Yellowstone National Park is a must-see destination for many travelers and one of the fastest ways to get to Yellowstone is from Salt Lake City. Depending on how much time you have for sightseeing, this trip could easily be accomplished in a weekend or longer.
Drive Time From Salt Lake City to Yellowstone: approximately 4-5 hours
Distance From Salt Lake City to Yellowstone: approximately 320 miles
Day 1: Start by renting a car at the Salt Lake City International Airport. The airport is only an eight minute drive from Downtown Salt Lake City. There’s a lot to see and do ranging from Temple Square, Capitol Hill and the Great Salt Lake itself. Once you’re finished sightseeing, take Interstate 5 North toward Idaho Falls.
Day 2: From Idaho Falls, take US-20 E for another two hours or so to reach the Idaho side of Yellowstone National Park. As soon as you enter Yellowstone, get your day pass and stop at the nearest Visitor Center to grab a map. With nearly 3,500 square miles to explore, plan your excursion but make sure to visit Old Faithful and smell the Sulphur!
Yellowstone became the first national park in 1872. The park resides in three different states: Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. It’s one of the only places in the world where you can see hot springs, mudpots and geysers. Visitors can also explore mountains, forests and lakes to watch wildlife ranging from bison, grizzly bears and gray wolves. Gray wolves are especially fascinating as they were restored to the park in 1995.
If you plan to stay the night in Yellowstone, make sure to book ahead for lodging as those spots can fill up fast depending on the time of year you visit the park.
And if Yellowstone isn’t enough for you, there’s also Grand Teton National Park which is just a ten minute drive to the south.
When you’re ready to head home, you can return your rental car at the Jackson Hole Airport or if you’d like to continue exploring head southeast to Denver and add Colorado to the list of states visited. Or head further north into Montana and check out Glacier National Park!
Utah's national parks are beautiful during the day and turn to a whole new magnificent spectacle at night. Explore these photographs and see for yourself.
The Ponce family travels from their hometown of Chicago, Illinois, to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.