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Grand Teton to Yellowstone to Glacier National Parks Road Trip

Grand Teton, Yellowstone, and Glacier National Parks are three of America’s most famous, and, in my opinion, America’s best national parks.

These three national parks will be popular destinations for families looking to take a road trip this spring and summer of 2023!

We’ve taken a Grand Teton to Yellowstone to Glacier National Parks road trip many times and want to provide you with some tips and insights we’ve learned over from our experiences.

In this blog everything you need to know to plan an amazing road trip from Grand Teton to Yellowstone to Glacier National Park and all the best activities you won’t want to miss.

Related: Top 10 Things to do in Grand Teton, Yellowstone & Glacier NP

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Grand Teton to Yellowstone to Glacier National Parks Road Trip Pin

Mount Rushmore Or Glacier National Park

We also have a road trip itinerary from Yellowstone to Mount Rushmore. If you’ve never been to either Mount Rushmore or Glacier National Park and need help deciding which one to visit on a road trip, here’s my two cents.

Glacier is better if you love hiking epic mountains. Hiking Grinnell Glacier, Hidden Lake Overlook, Avalanche Lake, Gunsight Lake, and the Highline Trail in Glacier National Park is incredible. But Glacier National Park is crowded.

If you love hiking less crowded mountains, the hikes in the Big Horn mountains that we have in our Best Hikes Wyoming blog are pretty amazing and have hardly any crowds.

Plus, the surrounding area of Mount Rushmore including Custer State Park and Spearfish Canyon are some of our favorite places in the USA.

Don’t Have Time To Read This Now? Download The Entire Travel Guide

America The Beautiful Pass For Your Grand Teton to Yellowstone to Glacier National Parks Road Trip

Each one of these National Parks costs $35 per vehicle to enter. This fee is good for 7 consecutive days and covers all the passengers in your vehicle and is good for motorhomes as well. If you were only going to one park, this would be the way to go.

However, if you do this Grand Teton to Yellowstone to Glacier National Parks Road Trip, you are better off buying the America The Beautiful Pass which covers entrance fees at ALL national parks, national wildlife refuges, day-use fees at national forests and grasslands, and BLM areas. It’s only $80 for an entire year!

You can purchase it online but it’s easier to just buy it when you get to the entrance of your first national park.

How long should I take for a road trip from Yellowstone, to the Tetons, to Glacier?

This is a question we get all the time no matter where we go. You can spend a lot of time in each place but to get a good feel for each of these amazing National Parks we recommend 2-3 days in each park. That doesn’t include driving days. Every person or family has different milages that they can cover. When we first started we tried to stay to no more than 200 miles a day driving.

Which is the best National Park?

This is a tough choice. Our favorite is Grand Teton National Park because of the powerful peaks and the tough hikes that can thin the crowds. If you are into wildlife viewing and can get up early Yellowstone has the most bang for your buck but by far the most crowded.

Are the roads easy to drive?

All three of these National Parks are extremely popular and very well marked and maintained roads. Large RV’s, trailers and fifth wheels travel to and from all of these Parks so you can expect simple and safe travel.

Grand Teton to Yellowstone to Glacier National Parks Road Trip Norris Basin

Tips for Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone’s vastness showcases incredible geothermal activity and iconic bison, but summer visits resemble Disneyland crowded and require extensive driving between distant attractions, often struggling to find parking.

Booking campgrounds near Madison or Canyon in Yellowstone provides a central base to explore the park in smaller segments, perfect for breaking up visits across different trips.

Having a plan when going to Yellowstone is crucial since it is so big and because you won’t have cell service once you’re in there.

This is so important! To save some time, download offline maps before going into the park. Read our blog, How to Use Your Phone as a GPS if you don’t know how to do this already. You can also print out maps of Yellowstone and Grand Teton NPs here.

Grand Teton to Yellowstone to Glacier National Parks Road Trip
The iconic Old Faithful Geyser is a one-of-a-kind sight to see and it’s worth the wait!

No trip to Yellowstone is complete without seeing Old Faithful erupt! It’s an essential bucket list activity in Yellowstone. It’s called Old Faithful for a reason and it can be seen shooting water into the air every 94 or 68 minutes (+/- 10 minutes). You can click here to get predictions for the next eruption of Old Faithful and many other geysers in Yellowstone.

Grand Teton to Yellowstone to Glacier National Parks Road Trip Bison
Bison on the side of the road is common everywhere in Yellowstone NP but especially so in Lamar Valley

Yellowstone National Park offers numerous attractions, but aiming for the top 4 saves energy. Add others if time allows.

Grand Teton to Yellowstone to Glacier National Parks Road Trip Grand Prismatic
You can’t miss Grand Prismatic at Yellowstone National Park

What you can’t miss in Yellowstone N.P.

  • Old Faithful
  • Grand Prismatic Spring (Midway Geyser Basin)
  • Norris Geyser Basin
  • Grand Canyon of Yellowstone + Lower Falls

If you aren’t looping Yellowstone and instead, are driving through only one direction, I recommend driving from the Northeast entrance, through Lamar Valley, down to Canyon, west to Norris, and then South through Madison to Grand Prismatic and Old Faithful. With this itinerary, you will skip Mammoth Hot Springs and Yellowstone Lake, which are nice to see, but not as amazing as the others.

Grand Teton to Yellowstone to Glacier National Parks Road Trip Lamar Valley
Lamar Valley in Yellowstone NP

If you have more time, check out:

  • West Thumb Geyser Basin
  • Mammoth Hot Springs
  • Lamar Valley
Grand Teton to Yellowstone to Glacier National Parks Road Trip Grand Tetons
Grand Teton NP and Jackson Lake

Tips For Grand Teton National Park

Now, compared to Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons are way more condensed, and quite honestly, this is my preferred place to go to chill and take in the mountain vibes.

Grand Teton to Yellowstone to Glacier NP Road Trip Guidebook

The Tetons are jaw-droppingly beautiful especially when they are sprinkled with snow. You really don’t need a lot of time here (though you could spend A LOT of time here) but it’s worth it to at least take in the view from Colter Bay.

If you have time, walking around Jenny Lake or hopping on the boat to get across the lake to hike Cascade Canyon is the best.

Note that driving time from Old Faithful to Colter Bay is about an hour and a half (maybe even a little longer if you are driving an RV). And then driving time from Colter Bay to Jenny Lake is another hour.

Grand Teton to Yellowstone to Glacier National Parks Road Trip Artists Paintpots
Artist’s Paintpots in Yellowstone NP

Where to Camp in Yellowstone

Getting a campsite in Yellowstone can be difficult as they book up way in advance. Plus, car camping or overnight parking is prohibited within the park.

Every campground in Yellowstone is now reservable through either the Recreation.Gov or the Yellowstone National Park Lodges. There are 12 reserved parks. Refer to the chart below from the NPS website for info on what amenities are offered at each campground plus max RV length and the number of campsites.

Reservable Campgrounds in Yellowstone

Referring to this blog at the last minute? If you have cell service before you enter the park, you can click here to see which campgrounds have availability at that time.

Note that if you are looking for showers and laundry in the park, both Canyon and Grant Village have paid showers and laundry facilities that are open to the public even if you don’t have a campsite resreved there.

You also have the option of camping in West Yellowstone, however, this town is very touristy and overpriced. We’ve stayed at the Brandin Iron Inn’s campground before and while there is not much draw to the actual campsite, it’s within walking distance to restaurants and grocery stores. Plus, it had free hot showers and a laundry room, which made it a good stopping place for a night to clean up and restock.

The town of Cooke City-Silver Gate is really cute! There’s not a lot here but it does have a few restaurants, motels and lodges, and two RV parks- Soda Butte Campground and Colter Campground.

Grand Teton to Yellowstone to Glacier National Parks Road Trip Colter Bay
Views from Colter Bay Campground

Where to Camp in Grand Teton

My preference for camping in Grand Teton NP is to stay at Colter Bay Campground. Colter Bay has a RV resort which is really hard to get a reservation at. The reason it is so popular is because it offers full hookup sites.

Also in Colter Bay is Colter Bay Campground which offers 350 sites for tents and RVs but without hookups. Some sites do allow you to run generators though.

Colter Bay Campground used to be a first-come-first-serve campground and it was so hard to get a site. Now, you can reserve your campsite ahead of time on

The nice thing about Colter Bay Village is that it has paid showers, laundry, and a general store so it really feels like a little village.

There are a few other options if you can’t get a campsite at Colter Bay:

If you aren’t looking to camp, there’s a limited amount of accommodation inside Grand Teton National Park. Jackson Lake Lodge and Colter Bay Village are beautiful lodges that are centrally located in the middle of the park. These are great places to stay but they can be a bit pricey and you’ll have to book early because reservations fill up fast. Heart Six Ranch is also close by and a bit more affordable.

You can also opt to stay in Jackson if you want to be near shopping and restaurants. I personally don’t recommend it because its so pricey and far from Grand Teton National Park activities. Some more budget friendly accommodations in Jackson are Elk Country Inn or Cowboy Village Resort.

Related Blog: Best Sleep Pad For Each Adventure

Driving a Big RV in Yellowstone + Grand Teton NP

Getting to, and navigating your way around, Yellowstone or Grand Teton NP can be tricky if you are driving an RV. We normally travel in our 30′ Class C RV when we visit Yellowstone and it’s fairly easy to navigate all the roadways with this small of an RV.

Driving Large RV in Yellowstone and Grand Teton NP
Our big RV 5th wheel trailer named, Appa

However, this year, I plan on towing my 42′ fifth wheel to the Tetons and so I had to think a lot about which direction I was to come and go from.

As much as I love visiting Driggs, Idaho and playing at Grand Targhee Resort. I know I cannot tow over Teton Pass, which is WY-22 west of Jackson. I can barely get my class C over this pass at 25 m.p.h.!

This is the most complete blog I’ve seen on driving to, as well as in, the roads of Yellowstone, Tetons, and Bighorns. Give it a read if you are in a large RV.

Download the Ultimate Road Trip Guide

Overall, the easiest way in and out of Yellowstone is through the north entrance, the west entrance, and the south entrance, assuming you are coming in from the Hoback area on the 191 and not from Victor on the 22. The east entrance is doable but has some steep grades. The northeast is steep and windy and not advisable for big rigs.

Also, you won’t want to drive an RV in Yellowstone between Tower Falls and Canyon Village.

Highline trail, Best Hikes in Glacier National Park, Strenuous
Perhaps one of the greatest hikes in the world, the Highline Trail

Tips For Visiting Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park is as amazing as you’ve heard. But like Yellowstone, it’s important to have a plan when going so that you don’t miss all the gems. And no trip to Glacier is complete without hiking so be sure to check out this blog with 50 of the best hikes in Glacier National Park.

These are the top things that I think you should try to do when visiting Glacier NP.

  • Drive the Going to the Sun Road
  • Views of Grinnell Glacier from the Highline Trail or Grinnel Glacier Trail
  • Avalanche Lake Hike, is a gorgeous and fairly easy 4-mile round-trip hike
  • Lake McDonald
  • Wildlife and wildflowers at Logan Pass

The road is open year-round up to Lake McDonald Lodge. In the winter, you can cross-country ski the road or snowshoe to Avalanche Lake.

September is the best time to visit Glacier because the weather is nice, it’s so much less crowded, and there are fall colors. Click here for the top things to do in Glacier NP in September.

The road to Logan Pass, called Going-to-the-Sun Road, typically opens in early June, however, this could be earlier or later depending on the amount of snowfall that year.

The section of road from Lake McDonald Lodge to Avalanche Lake trailhead typically opens in early May which is a great time to visit because you can hike Avalanche Lake and ride your bike up to Logan Pass if the snow has been plowed.

One of the most memorable things I’ve done in Glacier NP is biking the Going-to-the-Sun Road. It’s a little challenging but we aren’t avid cyclists by any means and did it fairly easily. You can rent a bike from Glacier Outfitters and they even rent e-bikes to make the ride easier for you!

IMPORTANT: Glacier National Park now requires a reservation permit to access all roads into the park. This includes the Going-to-the-Sun from the west and east side, Many Glacier Road, North Fork Road, and Two Medicine Road. Each location requires a separate reservation. You can get complete details on how to get your permit here. If you have trouble getting a permit, there are still a lot of great hikes to do around Glacier NP that don’t require a permit.

Glacier vehicle permit restrictions

The views of Glacier NP from Lake McDonald, especially close to sunrise or sunset, are amazing. You may want to look into staying one night at Lake McDonald Lodge.

Tips for Camping in Glacier National Park
Views from the shore of Lake MacDonald

If you are going to go to the Saint Mary Lake side of Glacier NP, note that it is a 2-hour drive when the Going-to-the-Sun Road is closed. In my opinion, it isn’t worth the detour considering how many amazing things there are to see between Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks.

Hidden Lake Overlook, Best Hikes in Glacier National Park, Easy
Views from the top of Logan Pass on Hidden Lake Overlook Trail

Where to Camp in Glacier

There are 5 reservable campgrounds in Glacier National Park: Apgar, Fish Creek, Many Glacier, St. Mary, and Sprague Creek campgrounds.

You can search for campground reservations at Glacier at

I recommend camping at Apgar Campground because it’s close to the visitor center which makes it easy to get on the free shuttle system that has expanded a lot to compensate for the restrictions on vehicle travel.

The Glacier shuttle runs once the full Going-to-the-Sun road opens up until Labor Day. There’s also an early season shuttle starting May 7th for hiker/biker access and limited late-season shuttle service.

Related Blog: 12 Tips for Camping in Glacier National Park

If camping isn’t your thing, you can also stay at the Great Northern Resort & Lodge. With a rustic cabin feel, clean and modern amenities, beautiful property with mountain views, and an impressively close proximity to Glacier National Park, this is an amazing place to base camp to explore Glacier!

Things to Do Between Yellowstone NP and Glacier NP

Garden of 1000 Buddhas Montana
Grand Teton to Yellowstone to Glacier National Parks Road Trip Jenny Lake
Jenny Lake in Grand Teton NP

Grand Teton to Yellowstone to Glacier National Parks Road Trip 1 Week Itinerary

Okay, if time and money aren’t an issue, then you need a week in the Tetons/Yellowstone area another week in Glacier and a few days to travel between the two. But since most people do have a limited amount of time or money, I’m going to break down how you can do this trip in only 1 week by starting south and working your way north.

If you are flying in for this trip, you have a lot of options for airports and RV rentals. You can fly in/out of:

  • Billings, MT
  • Bozeman, MT
  • Missoula, MT
  • Jackson, WY
  • Idaho Falls, ID
  • Kalispell, MT (also known as Glacier International).

I think flying into Kalispell, Montana, is the easiest because the airport is so small. This airport is very close to Glacier National Park and there is a Costco 15 minutes away to stock up on food.

Grand Teton to Yellowstone to Glacier NP Road Trip Guidebook

Grand Teton to Yellowstone to Glacier Itinerary Map

Download & save our pre-made Google Maps itinerary for this road trip.

Grand Teton to Yellowstone to Glacier National Parks Road Trip Inspiration Point
View from Inspiration Point in Grand Teton NP

Day 1: Jenny Lake

May as well start with one of the best hikes ever! Start at Jenny Lake Visitor Center and take the ferry across to hike either to Inspiration Point or do all of Cascade Canyon. Then, head to Colter Bay to grab a campsite.

Grand Teton to Yellowstone to Glacier National Parks Road Trip Grand Tetons
Impressive views of the Tetons from the Colter Bay Lakeshore Trail at Colter Bay

Day 2: Colter Bay

Wake up at sunrise and take the easy hike on Colter Bay Lakeshore Trail to get epic pictures of the Tetons. Then, chill at the campground or by Jackson Lake. If you are feeling super adventurous, the hike to Delta Lake is AWESOME!

Grand Teton to Yellowstone to Glacier National Parks Road Trip Norris Basin
Hiking through Norris Basin is one of my favorite things to do in Yellowstone NP

Day 3: Yellowstone NP

Today you’ll do all of Yellowstone so be ready to roll out of the campground early and have food and snacks prepared to make the day easier. I recommend these stops:

  • See Old Faithful
  • Grand Prismatic (you get much better views doing this 1.6 mile hike than if you go to the boardwalk, however, I would do both but you’ll have to see how crowded the parking is)
  • Optional: If you have time and energy, stop and do the 1 mile hike at Artists Paintpots
  • Explore Norris Geyser Basin
  • See or hike Grand Canyon of Yellowstone
  • Optional: Mammoth Hot Springs
  • Optional: Drive Lamar Valley to see Bison herds and maybe even wolves

Tip: Don’t forget binoculars to spot wildlife and bug spray for all the mosquitoes (they are vicious here).

Grand Teton to Yellowstone to Glacier National Parks Road Trip Mammoth Hot Springs
Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone NP

If you skip Mammoth Hot Springs and Lamar Valley, you’ll backtrack towards West Yellowstone and be able to take the scenic Highway 287 which goes past a bunch of scenic lakes and has a ton of campgrounds along the way. Look on the Allstays app for campgrounds along this road and Hebgen Lake. This route also takes you through the rad town of Ennis. You’ll also go through the historic town of Butte if you need to restock on food or supplies

Grand Teton to Yellowstone to Glacier National Parks Road Trip Holland Lake
Holland Lake, Montana

Day 4: Drive toward Glacier (stop at Holland Lake)

Finish the drive toward Seeley Lake. This is a long drive and there isn’t much between Butte and Seeley Lake. I recommend camping at Holland lake and if you can get there with enough time to hike to the falls, even better.

Related Blog: Best Hikes in The Tetons

Day 5: Glacier NP

Drive into Glacier NP, hike Avalance Lake, and take photos at Lake McDonald. Camp in West Glacier.

Trail of the Cedars/Avalanche Lake, Best Hikes in Glacier National Park, Easy
Avalanche Lake in Glacier NP

Day 6: Glacier NP Going-to-the-Sun Road

Depending if it’s open, drive up the Going-to-the-Sun road and do a hike from Logan Pass or rent a bike and bike the Going-to-the-Sun road. Camp in Whitefish.

Day 7: Whitefish

Get breakfast in Whitefish at Amazing Crepes, hike Danny-On Trail at Whitefish Mountain Resort or just hang out at the resort and stroll through the cute downtown district of Whitefish.

Grand Teton to Yellowstone to Glacier National Parks Road Trip Whitefish Montana

If you are looping this, drive back south on Highway 93, taking in the gorgeous views of Flathead Lake from the west side of the lake. Be sure to stop in Arlee to see the Garden of 1000 Buddhas.

Tips for RV Camping on your Grand Teton to Yellowstone to Glacier National Parks Road Trip

We’ve been road tripping for a long time and have pretty much mastered the art of life on the go. It’s a beautiful thing to be able to be self sufficient in an RV and explore our amazing planet.

However, I wasn’t always an expert and there were certainly some fears and misconceptions I had to overcome along the way.

The biggest thing when you are new to RVing or taking a road trip is respect your comfort zone and be overly communicative with your significant other, children, or whoever is traveling with you.

After all these years of RV travel, I’m a minimalist. We travel light, fast, wing it, and boondock (free camp) most nights. But if this is your first road trip or you tend to get anxious easily, you need to respect that and move slower, plan a detailed itinerary, and get a campsite with full hookups. I have a blog 14 Tips For Planning Your First Road Trip that can help you overcome some initial concerns and has insights into keeping harmony in your family dynamics while you travel. There’s also How To Plan A Successful Road Trip that will help your with the planning process from researching destinations to booking campgrounds and mapping out your route, this will help newbies feel more confident on the road.

Related Blogs: 50 RV Essentials or Car Camping Essentials

Having the right food on hand is my other secret to road trip success. We always stock up at Costco (check out our list of How to Shop Healthy at Costco) with lots of hiking snacks, well-sourced protein, good fats like avocados and nuts, fruits and veggies, and rice and beans. If you can keep everyone’s blood sugar level while traveling, it will make a huge difference in how much energy and patience everyone has.

Saving money along the way has been a big part in allowing us to live this lifestyle for 5 years, here are some of our Tips for road-tripping on a Budget as well as, How to Find Free Camping along the way.

Last, be sure to download our free Road Trip Pack List and you might want to add these apps to your phone:

  • iOverlander- Helps you find free campsites,
  • Allstays- Lists campgrounds, truck stops, Costco, Camping World, and more
  • Gas Buddy- Find the cheapest prices on gas, however, if you have a Costco card they are typically the cheapest gas in town
  • NPS Yellowstone National Park- Predictions for when Old Faithful is erupting, road conditions, available campsites, and more
  • NPS Grand Teton National Park- Find out info on popular sites and services within the park

Download my free ebook 1000 Miles of Memories: How to Plan Your First Epic Road Trip & Save Money By Camping

Hiking Pack List

Essential hiking trails for a Grand Teton to Yellowstone to Glacier National Park road trip!

Don’t Forget to Grab our Grand Teton to Yellowstone to Glacier Road Trip Guidebook

Planning an incredible road trip doesn’t have to take dozens of hours! With this downloadable Grand Teton to Yellowstone to Glacier Road Trip guide, your research ends now. We’ve included everything you need to know to plan an amazing road trip all in 1 place including:

  • Essential maps (so you don’t have to go scrambling across the internet to find them yourself)
  • Direct links to find out campground, road, and trail conditions 
  • Simplified breakdown of the can’t miss things to do
  • Bonus hidden gems and travel tricks to make the most of your trip
  • PLUS a 1 week itinerary with driving tips and recommended stops along the way
Download the Ultimate Road Trip Guide

National Parks Road Trips

Not sure if this road trip is the perfect one for you this year? Check out all my other National Park Road Trip Itineraries:

Phew, I think that covers the essentials of a Grand Teton to Yellowstone to Glacier National Parks Road Trip. If you have any questions or if this was helpful, please, let us know in the comments below.

Related Blogs: Best Hikes in Wyoming , 2021 Guide to Visiting the National Parks, and Best Hikes Tetons, Best Hikes in Glacier NP

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Friday 15th of March 2024

HI in your post you mentioned that if one has more time-2.5/3 weeks would be ideal to see majority. we want to fly to bozeman rent rv and go to 3 parks ans stay for total of three weeks- I would like to use your itinerary and add to it to make it 3 weeks- what and where could I add it to extended it ? what sightseeing and what hikes? thank you

Robyn Robledo

Sunday 17th of March 2024

I'd add in a few days in Whitefish and Big Fork. You could do a loop from Whitefish to Sandpoint too. I also recommend exploring more of Wyoming. The Big Horn mountains are incredible and not crowded. See this blog for ideas Adding in a few days on the back side of the Tetons in Driggs and Grand Targhee would also be fun.


Friday 26th of January 2024

What a perfect itinerary! I love geothermal fumes and colors . I have seen them in NZ. It would be nice to see Bisons. I have never seen them. I am saving this blog post for my future reference.

Robyn Robledo

Friday 26th of January 2024

The best place to see bison in Custer State Park in South Dakota. The bison lick you tires!

Valeriya Goffe

Thursday 25th of January 2024

Beautiful park and gorgeous photos! Looking forward to visiting it some day.


Wednesday 24th of January 2024

This is a great, packed itinerary. I love visiting Grand Teton in winter for cross country skiing. I need to still visit the Glacier National Park part of your itinerary.


Wednesday 24th of January 2024

This is an epic planning post for hitting the big National Parks. We have only skimmed the surface at Yellowstone. Grand Tetons are on our radar for our next national park trip.

Definitely saving this guide for planning.

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