Tours of two days or more allow some spare time to see Yellowstone National Park, compared to trying to do it all in one day. However, the driving time almost inevitably increases, as typically it's necessary to drive to and from wherever you spend the night. Yellowstone's a big park, so even these drives can take an hour or more. Longer tours are also more open to variation; if you ask any ten Yellowstone veterans for the best itinerary for two (or three) days, you will probably get eleven or twelve answers. Our suggestions try hard not to be arbitrary, this two day itinerary more or less splits the park thematically: First day concentrates on the famous geysers and geyser basins, the second day visits Yellowstone River, Canyon, and Lake -- a water day. Both days involve at least six hours of sightseeing (not counting starting/ending drive time), but there's some flexibility to make unscheduled stops.

Suggested 2 Day Tour

This suggested itinerary assumes that this is either a first visit to Yellowstone, or it’s been a long time since the last visit.

Day One

The day starts with Old Faithful Geyser and checking the nearby Visitor Center to get predicted eruption times for other geysers. This information can be used to plan when to hike the Firehole River Walk and visit the Lower Geyser Basin. The day ends at Norris Geyser Basin, where again it pays to check with the ranger at the Norris Museum to see if an eruption of Echinus Geyser is imminent. With some luck, you may be able to see three or four major geysers erupt in this one day.

(Drive to Old Faithful Village from night’s lodging)  Add time
Old Faithful (wait for eruption + Visitor Center) 90 min.
Old Faithful Inn 15 min.
Firehole River Walk (to Morning Glory Pool and back) 90 min.
Lunch 30 min.
(Drive — Midway Geyser Basin, 6 miles) 15 min.
Midway Geyser Basin Walk (Grand Prismatic Spring) 30 min.
(Drive — Lower Geyser Basin, 5 miles) 10 min.
Lower Geyser Basin: Firehole Lake Drive 20 min.
Lower Geyser Basin: Fountain Paint Pot Walk 30 min.
(Drive — Norris Geyser Basin, 22 miles) 35 min.
Norris Geyser Basin, Porcelain Basin Walk 30 min.
Norris Geyser Basin, Steamboat Geyser 15 min.
Approximate Total Time 7 hours
(Return Drive) Add time

Day Two

The day begins with a driving tour at Mammoth Hot Springs (very different than most of Yellowstone’s geyser basins) and then proceeds to the Yellowstone River and over Mount Washburn to Canyon Village. After seeing the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and the two great falls, you travel through tranquil Hayden Valley and finish the day at West Thumb Geyser Basin on the shores of Yellowstone Lake.

(Drive to Mammoth Hot Spings) Add time
Mammoth Hot Springs – Upper Terrace Drive 25 min.
(Drive — Mammoth to Tower/Roosevelt Junction, 20 miles) 40 min.
Sulphur Springs Overlook 15 min.
(Drive — over Mount Washburn to Canyon Village, 19 miles) 35 min.
Canyon Village — Visitor Center 20 min.
Lunch 30 min.
Canyon — North Rim Drive, Inspiration Point 25 min.
Canyon — South Rim Drive, Artist Point, Uncle Tom’s Point 30 min.
(Drive — Canyon to Hayden Valley, 4 miles) 10 min.
Hayden Valley — Bison Herd (if present) 15 min.
Mud Volcano Walk 20 min.
(Drive – Hayden Valley to West Thumb, 27 miles) 40 min.
West Thumb Geyser Basin Walk 30 min.
Approximate Total Time 6 hrs.
(Return Drive) Add time

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