48 Hours in Yellowstone - My Yellowstone Park

Only have 48 hours? Make the most of your time by visiting some of our favorite spots in the park.  

Day 1

Dine at Old Faithful Inn

Old Faithful Inn Dining Room

Old Faithful Inn Dining Room

A trip to Yellowstone would not be complete without seeing the largest log structure in the world built from 1903-04. During the 2020 summer, however, there has been no announcement as to whether the restaurants at Old Faithful Inn or the hotel rooms will open. The Old Faithful Geyser Grill, however,  opened at the end of May 2020 and offers take-out only. You can order burgers, chicken sandwiches, salads, beer and wine to go. 

If you're planning for a 2021 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. 

View Wildlife in the Hayden Valley

Bison herd in Yellowstone

Bison herd in Yellowstone

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. 

Stroll Midway and Lower Geyser Basins

A lone bison at Yellowstone’s Grand Prismatic

A lone bison at Yellowstone’s Grand Prismatic

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.

Watch Old Faithful

Aerial view of Old Faithful geyser

Aerial view of Old Faithful geyser

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.

Day 2

Wake up with the Wolves

Wolf

Yellowstone wolf

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.

Eat at Roosevelt Lodge

Roosevelt Lodge Dining Room. Photo by NPS David Restivo.

Roosevelt Lodge Dining Room. 

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 be closed during summer 2020 because of COVID-19, precautionary measures that need to be taken and the staffing issues it has caused. If you're planning beyond 2020, be sure this little gem is on your list. 

Cruise Tower Road and Hike Mt. Washburn

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

Hikers on the Mount Washburn Trail in Yellowstone. 

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. 

In 2020, 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 closed in 2020. 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.

See Mammoth Hot Springs

The boardwalk at Yellowstone's Mammoth Hot Springs.

The boardwalk at Yellowstone's 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.

Dine by the Lake

Lake Hotel in Yellowstone

Lake Hotel in Yellowstone

Feast on wild game, fresh fish or steak in the Lake Yellowstone Hotel’s elegant dining room (reservations recommended). For a more casual experience, head to Lake Lodge Cafeteria. It's unclear if this historic hotel and restaurant will open for summer 2020. Check Yellowstone Park Lodges for up-to-date details. 

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