Striking scenery, innovative dining and outdoor adventures await when you combine a trip to Salt Lake City, Utah, with a visit to Yellowstone National Park.
Stunning Yellowstone, the USA's first national park, is located in Wyoming and parts of Montana and Idaho. It's an easy road trip between Salt Lake City and Yellowstone, allowing visitors plenty of time to fully explore the historic and geographic landmarks in the region.
Enjoy the Great Outdoors & Local Culture in Salt Lake City
Utah's capital, Salt Lake City, is backed by the beautiful Wasatch Mountains. You'll find historic and cultural attractions with a focus on outdoor recreation, plus a vibrant nightlife and flourishing dining scene. You won't lack for things to do, with some nine ski resorts within an hour drive, two major shopping centers, a thriving theatre and arts community and five nearby national parks.
Begin your visit at historic Temple Square with a free tour of the more than 14-hectare complex, offered in 40 languages. See the ornate Salt Lake Temple and listen to the famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir practice. Downtown's leading shopping destination, City Creek Center, features 110 retail shops and dozens of places to eat.
A short stroll away is the State Capitol building, known for its distinctive marble interior walls and historic art. Catch a spectacular sunset and city and mountain views at neighboring Ensign Peak. Utah's beer scene is booming, so finish your day with at local microbreweries, like Squatters Craft Beer or Red Rock Brewing. If whiskey is your thing, stop at High West Distillery in nearby Park City. This only ski-in, ski-out craft distillery is quickly catching the attention of purveyors across the country.
On your second day, check out family friendly destinations like the Natural History Museum of Utah, which houses an impressive dinosaur fossil collection. Be sure to stop at Tracy Aviary, the oldest and largest bird park in the USA. The utah Olympic Park offers year-round bobsledding, tubing, zip lines, ski jumping and an Olympic museum about the 2002 winter games.
Historic Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah
From Salt Lake City to Yellowstone National Park
Renting a car is the easiest and most flexible option for the 516-kilometer drive to Yellowstone National Park, which takes about five hours. If you prefer not to drive, there are many tour operators that provide transportation and tours to the park, but there is no shuttle system.
Skiing in the Wasatch Mountains
Venture to America's First National Park
Yellowstone, America's first national park, was established in 1872 to protect the area's unique geothermal features and is also a wildlife sanctuary for hundreds of species. Covering nearly 9,000 square kilometers, Yellowstone is best known for its 10,000 geysers and hot springs.
Though the park's super volcano is dormant, the area is erupting with natural water wonders: Old Faithful, Yellowstone's most famous geyser, and Grand Prismatic Spring, a naturally rainbow-colored hot spring that's also the largest of its kind in the USA.
At the park's historic headquarters at Mammoth Hot Springs, you can see Fort Yellowstone and travertine-terraced hot springs. The Grand Loop road takes you to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, a wide, deep canyon that features three waterfalls. See free-roaming bison, elk and maybe even a bear at neighboring Hayden Valley.
Winter is a quieter time, as most roads are closed to motor vehicles, making snowmobile and snowcoach tours the way to see attractions amid the pristine scenery.
Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park
Restaurants, Cafes and Shops
Salt Lake City
Red Iguana (736 North Temple): Popular family-run Mexican restaurant.
The Rose Establishment (235 South 400 West): Coffee shop and bakery with gourmet toast and lunch menu.
RubySnap Fresh Cookies (770 South 300 West): Fresh homemade cookies in a variety of rich flavors.
Salt Lake Farmer's Market (Summer: Pioneer Park, 300 South 300 West; 300 S. Rio Grande Street) Year-round market held on Saturdays featuring local produce, food, and handmade gifts.
Tony Caputos Market and Deli (314 West 300 South): Made-to-order Italian sandwiches, premium chocolates and other specialty grocery items.
Yellowstone National Park
Canyon Soda Fountain (2 Canyon Village Loop Rd.): Family friendly, 1950s-style diner housed inside general store.
For Future Generations: Yellowstone Gifts (Mammoth Hotel, Yellowstone National Park): USA-made gifts and environmentally friendly products.
Roosevelt Lodge Dining Room (6130 Roosevelt): American restaurant inside Yellowstone offering three meals a day and Old West-style cookouts.
Slippery Otter Pub (139 North Canyon St.): Bar serving elk or bison burgers, French fries made from Idaho potatoes and other regional dishes.
Yellowstone Outlet (25 Yellowstone): Family-owned business outside park entrance selling affordable gifts.
Salt Lake City with the Wasatch Mountains in the background