If you enjoy a leisurely Sunday road trip through the back roads of your state and anticipate scenic drives, then you’ll love this post about Yellowstone Scenic Drives. Yellowstone is probably my favorite of the national parks that I’ve visited so far. The beauty is unparalleled. Enjoy this post written by my friend, Jamie.
Yellowstone National Park is a park full of unique wildlife, delightful hot springs, waterfalls, and scenic views for miles.
In 1872, Yellowstone National Park was one of the first national parks where you could enjoy hydrothermal and geologic wonders all in one park. The hot springs of Yellowstone were a colorful contrast to the huge mountains of snow around them.
The Best Yellowstone Scenic Drives
The journey through and to Yellowstone is just as beautiful as the park within! You can view all the splendor of Yellowstone without ever leaving your car! So, here are some of the best Yellowstone scenic drives.
Geyser Basin Tour
Being one of the shortest scenic drives on our list with just 16 miles, the Lower Grand Loop Road takes us on the beginning of our Geyser Basin Tour.
Drive south along Firehole River from Madison Junction, where you’ll go to Old Faithful, and pass through the Lower Geyser Basin.
On this scenic drive, you’ll see the Grand Prismatic Spring, Great Fountain Geyser, Fountain Paint Pot, Firehole Lake, Black Sand Basin, Old Faithful Complex, and more on this one tour!
Bison herds can be seen in this area, so you might have to stop for traffic. Note there are also three short spur roads to allow for a side tour, one of them being Firehole Lake Drive described below.
Firehole Lake Drive
Yellowstone’s Firehole Lake Drive is a one-way road off the Grand Loop between Old Faithful and Madison.
This three-mile drive is a great way to see geysers, hot springs, and even a boardwalk around Firehole Lake to take you there! Seeing the hot springs and geysers from the road is one of the main reasons this is such an incredible drive!
Gardiner to Cooke City
Located between the North Entrance Station and the Northeast Entrance Station, this is the only road into Yellowstone that is open all year to private cars and RVs. This road can temporarily close during the winter due to road conditions, but otherwise, it’s open all year round!
The drive from Gardiner to Cooke City takes about two hours one way and goes under the Roosevelt Arch, across the 45th Parallel, through Mammoth Hot Springs and through Lamar Valley.
Located in the northern end of Yellowstone National Park, this is the best scenic drive to take if you are looking for the most abundant wildlife sighting opportunities!
There are beautiful mountains, rivers, lakes, waterfalls, and geothermal places such as Soda Butte. However, just on the drive, you should be able to spot buffalo, grizzly bears, bighorn sheep, black bears, pronghorn, and more from the seat of your car!
If you are heading to Yellowstone, the Beartooth Highway is just one way to make a grand entrance to Yellowstone National Park. This National Scenic Byway is 68 miles of winding route between Red Lodge and Cooke City in Montana.
The Beartooth Highway road goes up as high as 10,947 feet, and along this drive, you can see granite peaks and some of the oldest rocks in the United States. This road is one of the 30 designated All American Roads located in the United States.
The Block: West Yellowstone to Bozeman
Locals know this 64-mile round trip drive as “the block.” It goes through two states, two mountain passes, and winds around three different lakes.
The scenery and wildlife spotting opportunities are the two main reasons to take this long drive.
You’ll start in West Yellowstone and head toward Bozeman, Montana on Hwy 191. On your drive, you should be able to spot everything from bison, moose, fox deer, black bears, and so much more!
From the North Entrance of Yellowstone to Livingston, Montana, Paradise Valley is its own little paradise!
You’ll find Yellowstone River, mountain ranges, and even a hot springs resort, Chico Hot Springs, to relax in this area.
Paradise Valley is home to some of the best fisheries along the Yellowstone River and its nearby spring creeks. There are several hiking trails nearby that will give you the outdoorsy backcountry hiking you are seeking!
Yellowstone National Park is one of the most iconic parks in all of the United States. If you’re looking for a great place to go for a drive, you can’t miss any of these choices on your journey to or in Yellowstone.
If you need help planning your trip, here’s a helpful Yellowstone vacation planner with a 4 day itinerary!
About Photo Jeepers
We are Dave and Jamie, a husband-wife team based out of Salt Lake City, Utah. For us, travel and photography go hand-in-hand. At PhotoJeepers.com, our goal is to encourage you to get out there and explore, take pictures & relive memories! Do you enjoy nature photography and want to sharpen your skills? Join us in our FREE Facebook group, Your Photography Journey, where we provide weekly challenges and photo reviews.
This post contains affiliate links.