Boise to Yellowstone Road Trip

This road trip takes you from bustling Boise all the way to the fabled landscape of Yellowstone National Park.
Written by Michelle Ballestrasse
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Need a few reasons to visit Yellowstone National Park?—It’s the oldest national park in the country and certainly one of the most famous parks in the world. Its proximity over an active volcano means that there’s plenty of geothermal activity in the surrounding areas, including mineral springs, geysers, and sulfur pools. But there’s also a bevy of wildlife and nature activities that lend to Yellowstone’s enduring legacy.
Seeking out one of the most unique landscapes our country has to offer is all well and good—but you can’t forget to protect yourself for the longest stretch of a road trip—time on the open road.
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Read on to discover the best road trip from Boise to Yellowstone.
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Key trip details

Boise to Yellowstone
One-way distance: 440 miles
One-way drive time: 7 hours 37 minutes
Suggested trip length: 4-5 days
At about seven and a half hours, the trip from Boise to Yellowstone National Park makes for a great long weekend trip. You can go straight to Yellowstone, or you can stop at some of the smaller sites along the way.


  • Boise, ID—1-2 days
  • Twin Falls, ID—One half day
  • Pocatello, ID—One half day
  • Jackson, WY—One half to 1 day
  • Yellowstone—1 to 2 days

Start in—Boise

Boise is often overlooked as far as big cities go, but it’s been slowly coming into its own as a bustling center of culture, food, and recreation.
Boise is an incredible town for those who prefer life in the great outdoors, hiking, mountain biking, or fishing, before winding down with good food, craft beer, and great music. Boise is not a city for business-class travelers, and that’s all a part of its appeal.

Where to eat in Boise

  • The Basque Market
    ($$): Boise is one of the best spots for Basque cuisine outside of the Basque region of spain. This market is a great location for authentic Spanish cuisine. Try the tapas or sandwiches for a quick bite on the go.
  • Goldy’s Breakfast Bistro
    ($$): Start the day off right at one of Boise’s best breakfast joints—Goldy’s has been a Boise hotspot since 1999. Try the fan-favorite malted waffle, and it's clear to see why there’s a line out the door.
  • Guru Donuts
    ($): Skip the chain coffee-shops, and grab a fresh, handmade donut from the legendary Guru. Guru’s handcrafted donuts have something for everyone—they even have a gluten-free potato donut that is out of this world.

What to do in Boise

Old Idaho Penitentiary
  • Basque Museum and Cultural Center
    : Boise is home to the largest Basque population in the United States, and the Museum and Cultural Center is a prime opportunity to learn more about their incredible heritage.
  • Old Idaho Penitentiary
    : For those who love diving into humanity’s darker history, this penitentiary was once home to some of the Old West’s most infamous criminals.
  • World Center for Birds of Prey
    : The nature lovers out there can’t miss a stop at the headquarters for conservation and recovery for America’s endangered raptors.
  • Boise River Greenbelt: A tree-lined pathway following the river, this 25-mile path is one of Boise’s most beloved parks.
  • Boise Trolley Tours
    : Hop aboard a historic Boise trolley and take a tour around Boise’s best stops, including the Egyptian Theatre and the State Capital.

Stop in—Twin Falls, ID

128 miles, 2 hours
Twin Falls carries particular infamy as being where Evel Knievel attempted to jump the nearby Snake River Canyon, but there’s lots more to this mid-sized town than daredevils.
Snake River offers up some amazing sights, including the Shoshone Falls, while the canyon itself is a prime spot for ziplining.
To get to Twin Falls, take I-84 E to US-93 S.

Where to eat in Twin Falls

  • Milners Gate
    : This brewery—with the best happy hour in town— features amazing American cuisine with a twist, including the famous fig burger. Don’t forget to grab a wittily named beverage to round out your meal.

What to do in Twin Falls

Twin Falls
  • Shoshone Falls
    : One of the nation’s largest natural waterfalls, Shoshone actually surpasses Niagara Falls in height.
  • Perrine Memorial Bridge: Fans of Evel Knievel will want to check out this picturesque bridge, located near where he attempted his famous jump.
  • Centennial Waterfront Park: The key access point for all water activities, including kayaking and paddle boating, and is a great place to scope out zip lining and BASE jumpers.
  • Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument: Take a detour to one of the world’s richest known fossil deposits and get a first-hand glimpse into our planet’s long-gone past.

Stop in—Pocatello, ID

114 miles, 1 hour 46 minutes
Pocatello’s nearby geysers and hot springs are a great prologue to Yellowstone, but it’s also worth a visit thanks to its rich Native American history.
From Twin Falls, get back on I-84 E to I-86 E to get to Pocatello.

Where to eat in Pocatello

  • Jeri’s Jumbo Cafe: Start off the day with a hearty American breakfast in a classic cafe. Fuel up with the hearty biscuits and gravy before getting on the road.
  • Sandpiper
    : This steakhouse is a great stop for classic American dining. Try the namesake Sandpiper Steak for a delicious cut of meat, wrapped in bacon and topped with a mushroom cap and bearnaise sauce.

What to do in Pocatello

Pocatello geyser area
  • Soda Springs Geyser: The nation’s only captive geyser, timed to go off every hour because otherwise it actually impedes the regular eruption of Old Faithful.
  • Shoshone Bannock Tribal Museum: Learn more about the Native American history of the region, with old photos, artifacts, and more.
  • Zoo Idaho
    : If you’re not keen about seeing Idaho’s wildlife in their natural habitat, Zoo Idaho has you covered. The zoo focuses only on species indigenous to the region.
  • Museum of Clean
    : A must-stop for anyone who appreciates cleanliness, this museum’s mission is to sell the value of clean.
  • Heber Hatchets Axe Throwing
    : Can’t wait for a Renaissance fair to chuck some axes? Do it year-round at Heber’s!
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Stop in—Jackson, WY

141 miles, 2 hours 34 minutes
Jackson’s proximity to Yellowstone makes it a fabulous and convenient town to stay in before you hit the national park, not least because it’s styled like an old west town. While it’s a great summer location, it’s also a prime spot for winter sports. If you’re keen on getting some skiing done, it’s conveniently located near a number of excellent ski resorts.
To get to Jackson, take I-15 to ID-31 E before getting on WY-22 E to US-191 N.

Where to stay in Jackson

  • Huff House Inn
    —This quaint inn is a charming bed and breakfast right in downtown Jackson. It combines history with contemporary furnishings for a comfortable stay in an idyllic setting. Cost per night: from $180

Where to eat in Jackson

  • Bin22
    : Located in the town square, this is your one-stop-shop for excellent wine and specialty foods, with an included wine bar.
  • Virginian Restaurant
    : Jackson’s favorite breakfast and lunch joint, featuring famous corned beef and pancakes.

What to do in Jackson

Hot Air Balloon ride
  • Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum
    : History buffs will undoubtedly love the chance to learn more about the history of not just Jackson, but the entire Yellowstone region.
  • Sunrise Hot Air Balloon ride: If you’re an early bird, consider a hot air balloon ride over Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Teton Range, and Grand Teton National Park, and enjoy some champagne when you land.
  • Granite Hot Springs: Available in the summer or winter, have a soak in the natural hot spring to ease any tired muscles.
  • Snake River Raft Tour: The calm waters of Snake River are ideal for a relaxing float tour through Grand Teton.

Arrive in—Yellowstone National Park, WY

57.3 miles, 1 hour 14 minutes
There are about a million things to see and do in Yellowstone, and this is just a small sampling.
All of Yellowstone’s appeal is built on its breathtaking natural splendor. But this is still an area of intense geothermal activity, and with active wildlife. Be sure to respect and observe all rules and regulations, keep a safe distance from the wildlife, and travel only along designated paths and trails.
To get to Yellowstone, follow US-191 N.

Where to stay in Yellowstone

  • Lake Yellowstone Hotel
    —If you want to splurge a little, stay at the colonial revival classic Lake Yellowstone Hotel, recently designated as a national monument.
  • Lake Lodge
    —If you’re looking for something a little more rustic, stay at Lake Lodge— its 186 cabins overlooking Yellowstone Lake make this location the perfect idyllic camping spot.

Where to eat in Yellowstone

  • Lake Yellowstone Hotel dining room: Even if you opt not to stay at the hotel, enjoy creative, upscale dishes with local fish and wild game while overlooking nearby Lake Yellowstone.
  • Mammoth General Store: If you prefer simple, good, hearty food, fast, Mammoth fits the bill. The highest-rated eatery in Yellowstone also conveniently offers groceries and amenities.

What to do in Yellowstone

Old Faithful
  • Old Faithful: No trip to Yellowstone would be complete without visiting Old Faithful, one of the most famous and punctual geysers in the world.
  • Grand Prismatic Spring: The third largest hot spring in the world, Grand Prismatic gained its fame not only for its size but for its vivid colors, making it Yellowstone’s prime beauty spot.
  • Upper Geyser Basin: One of the best areas in the park for geysers and hot springs, Upper Geyser Basin is also known for its black sand, composed of crushed obsidian, otherwise known as volcanic glass.
  • Grand Canyon of Yellowstone: Often overlooked thanks to its namesake in Arizona, Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon is a spectacular natural wonder, carved out by the Yellowstone River and decorated with beautiful massive waterfalls.
  • Mammoth Hot Springs: This must-see spot is unique in that it’s comprised of limestone, unlike the rest of the park, which offers up truly spectacular rock formations.
  • Lamar Valley: This tributary is one of the best places to see Yellowstone’s indigenous wildlife, including ospreys, bald eagles, longhorns, wolves, bears, and herds of bison.

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