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Can You Visit Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks on the Same Day?

Can You Visit Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks on the Same Day?

Can You Visit Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks on the Same Day?

Grand Teton and Yellowstone are only seven miles apart. Their nearness might tempt you to visit both in one day, but should you do it? 

Yellowstone alone is over 2 million acres. According to history.com, that’s bigger than Rhode Island and Delaware combined! 

Keep reading to learn more about both parks, what you can do inside the parks, and where to stay. By the time you’re done, you’ll know whether or not you can visit Grand Teton and Yellowstone on the same day. 

Let’s explore!

About Grand Teton National Park

Great Teton National Park was established in 1929 by President Calvin Coolidge. It’s in northwest Wyoming between Yellowstone and Jackson Hole. The park name is attributed to French explorers from the 1800s who called the area Les Trois Tetons, or “the three teats.” 

In 1950, Jackson Hole National Monument was added, creating the park boundaries we know today. 

The park is famous for its jagged snow-covered mountain range. Its tallest peak is towering at over 13,000 feet high. The most well-known areas within the park are Jenny Lake and Mormon Row.

Jenny Lake is at the base of Cascade Canyon, and visitors can hike, canoe and kayak. There’s even a ferry you can take to cross the lake.

Mormon Row is close to the south entrance of the park. It’s what’s left of the cottages built in the 1890s by Mormon homesteaders. 

mountain view in Grand Teton National Park
Hike through the scenic mountain landscape of Grand Teton National Park.

About Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park got its start when the North Pacific Railroad promoted the area as an attraction. They were looking to expand their railroad and gained political and financial backing that helped launch the Washburn-Lanford-Doane party in 1870. This expedition named the first geyser in the park, Old Faithful. The Yellowstone Park Act was approved in 1872, and Yellowstone National Park was born.

Yellowstone is a recreational area atop a volcanic hot spot in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. Yellowstone National Park is known for geysers, hot springs, and bison herds. 

The top places to visit within the park are Old Faithful, Grand Prismatic Springs, Haydens Valley and Lamar Valley, The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, Yellowstone Lake, and Mammoth Hot Springs. 

Pro Tip: Want to camp in Yellowstone? Make sure to use these 5 Yellowstone Camping Hacks.

Yellowstone National Park
Feel the heat in Yellowstone at the many geysers and hot springs.

How Long Does It Take To Drive Through Yellowstone and Grand Teton?

Yellowstone and Grand Teton are connected via the John D Rockefeller Jr Memorial Parkway (AKA U.S. Route 191). You can start in Jackson Hole, head north on 191, drive through Grand Teton, and then Yellowstone via the south entrance. That drive will take about 60 minutes. Keep going another 60 minutes to get to Old Faithful. U.S. Route 191 is not open during the winter. 

There is another loop around Yellowstone and Grand Teton. This loop is over 250 miles and takes at least seven hours, without stops and bison traffic jams. Please note that this loop includes 191. Always check for road closures before setting out. 

Car driving through Grand Teton
It is possible to drive between Grand Teton and Yellowstone in a day.

What Did the Native Americans Call the Tetons?

The Teton mountain range is part of the ancestral home of the Shoshone people. They were nomadic and summered in the Teton area for the abundance of game and plants for food and medicine. 

The Teton area had spiritual significance to the Shoshone people. It still does to the neighboring Wind River and Fort Hall reservations. 

The Shoshone used the native word Teewinot to describe the range’s “many pinnacles.” 

Does Old Faithful Erupt Every Day?

Old Faithful is one of almost 500 geysers inside Yellowstone. It’s one of only six that rangers can predict. It’s unusual to be able to predict geyser eruptions because volcanic and thermal activity constantly changes. 

Old Faithful’s eruptions are predicted by naturalist staff members based on the duration of previous eruptions. Old Faithful erupts 17 times a day, per the National Parks Service. Each discharge lasts anywhere from 1.5 to 5 minutes, with an average height of 130 feet. 

Person hiking through Yellowstone.
Hike through Yellowstone to see Old Faithful erupt.

Best Hikes In Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks

Leigh Lake Trail – Grand Teton National Park

Located just north of Jenny Lake and at the end of String Lake Road, Leigh Lake Trail is a short 2.9-mile out-and-back path. Leigh Lake Trail is a forested and flat route along the String and Leigh lakes giving you lovely views of the lakes and mountains. 

Would you like to extend your hike? In that case, you can continue further along Leigh Lake Trail or follow the many intersecting trails along the way. 

Pro Tip: Hiking in Grand Teton is sure to be a stunning experience. Make the most of your time in the Teton’s with our Teton Crest Trail Guide For Hikers.

Grand Prismatic Hot Springs – Yellowstone National Park

If you’re interested in an easy hike with a stunning view, you might consider the Grand Prismatic Hot Springs trail. It’s a popular 1.6-mile out-and-back trail leading to an overlook of Grand Prismatic Spring. 

The path to the hot springs overlook starts at the Fairy Falls parking lot and follows Fairy Falls Trail. Always check before heading out as closures due to wildlife and road conditions are common.

Best Camping Near Grand Teton National Park

Gros Ventre Campground – Jackson, Wyoming

At just under seven miles from the Grand Teton, Gros Ventre Campground has 360 asphalt campsites. Only 39 of the campsites have electricity; the rest have zero connections. The campground has bathrooms with flush toilets but no showers. 

If you’re concerned about fresh water, there are potable water spigots for all campers. Additionally, the campground has two dump stations.

Gros Ventre Campground is seasonal and closes from mid-October to the end of April. 

Location: 100 Gros Ventre Campground Rd, Kelly, WY 83011

Upper Teton View Dispersed Camping – Moose, Wyoming

You can find dispersed camping sites all over Grand Teton, but the one with the best views is the Upper Teton View Dispersed Camping in campsites 8-16. This camping location is first come, first served, and has zero amenities. So, make sure you have enough fresh water and empty waste tanks before arriving.

Each campsite is dirt and has a fire ring. Although there aren’t any toilets or running water, there is a privy within walking distance. 

Location: 43.7638, -110.5527

Is a One Day Road Trip to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks Worth It? 

If you’re heading to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National parks, a road trip, at least for one day, is worth it! If you can, you should extend the trip. There are tons of areas to explore, either from inside your vehicle, on land, or on water. If you do explore the site for a day, make sure to plan things well and call ahead to ensure your time is spent well. 

Have you visited Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks? Which one was your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!

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Tuesday 15th of February 2022

[…] Pro Tip: Want to try to cross off two national parks in one day? We researched the perfect itineraries to answer Can You Visit Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks on the Same Day? […]

Bob

Thursday 23rd of December 2021

Yes, if you don't want see much or do anything such as the beautiful hike to Hidden Falls in Teton. In one of my six visits to Yellowstone I was getting back to my car at Old Faithful and saw a car pull up, snap a photo through the windshield, then leave.

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