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YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK: 3 Day Itinerary & Tips
Below you was our Yellowstone National Park 3 day itinerary along with some valuable tips for your trip to Yellowstone.
By the way today the National Park System is 101 years old! #FindYourPark to celebrate!!
In July my family was lucky enough to met up with 4 other families (20 of us total) to take on the amazing Yellowstone National Park. We started planning (mostly on Trip Advisor) our July trip in October of the previous year. (9 months earlier). We were lucky to get a reservation at Grant Campground but would recommend a campground more central in the park. This would mean less driving to see the sites. Keep in mind you will need to book very early! I would also recommend this book on Yellowstone too.
TIP: One absolute must when travelling to Yellowstone is bear spray. Buy it ahead of time to save $$
If you read my post on Glacier National Park you know we were on a 17 day family road trip. We had already covered Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Idaho and Montana before heading to Yellowstone on Day 11 of 17.
Yellowstone Day 1:
We met our friends in West Yellowstone at the Wolf Discovery Center. It was a great way to begin the adventure. We saw wolves, eagles, bears and lots of animals here. I would recommend a visit for your family. TIP: Get there earlier. You can sign your kids up to feed the bears. We didn’t make the cut (with 10 kids in our group) but saw the kids go into the bear exhibit to hid food. It was cool to see! We spent 1 1/2-2 hours and then continued to the park.
Entering the Park
Expect lots of traffic getting into the Park entrance from West Yellowstone. It moves quickly. Pay attention to the lines, if you have a National Park pass already, you can breeze right through. Like I mentioned in my earlier posts, I do a ton of research before I travel. One of the best tips I got was to download the GyPsy guide for Yellowstone It was like our own personal tour guide in our car. Make sure you fully download before you head into the park because cell service is not good for most of the park. The app uses GPS to let you know what stops are a must and which ones you can bypass. As soon as you get into the park, beauty surrounds you. The Yellowstone river is on your right side and was so tempting we had to stop and take some fun pics.
We continued on past Madison and onto Gesyer Basin. The colors of Geyser Basin are so amazing. Pay attention to the signs that tell you to stay on the trail. GyPsy and I would both recommend you stop, where else can you see this type of thing? There are 3 or 4 stops and all different.
After the Geyser Basin we continued on to Old Faithful. The many parking lots were completely full and we had 5 familys (ie: 3 SUV + pop up campers & 2 RVs to find a spot). It provided to be more challenging than we thought so we made the decision to continue on to set up our camp at Grant Village Campground and come back at dinnertime to see Old Faithful blow.
After we set up camp, we headed back to Old Faithful and it didn’t disapoint. The great thing about Old Faithful is they know within +- 2/3 minutes when the eruption will occur. Check here for the times.This left us enough time to eat dinner first.
After the eruption we wandered over to the Old Faithful Lodge. It is a stunning hotel. As we walked in we heard music and saw the amazing staircase. We enjoyed the moment with some ice cream and stopped for souvenirs too. What a way to end day 1!
Day 2 Canyon Village and Yellowstone Falls
Woke up and got an early(ish) start to explore more of the park. We headed from Grant Village campground up to Canyon Village and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. Along the drive around Yellowstone Lake our GyPsy guide informed us of all the sites we were seeing. TIP: Have lots of patience driving around Yellowstone because you never know what you may see. Keep your eyes open for animals ALL THE TIME!
After seeing many animals and stops at the Yellowstone river, we continued on to see Yellowstone Falls! Again parking can be challenging but be patient because people are coming/going often. The views are worth it. We decided it was also a great place to enjoy lunch. It was a simple walk to bring our food to enjoy the view.
Do you notice our matching shirts? My friend Danielle made the logo and we all had shirts made to wear, it made the day so fun!
We continued on to Canyon Village (very close) to grab some ice cream and souvenirs. It was a great place to stop! The visitor center is two-story and worth a visit. We also got another stamp for our National Park passport too. All the different visitor centers have different stamps so remember to stop at all!
We drove back through Hayden Valley and again saw lots more animals. Most were off in the distant but could see them with our binoculars. TIP: Bring a GREAT pair of binoculars to spot animals all around the park.
We decided Day 3 was going to be fun and easy with less driving. We headed up to Bridge Bay. We brought our lunch again and had a picnic by the marina. It was a great place to spend a few hours. We kayaked around the marina, fished and went for a hike to Natural Bridge (trail starts behind Marina). It was an easy hike
We headed back to Grant Village to enjoy our last night! We made a great dinner, took showers and packed up for our next adventure…. White Water Rafting. I’ll write a post on that one soon!
It was a great adventure and hope you get to enjoy Yellowstone soon too.
Luv, Kelly (and my amazing tribe)