Greetings Internet Stranger and welcome to the Jackson to Yellowstone Day Trip! Have you ever wanted to know where the phrase “America the Beautiful” comes from? Well, it might not literally have been written about Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, but it might as well have been. Yellowstone truly can claim to be the most gorgeous spot in the United States.
If you’re a city slicker like me, there’s nothing more peaceful than spending a day in Yellowstone National Park, becoming one with the trees and the bears. (Well, becoming one with a bear sounds kind of painful. But you know what I mean.) But there’s nothing painful about this amazing Jackson to Yellowstone day trip. Follow me and I promise I’ll show how to rock your Wyoming trip.
Jackson to Yellowstone Day Trip
Where to Stay?
I’m going to assume that you’re spending the night in Jackson, Wyoming on this Jackson to Yellowstone day trip. Jackson Hole hotels can be very pricey because it’s such a popular tourist destination. Fortunately, I found the Modern Mountain Motel, which was definitely an affordable and convenient option.
But even though it was affordable, the rooms were still chic in a Wyoming lumberjack sort of way. Plus there was a free coffeemaker and great Wifi in the rooms, which is literally all I need to be happy.
If you’re looking for a great deal on my most recommended hotel in Jackson Hole, click here. And if you’re looking for a different hotel closer to your travel budget, try exploring many great deals on Jackson Hole hotels by clicking right here. This search engine will help you find the best places for your taste and budget so you can really enjoy your Jackson to Yellowstone Day Trip.
Jackson to Yellowstone Day Trip
Tools For Travel
- A portable cell charger so your cell phone won’t run out of juice during your Jackson to Yellowstone day trip.
- My book Get Lost, that I wrote myself with all my best travel tips. This book will show you exactly how travel can take your life from BLAH to amazing!
- Want to learn how I saved enough money to travel 16 weeks a year? Check out my top secret How to Afford Travel course–complete with a guide and videos–on sale for a very limited time.
- I always travel with travel insurance from World Nomads. You never know when something might go wrong, especially in this day and age. But with travel insurance, you’re protected even if you’re attacked by Yogi Bear and Boo Boo during your Jackson to Yellowstone Day Trip
Jackson to Yellowstone Day Trip
Morning: Explore Wyoming’s Nature
As I’ve mentioned several times on this blog, I don’t know how to drive. So you’d think it would be difficult for me to get to Yellowstone National Park. But you’d be wrong! Through the magic of tourism, we will easily be able to head out on a Jackson to Yellowstone day trip without needing a car.
Fortunately, there’s a tour company called Jackson Hole Wildlife Safaris that will take you on an amazing tour of Wyoming’s natural beauty, including Yellowstone. Basically, everything is included, from breakfast and lunch to all the knowledge that will fit in your amazing driver/guide’s head. I strongly recommend taking this tour even if you do know how to drive because the driver will take you to all the best spots AND help you avoid the traffic.
You can book this tour for yourself by clicking here. Then get ready for an amazing adventure! My photos don’t really do Wyoming’s majesty justice. But I’ll give you a hint of what to expect with…
Approximately Top 5: Jackson to Wyoming Day Trip
1) Grand Tetons
So I know that photo of mine looks photoshopped, but I swear it wasn’t! That’s how gorgeous the Grand Tetons are. Even someone like me, who is officially a “Semi-Incompetent Photographer” can’t snorch them up.
The Grand Tetons are extremely significant to everyone who has lived in Wyoming, from the Native Americans to the homesteaders. The famous Snake River, whose name is literally on everything in Jackson, runs through this national park. But most importantly, the mountains are really, really pretty. I can’t always be full of deep thoughts.
24 Hour Tip
Ordinarily, you might have to pay an entrance fee to enter Grand Teton National Park, but since we were driving through so early in the morning, no one was there to take the money so we got in for free. YEAH! Take that, THE MAN!
You will definitely see animals when you are on the Wildlife Safari. That’s a guarantee. We saw bears and more bison than you can shake a stick at. Just remember that Yogi Bear is fictional! Never get closer than 100 feet to a bear, and NEVER EVER feed them. I really don’t know who needs this advice since nothing on this earth could get me to get up close to a wild bear. But every once in a while you read a story about someone who tried to pet a bear and got mauled, so it is worth repeating.
Our guide, whom I shall call Boo Boo, said that this bear was famous because she protected her cub from its own father. Apparently, the dad bear got weirdly territorial and tried to kill his own cub, but the mother saved it. It’s like Not Without My Daughter, only with bears.
Even better than the bear was the bison. There were so many! I guess bison are like the pigeons of Wyoming. Like, we call pigeons rats with wings in New York City, so in Wyoming do they call bison “rats with enormous bodies”? Food for thought.
Of course it’s polite to wait for bison when they are crossing the street, but some fools were getting out of their cars to take close up pictures. DO NOT DO THIS! A ranger will definitely yell at you.
Boo Boo told us that the bison were actually more dangerous than bears because the bison are so fed up with people getting up close to them. So if you annoy them with your camera, they’ll get angry. You wouldn’t like them when they’re angry.
3) The Lewis River
The Lewis River isn’t necessarily the most famous attraction in Yellowstone, but it’s a great place to go if you want to escape the crowds. It even has its own waterfall, the Lewis Falls. I think we could have gotten a little more creative with the name there!
But of course, both the falls and the river are named after Meriwether Lewis, of explorers Lewis and Clark fame. I was always jealous of Meriwether Lewis because he was named after my favorite fairy in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty.
If you have a longer time in Yellowstone, the Lewis River is a popular spot for fishing. I always assumed the entire state of Wyoming was a popular spot for fishing, but apparently some rivers are better than others. I think the two main hobbies for the early Wyoming homesteaders were fishing and not getting trampled by cranky bison.
4) Mud Pots
One of the best reasons to go on a Jackson to Yellowstone day trip is to see the many geothermal features in Yellowstone. After all, Yellowstone is located in the caldera (basin) of a dormant supervolcano. I personally think they should name the supervolcano Cream or The Traveling Wilburys, but no one asked me. 🙁
There was one guy on the tour who kept asking Boo Boo if the supervolcano was going to erupt while we were there. I wonder what he would have done if Boo Boo had said yes. But don’t worry, Internet Stranger! The volcano is 99.99 percent not going to erupt while you’re there.
One of these geothermal features is the slightly stinky mud pot. These bubbling beauties are created from a combination of volcanic gases and microorganisms that turn the surrounding rock into mud. It reminded me of the Bog of Eternal Stench in Labyrinth. But sadly David Bowie didn’t appear ever during our time in Yellowstone, so that must be my imagination.
The tour leaves really early in the morning, so I was happy that Boo Boo provided us with breakfast when he picked us up at our hotel. I had already made myself coffee in the room, but this gourmet muffin from Persephone Bakery in Jackson was most welcome. You don’t have to take my word that this is a wonderful bakery; Persephone was nominated for a James Beard Award, which is like the Oscars of American food.
And at lunchtime, Boo Boo provided us with this wonderful pickanic basket. Sandwiches, fresh fruit and veggies, fine cheeses, giant cookies…it was all ours to feast on. Just be sure to stay at the table when you’re eating and take all your trash with you. We don’t want to leave anything behind for the bears!
Jackson to Yellowstone Day Trip
Afternoon: Yellowstone’s Biggest Hits
Now that we’ve seen some of the quirkier sights of Yellowstone, it’s time to spend the afternoon hitting the Big Three. Yeah, I’m talking about the Grand Canyon, the Midway Geyser Basin, and Old Faithful. You can’t really say you’ve seen Yellowstone unless you’ve glimpsed these bad boys.
Lucky for you, you have me and our faithful guide Boo Boo by your side to teach you…
Three Fun Facts: Jackson to Yellowstone Day Trip
1) Isn’t the Grand Canyon in Arizona?
You’re thinking of the “Actual Grand Canyon”, Internet Stranger. A reasonable mistake to make! But this here is the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. It’s not quite as beautiful or famous, but it is here in Wyoming.
This baby was carved out by the Yellowstone River and other hydrothermal activity caused by the eruption of that supervolcano about 640,000 years ago. But don’t worry! It’s definitely probably not going to erupt again.
Soeaking of safety, there are very clear barriers around the Not Actual Grand Canyon. They are there for your safety. I say this because we saw many tourists hopping over the barrier, just so they could get a better picture.
That’s a terrible idea! Boo Boo told us the ground isn’t steady over the barriers, and you could easily fall to your doom. Your Instagram feed isn’t worth it! And I think my photos came out great even though I stayed behind the barrier at all times.
2) Why is This Geyser Called Old Faithful?
When travelers first started coming to Yellowstone, they noticed that one geyser would erupt at regular intervals. You couldn’t predict when it would go off to the minute, but you could get close enough. And thus, a legend was born! People come from all over the world to see Old Faithful get wild and crazy.
You can find out when Old Faithful is going to go off very easily because the times are conveniently posted in Old Faithful Lodge. Hit up the shops here, get some ice cream, or go explore the tiny nearby hot springs like Blue Star Spring while you wait.
Just be aware that people can get a little intense when Old Faithful is going off. One woman was filming the eruption and a man in a red sweater walked through her film. I remember that he had a red sweater because she kept screaming about how the Red Sweater guy ruined her film and didn’t say sorry. So look where you walk near Old Faithful.
3) What’s the Coolest Place in Yellowstone?
In my not at all humble opinion, it’s the Grand Prismatic Hot Spring, located in the Midway Geyser Basin. This area is horribly crowded in the summer, so you’ll probably have to wait in traffic, but it will be worth it. The stunning colors of the hot spring will make you feel like you’re on the moon or that Robin Williams movie where he pals around with Cuba Gooding Jr. in heaven.
The crazy colors in the Grand Prismatic Hot Spring are actually created by “heat-loving microorganisms”. That sounds like a really terrible pick-up line to me. “Hey baby! I’m a heat-loving microorganism.” Although I guess you shouldn’t use the word micro with a girl if you expect things to go anywhere.
The colors show up gorgeously in photos, but you’ll have to go for a hike in the nearby hills to get one of those amazing aerial pictures, and we won’t have the time on this Jackson to Yellowstone day trip.
24 Hour Tip
Hold on to your hat, and I mean that literally! The Grand Prismatic Hot Spring was littered with hats that people had left behind. It’s very windy here! Don’t let the supervolcano steal your hat!
That’s all for our Jackson to Yellowstone day trip, but there are plenty of secrets I didn’t share. You’ll just have to book this tour yourself by clicking here to find out what they are!
Jackson to Yellowstone Day Trip
Evening: Dinner at Bin 22
On the drive back to Jackson, you can just sit back and reflect on all the beauty you’ve experienced that day. One French girl in the group was really desperate to see a moose because I guess they don’t have them in Paris. Boo Boo did his best to track one down, but it wasn’t possible. I suggested we put our hands behind our ears and make moose noises, but that didn’t work either.
I don’t suggest making a dinner reservation for this evening, even though Jackson has many amazing fine dining restaurants, just in case the tour gets back late. Instead, walk into Bin22, Jackson’s finest wine bar, and nom on some delicious tapas. I asked for the waitress’s suggestions, and she steered me very right, so I suggest you do the same.
Start with the sweet and sassy Brussels sprouts. (The sweet comes from peaches and the sassy from chili flakes.) The combination of slightly bitter sprouts, sweetness, and heat added up to some highly more-ish veggies.
Their other most popular dish is this toothsome octopus. Sometimes octopus is tough, like a mean old Daddy bear that’s trying to kill his own cub. But this octopus was as delectable as a tender baby cub being protected by its fierce mother, played by Bear Sally Field.
The perfect dessert is this light and not too sweet banana cream. It was the ideal sophisticated ending to a day of bears, stupid tourists, and WINE!
That’s a Perfect Jackson to Yellowstone Day Trip!
What would you do on a Jackson to Yellowstone day trip? Are you ready to start booking your hotel in Jackson Wyoming right now? What’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever seen a tourist do? And why didn’t my tourist mating call work? Please leave your thoughts below!
Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that while each article is about how to spend 24 hours in a place, that doesn’t mean you should ONLY spend 24 hours in Wyoming with your Jackson to Yellowstone day trip. If you have more time, try this 24 hours in Jackson itinerary.