Sprawling plains, glaciated peaks, sub-alpine lakes, erupting geysers, and unparalleled wildlife set this Seattle to Yellowstone road trip apart from any other in the United States. While California or the U.S. Southwest often come to mind when planning a national park road trip, the Pacific Northwest offers some of the most pristine outdoor spaces in the country. In fact, many would argue that outside of Alaska, it’s America’s last frontier.

Including icons like Old Faithful, Grand Prismatic Spring, North Cascades Hwy, Grand Teton, Going-to-the-Sun Road, Craters of the Moon, Stanley Hot Springs, and Mount Rainier, this itinerary packs a punch and is sure to overdeliver on adventure. If you’re short on time, stick to the minimum recommended timeframes or complete one of the shorter itinerary options. If you have more time, add a night wherever desired or combine this itinerary with a San Francisco to Seattle Road Trip.

Seattle to Yellowstone Road Trip

Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park, MT
Going to the Sun Road, Glacier National Park

Jump to a specific Seattle to Yellowstone road trip destination

Seattle to Yellowstone Road Trip Map

Seattle to Yellowstone road trip map created using Google Maps.
Access our FREE interactive Seattle to Yellowstone Road Trip Map HERE

Wondering how far Seattle is from Yellowstone? Following the most direct route, Seattle is about 740 miles from Yellowstone and you can factor in about 11.5 hours of drive time. However, there’s so much to see in the U.S. Northwest region, it would be a shame to pass by all the other destinations within reach. This is why we’ve proposed breaking the drive up into an epic multi-week road trip.

Other national park road trips you might like:

Seattle to Yellowstone Road Trip Options

2-Week, 3-Week, and 4-Week Seattle to Yellowstone Road Trip Itineraries

Glacier National Park, MT - an essential stop on a Settle to Yellowstone Road Trip
Glacier National Park, MT

Seattle to Yellowstone 4-Week Itinerary

  • Seattle, WA2 nights, road trip starting point
  • Okanogan-Wenatchee Forest, WA2-3 nights, 2-hour drive from Seattle to Leavenworth
  • North Cascades National Park, WA2-3 nights, 3-hour drive from Leavenworth
  • Spokane, WA1-2 nights, 4.5-hour drive from North Cascades to Spokane
  • Glacier National Park, MT2-3 nights, 4.5-hour drive from Spokane to Glacier National Park
  • Bozeman, MT2 nights, 5-hour drive from Glacier National Park to Bozeman
  • Yellowstone National Park 3-4 nights, 1.5-hour drive from Bozeman to Yellowstone
  • Grand Teton National Park, WY 2-3 nights, 1-hour drive from Yellowstone to Grand Teton
  • Craters of the Moon, ID 1-night, 3-hour drive from Grant Teton to Craters of the Moon
  • Stanley, ID 2-nights, 2.5-hour drive from Craters of the Moon to Stanley
  • Tri-Cities, WA2 nights, 6.5-hour drive from Stanley to Tri-Cities
  • Mount Rainier National Park, WA2-3 nights – 2.5-hour drive from Tri-Cities to Mount Rainier
  • Seattle, WA2-hour drive from Mount Rainier National Park to Seattle

Seattle to Yellowstone 3-Week Itinerary

  • Seattle, WA2 nights, road trip starting point
  • North Cascades National Park, WA2-3 nights, 2-hour drive from Seattle to North Cascades
  • Spokane, WA1 night, 4.5-hour drive from North Cascades to Spokane
  • Glacier National Park, MT2-3 nights, 4.5-hour drive from Spokane to Glacier National Park
  • Bozeman, MT2 nights, 5-hour drive from Glacier National Park to Bozeman
  • Yellowstone National Park 3-4 nights, 1.5-hour drive from Bozeman to Yellowstone
  • Grand Teton National Park, WY 2-3 nights, 1-hour drive from Yellowstone to Grand Teton
  • Stanley, ID 2-nights, 5-hour drive from Grand Teton to Stanley
  • Mount Rainier National Park, WA2-3 nights – 9-hour drive from Stanley to Mount Rainier
  • Seattle, WA2-hour drive from Mount Rainier National Park to Seattle

Seattle to Yellowstone 2-Week Itinerary

  • Seattle, WA1 night, road trip starting point
  • North Cascades National Park, WA2-3 nights, 2-hour drive from Seattle to North Cascades
  • Spokane, WA1 night, 4.5-hour drive from North Cascades to Spokane
  • Glacier National Park, MT2-3 nights, 4.5-hour drive from Spokane to Glacier National Park
  • Yellowstone National Park 3-4 nights, 6-hour drive from Glacier to Yellowstone
  • Grand Teton National Park, WY 2-3 nights, 1-hour drive from Yellowstone to Grand Teton
  • Seattle, WAFly back to Seattle from Yellowstone

How to Use This Road Trip Guide

Norris Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park - Seattle to Yellowstone Road Trip Itinerary
Yellowstone National Park

This Seattle to Yellowstone road trip itinerary is meant to serve as a guide and can easily be altered to fit your available timeframe, budget, and priority destinations. To complete the route in full, we recommend just over a minimum of 3 weeks, though it would be better to set aside a full month. However, we recognize that most travelers don’t have a month to spare and have also included more manageable 2-week and 3-week options.

If you have less than 3 weeks available for your Seattle to Yellowstone road trip, cut the itinerary in half and fly back to Seattle from Yellowstone, either doing only the first half or the latter half.

Best Time for a Yellowstone Road Trip

Mount Rainier National Park - a stop on a Seattle to Yellowstone Road Trip
Mount Rainier National Park, WA

The ideal time for a Seattle to Yellowstone Road Trip is typically between June and September when temperatures are warmest and rain and snow are least likely. July and August are when the parks are at their busiest, so June or September may be best if you’re hoping to avoid peak crowds. Yellowstone and Grand Teton are also lovely during May and October, but beware that the more northern parks can be prone to widespread road closures during these shoulder months.

While all parks remain open during winter, numerous trails, roads, and accommodation facilities close due to icy conditions. Winter road trippers should plan accordingly and check weather and road conditions in advance. Vehicles should also be equipped with 4WD, snow tires, and chains. Be sure to carry a shovel, stove, ample food, and extra layers in case you get snowed in.

Seattle to Yellowstone Road Trip Route

Seattle, WA

2 nights; Road trip starting point

Seattle Skyline, WA - the starting point for Seattle to Yellowstone road trip

Recommended by Yesenia and Sierra of The Sisters Who Voyage

Seattle is famous for being the birthplace of Starbucks and the home of the Seattle Seahawks. During the Fall season, Seattle is jam-packed as football fans visit from nearby states to catch games at Lumen Field. But there’s much more to the city than just coffee and football.

Things to Do in Seattle

First-time visitors should head to the original Starbucks location at Pike Place to grab a cup of coffee before exploring the rest of town. Make sure to snap a photo inside, which is blessed with original bronze signs and the store’s unofficial mascot, Pork N Beans the pig.

Another lovely thing to do when visiting Seattle is to shop at Pike Place Market, where you can find fresh produce, handmade jewelry, paintings, wooden art, and other unique souvenirs. If you have a sweet tooth, don’t miss Le Panier for the best macarons, eclairs, and freshly baked bread in town.

When you’re done shopping, head down to the pier and grab some ice cream while you walk the Seattle Waterfront. If you want an especially memorable view, stop by the Seattle Wheel to catch a ride and view of the city and Puget Sound.

Seattle Insider Tip

In Seattle, always be prepared for rain, as it rains about 150 days a year. You’ll want to pack a rain jacket and umbrella in case it happens to be pouring.

Trendy canteen and dining area at citizenM Seattle hotel, WA
The canteen at citizenM Seattle

Where to Stay in Seattle

The Hyatt Regency Seattle is a top-rated option in a prime location. The hotel is within walking distance of numerous points of interest and only five blocks from the nearest metro station. For a more boutique stay, our favorites include Inn at the Market, The Maxwell Hotel, and citizenM Seattle. As far as hostels go, you can’t go wrong with The Green Tortoise.

If you’d like to rent an apartment, we love this 1-bedroom downtown condo and this 2-bedroom penthouse with ocean views.

Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, WA

2 to 3 nights, 2-hour drive from Seattle to Leavenworth

Wenatchee River, WA - a great lesser known stop on a Seattle to Yellowstone road trip

Recommended by Kassidy of The Hiking Helper

Home to some of the most beautiful hiking in the state of Washington, Okanagon-Wenatchee National Forest is an outdoor lover’s dream. With trail after trail of amazing views, you’ll always have something to do.

Highlights of Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest

Being surrounded by so many great views, hiking has long been one of the best things to do here. A few popular trails include Lake Ingalls (9 miles), Colchuck Lake (8 miles), and Maple Pass (7.4 miles). A few lesser-known (but equally beautiful) trails include Earl Peak (7.5 miles) and Bean Peak (1.5 miles), both providing incredible views.

The Enchantments are nearby and among one of the most popular backpacking trips in the country. If you’re a rock climber, head to Peshastin Pinnacles State Park. During the wintertime, Mission Ridge Ski and Board Resort is the place to be to hit the slopes.

If you’re ready for a little relaxation after all of that exploring, head into the small Bavarian village of Leavenworth. Here you can eat German-inspired cuisine, browse the local stores, or just relax in a charming town tucked away in the mountains.

Okanogan-Wenatchee Insider Tips

When planning your visit, it’s recommended to purchase an America the Beautiful Pass because it will save you plenty of money over the course of your trip. Another tip is to avoid leaving any valuables in your vehicle. Car break-ins are unfortunately common at trailheads.

The German-inspired town of Leavenworth, near Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, WA
Leavenworth, WA

Where to Stay in Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest

When visiting national forests in Washington, it’s good to note that there are many places you can camp, right on the land, as long as you double-check to ensure dispersed camping is allowed.

You may also choose to stay in the charming Bavarian-inspired village of Leavenworth, which has plenty of options for lodging. LOGE Leavenworth is an adorable hotel with unique decor and an emphasis on outdoor adventure, which you’ll clearly see in their rooms.

If you’re wanting to self-cater, we adore this contemporary condo for two and this mountain view condo for up to 6. Both are within easy walking distance of downtown Leavenworth.

North Cascades National Park, WA

2 to 3 nights, 3-hour drive from Leavenworth

Purple wildflowers in North Cascades National Park, WA - a stop on a Seattle to Yellowstone Road Trip

Recommended by Jessica of Uprooted Traveler

North Cascades National Park, located just south of the Canadian border in Washington state, offers dramatic mountains, colorful alpine lakes, and world-class hiking trails.

North Cascades National Park Highlights

One of the most unmissable sights in the park is Diablo Lake Overlook, which provides jaw-dropping views of the glacial-fed pool. The lake has brilliantly colored turquoise water and is surrounded on all sides by pine tree-covered mountains. If you’d like to get more up-close views of the lake, you can drive to its shoreline and take the 7.6-mile Diablo Lake Trail around its perimeter.

To see some of the most stunning mountains in the park, consider hiking Heather Maple Pass Loop (7.2 miles), which winds past two gorgeous alpine lakes and leads up to a mountain ridge, where you’ll have panoramic views of the surrounding Cascade Mountains as far as the eye can see.

If you’re up for a little more outdoor adventure, consider going on a backpacking trip to Sahale Glacier or Hidden Lake for more rugged landscapes of glaciated mountains and even the possibility of spotting a mountain goat or two!

North Cascades Insider Tip

If you can swing it, visit the park in the Fall – the colors are absolutely unreal, thanks to the coniferous trees (called “larches”) that turn golden on the mountain slopes.

Modern cabin for up to 4 near Winthrop, WA
Modern Winthrop Cabin for 4

Where to Stay in North Cascades National Park

Stay in the charming town of Winthrop, an 1800s gold rush town that has retained plenty of its kitschy Wild West vibes. Hotel Rio Vista is perfect for a cozy mountain getaway thanks to its riverside hot tub, and the Methow Valley Lodge is also worth considering, given its excellent proximity to Winthrop’s downtown. Mt Gardner Inn is also a top-rated property in the area.

Alternatively, travelers wanting to rent a home should check out this romantic riverfront cottage for two or this modern Winthrop cabin for four.

Spokane, WA

1 to 2 nights, 4.5-hour drive from North Cascades to Spokane

Spokane, WA - a great stop on a Seattle to Yellowstone road trip.

Recommended by Emilie from Love Life Abroad

Known for hosting the world’s largest basketball tournament, Spokane is a great stop on a road trip from Seattle and Yellowstone National Park. It’s about ⅓ of the way there. With its famous Riverfront Park, Spokane can easily be visited in just a day or two.

Things to Do in Spokane

Manito Park is a green area with five unique gardens: the Nishinomiya Tsutakawa Japanese Garden, Duncan Garden, Rose Hill, Lilac Garden, and Ferris Perennial Garden. Duncan Gardens is particularly special. It will transport you back to the European Renaissance with its beautiful walkways and there is also a zoo on the park premise.

If you’re looking for a short-ish hike with breathtaking views of the Steptoe Butte, Iller Creek​ Trail is a great pick. It’s a 5-mile moderate loop trail with 360-degree views.

Finally, plan for at least half a day at the Riverfront Park and Spokane Falls. Located in the heart of the city, it’s a 100-acre park filled with paths, waterfalls, and activities for the entire family. It’s a must-see, especially if you’re traveling with kids. You’ll love the waterfalls, riding the Numerica Skyride, or taking a ride on the historic Looff Carousel.

Spokane Insider Tip

Take an extra day to visit Coeur d’Alene in Idaho, which is located only 33 miles away.

Living room with a view in 1-bedroom Vrbo in Spokane, WA
1-Bedroom Luxury Apartment in Downtown Spokane

Where to Stay in Spokane

For the best experience in Spokane, find a hotel in the city center right next to Riverfront Park. The Double Tree Hotel by Hilton or the Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott are two great options.

As far as self-catering goes, try this 1-bedroom luxury downtown apartment or this 2-bedroom apartment near Riverfront Park.

Glacier National Park, MT

2 to 3 nights, 4.5-hour drive from Spokane to Glacier National Park

Recommended by Stefanie of Open Road Odysseys

Glacier National Park gets its name (and fame) from the 26 glaciers found throughout the park. There are also over 760 lakes, many of which were created (and continue to be fed) by glaciers.

Things to Do in Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park’s most famous attraction is the Going-To-The-Sun Road, a 50-mile drive that gives visitors a grand overview of the stunning mountains and breathtaking views in the park. From this road, travelers can access dozens of hiking trails, explore visitor centers, and enjoy the natural beauty that makes Glacier National Park so special.

For hiking enthusiasts, there are so many great choices no matter your fitness level. Some of the best options include Trail of The Cedars (1 mile) and Avalanche Lake (4.5 miles), Highline Trail (12 miles), and Hidden Lake Overlook (2.7 miles). For those who want to spend some time on the water, Lake McDonald is a great choice for swimming, paddle boarding, kayaking, and boating.

If you’re looking to avoid the crowds and want to check out lesser-known areas, spend time away from the Going-To-The-Sun Road and focus on places like Waterton Park, Bowman, or North Fork.

Glacier National Park Insider Tip

Glacier National Park is piloting a vehicle registration system from late May to mid-September 2022 to help combat congestion and crowds. You’ll need a reservation in order to access the Going-To-The-Sun Road and a few other parts of the park. Visit the NPS website for more details.

Glacier Guides Lodge in West Glacier, MT near Glacier National Park
Glacier Guides Lodge, West Glacier

Where to Stay in Glacier National Park

Lake McDonald Lodge is a great option for those wanting to stay inside the park. Other popular places are Many Glacier Hotel and Granite Park Chalet, the latter of which offers hike-in backcountry huts. For those wanting to camp, Apgar Campground is near McDonald Lake.

If staying outside the park, there are plenty of lodging options in West Glacier, our favorite being Glacier Guides Lodge. If you’re rather in the market for an Airbnb, we love this budget cabin for two, lakefront cabin for four, and rustic riverfront cabin sleeping up to 7.

Bozeman, MT

2 nights, 5-hour drive from Glacier National Park to Bozeman

Aerial view of Bozeman,MT, a great stopover on a Seattle to Yellowstone Road Trip

Recommended by The Traveling Twin Mama

Bozeman, Montana is commonly known as the gateway to Yellowstone, as it’s within a two-hour drive of the national park. Similarly, it’s recognized as one of the fastest growing metropolitans and one of the most liveable cities in the United States.

Things to Do in Bozeman

A Madison River Guided Kayak Tour is a unique way to explore Bozeman’s nature and learn about its history. Your outdoor adventures should continue on a hike on the M Trail (1.6 miles) – a trail literally shaped like the letter M. When you reach the top, you’ll understand why it’s a local favorite.

After exploring Bozeman’s nature, your body will be in need of some good R&R. Be sure to relax at one of Bozeman’s hot springs. Bozeman Hot Springs has a variety of outdoor pools, as well as a large indoor pool. Similarly, you can soak at Norris Hot Springs, which gets its water from the artesian springs, while listening to live music or grabbing a bite to eat.

Bozeman is the place for you if you love dinosaurs and/or animals. The Museum of the Rockies is filled with dinosaur fossils, a planetarium, and a 4K Digital Theater. Likewise, Bozeman is home to llama and alpaca farms offering interactive tours. This is an awesome activity to do with kids.

Bozeman Insider Tip

Visiting downtown Bozeman, especially Main Street, is a must. It’s lined with boutiques and restaurants and embodies the culture and vibe of the city.

Aerial view of The LARK Bozeman Hotel on Main St in MT.
The LARK Bozeman

Where to Stay in Bozeman

RSVP Hotel is a highly rated (and irresistibly playful) downtown option and The LARK is located in the heart of Main Street for those wanting to be close to the town’s restaurants and nightlife.

In terms of self-catering options, you also really can’t go wrong with this 1-bedroom fox-themed apartment or this gorgeous face brick condo sleeping up to 4.

Yellowstone National Park

3 to 4 nights, 1.5-hour drive from Bozeman to Yellowstone

Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park, a highlight of a Seattle to Yellowstone road trip

Recommended by Candice of CS Ginger

Yellowstone was the country’s first national park and is famous for its geothermal features. It’s home to Old Faithful, Grand Prismatic Spring (pictured above), and many other fascinating hot springs and geysers. It’s also a fantastic place to see wildlife like wolves, bears, elk, and bison.

Yellowstone National Park Highlights

One of the most iconic features in the park is Old Faithful Geyser, one of the most famous geysers in the world. When arriving at the Visitor Center, you can check the schedule for the next eruption. While waiting, walk along the Upper Geyser Basin Boardwalk or visit Old Faithful Inn.

Another epic thing to do is visit Grand Prismatic Spring. There’s a nice boardwalk surrounding the hot spring that will take you right past the vibrant colors along with some other nearby features. If you want to get a birds-eye view of the hot spring, hike up to the Grand Prismatic Overlook (0.6 miles).

If you’d like to do some hiking, head to Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. There are tons of lookout points and hikes down into the canyon. Be sure to check out the stops offering viewing windows of the Upper and Lower Falls.

Yellowstone Insider Tip

If you’re staying outside the park, consider entering very early in the morning or around noon to avoid the long lines of cars. This is especially applicable if you’re entering via the west entrance via West Yellowstone.

Canyon Lodge and Cabins in Yellowstone National Park
Canyon Lodge and Cabins

Where to Stay in Yellowstone

The best choice for where to stay in Yellowstone is within the park. This will limit your drive time and allow you to explore the park after everyone has left for the day. Early mornings and evenings are also the best time to spot wildlife.

Canyon Lodge and Cabins has the most central location. If you’re looking for an iconic place to stay in the park, also check out the Old Faithful Inn, which is steps from Old Faithful Geyser. In terms of campgrounds, Canyon Campground, Norris Campground, and Grant Village are all great options.

If sleeping outside the park, our favorite options are Kelly Inn and Elkhorn Cabins and Inn in West Yellowstone. Bar N Ranch also offers an incredible guest ranch experience just outside town.

Grand Teton National Park, WY

2 to 3 nights, 1-hour drive from Yellowstone to Grand Teton

Grand Teton National Park, WY - a must for a Seattle to Yellowstone Road Trip

Recommended by Jamie of Photo Jeepers

If you’re planning a Seattle to Yellowstone road trip, you must stop at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. After all, this natural wonderland in the northwestern part of the state spans an incredible 310,000 acres and is home to Grand Teton peak and the Teton Mountain range. Grand Teton stands at nearly 14,000 feet and overlooks Jackson Hole in the valley below. Hop on the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Parkway connecting this park to Yellowstone, and enjoy at least one full day in the park.

Things to Do in Grand Teton National Park

During your visit, drive the picturesque, 42-mile Scenic Loop and take stunning photos at Oxbow Bend, Mormon Row, and Schwabacher Landing. If you have a bit of time, try and spend multiple days in the park so that you can do some amazing sunrise photography at both Oxbow Bend and Schwabacher Landing.

Also, be sure to drive up Signal Mountain to enjoy sweeping panoramas of Jackson Lake and the Teton Range from Jackson Lake Overlook. This scenic viewpoint is near the top of the mountain and is an easy, 2-minute walk from the parking area.

Next, tackle some of the best easy hikes in Grand Teton National Park like the Hidden Falls Trail (1.3 miles), Inspiration Point Trail (2.2 miles), Lakeshore Trail (2.1 miles), and Phelps Lake Overlook Trail (2 miles). Finally, embark on the Jenny Lake Scenic Drive and stop for a photo op at the Jenny Lake Overlook for some of the best lakeside views in the park.

Grand Teton Insider Tip

The best time to visit the park is around mid to late June since most of the snow in the area will have melted. However, before doing any hiking, be sure to check conditions at higher elevations since snow can linger here until early July depending on the weather.

Rustic Inn Creekside Resort in Jackson Hole, WY
Rustic Inn Creekside Resort in Jackson Hole

Where to Stay in Grand Teton

Spend the night at Jackson Lake Lodge, a fabulous full-service resort inside the park that allows you to enjoy all that the Grand Tetons have to offer. Other in-park alternatives include the Jenny Lake Lodge, Signal Mountain Lodge, and Colter Bay Cabins. Jenny Lake Campground, Gros Ventre Campground, and Colter Bay Campground are all great camping options.

Outside the park, nearby Jackson Hole is known as the gateway to Grand Teton National Park and many visitors choose to base themselves in this vibey old west town. Rustic Inn Creekside Resort is a highly-rated mid-range option, and The Lexington also has rave reviews and affordable rates.

In terms of Jackson Hole cabin rentals, our vote goes to this Alpine Cottage Studio sleeping up to 4, this Creekside Cottage sleeping up to 6, or this Luxury Condo sleeping up to 8.

Craters of the Moon National Monument, ID

1-night, 3-hour drive from Grand Teton to Craters of the Moon

Dried lava at Craters of the Moon National Monument in ID - a fun overnight stop on a Seattle to Yellowstone road trip

Recommended by Cynthia of Sharing the Wander

Craters of the Moon is as close as you can get to a lunar landscape on earth – lava tubes, splatter cones, and volcanic rock in all sorts of shapes. This area is so unique, that NASA astronauts actually trained here for lunar missions! When the roof of a lava tube collapses, it forms a cave entrance. This park allows you to enter the lava tube caves and explore. It’s a great park to explore with kids.

Things to Do at Craters of the Moon

The park is a 7-mile loop with several stop-offs, including opportunities to climb through lava tubes. Some of these tubes are approximately 2,000 years old!

Start with a climb up Inferno Cone for wonderful views of the area. Check out the Splatter Cones nearby before beginning your caving adventures.

Choose one or two caves to explore. You’ll need to clamber over fallen rocks, and sometimes even icy patches in the caves. Don’t miss Indian Tunnel. After you cross through the cave, you’ll need to walk back to the main path following a series of posts on the lava field. You will want to spend half a day to a full day in the park depending on which caves you choose to explore.

Craters of the Moon Insider Tips

You’ll need to get a caving permit at the visitors center before entering any of the caves. The Ranger will ask you a few questions and make sure that you haven’t worn any of the same clothes or gear inside other caves in the last year, then stamp your map to allow you access.

Be prepared for wind! The wind can be quite strong on the climb up Inferno Cone – don’t wear a hat or be prepared to hang on to yours! The view from the top is worth the climb up though.

Bring headlamps. A few of the easier caves have an open top that allows light in, but for many of the caves, you’ll need to supply your own light source. Be sure to choose caves that are appropriate for your age and fitness level. Some of the more difficult caves have water and ice inside all year round.

Lava Flow Campground near Craters of the Moon National Monument, ID
Lava Flow Campground // Credit: NPS

Where to Stay Near Craters of the Moon

You can camp in the park at Lava Flow Campground, open from May through November.

Arco, Idaho is the nearest small town and has a few motels to spend the night before or after you visit Craters of the Moon. We recommend the Arco Inn Motel – it’s not fancy, but it’s clean and has a small park across the street.

Stanley, ID

2-nights, 2.5-hour drive from Craters of the Moon to Stanley

Mountain Lake near Stanley, ID - an area known for its hot springs.

Recommended by Megan Starr of Megan & Aram

Stanley is the gateway to the Sawtooth Mountains and some of the best hot springs in Idaho! It’s a place with plenty of hiking adventures such as the Fishhook Creek Trail (a 4.4-mile out and back) and trails around Stanley and Redfish Lakes.

Things to Do in Stanley

You will find plenty of things to do in Stanley, but the main focus for many travelers is the hiking trails. The Fishhook Creek Trail is situated close to Redfish Lake and easy for all skill levels as the elevation gain is minimal and it goes throughout meadows with views of the mountains in the backdrop. Also at Redfish Lake, you can enjoy one of Idahoʻs premier alpine lakes! There are paddleboats there or you can opt to kayak the lake yourself.

Another popular lake is Stanley Lake, located around 7 miles west of the Idaho town. Youʻll find some of the best campgrounds in the area located there.

While in town, donʻt miss the chance to soak in the famous Boat Box Hot Springs! Located on the Salmon River, there’s a ʻtubʻ there that you can soak in and relax in the 110F water. Boat Box is just one of the many hot springs in the area (Sunbeam is also worth visiting).

And finally, for the adventurous and skilled hiker, the Redfish Lake to Alpine Lake out-and-back trail is one to spend some time on! This difficult, 18.6-mile Idaho trail is brimming with wildflowers and actually requires a ferry to reach the trailhead (which is a small fee).

Stanley Idaho Insider Tip

While Stanley is all about nature, the town has plenty to offer visitors as well! Donʻt miss the Stanley Baking Co. and Cafe, a breakfast and lunch spot where you can find everything from Migas to the classic American breakfast! The Mountain Village Resort also has delicious cinnamon rolls!

Wood cabin with Mountain Views in Stanley, ID
Mountain View Cabin

Where to Stay in Stanley, ID

The best place to stay in Stanley is overnight camping somewhere deep in the wilderness (where permitted)! But, if you’re looking for accommodation, Redfish Riverside Inn has lovely rooms with terraces, and Stanley High Country Inn also is renowned for good lodging in the area.

For larger groups, check out Claud’s Cabin (sleeping up to 11) or Mountain View (sleeping up to 8).

Tri-Cities, WA

2 nights, 6.5-hour drive from Stanley to Tri-Cities

Tri-Cities, WA - a fun stop on a Seattle to Yellowstone Road Trip

Recommended by Noel of Oahu Travel Now

Tri-Cities (Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland) is the largest wine-producing region in Washington and the area is also known for outdoor adventure, with the Columbia River dissecting the Tri-City area.

Things to Do in Tri-Cities

In the Tri-Cities, the main attraction is wine – wine country vineyards, tasting rooms, and visits to wineries that cater to wine growing and tasting. The area is also fronting the Columbia River with a richness of outdoor adventure, water sports, and many other recreation experiences. Each city is unique and offers different attractions for visitors to check out and experience.

Tri-Cities Insider Tip

If you reserve accommodation along the Columbia River, you’ll be able to walk the many outdoor trails along the shoreline and also do fun excursions on the river like boating, biking, or jogging.

Wine Country Retreat vacation rental in the vineyards of Tri-Cities, WA
Wine Country Retreat

Where to Stay in Tri-Cities, WA

There are quite a few different hotels that are right on the Columbia River with rooms that have spectacular views. Consider the Lodge at Columbia Point or the Hampton Inn at Richland.

Our favorite vrbo rentals are this Wine Country Retreat (sleeping up to 8) and this trendy pet-friendly home (also sleeping up to 8).

Mount Rainier National Park, WA

2 to 3 nights2.5-hour drive from Tri-Cities to Mount Rainier

Deadhorse Creek Trail in Mount Rainier National Park.

Recommended by Nikki of Inspired Routes

Mount Rainier National Park is a stunning park featuring the majestic Mount Rainier. But more than that, it offers beautiful lakes, waterfalls, rivers, classic Pacific Northwest views, plus awesome hiking.

Things to Do in Mount Rainier National Park

Visitors absolutely must see the Paradise area within Mount Rainier National Park. It’s the most popular area in the park, right between the southwest (Nisqually) entrance and the southeast (Stevens Canyon) entrance. This scenic area is the closest you can get to the mountain.

Take the Skyline Loop Trail (6.2 miles) near Jackson Visitor Center for amazing views of Mt Rainier and the Cascade Range. Or, for fewer crowds, the Bench and Snow Lake Trail (2.2. miles) offers serene views with dreamy lakes. Be sure to stop at Reflection Lakes, which are near the Jackson Visitor Center, where you’ll often see the mountain reflecting in the lakes below.

Mount Rainier Insider Tip

Visitors should definitely arrive at the park early during summers, weekends, and holidays to ensure easy parking at trailheads. In early August, you’ll get amazing views of wildflowers, and in late September the bright Fall foliage really shows off within the park.

Cozy A-Frame cabin in Ashword, WA near Mount Rainier National Park
Modern A-Frame in Ashford

Where to Stay Near Mount Rainier

Mt Rainier has four campgrounds within the park. Ohanapecosh Campground has the most amenities and is great for RV or tent camping.

Ashford is the closest town to the west of the park, with many small hotels and vacation rentals available. Otherwise consider Packwood, which is directly south of the park and can be convenient to enter the southwest or southeast entrances.

If you’d prefer to self-cater, check out our guide to the Coziest Mt Rainier Cabins.

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