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Guide to Yellowstone National Park

Best time to visit - May - Nov

West Entrance is open around Mid April depends on weather condition and snow. June to August is the busiest time of the park. I would recommend y’all to go during Spring or Fall. Hotel price outside Summer is lower and there is less people. Click this link to see read more.

Current Condition at Yellowstone (Click)

Always check this link before you plan a visit to see if which road is closed.

All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.
— Martin Buber

This guide doesn’t cover every attraction in Yellowstone National Park but the most part of the park that I recommend to see and hike. You will be able to see geysers, pools, colors of nature, and wildlife. I believe two days would be a perfect length of time to spend in Yellowstone. If you are ready. Let’s go!

Travel to Yellowstone National Park

Welcome to Utah
Welcome to Idaho
Welcome to Montana
Welcome to Wyoming

The first day can be all about traveling to Yellowstone National Park. Driving from Salt Lake to West Yellowstone can take around 5 hours of driving. You can also fly to Jackson Hole and that would only take 2 hours and a half to West Yellowstone. This guide is based on staying in West Yellowstone.

Flying, Texas -> Salt Lake 3 hours
Driving, Salt Lake -> West Yellowstone 5 hours

I will drive across four states in this trip if you start from Utah. So, this trip would be perfect if you have a bucket list to put your foot on every state in the US. 😀


Day 1 - Old Faithful Geyser

Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.
— Dalai Lama

Grand Prismatic Spring

They are two view points to see Grand Prismatic Spring. The first view point will be the lower level and you will park at Grand Prismatic Spring Parking Spot. You will walk across Firehole River. The trail to see Grand Prismatic Spring is a small loop. You will also see Opal Pool, Turquoise Pool, and Excelsior Geyser Crater.

View from lower point.

View from lower point.

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You might want to come back at night.

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Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook

You will need to park at Fairly Falls Trail Parking Lot, which is a little bit further from Grand Prismatic Spring Parking Spot. The trail to the overlook is right by the parking. You will have a little fun hike up hill to see Grand Prismatic Spring from an upper level. The overlook was closed due to bear situation on my last visit on May 2019. I do prefer this spot over the first one. You will see why in the pictures below.

Grand Prismatic Spring

Grand Prismatic Spring

Black Opal Pool and others

At this spot, you will be able to see Black Opal Pool, Wall Pool, Sapphire Pool, and other small pools in the area. There is nothing very special here for me but it’s worth to stop by and walk around.

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Old Faithful Visitor Center

Old Faithful Geyser is probably the most popular geyser in this national park. It’s highly predictable and erupted from every 44 to 125 minutes. I recent visit in June 2019 and the eruption time is 45 minutes. However, my first visit in July 2018 is 90 minutes. You can find the eruption time at the visitor center.

I recommend to get your seat early if you plan to watch Old Faithful geyser erupt. They are a ton of people who want to join you. Go early and get a front seat. I’ve warned you.

There are MANY geysers in this area. You can actually hike back to Black Opal Pool. I recommend you to spend hike from the visitor center to Morning Glory Pool. It’s very beautiful. Also, during the hike, you will hike pass many beautiful geyser such as Caster Geyser, Grand Geyser, and Grotto Geyser. I’m sure you will enjoy the walk.

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Morning Glory Pool

Morning Glory Pool

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You might want to come back at night.

We were waiting for Old Faithful Geyser to erupt.

We were waiting for Old Faithful Geyser to erupt.

Morning Glory Pool

Morning Glory Pool

Old Faithful Geyser

Old Faithful Geyser

Old Faithful Visitor Center

Old Faithful Visitor Center

West Thumb Geyser Basin

You might be able to see wildlife at this spot if you are lucky. West Thumb Geyser Basin is next to Yellowstone Lake. The trail is a small loop that might take from 10-20 minutes to walk around and sight seeing. The lake can be frozen in May and it’s beautiful.

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You might want to come back at night.

Black Pool

Black Pool

Abyss Pool

Abyss Pool


Day 2 - Mammoth Spring and Upper and Lower Falls of Yellowstone

https://geni.us/day3ysnp

https://geni.us/day3ysnp

Mammoth Hot Springs

Mammoth is like a small town in this park. You can find general store, restrooms, food, and even a gas station. You can even see wildlife around in the area. Last visit, a Bison was walking around the parking lot. A ranger needed to stay close to stop tourists to get too close to the Bison.

You will find plenty of parking spot here. We parked right by the village and walk along the trail from bottom to the top. However, You can also drive to the top of the hot springs and walk down.

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Falls of Yellowstone

There are many locations to see and get good pictures of Falls of Yellowstone. You will require to hike in a few spots and I promise it will worth the hike. Each spot is not very far from each other. Also, most of spots is linked to each other. You might only have 5 minutes drive to another spot. However, I strongly recommend to visit at least these two spots if you have limited time.

  1. Brink of the Lower Falls

  2. Uncle Tom’s Trail

Both locations require a good amount of hiking down and up but the view in the destination worth every of your sweat.

Uncle Tom’s Trail is very fun if you are not scared of hight. You will need to walk down 300 steps to the lookout point.
It’s so beautiful though. You will probably catch rainbow when you there.

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Look Out Point at North Rim Dr

Look Out Point at North Rim Dr

Brink of the Lower Falls

Brink of the Lower Falls

Uncle Tom’s Trail

Uncle Tom’s Trail

Uncle Tom’s Trail

Uncle Tom’s Trail

Uncle Tom’s Trail

Uncle Tom’s Trail

Lookout Point

Lookout Point


Extra - Grand Teton National Park

You can visit Grand Teton National Park if you have an extra day or two. It takes about two hours and a half from West Yellowstone to Grand Teton. I personally love the shape of Grand Teton. It’s very sharp and beautiful. Most of places to visit at this park doesn’t require any hike.

Schwabacher Landing

Schwabacher Landing

Snake River Overlook

Snake River Overlook

Mormon Row

Mormon Row