Everyone must go to Yellowstone once in his or her lifetime, and using Northern Utah as your gateway makes it that much greater.
Utah is the perfect gateway to Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park. No matter where you’re coming from, this loop will show you some of the best Northern Utah has to offer along the way.
Salt Lake City boasts a surprisingly robust food scene and the incredible Temple Square, with its namesake masterpiece that took 40 years to complete. Hike or ride horseback among buffalo on Antelope Island or even float in the buoyant waters of the Great Salt Lake. (Read: Great Salt Lake Needs Your Visit)
Stop at Ogden’s historic 25th Street, drive through the verdant slopes and craggy limestone cliffs of Logan Canyon, and then gape at turquoise waters of Bear Lake beaming before you as you emerge.
Spend two astounding days at Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks. Then complete the loop, with stops along the way before finishing your trip in Park City.
Have even more time? Extend your journey with visits to Dinosaur National Monument and Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area.
Read these resources to learn how to travel thoughtfully and experience your destinations most fully.
Destination Salt Lake City
Salt Lake continues to be the gateway for travelers venturing northward to Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. Its compact downtown makes for easy walking among the many restaurants, bars, and other attractions that bring life to the city center. Visit historic Temple Square, shop at City Creek Center, or curl up with a book in the soaring glass atrium of the Moshe Safdie and Associates-designed City Library. Overnight in Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City to Logan
Get an early start for a side trip to Antelope Island State Park. Lunch on Ogden’s historic 25th Street. Once upon a time, saloons stood side by side with businesses, which thrived on Ogden's status as a railroad hub. Next, discover what life in the West was like in the 1800s at the American West Heritage Center where you’ll join costumed interpreters to enjoy hands-on learning as you visit the mountain men encampment, pioneer cabins, and a turn-of-the-century farm. Finish your day in Logan exploring great dining and world-class performing arts like the Utah Festival Opera. Overnight in Logan.
Logan to Jackson
Logan Canyon National Scenic Byway boasts 43 miles of uncrowded scenery with dramatic limestone cliffs, wildflowers and the Logan River en route to Jackson, Wyoming. Hike the trails or stop at Beaver Creek Lodge for horseback or all-terrain vehicle rides. It's all on the way to Bear Lake, a must-see for lunch and afternoon water activities. Bear Lake is a deep natural lake that changes color with the sky. On the southwest shore of Bear Lake, the town of Garden City is perhaps best known for its legendary raspberry shakes. Overnight here or continue north and overnight in Jackson.
Jackson to Grand Teton
A small town with lots to see and do during any season, Jackson is the southern gateway to Grand Teton National Park. With some of the most beautiful mountain vistas in the world, some say Grand Teton National Park is the more scenic of the two parks. Photograph the iconic barns of Mormon Row, canoe Jenny Lake, follow in the footsteps of Ansel Adams at the Snake River Overlook, hike, climb, and breathe the mountain air. This park is a treasure. Overnight in Jackson.
Jackson to West Yellowstone
Established in 1872, Yellowstone is the world’s first national park. This rugged landscape is home to extensive wildlife, beautiful scenic drives, and unforgettably iconic destinations like Old Faithful. The town of West Yellowstone, located just outside the West Entrance to Yellowstone National Park, is a year-round, family-friendly destination. Nestled among majestic mountain peaks, and surrounded by natural scenic wonders, the town is rich in history and activities. Overnight in West Yellowstone or continue on to Pocatello, Idaho.
West Yellowstone to Brigham City
After a morning of history (and hot springs soaking) in Idaho, venture on to the Golden Spike National Historic Site, a tribute to the perseverance and talents of all who worked to complete the transcontinental railroad. Two beautiful, fully-functional replicas of the original locomotives are on display from May 1 through Labor Day, with reenactments on Saturdays during summer. Continue on to the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge. This refuge offers some of the most phenomenal waterbird watching in the western U.S. Overnight in Brigham City.
Brigham City to Park City
Park City, Utah, could certainly stake a rightful claim to being the “perfect mountain town.” Combining its silver mining heritage, a modern vibe, and a deep appreciation for the outdoors, Park City strikes a balance between luxury and comfort. Whatever your daily activity may be (say, biking Deer Valley or stand-up paddleboarding at Jordanelle), you’ll work up an appetite for the diversity of fine restaurants that line Historic Main Street and beyond and want to wind down with a local craft beer or whiskey. Overnight in Park City.
Option: Park City to Flaming Gorge
Step back in time 159 million years to a time when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. Experience the Wall of Bones and beyond. The Vernal area is also home to three distinct state parks, hiking, rafting and Old West and Native American history. Continue to Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area where trophy trout fishing awaits on the reservoir and below the dam on the Green River. Take a paddling trail on emerald waters surrounded by deep red rock canyons. There are also uncrowded trails through untamed forests and lots of opportunities to see wildlife. Plan two or three days, if possible.
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