Explore Yellowstone in 3 Days: The Ultimate Itinerary

Yellowstone National Park 3-Day Itinerary guide

Yellowstone National park is a popular destination for most tourists in the United States.

It is accessible from most cities in the western U.S. and has plenty of fantastic attractions.

We created this Yellowstone 3-day itinerary to help you have the best experience and save time.

Yellowstone 3-Day Itinerary

This itinerary is essential as it will help you manage your time and ensure you take advantage of everything the park offers.

Visiting Yellowstone National park 3 days
Visiting Yellowstone National park

It will provide you with all the information about the park, such as; accommodation, features to expect, and how to plan each day. 

The rationale for the 3-day itinerary plan is to ensure the maximum utility of time and resources during the visit.


Day 1

Your first day in Yellowstone will be comprised of a mix of activities. It will include a wildlife tour and, later, visiting geothermal hot springs.

Morning Hours (6:00 am – 9:00 am): Arrival at Yellowstone

Yellowstone national park is vast, and it stretches more than 2 million acres. As such, there are numerous entry points. However, the five official entry points are;

Entry PointBest for
East EntranceBest for those traveling from Cody
West EntranceMost suitable for those who have accommodation near Old Faithful
North EntranceIdeal for those who want to visit Mammoth Hot Springs or those traveling from the direction of the Montana city of Bozeman
Northeast EntranceGreat for those who intend to visit Lamar Valley or those coming from Cooke City
South EntranceBest for those traveling from Idaho, Colorado, Southern Wyoming, or, Utah

Midmorning Hours (10:00 am – noon) – Visit Old Faithful Geysers

The Old Faithful Geyser is one of the main attractions in Yellowstone, and it should be the first place to visit after breakfast.

What’s great about this geyser is that it consistently erupts every 35 to 120 minutes.

Old Faithful Geysers Yellowstone
Old Faithful Geysers

However, there are other geysers (more than 500) that you can visit, such as the Great Fountain Geyser.

However, ensure to ask your guide about the eruption times of the Geysers. This is when they shoot water jets to the highest levels.

Afternoon (1 pm – 4:00 pm): Hiking and Excursion activities 

Yellowstone has many trails that visitors can hike and enjoy the sceneries in the region.

Ensure that you have a guide with you to show you the trails that are safe.

Some of the best hiking trails include

  • Fairy Falls Trail- 5.4 miles
  • Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook Trail- 1.2 miles
  • Lone Star Geyser Trail- 4.8 miles
  • Storm Point Trail- 2.3 miles 

Also, do not forget your walking aids to facilitate your climb. As you climb, you can take as many photos of the scenery from various vantage points.   

Besides the fun experienced while hiking, it is an excellent opportunity to learn about the history and geology of the park.

Evening Fun Time: Relaxation and Hot Baths At Boiling River or the Mammoth Hot Springs

After starting the day very early in the morning and enjoying various activities at the park, you will probably want to relax and have some fun simultaneously.

Hot baths are fun and will help you heal after your hike. The best hot baths are located at Boiling River or the Mammoth Hot Springs.

Day 2

This day will be all about visiting the park’s most picturesque spots.

However, we will also include a few fun activities you can engage in in the afternoon. These include; kayaking, rafting, fishing, and an evening wildlife tour.

Morning hours (7:00 am – 10:00 am): Hike Mount Washburn

Hiking Mount Washburn will give you an opportunity to enjoy the panoramic view of Yellowstone national park.

Mount Washburn Yellowstone
Mount Washburn

This trail is about 6.8 miles, and it starts at Dunraven Pass and ends at the summit of Mount Washburn, which is an elevation of 10,200 feet. 

However, this trail can be challenging, so ensure you adequately prepare for it.

That said, if you want a much shorter route, you can start from Chittenden Road instead. This will shorten your trail to about 5.6 miles.

Midmorning (10:30 am – 12:00 noon): Enjoy The View Of Tower Fall 

Once you reach the summit of Mount Washburn, take your time to relax and enjoy the view.

Afterward, head over to Tower waterfall, which is just nearby. This is a picturesque waterfall that reaches 132 feet. 

Afternoon (Noon – 4:00 pm): Kayaking and Fishing At Snake and Yellowstone River

Some of the rivers that are good for rafting include the Snake and Yellowstone Rivers.

Apart from rafting, you could also try fishing, which is also quite exciting. Besides, these rivers are safe and have marine life that visitors watch.

Evening Fun time: Evening Wildlife Spotting at Hayden Valley

Hayden Valley offers an excellent viewing point since, unlike other areas, it is not blanked in Lodgepole pine forest.

Hayden Valley Yellowstone National Park
Hayden Valley

It is an open grassland filled with wildlife. The best way to watch these animals is to take your binoculars, stake out and wait. 

Additionally, the sunset view from the valley is magnificent. 

Day 3

The last day will be the climax of the visit, that is why we have included some of the most exciting things to do.

Morning hours (7:00 am- 9:00 am): Visiting the Lamar Valley 

Lamar Valley is a scenic area that also hosts many animals, and one can see pronghorns, wolves, and bison in their natural habitat.

Additionally, it also has other attractions, including the view, which is scenic and vegetation cover that is mesmerizing.

This makes it a perfect location for photographs. 

During the winter, the valley is covered with snow and can be an excellent place to see bears and for skiing and other ice sports, such as snowshoeing and cross country. 

Midmorning (10:00 am – 12:00 noon): Visiting the Park Museum and Visitors Center 

After the morning adventure, you should visit the park’s museums and visitor centers, where you learn about the park, its history, and the collected artifacts. 

The Lamar Buffalo Ranch, Visitor Education Center, remains open from May through to September.

Here, you will learn about various animals, their behaviors, and their history. You can also shop at the bookstore for gifts and souvenirs. 


Afternoon (1:00 pm – 4:00 pm): Horse-riding At Tower-Roosevelt and Canyon

For individuals who love horses, Yellowstone also has a great horse-riding program.

The combination of the wild and horse riding is just incredible. You can either choose to do a private trip or a guided one. 

We recommend you go for licensed outfitters that offer day and even overnight backcountry trips. The best places to go are Tower-Roosevelt and Canyon. 

However, the park allows you to bring private stock. 

Evening Fun time: Picnic at Lamar Valley

It is crucial to end your last day with a romantic evening.

Lamar Valley Yellowstone National Park
Lamar Valley Yellowstone

Nothing screams romance, friendship, and bonding more than a quiet evening under the sunset.

Having a picnic at the Lamar Valley as you enjoy the sunset is a great way to mark the end of your stay at Yellowstone. 

Accommodation at Yellowstone

Many accommodation options are available for patrons in Yellowstone.

They range from hotels, lodges, campgrounds/sites, and even backcountry campsites.

Below are some of the common accommodations.


Or search for more…


Final Thoughts

Yellowstone is a delight and offers an array of animals to see. There is also much to learn about nature, animals, and geology. That is why this Yellowstone 3-day itinerary is vital to help you plan your trip more effectively. 

Affiliate Disclaimer

As an affiliate, we may earn a commission from qualifying purchases. We get commissions for purchases made through links on this website from Amazon and other third parties.

Latest posts