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Best Way to See Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park

Updated on January 11, 2019
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We've been surfing, camping and hiking for 20 years. We love visiting new places and sharing our story.

Many options

These parks are full of options. We will share the best ways to get there and some of the top spots you have to see. Located within a 10 minute drive from each other, these parks are a must see. Grand Teton overwhelms you as you approach the majestic peaks. Yellowstone has a diversity of landscape and wildlife. Here's how we made the most of our trip to these epic parks.

Teton views

The lakes in Grand Teton NP are amazing
The lakes in Grand Teton NP are amazing | Source

Getting there

We flew into SLC airport in Utah. Arriving in the morning allowed us to pickup our rental, load up on some food and stop by REI for the things that can't fly (stove fuel, bear spray, bug spray etc). The drive up to Grand Teton NP from Salt Lake was a scenic 4.5 hour drive. We stopped in GTNP the first night, hiked there the second day then drove on to Yellowstone for 2 nights of camping before coming back through GPNP for 2 nights on the way home. GTNP was more our style (hiking, biking, more

Must sees

From the moment you begin to see the Tetons on the horizon, you're hooked. Visions of hiking, biking and sightseeing overwhelm your senses. Both parks have so much to offer. There's no way to see everything, but you can see a lot of the parks in 5 days. Here are some top recommendations we knocked out.

Here are some of our favorites in Grand Teton NP:

  • Jenny Lake

  • Inspiration Point

  • Cascade Canyon Trail

  • Oxbow Bend at Sunset/Sunrise

  • Biking from Grand Tetons into Jackson Hole

  • Taggart Lake Trail

Biking from Jenny Lake to Jackson Hole

Riding bikes from Jenny Lake to Jackson Hole was a perfect adventure.
Riding bikes from Jenny Lake to Jackson Hole was a perfect adventure. | Source

Here are some of our favorites in Yellowstone NP:

  • Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

  • Old Faithful

  • Grand prismatic Spring

  • West Thumb Geyser Basin

  • Fountain Paint Pot

  • Yellowstone Caldera

  • Driving on the dirt roads whenever we got a chance to explore

Always opt for 4wd

Driving off road in the parks is one of the best ways to see everything
Driving off road in the parks is one of the best ways to see everything | Source

Gear tips

We went in the summer, so the weather was near perfect. It was chilly at night, but not cold. Be sure to bring jackets and dress in layers. You won't regret it. Bear spray is a necessity. A bear canister is required for many campsites. Drive something comfortable. You'll be in the car a lot, especially at Yellowstone. We rented a large SUV for a cozy ride and a place to camp if the weather turned. We rented bikes, but if you can bring them you should. There are lots of great places to ride.

We camped in the SUV one night just outside the park.

camping in the national forest offers unparalleled views
camping in the national forest offers unparalleled views | Source

Best time to visit

Summer was perfect for camping. We went late August. Crowds begin thinning by then. September is cooler, but more secluded. Spring is also an option, but there will be snow on many trails. We live on the east coast so the lack of humidity made our trip quite relaxing. The peak season is JUNE-AUGUST. The parks are large enough to handle the crowds though. You'll still find plenty of open spaces and solitary hikes.

Old faithful


Where will you go first?

Hiking in Grand Teton
Hiking in Grand Teton
Another great campsite in the National Forest beside Grand Teton
Another great campsite in the National Forest beside Grand Teton
Yellowstone Canyon
Yellowstone Canyon
The views just kept getting better
The views just kept getting better

Who should go?

We'd say Yellowstone is best for people who want to see a National Park, but aren't necessarily into hiking and camping. There are nice resorts and lodges all over Yellowstone. It definitely felt touristy. That being said we came on the week of the total lunar eclipse in 2017. So crowds were expected. Grand Teton was right up our alley. It felt more secluded. Offered lots of hiking trails with big rewards (views, waterfalls, creek crossings, wildlife, etc). Additionally, the view of those peaks rising up out of the plain is just other worldly. We couldn't take our eyes off of them.


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