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Yellowstone National Park Itineraries

from Big Sky, MT 


Big Sky, Montana offers the perfect basecamp for exploring the wonders of Yellowstone National Park. With the West Entrance just a scenic 50-minute drive away, you can be exploring the many geysers, spotting wildlife, and marveling at the vast landscapes in no time. Whether you have a day or a few days to spare, here are two itineraries we’ve curated for exploring Yellowstone from Big Sky.  


Day Trip Itinerary: Yellowstone Lower Loop 

This itinerary includes the must-see sights of Yellowstone's Lower Loop in a single day. Be sure to check road conditions and park advisories before your trip and allow plenty of extra time for wildlife viewing and traffic congestion, especially during peak season. Bring plenty of water and pack snacks. 

Yellowstone GeysersStart your day early (aim for 7 am) to avoid crowds and grab breakfast on the go from Caliber Coffee or Cowboy Coffee Co in Big Sky.  Head south on Highway 191 and enjoy the beautiful drive along the Gallatin River. 

Upon entrance to the park, purchase your park pass.  An individual entrance pass is $35 and is valid for 7 days.  

First stop: Madison Junction area. Explore the Firehole Canyon Drive, the lower geyser basin and Midway Geyser Basin. See the iconic Grand Prismatic Spring, Ear Spring, and the vibrant Morning Glory Pool. 

Second Stop: Continue along the Grand Loop Road to Old Faithful.   Enjoy lunch at the Old Faithful Lodge or bring a packed lunch.  Afterwards, make your way to the Upper Geyser Basin, featuring the world-famous Old Faithful Geyser, which erupts every 45-90 minutes. Be sure to check the predicted eruption times at the park visitor center. 

Third Stop: In the afternoon, head to the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. Stop at Lookout Point for a breathtaking view of the upper and lower falls. Yellowstone National park

Fourth Stop: Finish your afternoon off with a stop at the Canyon Village.  Explore the Education Center and grab a sweet treat at the Canyon Village General Store. 

(Optional) On your return to Big Sky, consider stopping in West Yellowstone to stretch your legs and explore the town.   

Finish your day off with a casual and crowd-pleasing dinner at The Corral or The Riverhouse BBQ in Big Sky.  



2-Day Itinerary: Exploring Yellowstone's Lower and Upper Loops

Spring in Yellowstone

This itinerary allows you to explore more of Yellowstone's geothermal features and hopefully spot some wildlife along the way. Spending a night inside the park allows you to experience the unique atmosphere and avoid the crowds at the West Entrance. 

Day 1:  

Follow the Day Trip Itinerary above, focusing on the Lower Loop. 

In the late afternoon, instead of heading back to Big Sky, make reservations to stay at the Canyon Lodge & Cabins or for more adventurous travelers, make campground reservations for the Canyon Campground.  Lodging in the park fills up quickly, plan on make reservations well in advance.  Grab a casual dinner and ice cream  at the Canyon lodge eatery and ice creamery.  

Day 2:  

Grab coffee and a quick snack at the Canyon Falls Lodge Cafe before hitting the road.   

First Stop: Take the Norris Canyon Road to the Norris Geyser Basin.  Explore the Basin Museum along with the vibrant hot springs, steam vents, and geysers such as the Porkchop Geyser. 

Second Stop: Head North on the Grand Loop Road to Mammoth Hot Springs. Hike, explore, and take pictures at the Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces.  

Third Stop: Stop at the Roosevelt Arch located at the northern entrance to Yellowstone National Park. Grab lunch in the quaint town of Gardiner, MT.  Roosevelt Arch in Yellowstone

In the afternoon, journey back to Big Sky by heading North through Paradise Valley.   

(Optional): For a little rejuvenation, stop in to Yellowstone Hot Springs for a quick soak.  Explore downtown Bozeman and grab dinner at Montana Ale Works.  Head back to your accommodation in Big Sky.  


Additional Tips for Your Yellowstone Visit: 
  • Purchase your park entrance pass online in advance to save time at the entrance gate. 

  • Be aware that internet and cell service is extremely limited once inside the park. Download any information you may need during your trip ahead of time.  We encourage downloading the National Park Service Yellowstone app for maps, information on geyser eruption times, and park advisories. 

  • Be prepared for all weather conditions. Yellowstone's weather can change quickly, so pack layers of clothing, rain gear, and sunscreen. 

  • Bring plenty of water and snacks. There are limited food options available inside the park. 

  • Fill up your gas tank in Big Sky before entering the park. Gas stations inside the park are few and far between. 

  • Wildlife has the right of way. Pull over to a safe location and turn off your engine to watch wildlife. 

  • Stay on designated trails and boardwalks. Thermal features are extremely dangerous. 

  • Leave no trace. Pack out all your trash and respect the park's natural environment. 


By following these tips and using the suggested itineraries, you can plan a memorable and enjoyable visit to Yellowstone National Park from your Big Sky basecamp.