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2 days in Yellowstone National Park

Taupo, New Zealand
Level Contributor
21 posts
11 reviews
2 days in Yellowstone National Park

Hi everyone,

Just wanting some feedback on our trip to Yellow Stone at the end of May. Myself and my partner will be travelling by campervan from Calgary. Its a long drive and I think on the way down we may stay in Bozeman the night and then travel down to the park the next morning. My partner and I are both keen fishermen/woman so I think we might spend half a day on a guided fishing trip in Bozeman.

However, if we don't end up going fishing:

Day 1: We will head to Yellowstone from Bozeman through the north entrance then down to the Grand Canyon (around 2 hours driving?) . We love hiking so we thought we would do Artist Point/ Uncle Toms Trail. After this we will drive to Bridge Bay Campground and stay here the night.

Does someone know the rough driving time from Grand Canyon to Bridge Bay?

Any must see attractions on the drive to Bridge Bay?

Is Yellowstone Lake a good lake for water-sports like kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding?

Day 2: Drive from Bridge Bay to Old faithful and Grand Prismatic Springs and the other geothermal areas around here. From there we will go and stay at Madison Campground, or we will head out of the park and stay in West Yellowstone. I think this is about a 1 hours drive from Grand Prismatic.

Are there any decent hikes around this area?

Does any one know of any good campgrounds in West Yellowstone? We would rather stay in more wilderness campgrounds so thinking that Madison would be a better option.

After that we are heading to Seattle.

Any comments or feedback would be much appreciated!

3 replies to this topic
Billings, Montana
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park
Level Contributor
7,148 posts
1 review
1. Re: 2 days in Yellowstone National Park

First, a map of Yellowstone Park that has distances and estimated drive times. The estimated drive times do not take into account flow of traffic and unpredictable animal jams. In my experience, the estimated drive times on the map have been pretty accurate for me with the exception of the Madison to Old Faithful and the Old Faithful to West Thumb sections as they usually take me 45 minutes to drive (not the 1 hour noted on the map).


Second, do you have reservations for Bridge Bay Campground? It sounds like you don't have one for Madison Campground as you said you will stay there or head out of the park and stay in West Yellowstone. Both of those parks take reservations and while you may be able to drive up and get a campsite the end of May it would be better to make reservations so you know you have a campsite. Make reservations through Xanterra.


Yellowstone Park's website has a "Fill Time" chart for campgrounds inside Yellowstone Park. They give the time the campground was filled the day before and the current day. They don't give historic "fill times" like some parks do so you can't go back and see what fill times were last year during your travel dates. But if you check it daily the week before your trip it will give you an idea of what to expect for times that campgrounds fill up.

Last thoughts:

May (even the end of May) is still winter in Yellowstone Park. Even in the warmer summer months, it is very unsafe to kayak, canoe, and/or stand-up paddle board on the lake as the water is very cold (it's at an elevation of over 7,000 feet). The topmost layer of water rarely exceeds 66°F, and the lower layers are much colder. Because of the extremely cold water, survival time for anyone in the lake is estimated to be only 20 to 30 minutes. There is kayaking offered at Grant Village in the very southern end of the park but I doubt that it would be available this early in the year.

Canyon Construction Projects will impact what you're able to do in the Canyon area. Specifically, you will not be able to go on Uncle Tom's Trail. Check out this link to see what areas will be closed and what areas you will still be able to access.



Lots of good hikes in Yellowstone Park but many of them will be unavailable due to snow/mud or being in Bear Management Areas. I would highly suggest stopping at a Visitor's Center and asking there what the status of trails are and what they would suggest for you to hike. You have a very short time frame in Yellowstone Park and it's a pretty large park so you don't really have a lot of time for very many hikes (even if you were visiting in the summer months). If you're interested, you can look at the Backcountry Situation Report which lists the current status of different trails in the parks. Scroll down towards the bottom of this link to see the trail reports.


A good description of 65 popular day hiking trails in Yellowstone Park can be found on Hike734's website. While many of the trails on the website will be unavailable the end of May it will give you a good idea of what is available. The northern tier of the park tends to dry out sooner as it is at a lower elevation.



Level Contributor
95 posts
5 reviews
2. Re: 2 days in Yellowstone National Park

There are no wilderness type campgrounds in the town of West Yellowstone, but there are some just a few miles outside of town. Look into Baker's Hole Campground, Lonesomehurst Campground, Rainbow Point Campground, or the Madison Arm Resort.

Level Contributor
95 posts
5 reviews
3. Re: 2 days in Yellowstone National Park

I'm thinking you might like Madison Arm Resort if you decide to stay outside the park. It's in a more wilderness like setting on the south shore of Hebgen Lake - great for kayaking, paddle boarding, etc. The water is quite cold, so bring a wet suit or stay close to shore.

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