3 Jul 2022
The best thing about staying in Jackson is that you can easily access the south entrance to Yellowstone National Park! It takes just an hour and 15 minutes from Jackson to reach the South Entrance. Here’s an easy Yellowstone itinerary that will make the most of your one-day trip.
Pack a Picnic Lunch and a Map
While there are great places in the Park to eat, we suggest packing a picnic lunch for your day trip so no matter where you are when it's lunchtime, you don’t have to change plans and drive out of your way. Check out the National Park Service Yellowstone app for lots of great information. Once you reach the Park, take along a map so you can plan your route. (Note: there's not always cell service in the park, so a map will help you find your way if your phone cuts out!)
To get to Yellowstone, you’ll be driving through Grand Teton National Park on John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway. If you start early, chances are greater you'll see some wildlife along the drive - like elk, moose or bison. Starting early also gives you some time to pull over and take a few pictures of the natural beauty in Yellowstone.
Fountain Paint Pots
Start your day by heading to the furthest point in our itinerary and working your way back. Just a few miles north of Old Faithful are the Fountain Paint Pots. This area will provide you with a great experience of seeing all four of the thermal features within the Park; mudpots, geysers, hot springs, and fumaroles. The geysers all have their own unique timetable for erupting so you’ll never know which one will shoot the highest. The “plop, plop” of the mud pots are a fascinating sight and the blue hue of the hot springs are beautiful to see.
Grand Prismatic Spring
Old Faithful may be famous, but the Grand Prismatic Hot Spring is the most photographed thermal feature in Yellowstone due to its crazy-bright colors and enormous size. The iconic bands of red, orange, yellow and turquoise blue make it a must-stop on your one day itinerary to Yellowstone. The largest pool in the Midway Geyser basin, you can also check out Excelsior Geyser, Opal Pool & Turqoise Pool while you're there.
Old Faithful is one of the most popular sports in the Park and is just a short drive back from the Midway Geyser Basin. Take some time in the Old Faithful Visitor Education Center to learn more about the thermal features of the area and the history of this beloved geyser. The paved boardwalk will take you to several geysers including the Black Sand Basin. The Geyser erupts on a pretty "faithful" schedule, so make sure you check when the next expected eruption will occur so you can plan some time to explore.
Unless you want to do the entire Lower Loop, head back south, past Old Faithful, and drive north along Yellowstone Lake. Take time to stop at the Visitor Center at the Fishing Bridge to help decide where to go from there. You could spend time at the Lake or continue north to see the Mud Volcano, Sulphur Cauldren, and the Upper and Lower Falls in the “Grand Canyon” of Yellowstone.
Be sure and heed the speed limit in the park, and keep your eyes peeled for wildlife along the sides of the road. If you see a few cars pulled over, slow down - for safety, and also becuase they may have spotted an animal. It that's the case, make sure you find a safe, legal place to park and stay in your vehicle as you snap a few photos and awe in wonder!
Yellowstone has so much to see, but this day trip is packed with some of the best sights! You'll have plenty of pictures to share with family and friends and will want to come back to see more.