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Hey! We are two Michiganders with adventurous souls looking to explore the beauties and wonders of this spectacular world. Our mission is to provide you with budget-friendly itineraries that inspire and encourage you to get outside, eat delicious foods, and enjoy high-quality brews. Ultimately, there are three key ingredients to any amazing trip: 

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  • Writer's pictureJ&L

National Park Travel Guide: The Ultimate 1-Week Road Trip

Updated: Dec 3, 2022

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Western Park Travel Itinerary

If you are looking to explore three very unique parks within close proximity to allow an epic one week road trip, look no further than the trifecta of Glacier, Yellowstone, and Grand Tetons. These parks offer mountainous backdrops, luscious green terrain, and impressive natural wonders. We recommend looking for a cheap flight into Kalispell, MT and renting a car. Following your adventure, we recommend dropping off your car and flying out of Boise, ID.

Day 1-3: Glacier National Park

Our favorite national park to this day, Glacier has so much beauty to explore. After picking up your car in Kalispell, head to the quaint town of Whitefish and grab a coffee at Montana Coffee Traders or a brew at Bonsai Brewing Project.

Where to stay in Glacier

We recommend camping at Fish Creek Campground or finding a hotel in Kalispell.

Read: Glacier National Park Complete Guide


Top Hike: Grinnell Glacier

This is a difficult hike, but our absolute favorite! It starts in Many Glacier at Many Glacier Hotel at 8:30am. If the boat is full or you do not want to buy tickets, you can hike one mile to the other side of the lake where you can reconnect with the ranger at the beginning of the hike. If you do not feel the need to hike with a ranger, the AllTrails hike begins in the parking lot to the west side of Swiftcurrent Lake.

Be prepared with waterproof clothing & get your camera ready for the most incredible views! This hike ends at the base of Grinnell Glacier, a 710 acre glacier that is retreating every day. This was by-far the most rewarding hike we have ever done as we hiked it in a wild rain-storm.

Read: 10 Hiking Essentials

Top Hike: Scenic Point

We found this hike thanks to a recommendation from a local and now we are recommending it to you! It is the definition of a hidden gem, considering we only came across three people during the entire duration of our hike. This hike is filled with a steady incline with multiple switchbacks. However, the view from the top is certainly worth the effort!


Day 4-6: Yellowstone National Park

Hop in the car early on the fourth day and drive 6.5 hours to Yellowstone National Park. Along the journey, stop for a brew at Bozeman Brewing Company or 406 Brewing Company in Bozeman, MT. From here, you will enter Yellowstone from the northern entrance, allowing you to stop and see the Mammoth Hot Springs along your journey.

Where to stay in Yellowstone

We recommend camping at Bridge Bay Campground or finding a hotel deal within the park.

Read: Yellowstone National Park Complete Guide

Must See: Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

The canyon rim trail is an out and back trail that takes you along the rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Starting at the upper falls, you will wind alongside the cliff, opening up onto beautiful landscapes of both rock and water. The canyon rim trail will lead you to Artist Point. Named after its breathtaking view of lower falls and the canyon, Artist Point provides a vantage point into the canyon that makes you feel as though you are hovering above.


Day 7: Grand Tetons

On the morning of the seventh day of your trip, head to Grand Tetons National Park via Yellowstone (you will not have to pay a separate entrance fee if entering from Yellowstone). The drive is about 1.5 hours and allows you to witness the breathtaking Tetons from afar.

Where to stay in Grand Tetons

We recommend camping at Colter Bay Campground or finding a great deal on hotels in Jackson Hole here.

Read: Grand Tetons National Park Complete Guide

Top Hike: Cascade Canyon Trail

Cascade Canyon trail is an out and back trail through the beautiful Cascade Canyon. It will add 6 miles (round trip) to hike from Jenny Lake visitors center to this trailhead rather than taking the boat. We decided to take the boat in order to allow more time for the Cascade Canyon trail. With all of the vegetation, wildlife, and water on this trail, there is a higher probability of hiking through a bear's territory. With that being said, this is an incredible trail following along the river of the canyon. The views are breathtaking and we highly recommend you hike (at least a part of) this trail!

Boat Tickets: $18 Round Trip

As you head out from Grand Tetons National Park on your way to Boise, be sure to stop in the quaint town of Jackson WY. If not for their weekend farmer's market, for a delicious brew at Thai Me Up Melvin Brewing or Snake River Brewing. The drive from Jackson to Boise is roughly 6 hours, however, there are two interesting stops that could break up this road trip. First, two hours from Jackson is the quaint town of Idaho Falls. An hour and a half from Idaho Falls is Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve.

map of western national parks

Day 8: Boise Idaho

Boise is becoming a very popular destination for nature enthusiasts. Rugged and untouched, Boise is home to cultural attractions, arts, and outdoor activities at its doorstep. We recommend looking for a great deal on hotels for the last few nights of your trip here.

Some of our favorite activities in Boise include floating down the Boise River starting at Barber Park ($3 return shuttle), eating ice cream at The Stil, sampling many types of potatoes at Boise Fry Company, and grabbing a beer flight at 10 Barrel Brewing Company.


Heading Home

On the ninth day of your trip, you will by returning your rental car and flying out of Boise to your home destination. All epic road trips must come to an end. However, you can spend your travel time planning your next incredible trip!

Getting to Kalispell

Our favorite tools for discovering affordable flights are GoogleFlights and Scotts Cheap Flights. Both are free to use and allow you to create alerts for your destinations.

Word of Advice: buy your flight tickets in a different browser than the one you used to research prices. Cookies track your searches and some airlines are known for increasing your price on returning inquiries.


Best Time to Visit Western Parks

The best time to visit Glacier, Yellowstone, and Grand Tetons National Parks is summer through early fall. Glacier National Park has a narrow window when the trails are not covered in snow. The most ideal time to visit would be in summer, however, you may consider early fall in order to avoid the crowds.

Where to book lodging

For campers, we recommend booking your campsites at For non-campers, an affordable options near the parks is reserving an Airbnb or finding a great hotel deal at

Also Read: Camping Hacks

What to Pack for a 1 Week Camping Trip

Packing light is always the key when camping, especially when you plan to bring your necessary camping gear on a plane. We packed all of our camping gear into one checked bag by packing the below light-weight gear:

Temperatures get very cold at night in Western Parks. Be sure to pack layers and plenty of warm clothes for your trip.

Get our Full Camping Packing Checklist sent to your email!

Happy Adventuring!


Travel Planning Resources

Below are the resources we use to plan all of our trips, find great deals, and pack our bags with affordable gear. We received a small kickback whenever you purchase something through a link on our site. But rest assured, there is no additional cost to you. In fact, in some cases you even get a greater discount for shopping through NBV! A Win, Win!

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