One Week Summer Itinerary to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks

Advisor - Tori Petry
Curated By

Tori Petry

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  • Active Travel

  • Nature Escapes

  • National Park

  • Outdoors

  • Summer

Woman with glasses standing in front of a mountain scape.
Curator’s statement

If you're considering a summer or fall trip to Yellowstone National Park, you'd be missing out if you didn't also include Grand Teton National Park in your itinerary. In fact, as a parks-obsessed advisor, my take is that you should actually focus your itinerary around Jackson Hole, Wyoming rather than Montana. Jackson is one of my favorite places in the country because it's what I like to call "bougie granola" - you can do all the fun outdoorsy things during the day but also come back to a trendy restaurant and a swanky hotel in the evening. And from mid-May through the end of October, the south entrance of Yellowstone is open — which means you can drive from inside Grand Teton National Park to the south entrance of Yellowstone, making it an easy two-for-one parks trip. You'll still pay entry fees to both parks, but you'll get to stay in a town with more of a vibe than other Yellowstone-adjacent towns — plus experience the jaw-dropping beauty of the Tetons that many miss in this area.

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Where to stay

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Anvil Hotel

Straightforward property nearby Snow King Mountain with cozy rooms.


A private resort near Jackson Hole with contemporary rustic architecture, with the option to discover outdoor adventure, and the extraordinary natural beauty of Wyoming.

Fora Perks
  • $100 food / beverage credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Hotel Jackson

Luxury boutique hotel in the delightful mountain town of Jackson Hole, just minutes from Jackson Town Square and the slopes.

Fora Perks
  • $100 food / beverage credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

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Advisor - Tori Petry

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Day 1: The Anvil Hotel

A woman in front of an antler arch.

Start your trip by checking in to the Anvil Hotel in Jackson for a stylish stay on a mid-range budget, or the luxurious and exclusive Amangani if you're wanting to go all out. Summertime in Jackson is stunning, but late September/early October is a great time for less crowds and lower prices. It's shoulder season between the busier summer and ski seasons. Plus, there's SO much wildlife activity in the fall as the animals prepare for winter. Spend your first day exploring the charming cowboy town of Jackson Hole. It's super walkable with so many great art shops and boutiques, and of course you have to get a photo with the iconic antler arches on the square. There's a great Italian restaurant at the Anvil Hotel if you're staying there, Glorietta Trattoria. And your stay would NOT be complete without a drink at the famous Million Dollar Cowboy Bar. There are literal saddles for seats at the bar, so you can "saddle up" to the bar for a drink.

Day 2: Grand Teton National Park

A woman standing in front of a lake.

Get up early to grab breakfast at Persephone Bakery as soon as it opens before heading into Grand Teton National Park. If you only had one day in this park, you'd want to hit Oxbow Bend for the most tranquil, pure river reflection of the mountains you can possibly imagine. Make sure to stop at Mormon Row for your classic Tetons photo with the barns and Jenny Lake. Jenny Lake is not only picturesque, but home to the Jenny Lake Rangers, some of the most elite search and rescue operators in the entire country. The story of a lightning strike rescue by the Jenny Lake Rangers on the podcast National Park After Dark will stick with you long after you listen and is great for the drive. Reward yourself for all your exploring with a bougie dinner at Snake River Grill. If you need to shorten this itinerary, skip the extra days in Jackson and go straight to Day 5 in Yellowstone from here.

Day 3: Jackson and the Taggart Lake Loop

Mountains with green trees and snow.

Day 3 is your big hiking day. Stop at Cowboy Coffee to fuel up on your way out of Jackson and hike the Taggart Lake Loop for something easy or Cascade Canyon Trail for something tougher. If you're an experienced hiker and up for exploring a lesser maintained trail, the misty blue waters of Delta Lake are stunning. This IS grizzly territory, so hike with bear spray. Hit Coelette back in Jackson for trendy cabin vibes at dinner.

Day 4: National Elk Refuge

A herd of deer on a field near mountains.

Recover from your big hikes by taking it easier on Day 4, staying close to town in Jackson. Start with a visit to the National Elk Refuge for some incredible wildlife spotting, followed by lunch at Bin 22, a cute wine bar with great bites. In the afternoon, take a ride up Bridger Gondola and get a sunset drink and dinner at Piste Mountain Bistro.

Day 5: Yellowstone National Park

A river in front of mountains.

Next up is Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone is like the Disney World of national parks. Since it was the first one, it's pretty iconic and internationally known, so expect crowds, but it's also pretty accessible — most of the sites are right off a parking lot so you don't have to be ultra-active to enjoy it. You're entering through the south entrance, so it is a bit of a drive from Jackson, but it's scenic. If you only have 1 day, drive counter-clockwise around the park's loop. Start most obviously with Old Faithful. Time your stop with an eruption of the famous geyser, but also be sure to explore the Upper Geyser Basin for some more unique geothermal features. We got to see a more rare eruption of the Beehive geyser, and at that moment there was a bison grazing nearby and a bald eagle flew overhead. It was literally the most American postcard scene I've ever seen. If you wanted to pack up from Jackson and spend a night inside the park, I would do it at the iconic Old Faithful Inn. As with most park lodges, the rooms are nothing exciting, but the building is one of the more historic and grand national park lodges. You could also opt for Under Canvas West Yellowstone for a glamping moment. Another must is Grand Prismatic Spring, but pro tip: you'll want to park at the Fairy Falls lot and hike the short trail up to Fairy Falls to get the overhead view and see all of the spring's incredible colors. And if you just have time for one more stop, make it Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. It is truly majestic taking it in from the viewpoint at Artist Point.

Day 6: Last Day

Hot spring during daytime.

If you have a second day to spend in Yellowstone, look for bears and other wildlife in Hayden Valley and wolves in Lamar Valley. You could truly spend an entire day exploring these areas. Or head all the way to the north end of the park to see Mammoth Hot Springs.

Need to Know

A lot of people think only of Yellowstone and think they want to plan an entire itinerary around it. Yes, it is incredibly massive and you could spend as many days as you wanted here just exploring, but in my opinion you get the most well-rounded experience starting from Jackson so you can hit the highlights in Yellowstone, and spend more time in the Tetons, a park a lot of visitors miss in this area. Plus, you get to stay at some pretty gorgeous hotels and have great food — something you don't always find near national parks! Keep in mind this itinerary only applies in summer through early fall due to road closures, so if you want to do a winter or spring trip to Yellowstone, go ahead and base your trip out of West Yellowstone or Gardiner, Montana. And of course, if you are not an experienced outdoors explorer, you can always work with your travel advisor to have a guide take you through exploring the national parks rather than the DIY road trip itinerary listed here.

Advisor - Tori Petry

Travel Advisor

Tori Petry

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This itinerary is part of our ongoing series on Nature Escapes travel. Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out my itinerary, The Ultimate Tulum Bachelorette Party.