shared with other 49er Inn guests, but with so many things to do, you should easily be able to find a window of time where you can enjoy them all to yourself!

Book this Jackson Hole Airbnb!

Juniper 122

Image courtesy of the property

You may have come to associate mountain vacations with either standard-issue mountain lodges or over-the-top luxury resorts, but the Juniper 122 is just a perfect rental home in Jackson: not too basic, not too luxe.

The house strikes the perfect balance between rustic and modern with its vintage-feeling furniture and homogenous color palette.

The home is located in the serene Aspens community, only 8 miles from downtown Jackson and 4 miles south of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort ski and recreation area.

Unwind in this house enjoying the cozy atmosphere or rustic hardwood floors, leather furniture, lodgepole beds, and wildlife artwork.

Book this Jackson home here!

King Condo

Image courtesy of the property

Jackson has quite a few great Airbnbs, and the King Condo is among the top choices in the city.

Boasting a modest, yet well-furnished interior (complete with a fireplace), the condo guarantees maximum comfort year-round and a homey ambiance.

The decor is definitely more traditional than modern, but it’s an extremely comfortable space for a family who doesn’t mind pulling out the sofa bed for the kids.

Touches like the second bathroom are much appreciated, but the real highlight is the outdoor area – you can enjoy the comfortable seating around the fire pit on the deck area, as well as the large hot tub and swimming pool, the former being available no matter the season!

As part of the greater Jackson Hole Lounge complex, this rental gives you the option to mingle with your fellow guests and explore the beautiful Jackson area.

Book this home in Jackson Hole!

Alpine Cottage Four

Image courtesy of the property

Anyone looking to for a genuine cottage feel to their Jackson stay should quickly book up this popular Jackson Airbnb.

The homey interior has been put together with such care that you’ll genuinely feel at home here, and these sentiments will only be amplified by the breathtaking garden area (equally lovely when covered in snow!).

On top of the forest surroundings and luxurious hot tub, the house is located on the very bank of Flat Creek, a dream come true for any paddler or just someone looking to see some incredible views in any magical season.

Not far from the Alpine Cottages is the Town Square of Jackson, so the house offers great connectivity on top of everything else.

A short drive of just under 30 minutes is all that separates you from the iconic Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, and you can drive to Grand Teton National Park in a reasonably short amount of time too.

Book this Jackson home!

Jackson Condo with Fireplace

Image courtesy of the property

What makes this lovely Jackson home stand out is its spacious interior, complete with wooden furniture that’s both vintage and comfortable.

This mountain retreat features a fantastic fireplace, air conditioning, and a comfortable kitchen with a dishwasher and a microwave.

There are two comfortable bedrooms as well as cable TV and a cozy place for lounging and resting next to the fire.

It’s important to consider your location when booking a resort in a touristy area, and this rental offers the very best in that regard.

The property is only 2 miles from Snow King, 0.7 miles from Center For The Arts, in an area where skiing can be fully enjoyed.

You can get to downtown Jackson and a number of scenic hiking trails within minutes, not to mention, Grand Teton and Yellowstone are just a short drive away.

Book this home here!

Alpine Cottage Two

Image courtesy of the property

Part of the same complex as the above Alpine Cottage, the specs and design of this Jackson Airbnb are a little different, which make it perfect for design-loving travelers.

This cottage features extremely cozy furniture and plenty of space for up to 6 guests to get around.

The highlight is arguably the garden area, though – stepping out onto the deck, you’ll have access to a hot tub and ample sun-lit seating.

This is the type of rental place you’ll wish could be your home away from home, and a long-term arrangement is negotiable should you grow to love this place!

Adding to the already-impressive list of features is the cottage’s great location – with the Jackson Square only a few blocks away, you can walk to just about any spot of interest in Jackson in minutes flat. Also nearby are Grand Teton National Park, as well as Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, only 30 and 15 minutes away by car, respectively.

Book this home here!

Pearl at Jackson

Image courtesy of the property

This incredible house puts the extra in extravagant with its stunning design that’ll keep you coming back to this Airbnb in Jackson year after year!

The main living area features stylish furniture with just a hint of vintage – it comes equipped with a fireplace, designer chairs, a guitar, and plenty of windows that keep the place bright and add to the amazing atmosphere.

While some Airbnbs in Jackson may boast two bathrooms, The Pearl has two full-blown baths, and you can see Jackson and the surrounding mountains in the best light from the third-floor deck.

What’s more, you’ll have access to a fitness area, spa, and an on-site restaurant. Then there’s the outdoor hot tub – completely private and with stunning views of Snow King Ski Resort.

The downtown area is the perfect place for a vacation home, making The Pearl an ideal pick for anyone looking to see as much of Jackson as possible – what little the White Buffalo Club itself doesn’t offer, you can reach in a matter of minutes on foot.

Book this Jackson home!

White Buffalo Deluxe Suite

Image courtesy of the property

Few resorts can compare to the White Buffalo Club, and this suite is one of the ultimate ways to experience this amazing resort which you can book via VRBO.

Featuring a spacious, well-put-together sitting and sleeping area, the suite guarantees maximum comfort and peace whenever you’re not out and about exploring.

Guests are highly encouraged to take full advantage of the abundant on-site amenities, such as the restaurant, bar, and fitness area (complete with yoga classes!)

White Buffalo Club is located in downtown Jackson, meaning anything you could want to see in the town will be mere minutes away.

Perhaps most notable is the resort’s proximity to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, two absolute must-sees for nature lovers and casual travelers alike!

Book this Jackson Hole home!

White Buffalo Club Penthouse Suite

Image courtesy of the property

To stand out among all the incredible Jackson Airbnbs is no small feat, but this particular Airbnb is truly one of the best the entirety of Jackson Hole has to offer!

On top of an incredibly spacious kitchen, a piano, a cozy TV room that can sit well over the 6-guest limit, and the inviting dining room, the suite also features your very own deck on the rooftop, complete with a private hot tub.

This is the perfect spot for enjoying the view of the mountains and downtown Jackson. On top of all that, you have White Buffalo Club’s on-site amenities, namely the fitness area, spa services, bar, and steakhouse. If you’re visiting in the winter, there’s also a shuttle to take you to the slopes.

Above all else, the resort is situated in the very best part of Jackson, placing you within minutes of the best the town has to offer – the nightlife in Jackson is great, so take full advantage of your location.

Also nearby are Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, two places you don’t want to miss out on.

Book this Jackson Hole place!

Pin This Guide to Jackson Hole Airbnbs!

Best Airbnbs Near Yellowstone: 9 Wonderful West Yellowstone Airbnbs

The sunset at Old Faithful, a geyser spouting into the air with the setting sun showing up in a sunburst behind the geyser in Yellowstone National Park

Planning a trip to Yellowstone?

Lodging in the park books up insanely fast, so if you’re planning something a bit more last minute, these Airbnbs near Yellowstone are the perfect solution.

They offer the comforts of home with excellent prices and allow you to save money by offering amenities like washing machines and kitchens so you can budget better for your Yellowstone trip.

If you want to stay comfortably close to the park, it doesn’t get better or more centrally located than West Yellowstone.

Here are some of the best Airbnbs near Yellowstone National Park!

Best West Yellowstone Airbnbs

Bear Creek Cabin 3

Image provided by the property.

While vacation homes near Yellowstone are plentiful, few West Yellowstone Airbnbs are quite as appealing as this one!

Combining dark wooden walls with a wooden finish and rustic furniture, this house is as inviting as they come, and the 1040 Sq feet ensure there’s more than enough room for everyone to get around.

The living room area comes equipped with a fireplace, ensuring warmth and comfort no matter the season, and if you’re visiting with a large group, you’ll be delighted to know there’s also a second bathroom for your convenience.

Located 6 miles from Gardiner, the original entrance to Yellowstone, the getaway is as convenient for exploring the national park as a rental can be. The old Jardine mine site is part of the beautiful and unique mountain view, as well as being able to see and hear Bear Creek from your back patio! There are also beautiful hiking trails just a short walk from the front door!

The best way to get around during the winter is via snowmobile (read our winter guide to Yellowstone here), and there’s plenty worth checking out in Yellowstone even in the winter – the Rendezvous Ski Trails and (now-defunct) Oregon Short Line Railroad are both a short distance away, as is the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center if you’re an animal enthusiast.

Book this home near Yellowstone!

Wander Camp Yellowstone Tent

If you don’t want a cabin or condo stay to break the immersive feel of exploring beautiful Yellowstone, consider booking a tent at Wander Camp. The tents are quite minimalistic, featuring a bed and some rudimentary seating, but that’s all you really need at Yellowstone!

The bathrooms are shared, but remain quite private as they are also enclosed within a tent, and if you don’t feel like staying “inside” you can pull up a couple of chairs and enjoy the vast expanse of nature that is the Wander Camp.

The best part of your stay, however, will probably be the unobstructed, mesmerizing view of the night sky on clearer nights!

West Yellowstone is one of the best places to stay if you want to explore the national park in its entirety, and the camp offers you a unique advantage.

On one hand, you can enjoy a quiet, serene vacation with constant exposure to nature, and on the other, you’ll be able to access a number of shops in West Yellowstone, guaranteeing a comfortable, well-supplied stay.

Book this Airbnb near Yellowstone!

The Aspen Condos

Image provided by the property.

Anyone looking to explore Yellowstone likely won’t be spending much time indoors, but this home makes for a great place to start and end your day without breaking the budget.

The interior is nicely furnished and well-illuminated, and you can expect plenty of space and privacy for up to 6 guests.

In the evening, you can relax and relish in the peace and quiet of the West Yosemite area, with National Geographic IMAX Theater and Yellowstone Historic Center Museum nearby, The Aspen Condos provides accommodations with free WiFi and free private parking.

The accommodation feature a TV and a private bathroom with a bath, while the kitchen features a dishwasher, a microwave, and a fridge.

A grill is available on site and hiking can be enjoyed within close proximity.

On that note, although the neighborhood is quite serene, you’ll have quick and easy access to a variety of restaurants, shops, and a number of other locales downtown.

Book this home near Yellowstone!

Raven’s Heart

A large open plan kitchen with a bed in the distant studio area
Image provided by the property.

Few Airbnbs in the West Yellowstone area can measure up to Raven’s Heart in terms of charm!

Boasting a largely wooden interior complemented by rustic, but comfortable furniture, the rental offers everything you could possibly need. Add to this the abundant illumination and the tasteful décor, and you’re left with one of the most inviting cabins in the region.

Furthermore, small but meaningful touches like a mudroom for your damp clothes after a long day of hiking will make your stay all the more comfortable and convenient.

Outside, guests will have access to a spacious garden area, as well as a grill for a group cookout just by the entrance.

The real draw of this rental, however, is the great location – West Yellowstone has you covered in every possible regard, as it features several places to shop and eat, and even a fitness center and a number of fishing spots.

Book this home near Yellowstone!

Cozy Yellowstone Cabin

A white bed with a red blanket with 3 photos above the bed.
Photo provided by the proprty.

If you’re staying in Yellowstone but aren’t spending most of your time outside, you’re doing something wrong!

All you really need from a rental is a warm bed to sleep in and a kitchen to whip up some meals, and this house has you completely covered in that regard, making it the ideal getaway for a couple looking to explore the Yellowstone area.

You’ll definitely need to do a lot of washing and cleaning after a long day of hiking in Yellowstone National Park, so the house comes equipped with a washer and dryer.

West Yellowstone is perhaps the most convenient gateway to the National Park, so it’s perfect for exploring the area.

In addition, the town has everything from shops and restaurants to a fitness center (in the event that exploring all day hasn’t tuckered you out already), meaning that all your basic needs, and many more, will be accounted for here.

Book this home near Yellowstone!

Three Bedroom Townhouse

Brown leather couch and armchair in front of a fireplace with a sliding glass door opening to a patio area
Image provided by the property.

This house is the definitive Yellowstone pick if you’re looking to visit the national park with your family or a larger group of friends!

Boasting a spacious, eye-catching interior, this house is bound to feel like home by the time you’ve unpacked, and the fireplace in the living area makes it a comfortable place to relax no matter the season.

In the interest of privacy, guests will have access to 3 bedrooms, as well as 3 toilets for maximum convenience. On top of the amazing window views from virtually any room in the house, the lush, beautiful garden is bound to leave an impression.

 Lastly, the idyllic location alone is enough to sell this place – located in West Yellowstone, the house puts you in the eye of the storm as far as the national park is concerned, and you’ll find no shortage of shops and restaurants in town to boot.

Book this home near Yellowstone!

1/2 Mile From Yellowstone

Image provided by the property.

Exploring one of the States’ most iconic national parks is more fun with company, and this condo can accommodate up to 7 people very comfortably, between its 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.

The house comes with a well-stocked kitchen, and the living room area is all it needs to be – roomy, well-decorated, ensuring a comfortable stay.

Furthermore, you’ll be able to step outside onto the patio and into the spacious garden, the perfect place to let your children run free whenever you’re not out exploring Yellowstone National Park.

Getting around the area is quite easy, especially with a snowmobile in the winter. West Yellowstone makes for a great place to stay if you’re looking to cover as much of the National Park as possible, and this resort makes things even simpler for you, being only half a mile from the park.

Book this home near Yellowstone!

6 Blocks from Yellowstone

Slightly vintage distressed couch with a sign above it reading "mountains" with a coffee table and outdoor patio area
Image provided by the property.

When it comes to spacious apartments near Yellowstone National Park, it doesn’t get much better than this rental.

Featuring 6 beds and more than enough room for 8 guests to move around freely, this is up there as one of the most family-friendly rentals in Yellowstone.

The fireplace in the living room area is an always-welcome addition, and you’ll find yourself captivated by the simple, yet elegant white and wooden furniture and décor.

In addition, having an additional bathroom and a second floor ensures everyone gets their share of privacy here. The exterior features two decks and a grill, as well as a spacious courtyard, perfect for children or a quiet gathering.

Perhaps most importantly, however, the house is only a short walk from Yellowstone National Park, and West Yellowstone cover all your basic needs as far as dining and shopping options are concerned.

In the winter, rent a snowmobile to get around and use it to go through the otherwise inaccessible west entrance to the park.

Book this home near Yellowstone!

The Little Green Apartment

Sofa with a small table and a bed with a quilt and TV with window and curtains
Image provided by the property.

If you’re looking for a homey place to spend the night while vacationing near Yellowstone with your significant other, this rental is everything you need!

The house is exactly what it says on the box – a green vacation home with a cozy bed, fully equipped kitchen, decently sized bathroom and a lovely window view.

The house is located near a forest, right on the edge of town, giving you plenty to explore outside of the park itself. While it’s not remote per se, the place is great for a quiet, peaceful vacation.

At the same time, the house is technically part of a complex of cabins, meaning you’ll have plenty of neighbors to get to know if you choose to stay for an extended period of time.

That aside, West Yellowstone has shops, restaurants, and just about everything else you need to make a proper vacation out of your trip.

Book this home near Yellowstone!

Pin This Guide to Airbnbs Near Yellowstone National Park!

The 10 Best Grand Teton Day Hikes

Many people travel to Grand Teton National Park to get a glimpse of the iconic Teton Range, scout out some of the area’s diverse wildlife, and go on a scenic hike in the Tetons.

With over 200 miles of beautiful hiking trails in Grand Teton National Park, there’s no shortage of choices.

Every experience level and age group can find a trail they will enjoy from a family-friendly nature walk in Colter Bay to challenging mountain passes that offer rewarding views of the pristine landscape below.

Load up your backpack, grab your camera, and don’t forget to pack the bear spray. These are the best day hikes that Grand Teton National Park has to offer!

Best Day Hikes in Grand Teton National Park

Taggart and Brady Lakes

Still lake at Taggart Lake reflecting the Teton range above it, surrounded by trees, rocks, and foliage.

Distance: 6 miles

Elevation Gain: 585 feet

A trip to Grand Teton National Park is not complete without a hike to Taggart and Brady Lakes. These lakes are nearby each other and are both worth visiting.

Being such a scenic hike, this is a well-well-trafficked trail. With that said, there is limited parking at the Taggert Lake Trailhead, and arriving early is highly recommended so you can find a parking spot easily.

Take in the stunning views of Grand Teton, the tallest mountain in the Teton Range, from the parking area. When you are ready to get your blood flowing, depart from the trailhead and hit the trail. When you come to the first trail junction, veer right and follow the sign toward Taggart Lake Trail.

A little farther down the trail, you will come to yet another junction. The trail is very well marked. Just remember you are following the signs to Taggart and Brady Lakes! A map helps too!

Next, cross the sturdy footbridge over Taggart Creek. Look upstream to get a glimpse of the cascading waterfall. The trail begins to climb a bit starting here. Make your way through the forest of lodgepole pines and thick aspen groves.

After you’ve hiked about 1 mile, you will come to another trail junction. Heading left will take you to Taggart Lake. However, if you wish to visit both of the lakes keep right and check out Brady Lake first. Just a little way farther, and you will be rewarded with multiple scenic overlooks of Taggert Lake!

Once you come to the Valley Trail Junction, keep right and you will shortly arrive at the shores of Bradly Lake. When you are finished soaking up the Teton views, head back to the Valley Trail Junction and take the Valley Trail this time to get a closer look at Taggart Lake and complete the loop back to the trailhead.

String and Leigh Lake

Narrow footbridge crossing a section of String Lake surrounded by green trees at the start of this Grand Teton hike.

Distance: 4 miles

Elevation Gain: 50 feet

Begin your hike at the String Lake Picnic Area. At the trailhead, you will find stunning mountain views from the sandy beach at String Lake. This is a great spot to refuel with some lunch or cool off with a dip in the chilly lake.

The trail wraps around the shore of String Lake until you come to a junction that will lead toward Leigh Lake. Unlike String Lake, accessing the shore of Leigh lake can be a little trickier. Keep an eye out for a well-used trail down to the lakeshore.

From Leigh Lake, continue back the way you came and complete the loop around String Lake. For a much longer hike, you can choose to hike to Bear Lake from Leigh Lake. This would add an additional 4 miles to the hike.

Jenny Lake: Inspiration Point and Hidden Falls

Giant boulders in front of the view from Inspiration Point, showing lots of evergreen trees in front of a brilliant blue lake with some clouds on the horizon but an otherwise clear sky.

Distance: 2.5 miles

Elevation Gain: 330 feet

If you make a visit to hike in Grand Teton National Park, definitely plan for a stop at Jenny Lake! There is so much to do at Jenny Lake, it is well worth dedicating a half-day to.

Who doesn’t love a waterfall hike? The hike to Hidden Falls is one of the most beautiful in the park. This trail is short enough that it is considered a novice and great for families. Hop on the boat shuttle at the docking area. This will cut off about 5 miles from the hike and offer beautiful mountain views as you cross the lake. There is a small fee for taking the boat shuttle.

Once on the other side of the lake, begin your hike on the Cascade Canyon Trail. The trail climbs quite a bit before reaching Hidden Falls and the viewing area. Hidden Falls is a towering 100’ and is often regarded as the most scenic waterfall in Grand Teton National Park!

Continue on your way up to Inspiration Point. Since it is less than a half-mile from Hidden Falls, it’s worth the climb, but if your legs are exhausted, you can always choose to turn back to the boat dock. Inspiration Point offers a great view of Jenny Lake and the distant mountains.

Jenny Lake Loop

Hiking in Grand Teton National Park along the perimeter of Jenny Lake, a brilliant sapphire blue lake surrounded by rocks and pine trees.

Distance: 7.5 miles

Elevation Gain: 275 feet

This scenic loop around Jenny Lake offers countless photo opportunities and chances to gaze up at the stunning peaks known as the Cathedral Group in the Teton Range!

The loop begins at the Jenny Lake Trailhead and stays fairly close to the lake throughout the entire hike. This is a great long hike for those hoping to avoid super strenuous hills or elevation gain.

Along the way, you can choose to veer off to visit Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point, which are mentioned previously.

If you were hoping to experience solitude while hiking in Grand Teton National Park, this may not be the ideal trail for you. Although scenic and rewarding, this is a very popular trail. The road is nearby part of the trail too, and it can interrupt the quiet of nature at times.

Phelps Lake Overlook

View over the sapphire blue Phelps Lake surrounded by pine forest on a clear, cloudless day with mountains on the horizon.

Distance: 2 miles

Elevation Gain: 400 feet

The Phelps Lake overlook is a fairly easy hike that wanders through a pine forest and aspen groves before opening up to a scenic viewpoint. This hike begins at the Death Canyon Trailhead, which is located at the end of a rutted dirt road.

From the trailhead, you will enter the forest and follow the well-maintained trail for 1 mile. Phelps Lake sits at over 7,000’ in elevation and is a common place to spot moose and waterfowl.

Surprise and Amphitheater Lakes Trail

Still lake reflecting back the mountains and foliage above it, covered in some light snow that hasn't yet melted.

Distance: 10.2 miles

Elevation Gain: 2,900 feet

This hike is perfect for anyone looking for a low-mileage overnight backpacking trip or a challenging day hike! At just over 10 miles round trip, you can expect the first half of the trail to be an uphill slog. However, the dessert of this rugged incline is two pristine alpine lakes surrounded by beautiful rocky cliffs.

Begin the trek at the Lupine Meadow Trailhead and head toward Glacier Gulch. After many switchbacks, you will first reach Surprise Lake. A little farther down the trail awaits Amphitheater Lake.

Lake Solitude

Green and brown grass, with some pine trees sparsely populating the landscape, and a tiny blue lake at the foot of mountains on a remote Grand Teton hike.

Distance: 7.5 miles

Elevation Gain: 2,350 feet

Another hike that begins at Jenny Lake is the beautiful hike to Lake Solitude. Surrounded by mighty peaks, Lake Solitude is a great challenge for anyone looking to experience an alpine lake, possible wildlife sightings, and seasonal wildflowers.

The hike to Lake Solitude begins just like the hike to Inspiration Point, with a boat ride across Jenny Lake. This time, when you make it up to Inspiration Point, you will continue climbing on the trail instead of turning around.

The trail will level out a bit after Inspiration Point as you enter into Cascade Canyon. In the early summer, you will see a variety of colorful wildflowers. As you always should while hiking in Grand Teton National Park, be bear aware as you make your way deeper into the canyon.

The trail passes by a series of ponds before the scenery transformed into a pine forest. Keep trekking along until you finally arrive at the lake!

Lake Solitude sits just above 9,000’ in elevation and should only be tackled by experienced hikers that are prepared for a challenge.

Christian Pond Loop

A blue river or pond surrounded by yellowing grass with some low mountains behind it

Distance: 3.5 miles

Elevation Gain: 250 feet

This easy loop is well-known for wildlife and wildflowers!

Begin your hike to Christian Pond from the trailhead parking next to the horse corrals at the Jackson Lake Lodge. As you approach the pond, be on the lookout for moose and elk grazing as well as trumpeter swans gliding through the shallow water.

The trail leads to the shores of Emma Matilda Lake before looping back toward the trailhead. Take a little detour and hike along the lake’s edge. Another great spot for wildlife viewing! When you’ve taken in all in head back to the Christian Pond Loop and back to the trailhead.

Colter Bay Lakeshore Trail

A mostly still lake reflecting the mountains of the Teton Range beautifully in its glassy, slightly rippled surface.

Distance: 2 miles

Elevation Gain: 150’

The Lakeshore Trail in Colter Bay is a perfect walk for families or anyone new to hiking in a national park! The trail is made up of two scenic loops and can be shortened as necessary to meet your experience and comfort level.

From the Colter Bay Visitor Center, walk toward the marina and find the trailhead for the Lakeshore Trail. From the trail, hikers can easily access the rocky shore of Jackson Lake to take photos or scout for wildlife.

Pin This Guide to Grand Teton Hikes!

17 Cool Things to Do in Jackson Hole in Winter

When the snow begins to fall in Jackson Hole, folks from all over the world arrive in town to experience the area’s world-class powder skiing.

Although a popular destination for winter sports enthusiasts, as well as a popular home base for people visiting Grand Teton or Yellowstone in winter, Jackson, WY has fun in store for everyone – even non-skiers!

From sightseeing and exploring Western U.S. heritage to riding the slopes at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and snowy sleigh rides, Jackson Hole is an inclusive wintertime retreat that all can appreciate.

Perfect for adventurers, couples, families, and friends, Jackson, WY is a must-visit winter destination with a seemingly endless list of activities to offer!

If you’re planning on visiting Jackson Hole in winter, here’s a variety of fun things to do — but first, let’s quickly go over a few essential things to know before visiting Jackson Hole in winter!

When is the best time to visit Jackson Hole in winter?

Ideally, in January or February, after the Christmas rush but before all the schools have their spring break and snowbirds descend on Jackson Hole for some spring break skiing.

However, I know that for many Americans with limited vacation time, time is just as important as money when it comes time to planning your trip.

Parents who have to plan their travels around the school calendar will have little choice but to opt for a trip over the winter break or possibly spring break if it’s early enough.

If you’re from the East Coast and have a mid-winter break and a spring break (something which absolutely blew my mind when I taught in NYC, as we only have spring break in California!) going during your mid-winter break would be perfect.

It won’t be nearly as crowded, as Jackson Hole is more popular with West Coasters than East Coasters, and West Coasters tend not to have time off during February the way East Coasters do.

A frozen over lake in Jackson Wyoming in winter

Is Grand Teton open in the winter? What about Yellowstone?

Grand Teton absolutely is open in the winter; however, several roads are closed to vehicle traffic and become maintained snow lanes for all kinds of winter sports, such as cross-country skiing and snowshoeing! It’s a ton of fun, and you absolutely should plan for some time in Grand Teton in the winter.

Yellowstone, on the other hand, is harder to access in winter. While on a map, you may assume that Yellowstone is super close and therefore easy to access, note that a lot of the roads through Yellowstone are closed in the winter.

There’s a way around this, of course: you can take a snowmobile tour into Yellowstone to see attractions such as Old Faithful and other geothermal features, but it’s pretty much an all-day affair and needs be done by guided snowmobile tour or by booking a snowcoach transfer, which is very time-consuming.

Personally, I’d only try to visit Yellowstone on your Jackson Hole trip if you have 3 days or more OR are not planning to ski or snowboard. Otherwise, it’s a lot of time to dedicate to a day trip.

A famous barn in Grand Teton in the winter with snow covered mountains with alpenglow (sunlight on the mountain peaks) in background

Can you ski in Jackson in December?


It’s impossible to predict this with any certainty, as it totally depends on the year’s snowfall thus far. Jackson has steeper slopes and therefore requires more snowfall than less steep ski resorts.

However, statistically, Jackson has a 82% open rate by Christmas Day. Those aren’t odds that I would want to hinge an entire ski vacation on, so be sure to either plan enough activities to keep yourself busy in case ski season hasn’t begun yet or plan for a later ski vacation, such as in February or March, when there definitely should be enough snow!

A close up view of peaks in the mountains of Jackson Wyoming in winter with snow

Is Jackson Hole expensive?


Jackson Hole has earned a reputation for being expensive, and unfortunately I have to concur!

Skiing is expensive. A full-day lift ticket costs around $160 at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and around $60 at the smaller Snow King Resort. You can get deals for weeklong passes, but that’s an expensive baseline to start at.

Accommodation in Jackson in winter is also expensive simply because of supply and demand. I suggest opting for an Airbnb if budget is a concern — and I have several I’ll recommend at the end of this post!

Is there a difference between Jackson and Jackson Hole?

Yes! Jackson is the name of one of the main towns in the area, whereas Jackson Hole refers to the valley encompassing several towns in the Jackson area, including Teton Village (the main ski resort area) and other small towns like Moose, Wilson, and Moran Junction.

Best Things to Do in Jackson Hole in Winter

Snowmobile in paradise!

Jackson Hole receives multiple feet of snow every winter, making it a popular destination for snowmobiling! The area boasts a wide variation in terrain along with hundreds of trail miles to explore.

If you’ve never been snowmobiling in Jackson Hole before or are completely new to the sport, scheduling a trip with a local guide is highly encouraged and easy to do!

There are many outfitters to choose from, and with an area expert in the lead, you can be sure you’re traveling through the scenic landscape safely.

Not sure which snowmobiling tour to go with? I suggest this well-reviewed outfitter, which runs full-day tours of their ranch and other beautiful backcountry areas you’d absolutely never get a chance to see in winter on foot.

Book your snowmobiling tour here!

The view from behind a man riding a snowmobile wearing a black helmet and gloves with one snowmobiler ahead of him.

Backcountry snowmobile to Granite Hot Springs

For a snowmobile adventure unlike any other, book a guided trip to Granite Hot Springs in the Gros Ventre Mountain Range.

Your guide service will provide transportation to the trailhead, which is 24 miles south of Jackson, WY.

From the trailhead, riders will follow their professional guide deep into the Bridger-Teton National Forest through a wintery wonderland before reaching the steamy hot springs.

This wilderness hot tub usually measures 105 °F but can reach up to 112 °F! The excursion to Granite Hot Springs is about 20-miles of riding round trip and takes a half-day.

Guests are expected to bring their own towels and bathing suits to soak in the springs.

A view of the famous Granite Hot Springs near Jackson in Wyoming covered in snow with pine trees everywhere.

Do a full-day adventure into Yellowstone National Park

If you’re seeking a full-day snowmobiling adventure, consider taking a guided trip into Yellowstone National Park to see Old Faithful erupt!

Beginning early in the morning, your guide service (I suggest Brushbuck Tours) will shuttle you to the trailhead where you will begin your 90-mile snowmobile journey through Yellowstone’s pristine landscape.

While riding past the mountain vistas, keep your eyes peeled for wildlife. This national park adventure offers the opportunity to see bison, elk, deer, moose, and even wolves!

The Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone National Park spewing steam high into the air on a winter day

Take a magical sleigh ride through the National Elk Refuge

Get ready to dash through the snow on a horse-drawn sleigh! You’ll want to bundle up for this sleigh ride adventure.

The 1-hour ride takes visitors into the National Elk Refuge, just outside of Grand Teton National Park, for a wildlife tour you’ll never forget.

In the company of a professional guide and experienced naturalist, you will be taken across the refuge to get a closer look at the elk that winter there.

I recommend booking with this trusted tour company who is taking lots of safety precautions, including mandating face masks for participants and guides, regular temperature checks for guides, and sanitization of all surfaces in between uses.

In addition to that, it’s a top-rated attraction with a 5-star rating and tons of verified positive reviews, and it includes transfers to and from Jackson.

Book your National Elk Refuge sleigh tour here!

A view on a horse sleigh ride through the elk refuge near Grand Teton National Park with two beautiful reddish-brown horses

This astonishing refuge is home to the largest migratory elk herd in North America and is frequented by a variety of other wildlife!

As you ask your guide questions and check out the residents, you’ll also have picturesque views of the Tetons in the background.

The sleigh rides operate between mid-December and early-April. Advanced reservations are highly encouraged – especially during the holiday season! This ride is great for families, couples, and friends visiting Jackson Hole in the wintertime.

A close up of the faces of two horses ready to give a sleigh ride in the Elk Refuge for Jackson winter travelers

Go shopping in Downtown Jackson

Shop ’til you drop in Jackson’s Town Square!

Begin your tour of the downtown stores at the Antler Arch, which also makes an excellent photo backdrop! From here, you can easily walk to any of these fun downtown stores:

Jackson Hole Resort Store: This is the perfect store for branded souvenirs and endless browsing!

Teton Toys: Find fun holiday gifts for the little ones in your life or a classic board game to bring back to your Airbnb.

A view of downtown Jackson with shop lights after sunset

Lee’s Tees: Rep your winter trip to Jackson, WY with a shirt designed by a local artist. Lee’s Tees has a wide selection of graphic shirts everyone will love.

Jackson Hole Jewelry Co.: Fall in love with handcrafted jewelry for yourself or as a gift for a special someone.

Stio: Here, you can find stylish clothing for recreation or everyday wear. Stio has timeless items that are rugged enough to stand up to the challenges of outdoor adventure!

Go dog sledding with a team of enthuastic pups!

I’ve gone dog-sledding several times, in Norway and Sweden, but I’ve still yet to go in Jackson — however, it is on my list!

Dog sledding is an extremely fun activity for both the humans and the dogs involved. The huskies are quite literally born to run, and every single time I’ve gone dog-sledding (three times) I’ve been impressed by the dog’s enthusiasm, energy, and absolute adoration for what they do.

This dog-sledding tour is a self-driving tour which, in my opinion, is the only fun way to do it! This is when you help out your team of pups by helping them steer the sled, control the brakes, and assist on running up any uphill portions so that the dogs aren’t the only ones doing the work. It’s actually quite a workout and it’s a ton of fun!

The dogs are well-loved and taken care of by the ranch, and the musher, Mike, has been dog-sledding and racing for over 30 years!

It’s also a great tour for recreating outside safely and maintaining physical distance, since it’s only one person per sled. Spots are limited and I expect this to be a popular tour this year so I encourage you to book ahead.

Book your dog-sledding tour today!

Snap a photo at the lit-up Antler Arch

The Antler Arch is a popular photo spot in Jackson Hole no matter what the time of year.

There’s no denying it gets even more festive in winter, when blue-tinted fairy lights adorn the snow-dusted antlers and make for the ultimate Jackson Hole Instagram stop.

The famous "antler arch" in Jackson in winter styling with lots of blueish Christmas lights on it, making it shine a pale blue color

Explore Jackson’s art displays, museums, and galleries

Interested in exploring Jackson’s diverse art scene?

There are over 10 galleries within walking distance of Jackson Town Square, and even more spread throughout the town.

Among all of these galleries, Jackson is also home to the well-known National Museum of Wildlife Art.

With over 5,000 pieces of art representing wildlife from around the world, there’s so much to discover at the National Museum of Wildlife Art!

In addition to a world-renowned art collection, including work from artists like Georgia O’Keeffe, Andy Warhol, John James Audubon, and Henri Rousseau, the National Museum of Wildlife Art offers guided tours with professional docents.

It also has a breathtaking location overlooking the National Elk Refuge, a museum store, dining on location at the Palate Restaurant, and a 3/4-mile trail to view beautiful bronze sculptures.

Also, be on the lookout for Jackson’s many public art displays, including the 4,000-pound sculpture of a bronco rider that welcomes all arriving in the Cowboy State from the Jackson Hole Airport!

A huge herd of elk eating grass peaking out from the snow in the elk refuge near Grand Teton National Park

Go sledding or tubing at Snow King

Who said sledding was just for kids?

In Jackson Hole, anyone with a need for speed is encouraged to try out the tubing at Snow King Resort!

Located right in the town of Jackson, Snow King has a specially designed lift with groomed lanes just for tubing! You can buy a Big King pass which allows you to do all the activity

A view of someone's feet as a woman pulls their tube forward in Jackson Hole in winter

Do a winter safari in Grand Teton National Park

Jackson Hole is so close to Grand Teton National Park that people commonly use it as the place they stay while visiting the national park, so it only makes sense that if you’re staying in Jackson in winter, you ought to visit Grand Teton as well!

Admission is $35 per vehicle for 7 days of access, so you can make return visits any time you like.

If you plan on visiting a few national parks this year, I highly recommend investing in an America the Beautiful pass! It gives you one year of free entry to all National Parks and other federally-administered protected areas (National Forests, National Seashores, etc. — over 2,000 sites!) for the low price of $79.99. Plus, 10% of that goes back into the National Park Foundation to keep the land pure, beautiful, and accessible for all.

 Buy your America the Beautiful annual pass online here!

I have an entire guide to visiting Grand Teton in winter, and I recommend reading it here as you’ll be sure to add a few things to your Jackson Hole winter bucket list from this post!

If you prefer a guided but private experience, you can do a small-group winter safari tour of Grand Teton and its wildlife, limited just to you, your guide, and your family/pod. You can find moose, wolves, bighorn sheep, elk, and all sorts of wildlife in the winter (just don’t expect bears — they’ll be hibernating). Book it here.

For a similar experience but better suited to a single person or couple traveling, you can buy individual tickets on a Grand Teton winter wildlife tour, though do note it is shared with other people. However, masks are required and provided in shared areas. Book it here.

A moose on a winter safari in Grand Teton National park

Visit the Ice Castle in Teton Village

If you are traveling with young kids, they’ll love the Ice Castle in Teton Village, in the Village Commons area.

It’s located right next to a small hill, which is perfect for sledding and snowplay.

The castle is made from snow and ice and has kiddos playing around it all hours of the day.

There’s also a skating rink here and the ice castles get lit up at night to make it a great place to spend an evening with the family.

An ice castle building with snow in the background.

Visit Jackson Hole Mountain Resort for skiing or snowboarding

If you love to ski or snowboard, a visit to Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is probably already high on your list of must-do activities.

After all, this powder paradise has exciting terrain for all experience levels and ages to shred!

I’m not a skier or a snowboarder, so I’ll let you peruse the official Jackson Hole tourism website which has all the info you’ll need to know to pick the perfect ski resort for you.

A man doing a jump while backcountry skiing in Jackson

Ride “Big Red” to 10,450 feet

There are even fun winter activities for non-skiers to experience resort-life!

Anyone wishing to take in the alpine views at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort on foot should make time to ride the Aerial Tram (AKA Big Red) to 10,450 ft. There are even waffles waiting for you at the top!

After your 9 minute ride up the mountain, pop into Corbet’s Cabin for one of their world-famous waffles! They pair perfectly with the mountain scenery.

The famous "big red" gondola in Jackson bringing travelers up to the top of the mountain resort

Enjoy an après-ski scene for all

Whether you’re coming from a powder day at the resort or an afternoon roaming downtown shops, après ski begins at 3PM!

For folks coming off the slopes, the Mangy Moose is widely-known for their après fun among visitors and locals alike. Cold beer, signature drinks, and filling nachos are only a few of the restaurant’s top attractions.

Grab a table after a long day of skiing or riding and listen to some live music as you recount the day’s excitement.

Downtown Jackson has an après scene of its own, and a local favorite is the Million Dollar Cowboy. You may recognize this bar’s famous saddle stools!

If you’re looking for some après-ski fun in town, pop into this lively watering hole for western ambiance, music, mouthwatering steak, and a refreshing beverage!

Feet up with ski shoes still on with apres ski drinks in the background and a view of distant ski chalets and mountains

Enjoy the delicious Jackson Hole dining scene

Foodies, this one is for you! Jackson Hole is the heart of the west but home to cuisines from all over the world.

If your breakfast, lunch, and dinner were from all the best restaurants in Jackson, the lineup would look like this:

Breakfast: Delicious espresso drinks and gourmet French bakery items come together at Persephone Bakery. Take something to go or dine in. There’s something everyone will love here from light and sweet to filling and savory!

A perfect cappuccino with foam with chocolate on top, served on a wood table.

Lunch: Every town has its signature burger place, and in Jackson, it’s Liberty Burger. Reasonably priced with a wide selection of local brews on tap, there’s no wonder why Liberty Burger is a local favorite! Try your first bison burger with onion rings on the side. They even have great veggie burgers!

Dinner: For dinner, pass around a variety of European-style small plates at Bin22. Make reservations in advance or arrive early because this is one of the most popular dinner restaurants in Jackson Hole! Sip on hand-selected wines and indulge in the best flavors your palate has ever tasted.

Dessert: If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll want to stop by Moo’s Gourmet Ice Cream. Their all-natural ice cream made with 100% organic cream is to die for. For those out there that don’t like ice cream, Moo’s also has a wide selection of baked goods, truffles, and even offers house-blend coffee!

Hit up the local breweries

Jackson has a great brewery scene that you absolutely should check out while you’re there!

Roadhouse & Brewing Company is a favorite stop on the Wyoming Beer Trail. The brewery started as homebrewers and they’ve kept true to their roots, focusing on small-batch beers inspired by the landscapes around them.

Snake River Brewing is another local favorite, which also offers tours of their brewery — just e-mail them to set up a tour.

StillWest Brewery & Grill also operates in town and always has several beers which are standard (a kolsch, an APA, a red ale, a pilsner, and a porter) and 3+ seasonal offerings.

A flight of 4 beers including a dark stout, a light lager, a medium-colored pale ale, and a red ale.

Jackson Winter Weather

In a word? COLD!

So cold, in fact, that the coldest temperature Wyoming ever experienced was measured in Moran, Grand Teton National Park, just 31 miles from Jackson — a bone-chilling -63 degrees Fahrenheit, back in 1933!

But don’t worry — that’s not exactly the average temperature in Jackson in winter.

Here are the breakdowns for winter temperatures and weather conditions in Jackson in winter, and what to expect on a month-by-month basis from November through March.

A classic view of Grand Teton National Park in winter: peaks covered in snow with blue skies

November: Average high of 40° F and an average low of 17° F, with 6 days of rain/snow

December: Average high of 28° F and an average low of 7° F, with 8 days of snow.

January: Average high of 28° F and an average low of 5° F, with 8 days of snow.

February: Average high of 33° F and an average low of 9° F, with 6 days of snow.

March: Average high of 42° F and an average low of 18° F, with 10 days of snow/rain.

What to Pack for Jackson Hole in Winter

A sign which reads "Howdy Stranger Yonder is Jackson Hole: The Last of the Old West" with mountain background.

If you’re going to do any winter hiking, skiing (cross-country or downhill), snowmobiling, or general snow play, you’ll want to bring waterproof outer layers like snow pants or waterproof hiking pants as well as a waterproof jacket.

Underneath, you’ll want lots of layers: think thermals, wool socks, and a cozy sweater. You’ll also need proper snow boots and winter accessories.

Waterproof Parka: In the snow and cold of winter in Jackson Hole, you’ll want something like this wonderful North Face parka. I’ve had this one for ten years and it’s held up beautifully from everything to biking in NYC in winter to visiting north of the Arctic circle in Tromso and Abisko. It’ll certainly do you well in Jackson in winter!

Waterproof Pants: If you’re doing any winter hiking, skiing, sledding, snowboarding (basically, anything more intense than just checking out viewpoints you can drive to) you’ll want waterproof pants: trust me, jeans just won’t do! 

Thermal Layers: Underneath whatever clothes you choose to wear, you’ll likely need some thermal layers to keep you warm in the Jackson winter cold.

Snow Boots: For snow boots, I suggest these cute and cozy Sorel boots, which are waterproof and warm but also have plenty of traction. Add some Yaktrax to the bottom for grip on icy surfaces and pathways. These are a godsend!

Winter Accessories: No matter what the temperature, winter accessories like a hat, gloves, and scarf are always a good idea! They help you layer and protect your most sensitive parts (ears, head, fingers) from the cold.

Snowshoes: Many trails in nearby Grand Teton National Park in winter will require proper snowshoes (different than snow boots!) if you want to do some winter trekking.

Camera: You’ll want a camera to capture all that Wyoming winter beauty! I use and love my Sony A6000! It’s mirrorless, so it’s lightweight and perfect for a high-quality camera that won’t weigh your pack down.

Headlamp (and extra batteries): If you’re hiking in or doing anything in the mountains in winter, it can get dark early — and quickly. Bring a headlamp in case any hikes take longer than expected or if you are planning any sunset hikes. This Petzl headlamp is highly-rated and affordable.

Where to Stay in Jackson in Winter

An Aerial view over Jackson Hole in winter with lots of snow

Best Overall: Wyoming Inn

 The chic yet laid-back Wyoming Inn at Jackson Hole is my personal pick for where to stay in Jackson, WY! This charming hotel is super cozy and is designed with Western-style decor.

The inn’s lobby comes with a roaring fireplace, is toned with warm colors with lots of wood elements, and has an overall rustic design that gives you serious cabin vibes with modern hotel amenities.

The Inn also has its own designated fitness center complete with fancy Peloton equipment, a big hot tub to soak sore muscles in, and complimentary tea, hot chocolate, and cookies by the fireplace! There’s also a great on-site restaurant for nights when you’re too tired to properly hit the town.

>> Check photos, reviews, and availability here <<

Best on a Budget: Elk Country Inn

If you’re traveling Jackson on a budget, look to the beautiful The Elk Country Inn. It’s highly rated by fellow travelers and affordable (well, by Jackson standards) for cost-conscious travelers.

It’s located just 4 blocks from Town Square in central Jackson, and the rooms are modern, spacious, and clean.

I’ll admit, the ambiance is a bit generic/standard hotel, and it doesn’t quite have the cool hipster points that. aplace like Wyoming Inn has, but it’s warm, comfortable, and well-appointed.

There’s also an indoor swimming pool and a lobby fireplace: two big wins considering its budget-friendly price tag.

>> Check photos, reviews, and availability here <<

Best in Luxury: Teton Mountain Lodge & Spa

 If cost is not a factor, the stunning Teton Mountain Lodge and Spa (a Noble House Resort) is a no-brainer.

This hotel is as luxurious as it gets in Jackson Hole, located in Teton Village just about a mile from Grand Teton National Park. It’s perfect for people who plan on skiing while in Jackson because it’s basically a ski-in, ski-out hotel.

There are a variety of room types, all with a gorgeous fireplace and cooking area, so you can find everything from queen studios to bi-level two-bedroom suites. While none are particularly budget-friendly, you can find the best size and style to suit your needs.

In terms of luxury amenities, there is a phenomenal on-site restaurant, a chic bar area with a great apres-ski scene, indoor and outdoor hot tubs, an indoor heated pool, a massage and spa center, and a gorgeous outdoor heated pool that’s lit up beautifully at night for after-dark dips under the Wyoming stars!

>> Check photos, reviews, and availability here <<

***

There’s so much to do and see in Jackson Hole in winter!

There’s no denying, this snowy paradise is the perfect destination for foodies, outdoor enthusiasts, powder hounds, and view-seekers alike!

Read More

If you’re planning a winter escape, you may want to read these guides which will help!

Pin This Guide to Jackson Hole in Winter

Grand Teton in Winter: 30 Things to Know Before You Go

Anyone who loves the aesthetic beauty of snowy mountains will be in awe by the winter views in Grand Teton National Park!

The peaks rocky slopes become artistically contoured by the frequent arrival of fresh powder, and the area trails become snow-covered.

Grant Teton National Park and its gateway town of Jackson, WY come to life with winter visitors eager to explore.

If you love getting outdoors in the wintertime and enjoy the brisk mountain air, Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park in winter are the perfect destinations for you!

Outdoor enthusiasts from all over the world flock to this winter wonderland for the epic ski terrain at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, backcountry skiing in the Teton Range, mountaineering, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and the encompassing mountain views.

Grand Teton in Winter FAQs

A moose walking through the snow with snow-covered Grand Teton range behind him in winter
Is Grand Teton open in winter?

Absolutely — Grand Teton National Park is open 365 days a year, including the winter season! However, once there is significant snowfall, many roads and areas in Grand Teton do close down. We go into those closures later in the article

Can you drive through Grand Teton in winter?

The two main highways in Grand Teton are open in winter: Highway 89/191 and Highway 26/287. Many park roads close to vehicle traffic in winter and become groomed trails for winter sports, including Teton Park Road and Moose-Wilson Road.

What is the best time of year to visit Grand Teton National Park?

It truly depends on what you enjoy doing and how comfortable you are in the cold! If you’re looking to enjoy hiking but aren’t a fan of snow, then Grand Teton in winter is obviously a bad idea. But if you can find joy in winter sports like cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and winter wildlife tours, then I’d say winter is Grand Teton National Park is one of the best times of year due to the stunning snow-covered scenery and serious lack of visitors!

What is there to do in Grand Tetons in the winter?

So, so much — we’ll go into it all later in the post! But let’s start with winter hiking, cross-country skiing (Nordic skiing), guided backcountry skiing, guided wildlife tours including sleigh rides to see local elk, snowshoeing, and warming up after all your adventures in nearby Jackson Hole which is a lively place to be in the winter!

Grand Teton Winter Weather

A classic view of Grand Teton National Park in winter: peaks covered in snow with blue skies

In a word? COLD! So cold, in fact, that the coldest temperature Wyoming ever experienced was measured in Moran, Grand Teton National Park — a bone-chilling 63 degrees below zero Fahrenheit in 1933!

But don’t worry — that’s not exactly the average temperatures in Grand Teton in winter.

Here are the breakdowns for winter temperatures and weather conditions in Grand Teton National Park, and what to expect on a month-by-month basis from November through March.

November: Average high of 35° F and an average low of 14° F, with 11 days of rain/snow

December: Average high of 25° F and an average low of 3° F, with 12 days of rain/snow.

January: Average high of 25° F and an average low of 0° F, with 12 days of snow/rain.

February: Average high of 30° F and an average low of 2° F, with 10 days of snow/rain.

February: Average high of 39° F and an average low of 11° F, with 10 days of snow/rain.

Grand Teton Entry Price in Winter

View over a winter Grand Teton landscape with a river, trees, and snow-covered mountains.

The Grand Teton entry price is the same year-round. For vehicles, it costs $35 for a 7-day pass. For people entering on foot, it costs $20 for a 7-day pass.

If you’re planning on visiting Yellowstone in winter as well, that’ll be $70 per vehicle for both parks, as there is no combined ticket for just the two parks. However, for $10 more, you can buy a National Parks Pass valid for an entire year.

If you plan on visiting both parks, I highly recommend investing in an America the Beautiful pass! It gives you one year of free entry to all National Parks and other federally-administered protected areas (National Forests, National Seashores, etc. — over 2,000 sites!) for the low price of $79.99.

Plus, 10% of that goes back into the National Park Foundation to keep the land pure, beautiful, and accessible for all.

>> Buy your America the Beautiful annual pass online here! <<

Jackson Hole and Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center

Wood, stone, and glass building with snow piled high and on roof with the words "Visitor Center" and one person entering the building

Every trip into a national park should begin with a stop at a visitor center! Visitor centers are the perfect place to get the most recent information on road conditions and chat with professionals that have expert knowledge of the area.

The Jackson Hole and Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center is located in Jackson, WY, just outside of the national park and next to the National Elk Refuge.

In addition to offering an official update on road conditions and information on winter safety, this visitor center has phenomenal views, interesting interpretive displays, a bookstore operated by the Grand Teton Association, and ticket sales for sleigh rides into the National Elk Refuge.

Visitor Center Hours

During the winter season in Grand Teton National Park, the Visitor Center hours for the Jackson Hole Visitor Center are between 9 AM and 5 PM seven days a week.

Although the visitor center is open year-round, holiday visitors can expect to find the center closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Be sure to get all the info you need in advance!

Once you have all the information you need, you’re ready to explore a wintry Grand Teton National Park!

Where to Stay in Grand Teton in Winter

An aerial photo taken with a drone of Jackson Hole town with a river winding through it and mountains on the edge of town

There is nowhere to stay in Grand Teton National Park itself in the winter, as all the in-park lodging ends mid-October. Therefore, you’ll want to stay in nearby Jackson Hole or Teton Village.

Luckily, there’s no shortage of incredible accommodations there! Here are our top picks for where to stay near Grand Teton.

My top choice? The chic yet laid-back Wyoming Inn at Jackson Hole! This cozy inn features Western-style decor complete with a roaring fireplace, warm woodsy colors, rustic design touches, and large, modern rooms.

Added luxury amenities include a fitness center with Peloton equipment, a large hot tub, complimentary tea, hot chocolate, and cookies by the fireplace, and a delicious on-site restaurant.
>> Check photos, reviews, and availablity here

Traveling on a budget? Then I would opt for the beautiful The Elk Country Inn, which is highly rated and affordable for cost-conscious travelers. Just 4 blocks from the central Town Square in Jackson Hole, the rooms are modern, spacious, and clean.

The ambiance is a bit generic hotel, as opposed to hip places like Wyoming Inn, but it’s warm and comforting nonetheless. There’s also an indoor swimming pool and fireplace: a score for a budget-conscious place.
>> Check photos, reviews, and availability here

Looking for the ultimate in luxury? If cost is not a factor, the stunning Teton Mountain Lodge and Spa (which is a Noble House Resort) is the obvious choice! This is as luxurious as it gets in the Grand Teton area. There are a variety of room types, all with a gorgeous fireplace and cooking area, so you can find everything from queen studios to bi-level two-bedroom suites.

It’s located in Teton Village, just over a mile from Grand Teton National Park and close to several ski runs in case you’re traveling with skiers. There is a phenomenal on-site restaurant, a lively bar area for apres-ski drinks, indoor and outdoor hot tubs, an indoor heated pool, a massage and spa center, and a gorgeous outdoor heated pool that’s lit up beautifully at night for after-dark dips.
>> Check photos, reviews, and availability here

Grand Teton NP Winter Road Conditions and Closures

A view of a plowed road leading through a pine forest with a clear view of the Grand Teton winter range ahead

Winter-like conditions in Grand Teton National Park and Jackson Hole can last from November until mid-April.

During that time, the park closes many of its roads to keep visitors safe during winter travel. The park service strongly encourages 4-wheel drive and tires that are suitable for snow-covered roads during winter in Grand Teton.

Grand Teton Winter Roads Open Year-Round

For those traveling from Jackson, WY, John D. Rockefeller Jr. Parkway/ HWY 191 remains open through the winter up until the Flagg Ranch, which is just before the boundary of Yellowstone National Park.

Although the roadway is plowed, those who choose to travel on this route should expect the road to be snow-covered and icy. Drive with caution.

Seasonally Closed Roads

Beginning on November 1st, the Teton Park Road is closed to private vehicle traffic from the Taggert Lake Trailhead to Signal Mountain Lodge. The road remains closed throughout winter until April 1st.

Although the Teton Park Road closes to private vehicle traffic, it does open up to many more fun winter activities, which we will get to in a bit!

Most other park roads close on November 1st or when the park service determines that the road is impassable due to snowfall.

Always check on conditions at the Jackson Hole Visitor Center before entering the park!

Grand Teton Winter Tours

Three bighorn sheep clustered together in a snow-covered Grand Teton in winter landscape

There are tons of winter tours if you prefer a more structured experience in Grand Teton in winter, led by a knowledgeable guide who is passionate about the region and exploring it safely and conscientiously.

Here are a few of the best Grand Teton tours and activities you can do in the winter!

Snowmobiling: The beautiful Heart Six Ranch offers full-day snowmobiling tours of their region in the Grand Teton mountains, including a tasty lunch at a beautiful mountain lodge and gear rental (bring your own warm base layers). This is a full-day tour from 8 AM to 4 PM or later, so it’s great for whiling away a day in the backcountry of Grand Teton in winter!

>> Book your snowmobiling excursion here <<

Wildlife Tour: Want to see the best winter wildlife in Grand Teton National Park? That means a pre-dawn wake-up call to spot some of the most beautiful animals in the park on a sunrise wildlife tour. This small-group tour (maximum size: 7 participants) includes a pre-dawn pickup, tasty breakfast, and several hours of wildlife spotting with an expert guide before returning to your hotel for a cozy afternoon nap or fireside lounge!

>> Book your sunrise wildlife tour in Grand Teton here <<

Full-Day Private Tour: For an all-day private guided tour of Grand Teton for small groups up to 4, this is the best tour to pick if you want total privacy for your group or family for social distancing or just enjoyment purposes. This tour focuses on winter wildlife spotting and photography spots in Grand Teton, but as you are the only participants on the tour, you can speak with your guide to try to customize aspects of the itinerary.

>> Book your private guided tour of Grand Teton here <<

Cross Country Skiing in Grand Teton National Park

A father and son enjoying cross-country skiing on a winter day in Grand Teton National Park with blue skies and snow.

Skiing into Grand Teton National Park is an experience unlike any other. The area’s powdery snow is perfect for ski touring, and the views are unbeatable.

There are many professional outfitters located in Jackson that can equip you with everything you need to get out and glide through Grand Teton National Park. If you are visiting during the holidays or for spring break, you may want to reserve your rental gear in advance to secure availability!

Teton Park Road

For those interested in cross country skiing in Grand Teton, the Teton Park Road is a great place to start.

The Teton Park Road is groomed from the Taggert Lake Trailhead, where you will likely park your vehicle, all the way to Signal Mountain Lodge.

That’s nearly 15 miles of beautifully groomed trail to explore beginning in mid-December, depending on conditions. The trail passes popular attractions like Jenny Lake and the southern end of Jackson Lake.

Whether you decide to ski only a few miles or the whole stretch of the road, on a bluebird day you’re guaranteed epic views of the Cathedral Group, which includes Grand Teton, Mount Owen, Teewinot, Middle Teton, and South Teton. 

Moose-Wilson Road

Another great option for some in-park cross country skiing is the Moose-Wilson Road.

To ski along the groomed trail on this scenic road, park at the Granite Canyon Trailhead. The road is groomed for about 3 miles, where it ends at another trailhead.

Round trip, the trail offers 6 miles of the wonderful forested scenery. During the winter, skiers often use this road to access Phelps Lake.

Skiing with Pets in Grand Teton

A faraway view of horses in the distance and mountains with footsteps in the snow.

Did you know your favorite four-legged friend can join you as you ski?

Regardless of snowfall, the Teton Park Road does close on November 1st to private vehicle traffic. However, the road begins to welcome leashed pets!

Once the snow begins to fall, leashed pets must stay in the multi-use lane. Pets are also welcome on the Moose-Wilson Road following the November 1st closing.

Use caution whenever traveling off-trail and be aware of the current avalanche conditions.

Snowshoeing in the Tetons

A family embarking together on a snowshoeing adventure in Grand Teton National Park away from camera towards the mountains.

For anyone uninterested in cross-country skiing, snowshoeing is another great way to get outdoors in the wintertime!

There’s an easier learning curve compared to cross-country skiing, and snowshoes are very cheap to pick up your own pair so you can have them with you all winter season long. Here’s a well-reviewed affordable pair that also comes with snowshoeing poles.

One thing to note: on mixed-use trails, do not snowshoe in the cross-country ski tracks! The cross-country skiers use this to return to the trailhead more easily. It’s poor trail etiquette to snowshoe over their tracks.

Ranger-Led Tours

Grand Teton National Park offers a fun program called, “Explore Winter: Snowshoe with a Ranger”.

Participants can join a park ranger for a snowy hike in the Taggert Lake area. This is a great opportunity to learn how to be safe while recreating in the winter, ask questions about the park, and explore the Teton’s beautiful landscape.

Reservations for this ranger-led program must be made in advance on the park’s official website. Snowshoes, historic of those used in the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division during World War II, are provided to all participants. 

Groomed Trails on Moose-Wilson Road and Teton Park Road

The groomed trails in Grand Teton National Park, mentioned above in the cross-country skiing section, are also open to snowshoeing!

Remember to avoid walking on top of the ski tracks whenever possible.

Colter Bay

If you’re interested in a self-guided snowshoe excursion, there are a few other areas to consider.

A popular spot for winter hiking and snowshoeing is Colter Bay. The Colter Bay trails are adjacent to Jackson Lake and offer picturesque views of the Teton Range on clear days!

To access the Colter Bay parking area, visitors should use John D. Rockefeller Jr. Parkway/ HWY 191. From the town of Jackson, this area is a 1-hour scenic drive.

Backcountry Skiing in Grand Teton in Winter

A man skiing doing a large jump in the backcountry landscape of the Grand Tetons with a powder trail behind him.

The Teton Range is a well-known paradise for mountaineering, climbing, and backcountry skiing. However, these activities aren’t for the faint of heart or the inexperienced.

Grand Teton National Park encourages all snow-season backcountry users to carry the appropriate safety equipment and have expert knowledge of avalanche safety.

There is still a way to explore the winter backcountry for intermediate skiers, however. For those eager to get deeper into the Teton’s remote terrain, a guided backcountry ski trip might be in order.

There are many professional outfitters that are permitted to offer guided backcountry ski trips into Grand Teton National Park! Teton Backcountry Guides is one such company.

Going with a professional guide is a great way to learn about winter safety and ensure that the mountain routes you run are thoroughly assessed for avalanche danger.

The helpful folks at the Visitor Center can help you find a guide company that offers exactly what you’re looking for.

Winter Wildlife Viewing

An elk with giant horns in focus with mouth open and a blurry background with one other elk behind.

Get out of the chilly winter air and warm up on a scenic drive to seek out some area wildlife.

Grand Teton National Park is home to bison, deer, elk, coyote, bear, and even wolves!

Although bear settle in for hibernation in the wintertime, many of the park’s other wildlife remains active.

Hit the road for a drive along John D. Rockefeller Jr. Parkway/ HWY 191 from Jackson, WY. Take all opportunities to pull off of the road and scout the open landscape.

A good pair of binoculars or a spotting scope will be extra helpful for locating wildlife in the distance.

Wolves in Willow Flats Overlook

The Willow Flats Overlook is well-known as one of the best places to scout for wolves in Grand Teton National Park.

Grab a parking spot and set up shop for a little while. Be patient in your search, and remember to have fun!

The National Elk Refuge

Elk can often be seen just outside of the park in the winter at the National Elk Refuge in Jackson Hole.

The refuge also is a popular place to spot other types of mammals and migratory birds.

Sleigh Rides to See the Elk

Two brown horses in profile wearing bridal, reins, and other horse gear in order to bring travelers on a sleigh ride.

Wintertime visitors can get a close-up view of the massive elk herd that inhabits the refuge by booking a horse-drawn sleigh ride!

Tickets and reservations for the sleigh rides are available at the Jackson Hole and Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center.

What to Pack for Grand Teton in Winter

A view of the famous "Grand Teton Cabin", a wooden structure shaped almost like a sombrero hat, with a sunrise light glow on the tips of the mountain range behind.

Packing for Grand Teton in winter requires some extra consideration, especially in the clothing department.

Waterproof Parka: In the snowy weather and freezing temperatures of Grand Teton in winter, you’ll want something like this wonderful North Face parka. It’s pricy to be sure, but it comes with a lifetime guarantee (which I’ve tested by sending in my zipper to be fixed after four years of use and abuse cycling in it all winter long – my jacket came back looking like new!).

I’ve had this one for ten years and it’s held up beautifully from everything to biking in NYC in winter to visiting North of the Arctic circle in TromsoAbisko, and Finnish Lapland. It’ll certainly do you just fine in Grand Teton in winter!

>>> Get yours here! <<<

Waterproof Pants: If you’re doing any winter hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, snowboarding, etc. (basically, anything more intense than just a stroll around town) you’ll want waterproof pants: trust me, jeans just won’t do when you’re dealing with snow this deep.

Snow Boots: For snow boots for walking around Yellowstone National Park as well as whatever town you’re using as your base, I suggest these cute and cozy Sorel boots for women, which are waterproof and warm but also have plenty of traction. Add some Yaktrax to the bottom for grip on icy surfaces and pathways. These are a godsend!

Warm Leggings: You have two options for ultra-warm leggings in winter – fleece-lined for people with sensitive skin like me, and merino wool for people who don’t find wool itchy like I do. I own several pairs of these fleece-lined leggings in a variety of colors (I have black, gray, and maroon). I wear these underneath my waterproof pants in the snow. For people who like wool, merino wool leggings are the way to go – the absolute warmest you can get!

Fleece-Lined Knit Hat: I live in several different colors of knit hats in the winter. Since your jacket is likely a dark or neutral color, it’s fun to liven up your look (and photos) with a selection of colorful beanies. I like a snug knit hat lined in fleece and with a pom pom that does absolutely nothing to add warmth but tons to add cuteness!

Thermal Top Layer: Again, this’ll depend on if you like wool or not. I don’t, so I go for thin performance thermals like this Heat Plus layer from 32 Degrees. However, if you’re a fan of wool, a merino wool base layer will keep you insanely warm and it won’t trap odors, meaning you can re-wear it several times before it needing a wash — great if you like to pack light.

An Enormous Scarf: The bigger and thicker and more wrappable the scarf, the better. I tend to opt for bright, bold colors to liven up my look. I love these ones — they’re cheap and feel soft like cashmere but aren’t pricy (or in my opinion, itchy!) like it!

Touchscreen Friendly Gloves: Taking off your gloves to use your phone when navigating on GPS, looking up something you’ve bookmarked, etc. is so annoying. Most gloves these days tend to be touchscreen friendly, but check before you buy. These gloves are adorable, touchscreen-compatible, and affordable.

Waterproof Gloves: You’ll also want to layer waterproof gloves over your touchscreen gloves if you’re snowshoeing or cross-country skiing and generally out and about a lot in the snow when you can’t put your hands in your pockets.

Headlamp (and Extra Batteries): Grand Teton National Park in winter can get dark early — and quickly — due to the early sunset time plus the mountains making it get darker even before that. Bring a headlamp in case any hikes take longer than expected! This Petzl headlamp is highly-rated and affordable.

Waterproof Backpack or Dry Bag: You’ll want to keep your belongings dry, especially if you’re doing long hikes in the snow or freezing rain. Bring a waterproof backpack — you won’t regret it, especially if you’re carrying pricy camera equipment — or even a dry bag for added protection.

Snowshoes (optional): Many trails in Grand Teton in winter will require proper snowshoes (different than snow boots!) and poles if you want to do some winter trekking. You can also rent them, but they’re pretty cheap to buy and will last you for future winter trips!

Camera: You’ll want a camera to capture all that Grand Teton winter beauty. I use and love my Sony A6000! It’s mirrorless, so it’s lightweight and perfect for a high-quality camera that won’t weigh your pack down. Bring extra batteries as they burn out faster in the cold.

Battery Pack: Cold weather depletes cell phone batteries insanely quickly, so if you’re using your cell phone as your primary camera and navigation device (and who doesn’t these days?) you’ll absolutely want the ability to power up without a wall outlet while you’re out enjoying nature.

I rely on an Anker battery pack to keep all my devices charged in the cold — and as a blogger who takes frequent winter trips to the Arctic and beyond with way more gear than a normal person needs, it’s served me very well!

>>> Get your battery pack here <<<

Travel Insurance for Grand Teton

View of the Grand Tetons at sunset with sun colors lighting up the mountains in pastel pink and lavender and a snow-covered landscape everywhere else.

I always recommend travel insurance, but in winter, that goes even more so. Travel insurance protects you from everything from accidents to trip cancellation to illness and more.

I use and recommend World Nomads as my travel insurance provider and have been a happily-paying customer for four years of near-constant travel!

If you’re just planning on doing basic winter activities, you can go ahead with the Standard plan, but if you’re planning on anything more extreme — including snowmobiling, skiing, snowboarding, etc. — you’ll want to upgrade to the Explorer plan for full coverage.

Get a free quote for coverage here!

Concluding Thoughts on Visiting Grand Teton in Winter

Grand Teton National Park is a wealth of outdoor adventure and scenic views in the wintertime.

With so many activities to choose from, there’s no wonder why this area makes a perfect destination for winter travel!

Pin This Guide to Grand Teton in Winter!

Yellowstone in Winter: 30 Useful Things to Know Before Visiting

Yellowstone National Park becomes a wintery wonderland by mid-fall. The peaks are heavy with snowpack, bear hunker down with their full bellies, and the rivers steam at the touch of the frosty air.

As the temperatures begin to drop, the summer crowds disperse and Yellowstone in winter quiets down.

While normally you have to go back-country to get away from the crowds, in winter, Yellowstone front-country becomes a place to seek solitude and silence.

Yellowstone in Winter FAQs

View of Mammoth Hot Springs in sunrise light with lots of mist and steam and pastel colors from morning sun.
What is there to do in Yellowstone in winter?

Quite a lot! While most of the park is closed to private vehicles, snowmobiles and snowcoaches will take you to many of the most scenic parts of Yellowstone without the crowds. Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are two of the most popular winter activities in Yellowstone, as well as wildlife spotting and wildlife photography.

Where should I stay in Yellowstone in winter?

Many of the lodges in the park itself are closed, with the exception of the Old Faithful Lodge.

Instead, I recommend staying in Jackson Hole or West Yellowstone.

For Jackson Hole, I suggest Wyoming Inn. This cozy inn features Western-style decor complete with a roaring fireplace, warm woodsy colors, rustic design touches, and large, modern rooms. Check photos and reviews here.

For West Yellowstone, I suggest the hip The Adventure Inn. This stylish spot has a minimalist style, with a Scandinavian sensibility mashed up against a woodsy edge. It’s like a Brooklyn loft and a mountain cabin had a baby: it’s beautiful. Check photos and reviews here.

Can I drive through Yellowstone in winter?

Only through the North Entrance in Gardiner, MT leading to the Northeast Entrance — otherwise a snowcoach or snowmobile transit must be booked. More on that below.

Road Conditions and Seasonal Closures in Yellowstone in Winter

Road leading into Yosemite National Park in winter

As Yellowstone National Park transitions into winter season activities, there are some important dates to keep in mind!

While certain roads close to private vehicles, others begin to open to over-snow transportation such as snowmobile and snowcoach – We’ll talk about these more in a bit.

Yellowstone Entry Price in Winter

Sun low on the horizon showing through a puff of steam from hydrothermal area of boardwalk

The price to enter Yellowstone National Park in winter is the same as at any other time of year: $35 for private vehicles and $30 for snowmobiles, each granting 7 days of admission.

However, if you like National Parks, I highly recommend investing in an America the Beautiful pass! It gives you one year of free entry to all National Parks and other federally-administered protected areas (National Forests, National Seashores, etc. — over 2,000 sites!) for the low price of $79.99.

Plus, 10% of that goes back into the National Park Foundation to keep the land pure, beautiful, and accessible for all.

>> Buy your America the Beautiful annual pass online here! <<

Yellowstone Winter Opening Dates

Paved road with snow covered trees in Yellowstone National Park

These opening dates apply to over-snow travel only. Over-snow travel includes snowmobiling, cross country skiing, snowcoach tours, and snowshoeing. It does not include personal private vehicles.

If you would like to drive your own vehicle into the park, you will need to use the North Entrance in Gardiner, MT — the only open road.

The road between the North Entrance and the Northeast Entrance remains open for private vehicles all year.

The following sections of road open mid-December for over-snow travel:

  • West Entrance to Old Faithful
  • Mammoth Hot Springs to Old Faithful
  • Canyon Village to Norris
  • Canyon Village to Yellowstone Lake
  • Old Faithful to West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake
  • South Entrance to Yellowstone Lake
  • Yellowstone Lake to Lake Butte Overlook

Yellowstone Winter Closing Dates

Yellowstone geyser in winter showing blue turquoise water with orange rim in white snow

If you are planning to make a late winter trip to Yellowstone National Park, you will want to be aware of the winter closing dates for over-snow use.

The following roads close to over-snow travel in early March:

  • Sylvan Pass
  • Mammoth Hot Springs to Norris
  • Norris to Madison Junction
  • Norris to Canyon Village

All remaining roads close for over-snow travel, with the exception of the road between the North Entrance and Northeast Entrance, in mid-March.

Winter Road Conditions in Yellowstone

Curving paved road leading to Yellowstone in winter with snow-covered trees.

Always check on Yellowstone National Park’s official website for updated road conditions before traveling to the park. The weather can change quickly, and you’ll want to be prepared.

That means snow chains if you are driving the North-Northeast Entrance route, safety flares or triangles in case of a breakdown, and warm clothing / emergency blankets in case you are stranded for a while waiting for a tow.

When to Visit Yellowstone in Winter

Frozen Lower Yellowstone falls with trees on the landscape.

The best time to visit Yellowstone National Park for winter activities is between the end of December and the end of February. It’s one of my favorite National Parks to visit in December for good reason!

This is because it falls into the over-snow travel period but before the period ends, and it has the fewest crowds while also having some of the most stunning snow-covered landscapes you can imagine: white snow broken only by the beautiful kaleidoscope of the rainbow-hued geothermal pools in the ground!

Weather in Yellowstone in Winter

Misty foggy landscape of Yellowstone in winter with trees and mountains.

Yellowstone in winter can be summed up in one word: FREEZING.

Fun fact: The West Entrance recorded the park’s record low of -66°F in 1933. BRRR!

Here are the breakdowns for winter weather in Yellowstone and what to expect on a month-by-month basis from November through February.

November: Average high of 34° F and an average low of 13° F, with 12 days of rain/snow

December: Average high of 26° F and an average low of 4° F, with 13 days of rain/snow.

January: Average high of 28° F and an average low of 3° F, with 13 days of snow/rain.

February: Average high of 31° F and an average low of 4° F, with 11 days of snow/rain.

Getting Around Yellowstone in Winter

View from behind of a man on snowmobile with another snowmobile ahead on a sunny winter day.

Traveling in Yellowstone National Park is a little different in the wintertime.

Some pre-trip planning is in order if you plan to visit Old Faithful, Canyon Village, Yellowstone Lake, or any other area of the park that is inaccessible by private vehicle.

If you want to explore these areas of the park during the wintertime, you will want to schedule a snowcoach or snowmobile tour well in advance of your trip date! These excursions are popular among wintertime visitors!

Booking an Over-Snow Tour

A yellow snowcoach plowing through snow in Yellowstone National Park

You have two options for over-snow travel in Yellowstone in winter: snowcoach and snowmobile. And they are very different!

A snowcoach is an enclosed vehicle with large tires capable of driving on the park’s snow-covered roads with ease. They have comfortable seats and large windows for viewing the snowy landscape.

Snowcoach tours are great for families or visitors who want to sit back and relax while exploring the park with a knowledgeable professional.

For those with an adventurous spirit, a snowmobile tour will offer a thrilling Yellowstone winter experience!

Although driving speeds are limited to 25 mph in the park, riding a snowmobile past herds of bison and elk is exhilarating and unlike any other scenic tour. The best part is, the professional outfitters will make sure you are geared up to stay warm throughout the entire ride!

Now, let’s talk about what kind of fun winter activities there are in Yellowstone!

Overwhelmed by Visiting Yellowstone National Park in Winter?

Pack of elk with horns with one standing in the river and others in background

Admittedly, Yellowstone is not the easiest national park to visit in the winter if you are used to being able to drive to different points and not have to worry about over-snow transportation.

If reading this far into the post has gotten you feeling a bit anxious and overwhelmed by all the planning that needs to go into a successful Yellowstone winter trip, I strongly recommend opting for a 4- or 5-day guided tour which will handle all the logistics.

This 4-day tour includes transportation from Jackson, Wyoming on the beginning and end of the tour as well as 3 nights of accommodation in West Yellowstone, ending in Jackson Hole.

It includes the following: wildlife sighting opportunities in Grand Teton National Park (keeping an eye out for wolves, elk, bison, moose, elk, bison, foxes, eagles, deer and more!), a snowcoach trip to see Old Faithful and other hydrothermal areas in Yellowstone National Park, a horse-drawn sleigh ride into the National Elk Refuge, boardwalk hikes through Fountain Paint-Pots and Mud-Pots, and lots of stops for beautiful winter photography opportunities.

Check the itinerary and more details of this 4-day Yellowstone and Grand Teton winter trip!

Pack of four wolves walking through snow in Yellowstone National Park in winter

Another option is this 5-day wildlife-focused tour which covers Yellowstone extensively. It starts in Bozeman, Montana (a wonderful place to stay in winter!) and includes 4 nights of accommodation, dropping you off in Bozeman on the return.

It includes the following winter activities: a day of wildlife sightings (keeping an eye out for both bald and golden eagles, white-tailed deer, coyotes, elk, bison, bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope, and more), visiting Old Faithful via chartered snowcoach and also seeing Fountain Paint Pots along the way, Cooke City for the best place on earth to see wolves (located in the northern range of Yellowstone), and wolf winter safaris in Lamar Canyon with experienced wildlife guides and wolf researchers.

Check the itinerary and read more details about this 5-day Yellowstone wolf and wildlife focused tour!

Cross Country Skiing in Yellowstone

A white woman smiling and going cross-country skiing in Yellowstone national park

Yellowstone National Park is full of wonderful ski trails from groomed front country loops for beginners to remote backcountry routes for seasoned and highly-experienced skiers!

If you’re interested in getting out into nature on some cross country skis, these are our favorite beginner-friendly trail options for getting out into the nature of Yellowstone National Park in winter!

Upper Terrace Loop Ski Trail

View of Mammoth Hot Springs with orangey-pink sunrise sky and mist floating up from geyser.

A little spontaneous? This trail is great for last-minute trips into Yellowstone National Park in winter.

Since you can drive to the trailhead in your personal vehicle without booking over-snow transportation in advance, there’s often minimal planning involved.

The 1.5-mile loop is routinely groomed, but it can be considered difficult for beginners due to the few steep sections.

Enjoy this scenic trail around the upper terrace geysers and hot pots in Mammoth’s hydrothermal area. It takes about 1-hour to complete this loop, but leave time to take photos with the geysers, including Mammoth Hot Springs, Canary Spring, and Orange Spring Mound!

Black Sand Basin Trail

Steam rising from a geothermal feature with flowing river and snow on each side

The Black Sand Basin Trail is a great option for beginners or experienced cross country skiers!

This groomed ski trail begins at the Old Faithful Visitor Center and heads to the Upper Geyser Basin Trail. The 4-mile trail will take about 3-hours to complete as you glide past the many steaming hydrothermal features.

This ski trail is located near Old Faithful and is inaccessible to private vehicles during the wintertime.

Advanced planning is needed to accommodate for over-snow transportation.

Blacktail Plateau Ski Trail

Pack of elk with horns eating in the snow

Were you hoping to encounter some wildlife while skiing in Yellowstone in winter? Cover some ground on the Blacktail Plateau Ski Trail to spot bison, elk, and maybe a wolf pack in the distance!

This trail has a few challenging sections and stretches 8-miles with a trailhead on both ends.

It is common for skiers to park one vehicle on both ends of the tail or only ski in a few miles before turning around toward the trailhead. Either way, know your experience level and make a plan before hitting the trail.

Cross Country Ski Rental

A man on cross country skis with back turned heading towards a geothermal feature in Yellowstone in winter

Forgot to pack your cross country skis, or don’t know if you want to make the investment in your own pair just yet?

There are plenty of rental shops located in the towns of West Yellowstone, Gardiner, Big Sky, and Bozeman.

Stop by a rental shop or call ahead and they can outfit you with everything you need to experience Yellowstone National Park’s groomed cross country ski trails!

Snowshoeing in Yellowstone

A man with a red jacket and backpack snowshoeing on a misty day with snow

For those looking to take the trails a little slower, snowshoeing is a great option!

Snowshoes and trekking poles can be rented at many of the same outfitters offering cross country ski rentals, so no worries if you couldn’t bring your own along.

Many ski trails in the park are also snowshoe-friendly. Just avoid walking on top of ski tracks whenever possible, as this makes it difficult for cross-country skiers to return (as they trace their tracks!).

Here are a couple of trails to try out.

Observation Point Loop Snowshoe Trail

A blue sky day with snow on the ground and a view of Old Faithful geyser erupting steam high into the air

This trail is a must-do for anyone staying at the Old Faithful Lodge!

Conveniently located just past the Old Faithful Visitor Center, the Observation Point Loop Trail is a great way to watch the timely eruption of the world-famous geyser, Old Faithful!

Strap on your snowshoes because this 2 mile loop trail is closed to skiing. Along the way, you’ll catch views of other area geysers and maybe even some wildlife.

Tower Fall Ski Trail

For those looking for a longer snowshoe outing, the Tower Fall Ski Trail is a great choice.

Along this 5 mile trail, snowshoers will be rewarded with wintry views of Tower Fall and the Yellowstone River Canyon. Keep your eyes peeled, bison and wintering elk frequent these areas!

Winter users can park their personal vehicles in the parking area nearby Tower Junction and follow the unplowed road behind the gate.

The trail begins with a gradual uphill, which is great for warming up on chilly days! This trail is also popular for cross country skiing.

Winter Yellowstone Wildlife Viewing

A red fox looking towards the camera in the snow

A lot of Yellowstone National Park’s wildlife remains active throughout the winter season.

Although bear hibernate in their cozy dens during the snowy months, wildlife such as elk, bison, wolves, fox, coyote and bald eagle can still be spotted!

If you are taking a private tour in a snowcoach or on snowmobiles, your guide will be sure to point out any wildlife in view.

Wildlife Spotting Without a Tour

A grey wolf looking directly at the camera with snow-covered trees behind him

For those who are planning to take their own vehicles into Yellowstone, we have a few tips!

  1. Drive out toward the Lamar Valley with binoculars, hot beverages, and warm blankets. Find a nice spot where you can look out over the valley and start scanning! The Lamar Valley is famous for wolf sightings and a fresh blanket of snow often makes them easier to spot.
  2. In the wintertime, Mammoth Hot Springs becomes a popular spot for wintering elk to settle in. Spend some time in this area and count how many elk you can find!
  3. Bison can often be viewed along the drive to the Lamar Valley. If you see Bison as you drive along, be sure to only stop in designated pullouts for safety.

What to Pack for Yellowstone in Winter

A woman in a pink hooded parka with a camera photographing snow-covered trees

Waterproof Parka: In the snowy weather and freezing temperatures of Yellowstone in winter, you’ll want something like this wonderful North Face parka. It’s pricy to be sure, but it comes with a lifetime guarantee (which I’ve tested by sending in my zipper to be fixed after four years of use and abuse cycling in it all winter long – my jacket came back looking like new!).

I’ve had this one for ten years and it’s held up beautifully from everything to biking in NYC in winter to visiting north of the Arctic circle in Tromso and Abisko. It’ll certainly do you just fine in Yellowstone National Park in winter!

>>> Get yours here! <<<

Waterproof Pants: If you’re doing any winter hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, snowboarding, etc. (basically, anything more intense than just a stroll around town) you’ll want waterproof pants: trust me, jeans just won’t do when you’re dealing with snow this deep.

Snow Boots: For snow boots for walking around Yellowstone National Park as well as whatever town you’re using as your base, I suggest these cute and cozy Sorel boots for women, which are waterproof and warm but also have plenty of traction. Add some Yaktrax to the bottom for grip on icy surfaces and pathways. These are a godsend!

Warm Leggings: You have two options for ultra-warm leggings in winter – fleece-lined for people with sensitive skin like me, and merino wool for people who don’t find wool itchy like I do. I own several pairs of these fleece-lined leggings in a variety of colors (I have black, gray, and maroon). I wear these underneath my waterproof pants in the snow. For people who like wool, merino wool leggings are the way to go – the absolute warmest you can get!

Fleece-Lined Knit Hat: I live in several different colors of knit hats in the winter. Since your jacket is likely a dark or neutral color, it’s fun to liven up your look (and photos) with a selection of colorful beanies. I like a snug knit hat lined in fleece and with a pom pom that does absolutely nothing to add warmth but tons to add cuteness!

Thermal Top Layer: Again, this’ll depend on if you like wool or not. I don’t, so I go for thin performance thermals like this Heat Plus layer from 32 Degrees. However, if you’re a fan of wool, a merino wool base layer will keep you insanely warm and it won’t trap odors, meaning you can re-wear it several times before it needing a wash — great if you like to pack light.

An Enormous Scarf: The bigger and thicker and more wrappable the scarf, the better. I tend to opt for bright, bold colors to liven up my look. I love these ones — they’re cheap and feel soft like cashmere but aren’t pricy (or in my opinion, itchy!) like it!

Touchscreen Friendly Gloves: Taking off your gloves to use your phone when navigating on GPS, looking up something you’ve bookmarked, etc. is so annoying. Most gloves these days tend to be touchscreen friendly, but check before you buy. These gloves are adorable, touchscreen-compatible, and affordable.

Waterproof Gloves: You’ll also want to layer waterproof gloves over your touchscreen gloves if you’re snowshoeing or cross-country skiing and generally out and about a lot in the snow when you can’t put your hands in your pockets.

Headlamp (and Extra Batteries): Yellowstone National Park in winter can get dark early — and quickly — due to the early sunset time plus the mountains making it get darker even before that. Bring a headlamp in case any hikes take longer than expected! This Petzl headlamp is highly-rated and affordable.

Waterproof Backpack: You’ll want to keep your belongings dry, especially if you’re doing long hikes in the snow or freezing rain. Bring a waterproof backpack — you won’t regret it, especially if you’re carrying pricy camera equipment.

Snowshoes (optional): Many trails in Yellowstone in winter will require proper snowshoes (different than snow boots!) and poles if you want to do some winter trekking. You can also rent them, but they’re pretty cheap to buy and will last you for future winter trips!

Camera: You’ll want a camera to capture all that Yellowstone winter beauty. I use and love my Sony A6000! It’s mirrorless, so it’s lightweight and perfect for a high-quality camera that won’t weigh your pack down. Bring extra batteries as they burn out faster in the cold.

Battery Pack: Cold weather depletes cell phone batteries insanely quickly, so if you’re using your cell phone as your primary camera and navigation device (and who doesn’t these days?) you’ll absolutely want the ability to power up without a wall outlet while you’re out enjoying nature. I rely on an Anker battery pack to keep all my devices charged in the cold — and as a blogger who takes frequent winter trips to the Arctic and beyond with way more gear than a normal person needs, it’s served me very well!

Cooke City Excursions

A misty close up view of the peaks near Cooke City

Cooke City is a fun destination for self-guided winter trips into Yellowstone National Park. Here, winter is the primary season!

It’s not uncommon for folks to be snowmobiling in the surrounding national forest area into late June or even July!

If you’re planning on spending the morning searching for wildlife in the Lamar Valley, Cooke City makes a great place to enjoy a hot meal around lunchtime.

***

Bundle up and enjoy your winter adventure into Yellowstone National Park!

Pin This Guide to Yellowstone in Winter