A drive along Yellowstone National Park’s 142-mile long (228 kilometer) Grand Loop Road takes you past most of the park’s major attractions. Cruise along the figure-eight-shaped road for a ready-made Yellowstone tour featuring Old Faithful, Grand Prismatic Spring, and more, easily completed in one day or spread out over your own timeline.
Due to its exceptional length, the Grand Loop Road is divided into two parts: the Upper Loop and the Lower Loop. Break up the drive into two days to optimize your time at each attraction along the way. Highlights along the Upper Loop include Mammoth Hot Springs, the trailhead to Mount Washburn and Lamar Valley, and the Norris Geyser Basin—home to the 400-foot-tall Steamboat Geyser. The Lower Loop is more concentrated with top sights, including Old Faithful, Yellowstone Lake, Firehole River, and Grand Prismatic Spring. The two loops connect at Hayden Valley and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Without stopping, each section of the loop takes roughly four hours to drive.
- Bring plenty of snacks and water in case of traffic delays.
- Expect larger crowds and traffic in summer and during construction.
- Look out for wildlife like moose, bears, and elk during the scenic drive.
How to Get There
The Grand Loop Road is accessible from all five of Yellowstone’s entrances, with the west entrance and the north entrance considered the closest and most convenient for most visitors. Because there is no public transportation inside Yellowstone, the loop is only doable by private vehicle or on a guided tour.
When to Get There
A seasonal attraction, the Grand Loop Road is only open in summer, with the exception of the segment between the north and northeastern entrances that stays open throughout the year. Parts of the road open in April, and the entire road is usually open by the third week in May.
Visiting from Nearby
Even if you're not staying in Yellowstone National Park, it's possible to visit the Grand Loop Road. Look for guided tours from Grand Teton National Park, Jackson Hole, and more to visit with the ease of transportation and a tour guide.