What To See In Yellowstone In 2 Days

At more than 3,400 square miles, you could expend a lifetime searching Yellowstone National Park. But what if you only have two days? We’ve assembled an incredible 2-day itinerary that packs fantastic hiking, wildlife watching, geyser viewing, and more to ensure you can see Yellowstone’s best in just one weekend.

What To See In Yellowstone In 2 Days?

Yellowstone National Park is huge. It’s home to a wide range of ecosystems and remarkable landscapes that are as varied as they are awe-inspiring. From rolling hills dotted with bison to steaming geysers shooting high in the sky, the world’s first national park is an extraordinarily unique place full of natural wonders. And it’s impossible to see in only two days. You could spend a week here and only see some things. But you CAN hit the main highlights! Start early and stay out late – you don’t want to miss a thing. Here are some of our favorite things to see in Yellowstone during a short visit.

Day 1: The Geyser Basins

#Old Faithful

The best way to see the top hot spots is to start very early. And your best chance to get an early start is by staying inside the park. Enjoy a refreshing night’s stay at Old Faithful Inn, the most famous structure in the National Parks. The iconic building inspires the rustic architecture often found in national parks and is known for its steeply pitched, gabled, cedar-shingled roof.

From the Inn, head out to Old Faithful. The world’s most famous geyser predictably erupts about 20 times a day. There’s an average of 90 minutes between eruptions, but intervals can range anywhere from 60–110 minutes. The front desk of the Inn posts predicted eruption times, so check with them before you head out.

#Upper Geyser Basin

Return to the Inn for breakfast before heading out to see the rest of the area. While Old Faithful is the show’s star, it isn’t the only one. From here, stroll the rest of the Upper Geyser Basin, where you’ll find at least 150 geysers packed into one square mile, the most significant number of these hydrothermal phenomena in the park.

Highlights include the predictable geysers (Castle, Daisy, Grand, and Riverside), the Lion Group, the 150-foot Beehive, and bright Beauty and Chromatic Pools.

#Midway Geyser Basin

A short drive north brings you to the Midway Geyser Basin, home of the Grand Prismatic Spring, one of the world’s deepest hot springs. It’s larger than a football field (370 feet in diameter), more profound than a 10-story building (121 feet), and renowned for its size and captivating jewel-toned hues.

To access Grand Prismatic, stroll across the Firehole River (bridge) and along the short boardwalk that snakes through the thermal area, where you’ll also see Excelsior Geyser, an enormous geyser crater, Turquoise Pool, and Opal Pool.

#Lower Geyser Basin

Take Firehole Lake Drive past Great Fountain Geyser to the geothermal features of the Lower Geyser Basin—all four types: fumaroles, hot springs, geysers, and mud pots.

The loop will take you by the deep blue Celestine Spring, a lively collection of geysers, the impressive Fountain Geyser, and the most popular attraction in the basin, the bubbling Fountain Paint Pots mud springs.

#Norris Geyser Basin

The hottest geyser basin in Yellowstone. The tallest geyser in the world. Steaming pools, milky mineral deposits, and mesmerizing shades of blue, green, and gold. Hissing fumaroles and murky mud pots. And the geothermal features of Norris are always changing, making this one of the park’s most dynamic, intriguing places.

Take the half-mile boardwalk trail to Porcelain Basin, taking in Constant Geysers and enormous fumaroles along the way. Another 1.5-mile walk will take you to Back Basin and the sparkling Emerald Spring, the rare acidic Echinus Geyser, and the 300-foot-plus Steamboat Geyser, the tallest in the world. But take your time with an eruption; Steamboat does not share Old Faithful’s predictability, and eruption cycles have been measured in years, not minutes.

DAY 2: Mammoth To The Grand Canyon Of Yellowstone

#Mammoth Hot Springs

Rise and shine early, grab a delicious breakfast, and enjoy a front-row seat of grazing elk and bison from the Mammoth Hotel Dining Room, the only 4-star certified green restaurant in the national parks. Once you’re all fueled up, it’s on to Mammoth Hot Spring Terraces. If you’re thinking, wait a minute.

We saw all kinds of geysers and hot springs yesterday, so don’t worry! You’ll find a different type of thermal feature at the terraces than elsewhere in the park. The hot springs at Mammoth don’t erupt. They build spectacular travertine terrace formations, described as a caves turned inside out. The area consists of boardwalks for up-close viewing of the hot springs and terraces.

The Lower Terrace boardwalk is where you’ll find one of the best-known features, Liberty Cap, rising 37 feet in the air, and Minerva Spring, favored for its wide range of colors and intricate travertine formations. Once you’ve filled the Lower Terrace, reach the Upper Terrace Drive. This section is home to Prospect Terrace, New Highland Terrace, Orange Spring Mound, Bath Lake, White Elephant Back Terrace, and Angel Terrace. The Mammoth boardwalks cover an easy 1.75 miles that take about an hour.

#The Grand Canyon Of Yellowstone

The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone is the most breathtaking sight in Yellowstone Park. Head south via the highest road in the park at 8,859 feet, Dunraven Pass. On the drive, enjoy the view of 10,243-foot Mt. Washburn and stop at Tower Fall overlook.

For even better views and more wildlife spotting opportunities, hike the 6.2-mile (round-trip) trail from the Dunraven Pass trailhead to the summit of Mt. Washburn. Be on the lookout for bighorn sheep. In July, the slopes are covered in wildflowers. Once at the top, it’s nothing but panoramic views—about 20 to 50 miles—all around. And it’s incredible.

Remember, it can take more time than you expect to get from place to place, so plan accordingly. But above all, be patient, flexible, and have fun. And enjoy the unexpected sights along the way—lots of them!

Thanks for reading.

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