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Park Itineraries

48 Hours in Yellowstone

Only have two days? Make the most of your time by visiting some of our favorite spots in the park.

Day 1

Dine at Old Faithful Inn

A trip to Yellowstone would not be complete without seeing the largest log structure in the world built from 1903-04. During the 2021 summer, however, the hotel is operating in a limited capacity with not all rooms being open for lodging. Old Faithful Inn Dining Room is open for limited seating and buffet service only. The Old Faithful Geyser Grill and Old Faithful Inn Bear Paw Deli will offer take-out only. At the grill, you can order burgers, chicken sandwiches, salads, beer and wine to go.

Old Faithful Inn Dining Room
Old Faithful Inn Dining RoomShutterstock

If you’re planning for a 2022 vacation, it’s important to know that the Old Faithful Inn dining room offers breakfast and lunch are first- come, first-served, but you need to make dinner reservations in advance. Don’t have reservations? Enjoy a drink and appetizers in the Bear Pit Lounge. For up-to-date information, go to Yellowstone National Park Lodges.

View Wildlife in the Hayden Valley

This grassy valley supports huge numbers of bison, grizzly bears, elk, coyotes, wolves, moose and bald eagles. Stop at one of the pullouts, especially at dawn or dusk, to see these iconic Yellowstone animals with binoculars or a scope.

Bison herd in Yellowstone
Bison herd in YellowstoneAdobe Stock

Stroll Midway and Lower Geyser Basins

Head to Midway Geyser Basin and walk along the boardwalk to see one of the world’s largest, deepest hot springs, Grand Prismatic Spring. It’s larger than a football field at 370 feet across and deeper than a 10-story building at 125 feet.

A lone bison at Yellowstone’s Grand Prismatic
A lone bison at Yellowstone’s Grand PrismaticDoug Palmer

Watch Old Faithful

Take a seat and watch the world’s most famous geyser. It erupts about 20 times a day. The front desk of the Old Faithful Inn posts eruption times.

Aerial view of Old Faithful geyser
Aerial view of Old Faithful geyserNPS/Jim Peaco

Day 2

Wake up with the Wolves

For your best chance of seeing a wolf, get up before sunrise and head to the Lamar Valley in the park’s northeast corner. Use binoculars or a scope at pullouts.

Yellowstone wolfShutterstock

Eat at Roosevelt Lodge

Built in 1920, Roosevelt Lodge, one of the park’s most charming restaurants, has a front porch with rocking chairs to sit upon and have a drink. Inside the authentic log cabin is food for every dietary need. This classic restaurant will offer limited dining in during summer 2021 because of COVID-19, precautionary measures that need to be taken and the staffing issues it has caused. The bar is available for take-out beverages only.

Roosevelt Lodge Dining Room. Photo by NPS David Restivo.
Roosevelt Lodge Dining Room. NPS David Restivo

Cruise Tower Road and Hike Mt. Washburn

South from Roosevelt Lodge, stop at the 132-foot Tower Fall. Then drive up the 8,859 foot Dunraven Pass. At the top, park and hike the 3.1-mile (one way) trail to Mt. Washburn’s 10,243-foot summit.

The road between Tower-Roosevelt and Chittenden Road will be completely closed until May 2022. In 2021, the full closure will be between Tower Fall and Chittenden Road. Specific areas on each side of this closure will be open for select time periods.

The only way to access the peak of Mount Washburn during construction is via the Canyon Village side of the closure. The Mount Washburn trail and trailhead parking lot near Dunraven Pass will be open during construction. The Chittenden Road and parking area will be open from June through August, but this road and parking area will be closed at select periods before July 4 and after Labor Day (dates to be determined).

Note: Tower Fall, the Tower General Store, Tower Fall Campground, and Calcite Springs will be open and accessible from Tower-Roosevelt between June 4–September 26, 2021.

Hikers on the Mount Washburn Trail in Yellowstone. Photo by Grant Ordelheide
Hikers on the Mount Washburn Trail in Yellowstone. Grant Ordelheide

See Mammoth Hot Springs

Walk on a mile-long boardwalk to see the colorful travertine terraces formed by hot springs rising to the surface and depositing dissolved limestone in dramatic patterns. Reach the Upper Terraces via a staircase.

The boardwalk at Yellowstone's Mammoth Hot Springs.
The boardwalk at Yellowstone’s Mammoth Hot Springs.Grant Ordelheide

Dine by the Lake

Feast on wild game, fresh fish or steak in the Lake Yellowstone Hotel’s elegant dining room (reservations recommended).  In summer 2021, there will be limited in-person breakfast and dining for hotel guests only.  For a more casual experience, head to Lake Lodge Wylie’s Canteen, which will offer take out options for summer 2021. Check Yellowstone Park Lodges for up-to-date details.

Lake Hotel in Yellowstone
Lake Hotel in YellowstoneGrant Ordelheide