Road Trip from Park City to Yellowstone
Make the most of your stay with Abode in Utah and Wyoming. Whether you’re just passing through on your road trip through the Great American West, or hoping to stay and immerse yourself outdoors, we have sample routes and itineraries to match your interests.
Take a peek at our favorite road trip plan from Park City to Yellowstone, or the other way too, it explains everything you need to know about the route and options for where to stay each night.
Start in Park City
The miner town has 341 trails that highlight some of our best scenery from shady aspen groves, high alpine lakes, and wildflowers, to autumn leaves, wildlife, and epic views. They can be easy, moderate or high difficulty letting everyone enjoy the magnificent views during their hike. Our top 5 trails in town are:
#1 Armstrong Trail to Dawns Trail Loop is a 3.3 mile heavily trafficked loop trail that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is great from the summer trough the fall. A little tip: if you go clockwise on the trail you will go up hill in the sun and then, on the backside, the breeze really picks up and its shaded almost all the way down. And watch out for wildlife!
#2 Iron Canyon Trail is a 5.5 mile high on adventure and challenge out & back trail that offers the chance to see wildlife (be careful if you spot a moose!) and is rated as difficult but totally rewarding! The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from May until October. Don’t forget your hiking boots! They would make a difference
#3 Rob’s Trail is 8.5 mile long, an elevation gain of 1,863 ft. and features aspen groves at the start then beautiful flowery area, and more woods before the top. This trail is rated as moderate and is best used from June until September.
#4 Bald Mountain via Silver Lake Trail is a 4 mile with an elevation gain of 1,266 ft. out and back trail located in the Deer Valley area (you could start from Silver Lake Village) that features a great forest setting and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is best used from May until October. You can also only hiked the half up the mountain and took chair lift down.
#5 Round Valley Rail Trail is a 7.1 mile loop trail that offers scenic views and is good for all skill levels. There are a lot of paths that you can take and explore because area is very open. You can bring your bike on the trails, the main paths are wide enough that you can share the road easily. There isn’t a steep elevation gain but don’t forget to bring your water!
After a wonderful hike you can enjoy a delicious lunch or dinner around Main St. or Silver Lake Village. But, of course, you can always go back to your Abode and relax in the hot tub or deck. Check some our favorite stays for couples or families:
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Stop at Antelope Island or Bear Lake, or BOTH!
North of Salt Lake City at Antelope Island State Park you will find the wildlife watcher’s paradise. Antelope Island is home to free-ranging bison, mule deer, bighorn sheep, pronghorn (antelope), and many other desert animals. Millions of birds congregate along the shores surrounding the island, offering unparalleled opportunities for birding.
To access the island, drive, bicycle, or walk across a seven-mile causeway that crosses the Great Salt Lake’s Farmington Bay, connecting the Antelope Island Marina to the town of Syracuse, Utah. The road doesn’t fully encircle Antelope Island so you can’t drive around.
Hike, mountain bike or horseback ride the park’s backcountry trails for spectacular views of lake and island scenery. There are approximately 20 miles of trails to be explored on the Great Salt Lake’s biggest island.
The beautiful and unique green-blue color of the Bear Lake is the result of calcium carbonates suspended in the lake. Located northeast of Salt Lake, Three distinct areas of the Park provide a number of amenities for both day and overnight use. Rent boats, sea-doo, UTV, wakeboard/wakesurfer, kayaks, water trampolines, SUPs or fishing poles and get some fun for the day!
On the west side, the Bear Lake State Park Marina is open year round, located on the north end of Garden City, approximately 1 mile north of the US 89 and SR 30 junction, this is also the location of the park’s office. Rendezvous Beach is on the southwest curve of Bear Lake, approximately 2 miles northwest from Lake town on SR 30 from the Cisco Road and SR 30 junction. This facility is usually open from late April through late October. On the east side of Bear Lake, accessed via Cisco Road you will find the areas known as First Point, South Eden, Cisco Beach, Rainbow Cove, and North Eden. Distances vary from four miles to 13 miles north on Cisco Road from Laketown and the Cisco Road and SR 30 Junction.
Now take Wyoming’s Newest Scenic Byway!
An 80 mile stretch of U.S. 89 in Lincoln County. The south end of the byway is milepost 54.9 where U.S. 89 crosses the Idaho state line a few miles north of Geneva Junction, Idaho., It continues from there at first east, and then north as it climbs Salt Canyon to the 7610foot summit of Salt River Pass. You will be rewarded with excellent views of both mountain ranges, as well as the amazing scenery along the Salt River as the road heads northward through this incredible valley. From the summit, U.S. 89 continues generally north as it descends into Star Valley, continuing through the communities of Smoot, Afton, Grover, Thayne and Etna before reaching Alpine. At the “Alpine Junction”, three major river meet at Palisades Reservoir. These three rivers are the Salt River, the Greys River and the Snake River. There, the byway continues to the east as U.S. 26-89 into Snake River Canyon to its northernmost point at the Lincoln-Teton county line about nine miles south of Hoback Junction.
About 16 miles north of Hoback Junction you will reach the most commercial town in the Jackson Hole valley, Jackson. However don’t rush but enjoy the drive up till here, as the panoramas just begin to showcase what this valley and the national parks hold for you.
Grand Teton Area
Check Grand Teton sunrise/sunset times the night before and plan to arrive at Mormon Row at the start of civil twilight with camera in hand. If you’re lucky there will be wildlife drinking fresh water or playing in the river. Look for crystal clear mountain reflections in the Snake River.
You can start by exploring Jenny Lake. Swim, kayak, photograph and take a shuttle across the lake. Tucked away at the base of the Teton Range, the lake is a centerpiece of the park. From the east shore, visitors have views of Teewinot Mountain, Mount St. John, and into Cascade Canyon. From the west shore, visitors can look back across the lake towards the valley of Jackson Hole. If your group prefers to hike, we recommend the popular Inspiration Point that features a beautiful waterfall, anice overlook with views of Jenny Lake, nearby peaks and the Gros Ventre Mountains to the east. It’s accessible via the Jenny Lake Loop Trail (5.8 miles RT) or by taking the shuttle boat to shorten the hike (2 miles RT). If you are planning on using the shuttle boat, check their hours and prices. Tickets are purchased directly at the boat dock.
Still scouting the area? Drive up Signal Mountain! During the early summer, bright wildflowers cover the hills below, Signal Mountain Road is 5 miles long and takes about 20 minutes to climb. Don’t forget to bring a pair of binoculars to spot wildlife in the valley below as they congregate around one of the many glacial lakes that dot the region! 1,000 feet from the road below, get elevated views of the entire 40 mile Grand Teton range.
A great overlook along highway 89/191 is Oxbow Bend. An oxbow is a crescent-shaped section of river lying alongside a flowing, winding river. The oxbow is created over time as erosion and deposits of soil change the river’s course. Oxbow Bend is home to a variety of birds and animals, including pelicans, Great Blue Herons, muskrats, otters, moose, and bear. If you are like in a calm day, you might be able to see Mount Moran reflected on the surface of the water!
Schwabacher Landing is a spot on the Snake River, almost exactly east of Grand Teton, where the terrain flattens out and allows easy access to the river. There is a dirt road coming off the main highway and down to various trailheads. You will find serene mountains and trees reflecting flawlessly in Snake River. Schwabacher’s Landing Trail is a great way to stretch out your legs after a day in Yellowstone, a 1.8 mile out and back trail that features a river and is good for all skill levels.
If you’re planning to stay close to Yellowstone, Jackson Hole is a great spot only 50 miles away from the Park Entrance. Choose an Abode that fits you better, here are some our picks for you:
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And finally, Yellowstone!
The world’s first national park has rich human and ecological stories that continue to unfold. People have spent time in the Yellowstone region for more than 11,000 years. Established primarily to protect hydrothermal areas that contain about half the world’s active geysers, the park also forms the core of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. At 28,000 square miles, it is one of the largest, nearly intact temperate-zone ecosystems on Earth. It preserves a great variety of terrestrial, aquatic, and microbial life.
Starting with West Thumb Geyser Basin, a scenic mile loop trail that features views over lake and mountains in distance and is good for all skill levels. The colorful hot spring pools are only 21 miles from the South Entrance.
Old Faithful is located in Yellowstone’s Upper Geyser Basin in the southwest section of the park. The geyser-viewing area is the most accessible and visitor-friendly in the park with bench seating, a large parking lot, and a ranger station that tracks the time, height and length of an eruption to predict the next eruption.
The most photographed thermal feature in Yellowstone is the Grand Prismatic Spring. The vibrantly colorful hot spring is best seen from above. The hot spring has bright bands of orange, yellow, and green ring the deep blue waters in the spring. The multicolored layers get their hues from different species of thermophile (heat-loving) bacteria living in the progressively cooler water around the spring.
Norris Geyser Basin is the hottest, oldest, and most dynamic of Yellowstone’s thermal areas. The basin consists of two areas: Porcelain Basin and the Back Basin. Porcelain Basin is barren of trees and provides a sensory experience in sound, color, and smell; a 3/4-mile (1.2-km) bare ground and boardwalk trail accesses this area. Back Basin is more heavily wooded with features scattered throughout the area. A 1.5-mile (2.4-km) trail of boardwalks and bare ground encircles this part of the basin.
If you are looking for wildlife head to Hayden Valley or Lamar Valley! Get your prime time wildlife spotting as you drive along these beautiful and broad valleys. You are likely to see herds of bison, pronghorn, badgers, grizzly bears, bald eagles, osprey, deer, and coyotes. Look for waterfowl, grizzly bears, and wolves! Don’t forget to pack binoculars, be still and wait quietly!
We always recommend to download or print your maps, cellphone services usually don’t work great in the area. Click here to see the Yellowstone National Park maps.