How To Plan A Salt Lake City To Yellowstone Road Trip



Salt Lake City to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park road trip itinerary by Where Are Those Morgans drone photo of a road leading into Yellowstone covered in snow

There are many things to consider when planning a Salt Lake City to Yellowstone and Grand Teton road trip, including things to do, figuring out your itinerary and booking hotels. With 7 days or more you’ll see two famous national parks, visit off the beaten path spots and see the best of Salt Lake City.

In this guide we will help you plan every step of your Salt Lake City to Yellowstone road trip, based entirely on our own personal experiences.

Our Salt Lake City To Yellowstone Road Trip Experience

Mark and Kristen Morgan from Where Are Those Morgans standing on a steam vent in Yellowstone national park Wyoming
Mark and Kristen standing on a steam vent in Yellowstone

So why trust us to help with planning your once in a lifetime road trip from SLC to Grand Teton and Yellowstone?

Because we personally drove this road trip route ourselves in 2019. Since then we’ve been back to Yellowstone for a second visit and our various Wyoming travel guides have helped hundreds of thousands of first time visitors plan trips to this region.

In 2019, we drove from Mt Rushmore to Yellowstone, before spending 4 days in Yellowstone, 2 days in Grand Teton and one day in Salt Lake City. Using our extensive knowledge from the region, we’re going to show you exactly how to plan this bucket list road trip from Salt Lake City to Yellowstone.

Travel Tip: Yellowstone might be your top priority but you should also allow for at least one day in Grand Teton. You won’t regret it!

Why Start A Yellowstone Road Trip From Salt Lake City?

Vibrant yellow orange and green colors inside Morning Glory Pool
Morning Glory Pool in Yellowstone

You can start a Yellowstone road trip from a number of places including Denver, Bozeman and even West Yellowstone. So why would you choose to begin or end in Salt Lake City?

  • It’s less than 5 hours drive to Grand Teton and Yellowstone
  • Salt Lake City itself is one of the best places to visit in Utah
  • There’s loads of fun things to do around SLC
  • It’s a gateway to both Wyoming and more popular Utah road trips
  • SLC international airport conveniently serves domestic and international travelers

Travel Tip: We think Salt Lake City International is the best airport to use for Yellowstone because it connects directly with various major cities around the world and it’s a hub for domestic low budget airlines, which means Americans can fly affordably into SLC from most airports in the US.


SLC To Yellowstone Route Information

Black Pool at West Thumb geyser basin in southern Yellowstone national park
Black Pool in West Thumb Geyser Basin

Here’s the route you will be taking on this road trip:

  • Salt Lake City to Jackson – 270 miles (5h 00m)
  • Jackson to Grand Teton – 20 miles (30m)
  • Grand Teton to Yellowstone – 60 miles (1h 30m)
  • Yellowstone to Salt Lake City – 320 miles (4h 45m)

The most attractive route from Salt Lake City to Yellowstone is to drive via Logan Canyon, Bear Lake, Afton, Jackson and Grand Teton before arriving at Yellowstone south entrance.

But if you’re in a hurry and don’t have time for the scenic route, you can take I-15 and US-20 to the resort village of West Yellowstone, which also serves as the west entrance to Yellowstone National Park.

There are no rail routes or train services to Yellowstone National Park. The closest Amtrak station is in Salt Lake City. However, you can take the Salt Lake Express bus from SLC to Jackson if you really don’t want to drive from Salt Lake City to Grand Teton. You’ll find hire cars available in Jackson.

Need help planning your trip to Yellowstone?

Our popular Yellowstone travel guidebook helps you with planning every aspect of your visit, including what to see in each region, where to eat and stay, itinerary ideas and map!

View Yellowstone Guidebook
Where Are Those Morgans Yellowstone travel guidebook

Places You Will Visit

Your Salt Lake City to Yellowstone National Park road trip consists of 5 major areas:

  • Salt Lake City
  • SLC to Jackson
  • Jackson
  • Grand Teton
  • Yellowstone

Let’s take quick look at what you can expect from each area.

1. Salt Lake City, Utah

Church in Salt Lake City with starburst of the sun and wispy clouds in the sky
Stunning architecture in Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City is one of the best places to visit in the US if you’re an outdoors enthusiast. The 4,000 ft tall Wasatch Mountains provide endless hiking and skiing opportunities throughout the year. SLC is safe, clean and walkable. It also has a booming culinary and brewing culture.

We only had one day spare to explore Salt Lake City during our road trip. In hindsight, we would have allocated 3 full days for SLC so we could drive up into the Wasatch Mountains to take on some of the best hikes in Utah. If you have 8 or 9 days for your road trip, include at least half a day extra in SLC.

Things To Do Around Salt Lake City:

2. Drive From SLC To Jackson

Mountains reflecting in a lake next to a rocky beach in Wyoming
Teton Range from a rocky beach on Jackson Lake

There’s a wide range of places you can visit when driving between Salt Lake City and Jackson including Antelope Island and Craters of the Moon. We recommend skipping them all if you only have 5, 6 or 7 days for your road trip so you can focus on the two national parks.

But you might want to consider stopping at one or two places on the way if you have plenty of time available. Our example itineraries naturally take you the most scenic way from SLC to Jackson, which will include passing by Logan Canyon, Bear Lake, Afton and the Snake River.

Places to visit on the drive from SLC to Jackson:

3. Jackson, Wyoming

Tourist standing underneath the famous Antler Arch in Jackson Wyoming
Kristen standing underneath the Jackson antler arch

Jackson is one of the most popular places to visit in Wyoming because it’s a famous ski resort in the winter months and it’s the perfect base to use for exploring Grand Teton in the warmer months. The park loop road is just 12 miles from downtown Jackson, which has loads of hotels and restaurants.

We really enjoyed our 2 night stay in Jackson. It’s a quiet, relaxing wild west town with saloon-style bars and a great vibe. You can stay in Teton Village or a remote hotel between Grand Teton and Yellowstone instead of Jackson, but the amenities are better in Jackson and hotels are more affordable.

Things To Do In Jackson, Wyoming:

4. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Grand Teton mountains reflecting in Jenny Lake through green trees in the foreground
Stunning mountain reflection in Jenny Lake Grand Teton

Grand Teton National Park is a dream come true for landscape photographers. We’ve seen a lot of amazing places in the US, but Grand Teton is one of our favorites. There’s just something special about the park and we strongly recommend you allow for at least one day here.

You can do a little bit of everything in Grand Teton, from hiking to wildlife spotting and from sunrise photography to swimming in glacial lakes. We’d go as far as saying if you only have 4 days total for your trip, take one day from Yellowstone and give it to Grand Teton.

Things To Do In Grand Teton:

Further Reading: The perfect 2 days Grand Teton itinerary

5. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Blue colored hot spring billowing steam, surrounded by snow and ice on trees
Snow, ice and steam at a deep blue Yellowstone hot spring pool

Yellowstone is one of the most popular USA national parks. Why? Because it’s unique, spectacular and bursting with amazing things to see and do. We’ve spent a total of 8 days in Yellowstone and we still haven’t seen everything. The park is enormous and there’s hidden gems to unearth around every corner.

Our advice is to plan for 3 or 4 full days in Yellowstone if this will be your first time in the park. It’s important to know that Yellowstone is like a theme park in the summer months so you need to plan and book hotels in advance. We’ve visited in April and October when overcrowding isn’t an issue.

Things To Do In Yellowstone:

  • Watch Old Faithful erupt
  • See the iconic Grand Prismatic Spring
  • Hike Mt Washburn
  • Walk around remarkable geyser basins
  • See the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
  • Spot wildlife in Lamar Valley and Hayden Valley

Further Reading: The best things to do in Yellowstone National Park

Salt Lake City To Yellowstone Road Trip Map

Below is a map showing the major stops for each day on our 7 days Salt Lake City to Yellowstone road trip itinerary. Seven days is the sweet spot, so study the map first before we get into the itinerary next.

Click or touch the map to activate.

Scroll around, zoom in and out, look for the colored icons and see which places you can visit. The expandable column on the left side breaks down each day.

Map key:

  • Red – Day 1
  • Blue – Day 2
  • Green – Day 3
  • Orange – Day 4
  • Brown – Day 5
  • Yellow – Day 6
  • Grey – Day 7

7 Days Salt Lake City To Yellowstone Road Trip Itinerary

Infographic showing an efficient 7 day road trip itinerary from salt lake city to grand teton and yellowstone with a breakdown of each day
Our 7 days Salt Lake City to Yellowstone road trip itinerary

Now you know a bit more about the places you’ll be visiting, let’s put them into an efficient 7 day Salt Lake City to Yellowstone road trip itinerary. We think 7 days gives you the perfect balance between cost, pace and activities. But later in the guide we’ll also show you 5, 6, 8 and 9 day itinerary ideas.

At the end of each day you’ll find one or two recommendations for places to eat and stay. However, we’ll cover accommodation options in greater detail after the itineraries.

Adapt the 7 days itinerary below to suit your exact travel plans, and please feel free to leave us a comment at the end if you need help planning for your specific goals, such as hiking or photography focused.

Day 1 – Explore Salt Lake City

Inside the Salt Lake City Tabernacle looking at the organ and chairs
Salt Lake City Tabernacle

The first day can be action packed or easy going depending on your journey to reach SLC and how you prefer to travel. Whether you decide to go to Park City, the Great Salt Lake, hiking or to a museum, we highly recommend you spend at least an hour walking around Temple Square in the center of town.

Don’t miss the Tabernacle right behind Salt Lake Temple. You can go inside with free entrance and you might even strike it lucky with a choir performance. Also be sure to check out City Creek Center, a popular covered shopping and dining complex with high end stores and fountains.

Here’s more information about the Tabernacle Choir. And if there’s a Utah Jazz basketball game on, buy tickets in advance.

Where to eat:

Where to stay:

Day 2 – Drive From Salt Lake City To Jackson

Lone bison standing on a hill covered in snow at dusk
Lone bison grazing on a snowy hill at dusk

Get an early start and head for Antelope Island State Park ($15 vehicle entry). Next, take I-15 N and US-89 N through Logan Canyon to the town of Garden City on Bear Lake. Follow the western shores of Bear Lake until you reach North Beach State Park ($7 vehicle entry).

Continue on US-89 to Afton, the largest town in Star Valley. Here, you’ll drive underneath the world’s largest Elkhorn Arch and see the ultra-photogenic Star Valley Mormon Temple.

Next you’ll drive through Alpine Junction, which marks the beginning of a scenic drive following the Snake River. Pull over at the scenic route overlooks for excellent valley views. US-89 eventually transitions into US-191 N and not long after you will arrive into Jackson, Wyoming.

Without stopping the drive will take around 5 hours. But you’ll be stopping so plan for 6-7 hours, especially if you swim in Bear Lake.

Where to eat:

Where to stay:

Day 3 – Discover Stunning Grand Teton National Park

Sunrise at TA Moulton Barn on Mormon Row with mountains in the background in Grand Teton national park
Mormon Row at sunrise in Grand Teton

Grand Teton is exceptionally photogenic so get your camera charged! There’s loads to do in the park, but here’s the best way to spend your full day in Grand Teton (in this exact order):

  • Mormon Row for sunrise
  • Schwabacher Landing
  • Snake River Overlook
  • Oxbow Bend Overlook
  • Signal Mountain Viewpoint
  • String Lake
  • Jenny Lake Overlook
  • Chapel of the Transfiguration
  • Mormon Row for sunset
  • Or visit the National Elk Refuge

Mormon Row is home to the most photographed barns in the US. It’s one of our all time favorite photo spots because the backdrop is jaw-dropping. If you’re lucky you’ll see wildlife at Schwabacher Landing. We saw a moose and an otter playing on ice.

Signal Mountain has the best elevated viewpoint in Grand Teton but Snake River Overlook, Oxbow Bend and Jenny Lake Overlook are also fantastic photo spots. If you enjoy photography, you’re going to love Grand Teton National Park.

Where to eat:

Where to stay:

Day 4 – Grand Teton And South Yellowstone

Mountains reflecting in perfectly still dark blue Snake River in the Grand Tetons
Glass like reflection at Schwabacher Landing in Grand Teton

Split the fourth day between Grand Teton and Yellowstone. It’s completely open to your interpretation based on your preferences, but here’s how we would split the day (in this exact order):

  • Schwabacher Landing for sunrise
  • Hike to Hidden Falls and Cascade Canyon
  • Swim in Jenny Lake
  • West Thumb Geyser Basin in Yellowstone
  • Old Faithful

The mountain reflection at Schwabacher Landing is magical. Hidden Falls is great for beginners and Cascade Canyon is a superb trail for stronger hikers. It’s 60 miles to drive from Jenny Lake to West Thumb Geyser Basin in south Yellowstone, which will take around 1 hour 30 minutes without stopping.

You’ll see Abyss Pool, Black Pool, Big Cone Geyser, Fishing Cone and more colorful hot springs in West Thumb. Next, head over to Old Faithful to see the most famous geyser eruption on the planet. If you have time before sunset, hike to Old Faithful viewing area to see it erupt from an elevated position.

Where to eat:

Where to stay:

Day 5 – Geyser Basins And Yellowstone Falls

Grand Prismatic Spring with its vibrant colors and steam billowing on a sunny day with clear blue sky
Vibrant colors at Grand Prismatic Spring in Midway Geyser Basin

Your fifth day is an action packed geyser and hot spring extravaganza. You’ll start at Old Faithful, so it helps to stay at the lodge on day 4 otherwise you’re driving back here from West Yellowstone.

Here’s what you’ll see today (in order):

  • Morning Glory Pool
  • Grand Prismatic Spring
  • Excelsior Geyser Crater
  • Firehole Lake Drive
  • Fountain Paint Pots
  • Firehole River
  • Gibbon Falls
  • Artists Paintpots
  • Norris Geyser Basin
  • Steamboat Geyser
  • Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

You’ll see almost all of Yellowstone’s most famous hot springs and geysers as you pass through Upper, Midway and Lower Geyser Basins along with Norris Geyser Basin. Finish the day with a drive along the North Rim at Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

Where to eat:

Where to stay:

Travel Tip: Plan your Salt Lake City to Yellowstone road trip itinerary around booking night 5 in a Canyon Village hotel or lodge. In spring and fall you should be able to book night 5 in Canyon quite easily, but for a summer visit you might run into issues with Canyon being fully booked unless you book in advance.

Day 6 – Yellowstone Falls, Hayden Valley, Mt Washburn And Lamar Valley

Lower Yellowstone Falls from Artist Point looking up through Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone on a clear day with blue sky
Stunning view of Lower Yellowstone Falls from Artists Point

This will be one of the best days on your Salt Lake City to Yellowstone road trip. You’ll be covering stunning waterfalls, an abundance of wildlife and the most popular hiking trail in Yellowstone.

Here’s how to spend day 6 (in order):

  • Artist Point
  • Upper Falls View
  • Hayden Valley
  • Mud Volcano
  • Mount Washburn
  • Tower Fall
  • Lamar Valley
  • Mammoth Lower Terrace

Start the day by driving South Rim to Artist Point for sunrise over Lower Falls in Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Mt Washburn is the most famous hike in the park, and both Hayden Valley and Lamar Valley are the two best wildlife spotting areas around Yellowstone.

Where to eat:

Where to stay:

Day 7 – Lamar Valley, Mammoth And Drive From Yellowstone To Salt Lake City

Mammoth Hot Springs terraces with steam billowing on a sunny day
Famous terraces at Mammoth Hot Springs

Complete your 7 days Salt Lake City to Yellowstone road trip with an early start in Lamar Valley. Sunrise is when animals are most active in Yellowstone, so don’t miss this unique opportunity to see bears, wolves, bison and bald eagles in the wild. Head back to Mammoth Hot Springs to see the Upper Terrace.

Now it’s up to you to decide how to spend the rest of your seventh day, which might depend on flight times from SLC or getting to the next destination on your road trip. This is your chance to revisit your favorite spot, before leaving through West Yellowstone to get back to Salt Lake City.

Where to eat:

  • Breakfast in Mammoth or Gardiner
  • Lunch in West Yellowstone
  • Dinner in SLC or at SLC airport

Where to stay:

5 Days Salt Lake City To Yellowstone Road Trip

Old Faithful geyser eruption through trees from behind in the Upper Geyser Basin
Distant view of Old Faithful erupting

For a 5 day variation of this road trip route, our advice is to cut Salt Lake City entirely, then cut half a day in Grand Teton and half a day in Yellowstone.

Here’s how you could spend 5 days:

  • Day 1 – Drive straight from SLC airport to Jackson. Check into a hotel and then spend the late afternoon exploring Grand Teton.
  • Day 2 – Spend the morning in Grand Teton before driving to West Thumb and eventually Old Faithful. Walk around Upper Geyser Basin in the late afternoon.
  • Day 3 – See Midway and Lower Geyser Basins, explore Norris Geyser Basin and drive over to Canyon so you can check into a hotel. Watch sunset over Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.
  • Day 4 – Enjoy a sunrise over Lower Falls from Artists Point and explore Hayden Valley. Hike Mt Washburn and Tower Fall, before heading out into Lamar Valley around sunset.
  • Day 5 – Go back into Lamar Valley for sunrise and walk around Mammoth Hot Springs terraces. Revisit any of your favorite Yellowstone spots before heading back to SLC airport.

6 Days Salt Lake City To Yellowstone Road Trip

Wispy steam billowing out of a geyser in Wyoming
Steam billowing out of a geyser in Lower Geyser Basin

For a 6 day variation of this road trip route, the simplest advice we have is to cut out the day in Salt Lake City and pick up our 7 day itinerary on day 2. However, there are other ways you could do it, so we’ll walk you through a completely different route.

Here’s how you could spend 6 days differently:

  • Day 1 – Drive straight from SLC airport to Jackson. Check into a hotel and then spend the afternoon exploring Grand Teton.
  • Day 2 – Spend the full day hiking and taking photos in Grand Teton, before staying at a hotel near Moran.
  • Day 3 – Drive to Yellowstone and explore West Thumb, Old Faithful, Morning Glory Pool and Grand Prismatic Spring. Walk around Lower Geyser Basin and then drive to a hotel in West Yellowstone.
  • Day 4 – Walk around Artist’s Paintpots and Norris Geyser Basin, before driving over to Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and Hayden Valley.
  • Day 5 – Hike Mt Washburn and Tower Fall, before venturing out into Lamar Valley. Drive over to Mammoth and explore the terraces.
  • Day 6 – Spend the morning revisiting any of your favorite Yellowstone spots before driving back to SLC airport.

8 Days Salt Lake City To Yellowstone Road Trip

Tourist sat on a wooden fence overlooking Mammoth Hot Springs upper terraces on a cold but sunny day
Kristen enjoying the view over Mammoth Upper Terraces

For an 8 day variation of this road trip route, our advice is to include half a day extra around Salt Lake City and half a day at Grand Teton.

Here’s how you could spend 8 days:

  • Day 1 – Spend the day in Salt Lake City. Take things easy in town or head out for a hike.
  • Day 2 – Drive to Bonneville Salt Flats or Antelope Island before heading to Jackson.
  • Day 3 – Spend the day ticking off the sights in Grand Teton. Drive back to Jackson.
  • Day 4 – Enjoy another relaxing day in Grand Teton before staying near Moran.
  • Day 5 – Spend the morning in Grand Teton before seeing West Thumb and Old Faithful.
  • Day 6 – Spend the day at Upper, Midway and Lower geyser basins before driving to Lower Falls.
  • Day 7 – See Hayden Valley, hike Mt Washburn, walk to Tower Fall and drive into Lamar Valley.
  • Day 8 – Explore Mammoth Hot Springs, Norris Geyser Basin and Artist’s Paintpots on the way out.

9 Days Salt Lake City To Yellowstone Road Trip

Old Faithful geyser erupting on a clear day with deep blue sky and bright rainbow
Old Faithful erupting from the busy viewing area

For a 9 day variation of this road trip route, our advice is to spend more time exploring attractions and hikes around Salt Lake City.

Here’s how you could spend 9 days:

  • Day 1 – Spend the day exploring Salt Lake City.
  • Day 2 – Hike in the Wasatch Mountains or see Bonneville Salt Flats and Antelope Island.
  • Day 3 – Drive to Park City in the morning, before heading to Jackson later in the afternoon.
  • Day 4 – Spend a full day ticking off the top sights in Grand Teton. Drive back to Jackson.
  • Day 5 – Spend another full day enjoying Grand Teton. Sleep in Moran.
  • Day 6 – Explore West Thumb, Upper, Midway and Lower geyser basins. Stay in West Yellowstone.
  • Day 7 – Explore Norris Geyser Basin, then visit Lower Falls and Hayden Valley. Stay in Canyon.
  • Day 8 – Hike Mt Washburn, head into Lamar Valley and see Mammoth Hot Springs. Stay in Gardiner.
  • Day 9 – Spend the morning revisiting any of your favorite spots in Yellowstone. Head back to SLC.

When To Drive From SLC To Yellowstone

Wooden barn in a field with mountains behind at sunset with a cross fence in the foreground
Mormon Row barn at sunset in Grand Teton National Park

Do you have flexibility with your dates of travel?

If so, we recommend you plan your Salt Lake City to Yellowstone road trip for May or September. You’d benefit from fewer crowds, comfortable temperatures and better hotel availability around Yellowstone.

July and August are by far the busiest months of the year in Yellowstone and Grand Teton. You’ll have to contend with overcrowding, and inflated hotel prices with extremely limited availability. Despite having the warmest temperatures of the year, we would avoid these peak months at all costs if possible.

Planning your road trip during the shoulder season months of April or October is risky because the weather is volatile and some of the park roads are closed. For instance, Teton Park Road typically opens for the season at the beginning of May.

Where To Stay On The Road Trip

Semi detached wooden cabin on a dirt road with an arid hill behind on a clear day
We slept in the cabin on the right side at Mammoth Hot Springs

Earlier in our 7 day itinerary we gave you one or two hotel recommendations for each night, but there’s plenty more hotels available for you to book in each area. And sometimes it helps to see each night in a row.

So here are the top rated hotels in each place you will stay on the road trip (highest ratings by previous guests on

1. Salt Lake City Airport Hotels

Depending on your flight times into and out from SLC airport, you may need to book a night at a hotel airport either side of your road trip.

2. Downtown Salt Lake City Hotels

Here are the best hotels if you choose to spend a day or two in downtown SLC.

3. Jackson Hotels

Jackson has a wide range of hotel options spanning the budget and quality range to suit all travelers. Hotels are typically quite expensive in Jackson, particularly in the summer months.

Further Reading: The 8 best hotels in Jackson Wyoming

Powerful waterfall in a canyon surrounded by evergreen trees and blue sky
Inspiration Point view over Lower Yellowstone Falls

4. Teton Village Hotels

Teton Village is a quieter and more upscale place to stay when visiting Grand Teton. You might want to consider a hotel here instead of Jackson.

5. Hotels Between Grand Teton And Yellowstone

There are a handful of remote hotel options between Grand Teton and Yellowstone which give you more of a national park feel. Consider staying near Moran for a night after leaving Grand Teton and before heading into Yellowstone.

6. Yellowstone Hotels

Yellowstone is a different beast altogether when it comes to booking accommodation. You must book in advance for stays in the summer months. Shoulder seasons give you more flexibility and potential for last minute bookings but we still don’t recommend risking leaving it late.

It’s more efficient to spend each night at a different hotel but it’s more convenient to book one hotel for the duration of your time in the park. Yellowstone is huge and you’ll spend a lot more time driving if you have to go back to the same hotel each night.

Where to stay inside Yellowstone:

  • Mammoth Hot Springs
  • Roosevelt
  • Canyon Village
  • Lake
  • Old Faithful
  • Grant Village

It makes the most sense to book Old Faithful and Canyon for one night each because they can save you a lot of driving to reach backup options at West Yellowstone. Mammoth is less important because Gardiner is so close by.

Where to stay near Yellowstone:

Gardiner and West Yellowstone are the two most convenient resort villages for accessing the park. We’ve stayed at 2 hotels in Gardiner and 2 hotels in West Yellowstone, and they’ve all been great.

Shop around for the best prices because there’s lots of competition. Here are the top rated hotels in Gardiner and West Yellowstone.


Further Reading: The 8 best hotels in Gardiner MT

West Yellowstone:

Further Reading: The 8 best hotels in West Yellowstone

Planning Resources

Bison walking on a road with rocks and hills behind on a sunny day
Bison walking on the road in Yellowstone

Let’s take a quick look at key Salt Lake City to Yellowstone National Park road trip resources you can use to help with planning.

1. Flights

We personally use and recommend Skyscanner as the best flight search engine. You can also compare prices against Google Flights.

Tips for booking flights to SLC:

  • Be flexible with your dates
  • You can stay at SLC airport at the beginning or end of this road trip
  • Consider flying into SLC and out from a different airport

Further Reading: How to book cheap flights

2. Hotels

For accommodation outside the parks, we always use Compare prices against to find the best deals available.

Lodging inside Yellowstone can be booked either through the official Yellowstone National Park Lodges site or at

Tips for booking hotels:

  • Book in advance, especially if planning this road trip in summer
  • Start by finding available hotels inside or around Yellowstone
  • Make sure you can book consecutive nights before you pay for anything
  • Avoid Yellowstone at weekends

Further Reading: How to book cheap hotels

3. Hire Car

If you’re not driving your own car from Salt Lake City to Yellowstone, you’ll need to hire a car when you land at SLC International Airport.

Search for prices with Rental Cars and compare with Discover Cars. Input Salt Lake City and your travel dates to see your options.

Tips for hiring a car:

  • Booking in advance for more flexibility over vehicle type
  • You do not need a 4WD high clearance vehicle to visit Grand Teton or Yellowstone
  • Smaller cars are better for parking in tight spots around the parks

4. National Parks

It’s important to stay up to date with live conditions such as roads, weather, hiking trails and lodging when you visit Grand Teton and Yellowstone.

This is even more important if you drive from Salt Lake City to Grand Teton and Yellowstone in the shoulder season months of April or October.

Here’s our guides to visiting Yellowstone in April and visiting Yellowstone in October if you’re planning an early spring or late fall trip.

Check conditions:

What To Pack For Your Road Trip

Hiker in winter clothing walking along a raised wooden boardwalk through a volcanic landscape on a sunny day but cold day
Kristen exploring Yellowstone with a winter coat and hat in April

Spending a few minutes considering what you need to pack for your SLC to Yellowstone road trip can save you time, money and energy later in your vacation.

After multiple long term US road trips, we’ve learned a thing or two about how to best prepare for a successful adventure.

Here’s our road trip resources for planning and packing:

And here’s what you need to consider when packing:


June, July and August are warm enough for light layers but you’ll need sunscreen, sunglasses and sun hats. Don’t forget bug spray if you visit Yellowstone in summer.

Mornings and evenings in April, May, September and October will be cold and potentially snowy. You need heavy layers, gloves, wooly hats and a winter coat in addition to your basic hiking or exploring gear.

We always take at least 2 pairs of shoes with us to national parks so that we have one pair for hiking and one pair for the evenings. Remember you’ll need a daypack with water and snacks if you hike any trails.

Vehicle Safety

Whether you’re driving your own car or a hire car on this road trip to Yellowstone from Salt Lake City, make sure you are carrying all of the following items:

The roads around Grand Teton and Yellowstone are flat and easy to drive. You also won’t be going off road or into any harsh terrain like you might in other national park landscapes around the US.

You’ll have no issues with potholes or extreme heat, but you might have to deal with extreme cold if you visit in April or October. Don’t forget a deicer and a scraper for your windshield if you plan your trip when snow and ice is possible.

Where Are Those Morgans Yellowstone eBook

In Conclusion

Salt Lake City to Yellowstone is one of the best road trips in the US. But you’ll need to be organized if you want to make the most of each day on your itinerary. Booking hotels and creating an itinerary in advance are the best ways to enjoy this popular route.

Yellowstone and Grand Teton are two of our favorite national parks because they’re exceptionally photogenic. As travel photographers, we’d happily spend months in both parks!

More Yellowstone + Grand Teton

More From Utah

Want more Wyoming content? Head over to our Wyoming Travel Guides to explore Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park and beyond. 

We hope this Salt Lake City to Yellowstone and Grand Teton road trip guide helps with planning your itinerary!

Please let us know if you have any questions or need help planning your road trip in the comments below.

Happy Travels,

Mark and Kristen

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32 thoughts on “How To Plan A Salt Lake City To Yellowstone Road Trip”

  1. Your 7 day road trip from Salt Lake is exactly what we want to do. I would love to hold a guide map or hard copy of your trip. I noticed that you sell your Yellowstone guide, but I am more interest in a road trip guide. I know that I can download this but would like it in some sort of book form. Is such a thing available? Thank You.

    • Hi Linda, Thanks so much for reading! We currently do not have a Yellowstone/SLC road trip guide in ebook form, but plan to in the future and will let you know when it is available. Our Yellowstone guide is very extensive and will show you the highlights of the park. In the meantime, feel free to email us with any questions you may have for your upcoming trip. 🙂

    • Hi Joan, it isn’t as bad as it sounds, you can still easily see the best of both Grand Teton and Yellowstone in this time frame. We are assuming you need to drive back from Yellowstone to Las Vegas on the sixth day? If not adapt the itinerary below to fit your plans. Here is how we would do it:

      Day 1 – Drive from Las Vegas to Jackson, it will be a long day but you can set off early and still have time to see Jackson in the evening.
      Day 2 – Spend the whole day in Grand Teton, do Mormon Row or Schwabacher Landing for sunrise if possible. Sleep in Jackson or Moran.
      Day 3 – Morning in Grand Teton, then drive to Old Faithful via West Thumb, exploring all of Upper Geyser Basin once arriving at Old Faithful. Sleep either Old Faithful or West Yellowstone.
      Day 4 – See Midway and Lower Geyser Basins (inc Grand Prismatic Spring), Artist Paintpots, Norris Geyser Basin, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Hayden Valley. Action packed day, sleep in Canyon Village.
      Day 5 – Either see Hayden Valley / Lower Yellowstone Falls in the morning, or hike to Mt Washburn. Then see Tower Fall, Lamar Valley for wildlife, Mammoth Hot Springs and sleep either Mammoth or Gardiner.
      Day 6 – Drive back to Las Vegas.

      Hope that helps but feel free to get back to us with any specifics or more questions. If not, have a great trip and good luck!

    • Hi Ashley, yep you’ll definitely be too late for Yellowstone and Grand Teton end of November, we would recommend heading south from Salt Lake City instead. Utah and Arizona are fantastic places to visit in November / December. Sedona is one of our favorite places in the southwest and the end of November means comfortable temperatures for hiking. You could also do Grand Canyon / Zion. Mornings and evenings will be cold but during the day it warms up nicely. Enjoy your time off!

  2. We are planning on doing this in September. The road to Gardiner is closed. What do you suggest to finish out our yellowstone trip before we do the 5 parks in Utah. I will need to cancel my Gardiner reservations. I am a first time visitor to Yelliwstone.

    • Hi Jim, yes you’ll need to cancel your Gardiner reservations but you will still be able to complete your full Yellowstone itinerary within the park. The only road currently closed that will impact a typical Yellowstone visit is the road between Tower-Roosevelt and Cooke City, that means you won’t be able to go out into Lamar Valley which is one of the best places for spotting wildlife in the park. If you’re interested in wildlife we would recommend getting away from the crowds, maybe try to east side of the park around Hayden Valley and the road to east entrance (Cody). The rest of the park is accessible so you will be able to see all of the most popular hot springs and geysers. Sounds like a great trip you have planned with the Utah Mighty 5 right after – enjoy!

  3. Hi there! I booked a trip following your itinerary from July 26 – August 2nd. With the recent developments, I could use some help creating an alternate plan for the Yellowstone portion. We are flying into SLC and staying for a night, then to Jackson Hole for 2 nights. For Yellowstone, we have reservations at the Lake Lodge (July 29), Canyon Lodge (July 30) and Mammoth Lodge (July 31) before heading back to Salt Lake City (August 1). Unfortunately, Our Mammoth Lodge reservation has been cancelled and it appears the Northern Loop is going to be closed the remainder of the Summer. What other options can you recommend to replace the Mammoth Lodge? Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Matt, thanks for getting in touch and we’re happy to hear you are following our itinerary. Really unfortunate timing for you and thousands of others who are planning a visit to Yellowstone this Summer but it will still be a fantastic trip. You’ll miss out on Mammoth and Lamar Valley, but that means you can focus more of your time on the southern loop areas like Hayden Valley, Lake, West Thumb, Norris and of course the Old Faithful / Grand Prismatic Spring geyser basin areas. If possible, we would suggest you try to book your third night at any of the Old Faithful Lodges. However, we suspect everyone else has the same idea so you may not find availability. Outside the park your best bet is West Yellowstone, which has several hotel options and makes it easy to leave for SLC the next morning. Keep a close eye on the NPS website for Yellowstone for any potentially important updates before your trip. Let us know if you need any more help and enjoy your trip!

  4. Hi, thanks for an easy to understand road trip itinerary. I need to flip the itinerary to travel from N-S due to our flight timings. Will land at Salt Lake City. Is there a pdf version for a quick reference? Thank you.

    • Hi Roopa, right now we don’t have a pdf version but we are currently working on creating pdf guidebook itineraries for all our popular road trip guides. We will let you know as soon as this one is available and hopefully it is before your trip!

  5. What a great find, thank you. We have plans to travel to Yellowstone from SLC start August 28 – to September 6 and plan to follow your itinerary.

  6. I am considering a trip from Rochester, NY to Salt Lake, Grand Teton and the. Yellowstone for
    April 16th to the 23rd. Would you recommend going at this time?

    • Thanks for getting in touch, Kim. We’re glad to hear you’re planning a trip to SLC, Grand Teton and Yellowstone. Late April is a great time to visit Yellowstone if you want to see the park without the crowds. However, much of the park is closed and you will not be able to drive through Grand Teton to access Yellowstone. Instead, you would be able to drive parts of Grand Teton (the road to Jenny Lake is only accessible by bicycle if there is no snow on the road until April 30). The connecting road between GT and Yellowstone doesn’t open until mid-May. But you could drive all the way around to West Yellowstone and enter Yellowstone via its West entrance, which opens April 15th. Once in Yellowstone, you can see almost all of its most famous features, but hiking is very limited at this time of year. You can read our guide to visiting Yellowstone in April for more information but to summarize, this is a great time of year if you want to avoid crowds, but logistically it can be a problem with road closures and snow. Let us know if you have any more questions!

  7. So far this is the best travel information i have found on internet . Many thanks to you. Most of my doubts are answered to satisfaction. very well written.

  8. I’m so happy to come across your amazing site. Thank you so much for sharing lots of helpful information. We are planning a trip to SLC, Grand Teton and Yellowstone from May 24-31, 2022. We will arrive at SLC at 10am and plan to rent a car and drive to Jackson. Days 2-3 explore GT, days 4-7 Yellowstone and drive back to SLC and day 8 SLC. I’m wondering if we should just do 1 day in GT and use one extra day to do something else, like exploring the places between SLC and GT? or add another national park? What are your recommendations? We will fly out of SLC at 9pm on 5/31. Thank you so much!

    • Hello! We’re glad you found the guide useful and you have picked a really great time to visit Yellowstone / Grand Teton. Personally we love Grand Teton and would spend the extra day there versus anywhere between SLC and Grand Teton. By just visiting GT and Yellowstone you will be able to slow down and fully explore both parks. If you do try to include any more national parks (like Glacier or the Utah parks), you will be doing a lot of driving and not have much time in any park, so we would suggest concentrating on GT and Yellowstone. Let us know if you have any more questions and have a wonderful trip next year!

  9. I’m so appreciative of this information!! You guys rock! My husband and I are planning a trip through Yellowstone the first week of September 2022. We will not be visiting Teton but based on what you have shared, we have decided to fly into Salt Lake City and drive straight to Old Faithful Lodge. I’m having trouble figuring itinerary starting on day 2 in order to hit everything based on the itinerary you shared and see things in Yellowstone at the best times of day. HELP!

    • Hi Elizabeth, we’re glad to hear you have a Yellowstone trip planned for next year! If you plan to drive directly from SLC airport to Old Faithful Lodge, we would highly recommend you drive through Jackson and Grand Teton to approach Yellowstone from the South entrance. It’s only an hour longer than going through West Yellowstone and means you can see the Teton range (without stopping), but also walk around West Thumb Geyser Basin on the way into Yellowstone. Head over to our Contact page to send us a message letting us know how many days you plan to spend in the park and where you plan to stay each night, we can help you out with creating a custom itinerary for the rest of your trip 🙂

  10. Holy cow… this is awesome if you’re not familiar with the area. Can easily mix in other things if you like to customize the trip. I appreciate this! I think I’m done!

      • What an amazing site!! Thank you for such detailed information. I’m planning a two week trip- round trip SLC to GT, Yellowstone, Mt. Rushmore, Blackhills. I’d like a loop but it looks like 8 hours from SD to SLC. Where can I visit to break up that portion? Is there anything in Nebraska or south/central Wyoming? We are coming from Miami, so not familiar with this area at all? I was also considering adding Park City in for two nights at the end, just to relax from so long on the road. Thoughts?

        • Thank you Michelle! Two weeks is a great amount of time to visit both the GT / Yellowstone and Black Hills regions. Take a look through our Mt Rushmore to Yellowstone road trip post here – – and you can combine both itineraries into one awesome two week trip. Have you thought about flying into Rapid City SD and flying out of SLC? That way you only have to do the drive between once. We’ve driven Black Hills to Yellowstone / GT twice – definitely do Devils Tower in northeast Wyoming and drive the scenic highway between Buffalo and Ten Sleep in WY. If you do have to fly into and out of SLC, it might be worth considering a boring but direct drive straight to SD, then the rest of the trip will be great! Park City would be perfect for relaxing at the end. Also when planning, try not to be in Yellowstone on a weekend or during a holiday. Let us know if you need any more help and have a wonderful trip!

  11. I am impressed with level of detail here and THANKYOU. Also read your story, very inspiring. keep up the good work and i am happy that you decided to embark on the journeys at the right time. It does get tougher after 50 for folks like myself, but like I said, now i am motivated by your blog and detailed itineraries.

  12. I found this itinerary last year and forgot to bookmark it. I recently spent hours trying to find it and couldn’t, I was so sad. I was just looking up yosemite itineraries and this came up! I started reading it and realized it was the same site I was looking for. I am SO happy! It was the most helpful itinerary ever! Immediately bookmarked. Thank you for posting this!

    • Hi Ashley, thank you for the kind words and we’re glad you were able to find us again! Let us know if you ever have any questions about planning visits to national parks or road trips like this SLC to Yellowstone itinerary.


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