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How Many Days Are Recommended to Visit Yellowstone?

how many days are recommended to visit yellowstone

There are some National Parks you can visit in a single day, such as Bryce Canyon, Death Valley, or even Grand Teton, however, that is not the case for Yellowstone.

a couple of people that are standing in front of a mountain

Yellowstone National Park sprawls across a staggering 2.2 million acres of pristine wilderness. To put that into perspective, it’s larger than the states of Rhode Island and Delaware combined! This vast expanse of land encompasses a diverse range of ecosystems, from lush forests and meandering rivers to steaming geysers and towering mountain peaks. If you drove straight through from the east entrance to the west entrance, it would take about three hours, and that’s without stopping.  

If you want to make the most of your days, we recommend booking a Yellowstone tour. With a tour, the local guides know everything about the park – including wildlife patterns, weather forecasts, and the best time of day to see certain features. For example, we always recommend seeing Old Faithful early in the morning or near dusk to avoid large crowds during the day. There are also best times to see wildlife like bears & wolves. Booking a tour during your days in Yellowstone ensures it’s planned perfectly based on exactly what you want to see. 

How Many Days Are Recommended to Visit Yellowstone?

The Minimum Time to Visit Yellowstone

When visiting Yellowstone National Park, you should plan a minimum of two days. 

Within these two days, you can pick out the park’s main highlights. A two-day itinerary might look something like this: 

Day one: 

  • Old Faithful how many days are recommended to visit yellowstone
  • Grand Prismatic 
  • Norris Geyser Basin 
  • Mammoth Hot Springs 

Day two: 

  • Grand Canyon of Yellowstone
  • Yellowstone Lake 
  • Mount Washburn

As you can probably tell, two days will feel rushed. This includes stopping at only the top things to do in Yellowstone, leaving little to no time for things such as wildlife viewing or hiking. And trust us, you’ll want plenty of time to stop and see all the wildlife Yellowstone has to offer. It’s not uncommon for travelers to see foxes, bison, elk, and bears all before lunchtime. Wildlife viewing could be an entire day on its own!

The Best Itinerary for Visiting Yellowstone 

For those looking to experience everything Yellowstone has to offer, a four-day itinerary is our top recommendation. This allows you plenty of time to see a little bit of everything, including wildlife, hikes, lakes, and all the best geothermal features. 

With extra time at your disposal, you can delve deeper into the park’s hidden gems and venture off the beaten path, which is our favorite part of visiting Yellowstone. An example four-day itinerary might look something like this, depending on weather, time of year, and wildlife patterns: 

Day One: 

  • Old Faithful how many days are recommended to visit yellowstone
  • Biscuit Basin
  • Grand Prismatic 
  • Firehole River 

Day Two:  

  • Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
  • Hayden Valley 
  • Norris Geyser Basin 

Day Three: 

  • Lamar Valley 
  • Mammoth Hot Springs

Day Four 

  • Yellowstone Lake 
  • West Thumb Geyser Basin 
  • Lewis Lake 
  • Lewis Canyon Falls 

But within each of these listed regions are dozens of things to do. For example, the Grand Canyon of The Yellowstone offers Artist’s Point, Brink of the Upper Falls, Brink of the Lower Falls, Inspiration Point, Grand View, Upper Falls View, Lookout Point, and numerous hiking options, from short .5 mile trails to longer 10-mile trails. 

It’s these little details that make planning a trip to Yellowstone much more intricate, and why a Yellowstone tour guide is always recommended. They chat & understand what each group is searching for, and customize the daily itinerary around that, helping pinpoint what places check all your Yellowstone boxes. 

how many days are recommended to visit yellowstone

How Many Days Are Recommended to Visit Yellowstone?

While a minimum of two days offers a glimpse into Yellowstone’s beauty, you might leave disappointed if you only checked a few spots off your list. Most travelers agree that 4 to 5 days allow you to cover all the top places on your list while leaving time to relax and enjoy the scenery. Whether it’s watching wildlife in Lamar Valley or enjoying lunch on the shores of Yellowstone Lake, Yellowstone National Park is the perfect place for your next adventure.

You can read more helpful information on planning your trip to Yellowstone, including the best entrance to enter Yellowstone, where to see wildlife in Yellowstone, and the best airport to fly into Yellowstone

Want more information on custom Yellowstone tours? We’ve got you covered! Explore our custom multi-day Yellowstone tours and other Yellowstone day tours here

Questions on Yellowstone Tours? Contact us here