This Scenic Road Trip Will Take You From Salt Lake City To Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is a cornerstone of America's untamed wilderness. This gem also happens to be the perfect landing point for a western cross-country road trip. The route from Salt Lake City, Utah cuts through the heart of the American West and dives into the history of the nation's earliest pioneers across three different states. Travelers will bypass some of the most scenic hot spots in these western states on the eight-hour drive from Salt Lake City to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. It's hard to find a better launching point than Salt Lake City, given its proximity to several scenic attractions that allow drivers to curate their route around landmarks of particular interest. Great Salt Lake and Gobblers Knob are just two local natural hot spots in the area that are worth exploring before setting out on the highway.

While beautiful throughout each of the four seasons, this road trip route is best driven during the summer months when road closures are rare, the weather is warm, and the stretches through Idaho and Wyoming display a prolific collection of flora and fauna. Late April to May and September through early October tend to be the best times of year to visit Yellowstone National Park when the grounds see a reduction in crowds. Regardless of when you plan your trip, this gorgeous U.S. road trip route promises a scenic voyage that traverses the topography across some of America's most vibrant and historic landscapes.

Salt Lake City to Idaho

Located in Cache County, an hour and a half from Salt Lake City, Logan is the first stop on this exhilarating Yellowstone road trip. This must-see small town is known for its vibrant community, Old West heritage, and prolific collection of trendy cafes and art galleries speckled along Main Street. It's also a popular resting point on the routes of travelers bound for natural gems, like Bear Lake State Park and Yellowstone National Park.

Splitting the border between Utah and Idaho lies Bear Lake State Park. This natural sanctuary is rich in dazzling blue waters, sandy beaches, remote campgrounds, and tumbling peaks belonging to the nearby Cache mountain range, making it a great spot to stop and camp for the night if you're making this a multi-day trip.

Crossing the Idaho state border and continuing north, road trippers will soon reach the city of Blackfoot. An agricultural hub, Blackfoot may be best known as the potato capital of the world, home to Idaho's unique potato museum. This innovative exhibition displays the history and heritage of Idaho's prolific agricultural industry. Blackfoot is the perfect place to stop for lunch and choose one of the many potato-based options found across the city's menus. Just 30 minutes northeast of Blackfoot, Idaho Falls is perched on the bank of the Snake River. It boasts an eclectic art scene showcased throughout downtown, and visitors can enjoy the picturesque views while strolling the River Walk.

Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming

Heading east out of Idaho Falls and skirting the border of Caribou-Targhee National Forest, Jackson, Wyoming is one of the first towns visitors will enter once crossing the state line. Jackson is famous for its western cowboy culture, ski resorts, and a serene landscape peppered with verdant pine trees that form the entrance to Grand Teton National Park. A next-door neighbor to Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park represents part of the country's most stunning alpine region that rises over Jackson Hole Valley. A prestigious icon of Western American history, rolling plains dappled with grazing bison, towering peaks, and groves of aspen trees make up the majority of this park's wilderness playground. Lookout points, like Schwabacher Landing and Snake River Overlook provide the most picturesque glimpses of life in Grand Teton, while pristine hiking trails, such as Forks of Cascade Canyon guide hikers past stunning glacial formations. 

Just a stone's throw away from Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone rests as the crowned jewel of this mountainous state, and the last stop on your road trip. Comprising 2.2 million acres across Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, Yellowstone was the first established national park in America famous for its vibrant collision of geysers, glaciers, grizzly bears, and freshwater falls. The cone geyser, Old Faithful, and dramatic valleys of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone are some of the most iconic sights nestled within the park. Alternatively, the Lake Overlook Trail offers epic views of the grounds, and this trail is particularly famous for its panoramic sunrise vistas.