Traveling through Wyoming? It’s a no-brainer that two of America’s most popular National Parks will be on your hit list. Yellowstone & Grand Teton in 4 days will allow you to see some of the best each park has to offer. You’ll be in for an amazing trip from amazing scenery and hiking in Grand Teton to geysers and waterfalls in Yellowstone.
While Yellowstone and Grand Teton are located only an hour away from each other, they couldn’t be more different. So bravo to you for making time on that road trip of yours to explore both! Now, let’s get to our 4 day itinerary for Yellowstone & Grand Teton.
Planning Tips: 4 Day Itinerary For Yellowstone and Grand Teton
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Is Grand Teton National Park in Yellowstone?
Before we dive into our Yellowstone and Grand Teton in 4 days itinerary, let’s get our bearings of the area. Grand Teton National Park is located in Wyoming whereas Yellowstone National Park is located mainly in Wyoming with some sections of the park in Montana and Idaho.
These parks are two separate National Parks that just so happen to share a border. So no, to answer your question of “Is Grand Teton National Park in Yellowstone?”, it’s sure not.
The northern end of Grand Teton National Park butts up to the southern end of Yellowstone National Park, allowing visitors to drive through Grand Teton National Park to get to Yellowstone National Park or vice versa.
How far is Yellowstone from Jackson Hole and Grand Teton?
If you happen to be starting your Yellowstone and Grand Teton 4 day itinerary from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, know that Jackson Hole is about a 1 hour and 15-minute drive through Grand Teton to reach the southern entrance of Yellowstone.
From the southern entrance of Yellowstone, you’ll need to drive another 50 minutes to reach Old Faithful or 35 minutes to reach West Thumb Basin. These two sites are the two most popular and closest Yellowstone attractions to Jackson and Grand Teton National Park.
How Many Days Do You Need in Yellowstone and Grand Teton?
A minimum of two days in each National Park will allow you to see the highlights. Each of your days will be full days of exploring so if you want to take your time, we suggest adding at least one more day to each park (3 days at each) to allow yourself the time to explore at your own pace.
Can You Do Yellowstone and Grand Teton In A Day?
Absolutely not. If you want to properly explore both parks, meaning getting out of your car and experiencing geysers, viewpoints, hiking, lakes, etc., then it’s impossible to do Yellowstone and Grand Teton in one day. The distance and miles each park has are just too much to accomplish in one day. At a minimum, one day at each park (two days total) is doable. It’s rushed, but doable.
Check out our one day in Grand Teton travel guide!
Best Time To Visit Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks?
The best times to visit also tend to be the busiest times to visit. Summer is a fantastic time to visit both parks. All facilities and trails are open (pending no road closures) and the weather is hot but the morning and nights are cool. If you’re looking to escape the crowds but still have nice weather, our tip is to visit the end of May into the beginning of June or September.
Check out our 14 tips for visiting Yellowstone!
How To Get Around Grand Teton & Yellowstone National Parks?
Unlike Zion National Park which has a shuttle, a vehicle is required for exploring both Grand Teton and Yellowstone. You can rent a car from nearby airports like Jackson Hole, Idaho Falls, or Bozeman.
An alternative option is to look into booking a guided tour through each of the parks. Be it a 4 day park and wildlife tour, a 2 day tour of Yellowstone or a day tour through Grand Teton, you’ll have a selection to choose from that best fits your trip.
Note: You will have to pay two separate National Park entrance fees. One for Grand Teton and one for Yellowstone. A standard car/vehicle entrance fee for both parks is $35 – so $70 total in park fees. If you are planning to visit any other National Park this year, we highly suggest buying a National Parks pass so you can save a little money.
How To Spend 4 Days in Yellowstone and Grand Teton
Our Yellowstone & Grand Teton 4 days start off in Grand Teton National Park. The easiest way to get to Grand Teton is to fly into Jackson Hole Airport and stay the night in Jackson, Wyoming, or in Grand Teton National Park itself. Plan to arrive the day before and pick up that rental car so you’re ready for your first day!
TIP: If your route has you starting with Yellowstone first, no worries. Just flip our Yellowstone & Grand Teton 4 day itinerary so it fits your intended route.
Day 1: Drive the Scenic Loop of Grand Teton National Park
The best way to see Grand Teton National Park is to drive the scenic loop that weaves through the park. Along the loop, you’ll pass through the best sights that can only be found in Grand Teton. Places like Snake River Overlook, Oxbow Bend, Jackson, and Jenny Lake, just to name a few.
Your day will consist of driving from place to place and stopping and exploring as you please. The best route to tackle the Grand Teton scenic loop is just below.
- Watch the sunrise at Mormon Row
- Take a hike to Jenny Lake then onto Hidden Falls before finishing at Inspiration Point
- Drive up to Signal Mountain
- Relax on the beaches of Colter Bay at Jackson Lake (great place to have some lunch too!)
- Try to catch some wildlife at Oxbow Bend
- Recreate an iconic Ansel Adams photo at Snake River Overlook
- Catch the Teton reflection at Schwabacher Landing
After your day of exploring in the park is complete, we have a few suggestions on how to spend your evening and dinner. 1) Plan to have dinner just outside the park at a spot called Dornan’s (epic views of the Tetons!) 2) Take the gondola up to The Deck @ Piste. 3) Head into Jackson and get some dinner at Hatch or Roadhouse Brewery.
For our complete one day in Grand Teton tips, check out our travel guide.
Day 2: Go Kayaking or On A Epic Hike in Grand Teton
While Yellowstone has hiking options, they are nowhere near as epic (in our humble opinion) as the hikes in Grand Teton. From beautiful alpine lakes to grand views, there are a plethora of hikes for you to choose from. From 10+ strenuous hikes to a few-mile easy hikes, there are hikes for everyone’s age and fitness level.
- Phelps Lake Overlook | Miles: 2 | Difficulty level: Easy | Elevation gain: 413ft
- Lake Creek-Woodland | Miles: 3.3 | Difficulty level: moderate | Elevation gain: 272 ft
- String Lake Trail Loop | Miles: 4.4 | Difficulty level: easy | Elevation gain: 291 ft
- Taggart to Bradley Lake | Miles: 6 | Difficulty level: moderate | Elevation gain: 761 ft
- Leigh Lake Shoreline | Miles: 7 | Difficulty level: easy | Elevation gain: 111 ft
- Delta Lake Hike | Miles: 8.2 | Difficulty level: hard | Elevation gain: 2,349ft
- Death Canyon to Patrol Cabin | Miles: 9.1 | Difficulty level: moderate/difficult | Elevation gain
- Surprise Lake To Amphitheater Lake | Miles: 10.1 | Difficulty level: hard | Elevation gain: 3,000ft
If hiking isn’t your thing, no worries! You can rent paddle boards and kayaks in town and hit the lakes of Grand Teton National Park for a little water-time fun. Or, head over to Colter Bay Marina where you can rent canoes and kayaks and explore Jackson Lake and its rocky beaches.
If you’re looking for something a little more low-key, plan to spend a few hours in Jackson to do a little shopping. Have some lunch and pop in and out of the many stores that line Jackson’s downtown square.
For our complete multi-day itinerary for Grand Teton, check out our travel guide.
Day 3: Explore The Yellowstone Lower Loop
Rise and shine! Time to hit the road and head north to Yellowstone. As mentioned above, you’ll drive through Grand Teton National Park. If you leave early enough (which you should), you’ll see a fantastic Grand Teton sunrise.
Since you’ll be entering Yellowstone National Park from its southern entrance, your first day in Yellowstone will be spent driving around and exploring the southern loop. And in our opinion, the southern loop is the better of the two loops of Yellowstone!
- Watch the world-famous geyser, Old Faithful, erupt + Explore Upper Geyser Basin
- Marvel at the bright blue geyser pools of Grand Prismatic Spring
- Explore the Paint Pots
- Walk the boardwalks of Norris Geyser Basin
- Drive through Hayden Valley and look for wildlife
- Visit West Thumb Basin’s Geysers along Yellowstone Lake
You may have noticed that our above route has you going past the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. We did this on purpose. There is a lot to see and do during your first day, so we wanted to be sure to give you an ample amount of time to do it all. Grand Canyon of Yellowstone is great and you can spend a decent amount of time there so that’s why we have it on day two!
After you finish your first day at Yellowstone, you’ll be needing a place to sleep. The two most convenient locations to book an accommodation for the night is either at Old Faithful Inn or Lake Yellowstone Hotel & Cabins, which are both located in Yellowstone National Park. You can also camp in numerous places in the park.
Check out our complete 1 – 3 day Yellowstone Itinerary!
Day 4: Tour The Yellowstone Upper Loop
Your last day of your Yellowstone and Grand Teton in 4 Days itinerary. Ready for day two in Yellowstone?! Day two will focus on Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and the Upper Loop. Grab some breakfast and pack your bags, it’s time to go!
- Take in the rushing waterfall of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone + hike along the rim
- Visit Tower Falls
- Drive through Lamar Valley and see if you can spot any wildlife
- Drive along Blacktail Plateau Drive
- Explore the terraces of Mammoth Hot Springs
- Take a dip in Boiling River Hot Springs
- Get a picture by the Roosevelt Arch & Yellowstone National Park sign
After a day exploring the upper loop of Yellowstone, you’ll be at the north entrance of the park. Just outside the north entrance of the park is a town called Gardiner. It’s here, in Gardiner, is where you should plan to grab dinner and a hotel for the night.
Where To Stay When Visiting Yellowstone and Grand Teton
For Grand Tetons, Jackson will have the most accommodation and dining options outside of the park. Jackson is also close by, about 10 – 15 minutes from Grand Teton Park.
- Wyoming Inn of Jackson Hole
- The Rustic Creekside
- The Lodge at Jackson Hole
- Hotel Jackson
- Anvil Hotel
- The Wort
- The Antler Inn
For Yellowstone, there are two popular places located outside of the park for you to consider and check out. Word to the wise, make reservations as early as possible, and places will book up!
Gardiner is located just outside the north entrance of Yellowstone National Park. It’s a small little, touristy town but there are restaurants, souvenir shop and tour operators. Whether you’re coming or going, Gardiner is very convenient to Yellowstone National Park.
- The Roosevelt Hotel
- Yellowstone Big Rock Inn
- Yellowstone Riverside Cottages
- Absaroka Lodge
- Yellowstone Gateway Inn
- Yellowstone Hot Spring Cabins
Another conveniently located town just outside of Yellowstone is West Yellowstone. Slightly bigger than Gardiner, West Yellowstone is also home to local restaurants, souvenir shop, and tour operators.
- Yellowstone Park Hotel
- Kelly Inn West Yellowstone
- Golden Stone Inn
- Under Canvas Yellowstone
- Yellowstone Lodge
- Moose Creek Inn
What To Pack For Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks?
- Snacks: You’re going to be in the car and out exploring a lot. Best be sure you have plenty of snacks to hold you over in between meals. No one wants to be hangry.
- Comfortable Footwear: Comfortable sandals like Choco’s or Teva’s are great options, especially for summer! If you’re going on any trails, tennis shoes with tread are a must or opt for a good pair of hiking boots.
- Sunscreen: The sun is no joke. If you can, go the eco-friendly route to protect not only your skin but the beautiful places you’re visiting from sunscreen chemicals.
- Binoculars: A clutch item that comes in SUPER handy for all the wildlife you’ll be seeing.
- Reusable Water Bottle: Please avoid plastic bottles. Go the reusable route and fill up along the way.
- First Aid Kit: You never know when you’ll need one. There is nothing more than a time suck to try and hunt down a bandaid some headache medicine.
- Layers: During the morning and evening hours, the temperatures can be chilly. Plan to have a jacket or fleece with you.
- Bug Spray: THE MOSQUITOS are alive, well and THRIVING in Grand Tetons and Yellowstone. they’ll eat you up. No joke.
Also, another great time and money saver is to eat as you go and have picnic lunches while in Gran Teton and Yellowstone park. A cooler is a must to keep all your perishables safe and beverages cold.
Which Is Better Yellowstone or Grand Teton?
After visiting Yellowstone twice and spending almost a month in the Grand Teton area, we’ve come down to this…you really can’t compare the two. Comparing Yellowstone to Grand Teton National Park is like comparing an apple to a tomato. you just can’t.
Grand Teton is grandiose and majestic. It’s the mountain views and scenery that really set’s this place apart from Yellowstone, plus the hiking is fantastic! Yellowstone is bubbling, steaming, blue geysers, and wildlife. They each are so special in their own right and offer a piece of wilderness paradise.
Exploring Yellowstone and Grand Teton in 4 days is the perfect amount of time to get a taste for each place. We’re sure you’ll be wanting to go back for another visit!
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– Lauren & Jesse Stuart (The Stüs)