Yellowstone National Park: Summer Itineraries

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Summer Itineraries

Indulge in these three suggested itineraries, based on your travel style. Our Stay Active Itinerary features hiking, biking, sea kayaking, and ziplining. Our Sightseeing Itinerary is great for seeing attractions and seeing all the natural highlights of Yellowstone. And last but not least, our Family Itinerary features great activities and adventures for kids.

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Stay Active Itinerary

Day 1: Explore the lower loop road within Yellowstone National Park with mandatory stops at Lake Yellowstone, Old Faithful, and the Upper Geyser. There are many short boardwalk hikes in these areas but get out for a little longer and hike from Lewis Lake to Shoshone Lake (about 11 miles round trip). For something shorter, hike to Shoshone Lake via DeLacy Creek Trail (6 miles).

Day 2: Set out to tour the upper loop road of Yellowstone with stops at Norris Geyser Basin, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Tower Falls, and Mammoth Hot Springs. From Mammoth, go biking along the abandoned railroad bed next to the Yellowstone River. This 5 mile stretch runs between Gardiner and the park boundary.

Day 3: Get an early start and head to Lamar Valley to spot wildlife. Continue on through Cooke City to the top of Beartooth Pass. Get out and move around for a hike along Clarks Fork Trail. Then head back into the park and go on an evening horseback ride.

Day 4: Head up to Big Sky for the day. Go ziplining across the Gallatin River and then fly fish along its banks. Dine out in Big Sky before returning.

Day 5: Get ready for a little adventure and head to Quake Lake with a sea kayak rental. Paddle through the old tree stumps and take in the views. Then head to West Yellowstone and rent an ATV for the afternoon. Cruise along fun forest roads and double tracks.

Sightseeing Itinerary

Day 1: Start your first day with a complete tour of the Upper Loop Road in Yellowstone National Park. Make time for Mammoth Hot Springs, Tower Falls, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, and Norris Geyser Basin.

Day 2: Back into the park to tour the Lower Loop of Yellowstone. Take in the views at Lake Yellowstone and set yourself up to see Old Faithful blow. Also enjoy the scenic drive along the Firehole River.

Day 3: Head north east today, starting with a visit to Quake Lake (and their visitor center). Further north, swing a little out of the way to discover historic Virginia City and then end your day with a soak in Norris Hot Springs.

Day 4: Get an early start and head straight to Lamar Valley, your best bet for viewing wildlife. Then drive the scenic but long Beartooth Pass to Chief Joseph Byway Loop.

Day 5: Start your morning with a visit to the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center and then head on a scenic drive through the north entrance. Enjoy the scenery of Paradise Valley and stop at Chico Hot Springs for a soak and dinner.

Families with Kids Itinerary

Day 1: Setup a campsite at one of the Yellowstone Park Campgrounds. On your way into the park make sure to pick up some Junior Ranger Packets. Then head out on a scenic drive to explore the lower loop of the park with stops at Old Faithful where you can hike around the Upper Geyser Basin. If it's a hot day, go for a swim in the Firehole River. Don't miss an evening ranger program back at camp.

Day 2: Go horseback riding either within or just outside the park. In the afternoon, take the kids fishing. Inside the park, try fishing along the Madison River. Outside the park, you might try Hebgen Lake.

Day 3: Take today to explore the upper loop of the park with stops at Mammoth Hot Springs (there is a gentle boardwalk trail) and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone (older kids will love walking down to the base of the falls).

Day 4: Visit the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center and make sure to time your visit during the popular feeding hours. Go to the West Yellowstone Rodeo and maybe even catch a flick at the IMAX Theatre.

Day 5: Head up to Big Sky for the day (and maybe a night). Go on a combo trip of whitewater rafting and ziplining along the Gallatin River (near Big Sky). If you have extra time, head on up to the Big Sky Ski Resort where there are tons of family friendly activities like a bungee jump, high ropes course, giant swing, and mountain biking.