6 TOP Things to Do in Denali National Park, Alaska

6 TOP Things to Do in Denali National Park, Alaska

Denali National Park & Preserve is located in Interior Alaska, centered on Mount McKinley, known as Denali, the highest mountain in North America, with a summit elevation of 20,310 feet (6,190 m) above sea level.

Denali National Park is a place for people who love the wilderness. With the majority of the park as wilderness, it might be difficult to find things to do in Denali National Park. Whether it is cycling, camping, or even hiking in Denali National Park, you should not improvise.

If you are not sure what to do in Denali National Park, our guide will tell you the best attractions in Denali and how to go about the activities. It is the best way to optimize your Denali trip.

What to Do in Denali National Park, Alaska

Go Flightseeing!

Flightseeing in Denali National Park is the best way to see its beauty. Flight over the mountains is possible from Talkeetna, Denali Park, and Healy. The majority of flightseeing companies offer both fixed-wing and helicopter operations.

It’s a fantastic experience. Views from the window of a small aircraft are breathtaking and dramatic. You have a chance to take great Alaska Range stunning scenery photos during your flight and take glacier photos during glacier landing and a short hike. Due to variable snow conditions, glacier landings are primarily offered during the spring and summer months. 

Take A Shuttle Bus In Denali and Sightsee!

Taking a shuttle bus might not seem like a cool activity in Denali National Park, but it is a must-do.  The park road is 92 miles (148 km) long and runs from east to west. It is a scenic road made mostly of gravel. You can go to this Denali park road in your car only to Mile 15, to Savage River. If you want to go further, you must take a bus located 1 mile (1.6 km) within the park.

The Wilderness Access Center is the primary location to arrange a bus trip into the park or reserve/check-in for a campground site. All shuttle buses depart from here, as do some tours. The bus trip is excellent; there is a lot of stops to take pictures. Bus trips are available only in summer (roughly mid-May through mid-September). There are two main types of buses in Denali – narrated trips (tour buses) and non-narrated trips (transit buses).

Transit buses

Non-narrated transit buses are cheaper than tour buses, and more flexible in that you may disembark and re-board anywhere along the road, these are called transit buses. These buses stop for wildlife viewing, restroom stops, and beautiful scenery, just like tour buses. There are four choices of non-narrated trips, of varying lengths. You can check the schedule and ticket prices on NPS website

Narrated Tour Bus

It’s a tour operator, which takes you to the Park. Tour buses make the same stops for photos or restroom stops as the non-narrated buses. They cost more because all tours offer either a snack or a full lunch. There are three tour bus options, of varying length and time duration. You can check options at the Denali National Park website.

Camp in Denali National Park!

Camping in Denali offers a great way to experience this spectacular park. If you like camping, you have six rustic campgrounds available in Denali Park. They are:

  • Riley Creek Campground at Mile 0.25
  • Savage River Campground at Mile 14
  • Sanctuary River Campground at Mile 22
  • Teklanika River Campground at Mile 29
  • Igloo Creek Campground at Mile 35
  • Wonder Lake Campground at Mile 85

There are no showers, no electricity, or coverage. But it’s a fantastic experience to stay in a tent in Denali.

You may make campground reservations online, through a third-party reservation system here. Book it in advance, because during peak season it’s difficult to get a campsite.

There is no water available (only water from the river) or shops, so you have to bring everything with you in your backpack. Denali’s weather is variable, summer nights and mornings are chilly, so take a warm sleeping bag and clothes.

Campgrounds are accessible by the Transit or the Camper Bus.

Hike in Denali and See Some Wildlife (Hopefully!)

Hiking in Denali requires lots of preparation because Denali is pure wilderness. There are not too many marked trails and most of the trails here are short (less than 2 miles) and near the park entrance or next to visitors centers. The rest is wilderness. So you should prepare well for this off-trail hiking.

Take GPS, maps, foods, water, warm clothes, hiking boots, travel insurance. Remember that its a bear country and you should be prepared to encounter a bear during your hike. Take a Bear Spray  and Bear Bell. Pack your food in bear-safe containers.

Marked Trails In Denali National Park

Wonder Lake located at mile 85 offers the nice McKinley River Bar Trail, leading from Wonder Lake Campground to the McKinley River. It is only 2.5 miles one-way, easy hike with spectacular views.

You can admire the highest point of America, Mount Denali. The trail travels through spruce forests and past several small ponds.

From Eielson Visitor Center located at mile 66 you can take some short hikes, too. The Tundra Loop Trail is around a third of a mile through the alpine country, very close to the visitor center. The Thorofare Ridge Trail is a very steep hike of around 1,000 feet. But the trail is only one mile one-way, up Thorofare Ridge. The views are beautiful.

The Gorge Creek Trail descends 600 feet to the Gorge Creek and Thorofare River bars, with access to numerous day hiking opportunities and backcountry camping units.

Located around Miles 13-15 Savage River Area offers hikes too. The 2-mile long Savage River Loop is a mellow walk along the river. Or you can take the more strenuous Savage Alpine Trail that runs more than four miles and connects the Savage River area with Savage River Campground.

Go Cycling In Denali National Park!

If you like to cycle, visiting Denali by bike is a great idea. Prepare yourself well for this trip. You will need a good mountain bike and spare tires. The road is gravel, and it’s easy to cut the tire on the stone. Remember to wear a helmet.

In summer, many businesses outside of the park rent bikes. If you have only one day you can mix cycling and bus. You can reserve a bus in advance, buy tickets for a transit bus, ride the bus into the park, and get off at whatever point you choose to start cycling. You can either bike back to the park entrance, or bike part of the road and then board a different transit bus later in the day.

If you only have a few days, bike camping is a perfect solution for you. If you wish to camp overnight in the park during your cycling trip, you will need a backcountry permit or you can book campgrounds.

Visit The Magic Bus

Have you seen the movie, “Into the Wild”? If you dream of Denali, you probably know this moving story. The young man Chris McCandless left family, friends, society, norms, and decided loneliness and solitude.

He abandoned all civilization goods, and started his life in the Alaskan wilderness, in an old green bus. He holed up in the wilderness to discover that the real life of man and the recipe for happiness is when you share it with other people.

A replica of the movie bus, the green Magic Bus is something you must see when visiting Denali National Park. Located just 11 miles from Denali Park in the town of Healy, it’s a short ride away.

The Magic Bus opens at 11 a.m. and is on the premises of 49th State Brewing Company at Mile 248.4 Parks Hwy. After seeing the bus, try some of the local Alaskan beer and have lunch in the brewery.

Note: This is not the actual Magic Bus, aka Bus 142. It is a replica located in the rear of a brewery. The actual Magic Bus is located on the Stampede Trail and a ~3-day treacherous hike is required. 

Updated (9/2020): The real Magic Bus has been removed from the actual location because too many people have died trying to reach it. Click here for more info.

Packing List For Denali National Park, Alaska

Visiting Denali National Park will require good preparation because you will be in the wilderness after all. Whether if you are camping or just hiking, make sure you pack these things to Denali!

1. A Proper Rain Jacket (Him / Her) – For the possibility of encountering a terrible rainstorm in Denali.

2. Gloves and hat – Make sure they are wool or fleece to protect you against the cold.

3. Binoculars – For observing wildlife in the park.

4. Insect Repellent – If you can visiting in the warmer months, pack some.

5. Bear Spray and Bear Bell– Let’s hope you don’t have to use it but you should keep a bear spray with you at all times.

6. Merino Wool Socks – Keep your feet warm and dry.

7. Filtration Water Bottle – Drink from any source of water you find using this filtration water bottle.

8. Warm Layers – Pack warm layers even if you are visiting in the summer. The weather is variable and it could get cold at night.

9. Waterproof Ankle Hiking Boots (Him / Her) – For the tough trails and the streams you will have to come across.

10. Comfortable Daypack – To carry the things you will need for your day.

Where To Stay In Denali National Park

There are no National Park Service operated lodges inside the park, only campgrounds. As a result, many visitors decide to stay in the town Healy, located about 11 miles away from Denali National Park. The amneities in Healy are much better, and visitors can take some time to explore this charming town.

If you wish to stay inside Denali, there are a few privately-owned properties. 

Best Airbnb Near Denali National Park – Denali Hideaway

Things To Do In Denali National Park Itinerary
Where To Stay In Denali National Park

(Images Courtesy of Airbnb)

If you wish to stay near Denali National Park, you must pick one of the Airbnbs close to Denali. This Denali Hideaway is located in a tiny neighborhood nestled into the pristine nature of Alaska. Surrounding you are lush landscapes that most people can only dream of in their lives.

This Denali Airbnb is located less than 9 miles away from the entrance of Denali National Park. One of Alaska’s best restaurants, 229 Parks, is two miles away. Tonglen Lake Artisan Cafe, a lovely local cafe, is only a 10-minute walk away.

This Airbnb’s amenities are as spectacular as it location. Featuring 1 sofa bed, 1 queen bed, and 1 double bed, this charming house can comfortably accommodate up to 6 guests. Visitors can relax with a bath or enjoy freshwater that comes from a 200-foot well.

Click here for more info!

Best Hotel in Healy – Denali Lakeview Inn

If you are looking for accommodation near Denali National Park, the Denali Lakeview Inn is your best bet.

Situated on the shores of a beautiful lake, guests can properly enjoy what Alaska is famous for – the pristine landscapes. Kayaks and mountain bikes are free to hire in the hotel, and guests can take it out onto the lake or in the surrounding areas. Did I mention the yummy free breakfast?

Click here for more details!

Author Bio:

This Denali guide was brought to you by  Aga & Chris – two crazy photographers who love to travel. In August 2019, we started The Van Escape project in Vancouver. With freshly purchased old camper truck, we headed to Alaska to encounter some wildlife and fantastic landscapes. On our blog – The Van Escape – we try to combine the best travel and photo hints from visited locations. We hope it is beneficial for your travel plans!

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These are the top things to do in Denali National Park. Have you been there? Let us know in the comments!

Disclaimer: Some of the links above are affiliate links. That means if you book or make a purchase through the links, we will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you! The money will help run this site! Thank you 🙂

10 Best Airbnbs In Joshua Tree California For Your Desert Retreat!

10 Best Airbnbs In Joshua Tree California For Your Desert Retreat!

Joshua Tree National Park is a surreal environment where the Mojave Desert and the Colorado Desert meet, creating a unique ecosystem with a captivating variety of plants (such as the Joshua Tree itself) and animals and beautiful geological features.

Located in the southern parts of California, visitors come from all over the world to admire the starry sky, go on desert hikes and rock climb. With many things to do in Joshua Tree NP, it is no surprise that it is one of the most popular national parks in the US.

Because of its popularity, accommodations ranging from tents to traditional Old West style homes are available and selecting the perfect one cannot be more difficult.

That is why we have written this guide on the best Airbnbs in Joshua Tree California, so our readers can have the best place to stay when visiting the incredible park.

Without further ado, here are the 10 best Joshua Airbnbs for every type of traveler!

Want a Quick Tip On The Overall Best Airbnb In Joshua Tree?

Best Airbnb In Joshua Tree California
Best Airbnb in Joshua Tree With Pool

If there is one Airbnb that ticks off all the boxes, it is the  Joshua Tree Prescott House. Featuring a private outdoor swimming pool, a heated outdoor shower, and a brand new hot tub, this Joshua Tree Airbnb is unbelievably kitted out.

Better yet, unlike most of the Airbnbs in Joshua Tree that are located too far from civilization, the Joshua Tree Prescott House is a 5-minute drive from Downtown Joshua Tree and 10 minutes from the west entrance of the National Park.

Guests can enjoy the utmost privacy in this Airbnb, which is located on a hill overlooking the surrounding valley. The 360-degree view here is absolutely mesmerizing. If you are lucky, you might get to see some of Joshua Tree’s native wildlife, such as coyotes, bighorn sheep, scorpions and more!

This Joshua Tree vacation home can comfortably accommodate up to 4 guests as it has a total of 2 bedrooms and 2 king beds! However, if you are a couple traveling to Joshua Tree, you will definitely enjoy the added space and privacy.

Maximum Occupancy: 4 Guests

Guest Review: I was in awe from the beginning to the end of my stay! Such a beautiful home inside and out. Made sure to catch the sunrise and sunset! The scenery was amazing! Saw so many animals in the front yard. Enjoyed the jacuzzi and can’t wait to return to be able to enjoy the pool! Thank you for everything Ryan; you created a beautiful and unique home! – Laura, January 2020

Summary Of The Best Airbnbs In Joshua Tree

Best Airbnbs in Joshua Tree For Luxury Travelers

Luxury Airbnb in Joshua Tree With Hot Tub
Best Joshua Tree Airbnb With Hot Tub

Featured multiple times on Airbnb’s Instagram, this luxurious Joshua Tree Airbnb is as aesthetic as it can get. Every single inch of this property is designed to perfection, maximizing comfort elegantly.

The most notable feature is the simple and modern outdoor swimming pool and lounging area. The design compliments the barren landscape around you, and sometimes you forget this isn’t a 5-star hotel you pay thousands of dollars for.

When you are not cooling down from the desert heat, you can relax in the rear patio. Offering cozy outdoor couches, infinite skies and mountains, guests will feel completely at ease.

When the night sets, guests can stargaze and soothe their aching limbs in the hot tub. Don’t forget to make some s’ mores on the fire pit for the ultimate outdoor experience!

This Airbnb is strategically located near some of the best attractions in the area. Joshua Tree National Park, The Integratron, Pappy & Harriet’s (Pioneertown) and Downtown Yucca Valley are all located a short drive away.

Maximum Occupancy: 4 Guests (2 Queen Beds, 2 Bedrooms)

Guest Review: Highly stylized home with a fully fenced lot near Joshua Tree. The vibe is tranquil, clean, and modern. We loved turning the pool and string lights on each night and looking at the densely starred sky. The multiple outdoor spaces were wonderful. The outdoor shower/tub was a whimsical addition. The open living, dining, kitchen area was a comfortable space to hang out. The two bedrooms were cozy, and the two bathrooms were crisp and light-filled. Oded was a phenomenal host with great concern for his guests. Our dogs loved the property as well. – Noell, February 2021

Click here for more details!

Best Luxury Airbnbs In Joshua Tree With Hot Tub
Best Luxury Airbnbs In Joshua Tree With Pool

M-House Joshua is no stranger to three words: comfort, luxury, and style. As you step into this Airbnb, it will feel like you have stepped into a mansion with high-ceilings, lavish decor, and top-notch furnishings.

As you navigate through this spacious Airbnb, you will eventually reach the backyard. Here you will find a massive swimming pool (perfect for laps), a hot tub for the cold desert nights, and sun loungers to achieve your perfect tan.

The gourmet kitchen is the perfect place to cook a nice meal for you and your travel companions. Better yet, head into Joshua Tree Town or Yucca Valley and eat at one of the old west style saloons. Joshua Tree is only located a short 8-minute drive.

A total of 4 guests can comfortably enjoy this Airbnb. Rest your tired body after a hike in Joshua Tree NP on one of the two incredible king size beds. Wake up and live your life in complete bliss on repeat!

Because of its close proximity to Joshua Tree, this Airbnb can get a little bit noisy in the day time.

Maximum Occupancy: 4 Guests (2 King Beds, 2 Bedrooms)

Guest Review: M House is the best choice if you are traveling to Joshua Tree for a stay! Expect cleanliness, luxury, closeness to shops and the park, beautiful architecture and decor, great amenities, and ease of living at this spot! Joe was a great host with communication and helping us via messages, it made us feel right at home. There is no place like M House, I recommend it for any couple seeking some peace and luxury during a vacation! – Juliann, November 2020

Find out more about its features and availability!

Luxury JOshua Tree Airbnbs With Pool
Luxury Joshua Tree Airbnbs with Hot Tub

Receiving a full score on Airbnb (at the time of writing), Desert Wild is one of the best luxurious Airbnbs in Joshua Tree. The mission of this Airbnb is to provide a place where guests can safely de-stress, relax their mind and body, and realign with their inner selves.

The interior decor is incredibly simple but elegant, and the color palettes play off each other to provide guests with a cozy and elegant interior. Architecturally, this accommodation in Joshua Tree is at its finest.

Whether you are cooling off in their outdoor pool after hiking or star gazing in their hot tub at night, you will find an unworldly sense of serenity here. Don’t want to get wet? Snuggle up next to the gas adobe fireplace and pick a movie on Netflix to watch on their indoor projector.

This Airbnb is located in a residential area in Southern Joshua Tree, where most residents will be in bed by 9 PM. Therefore, it isn’t a place where you can party until the sunrise. But if you prefer peace and quiet over everything else, then this Airbnb is the perfect choice for you.

Maximum Occupancy: 4 Guests (1 King Bed, 1 Queen Bed)

Guest Review: This may be the most beautiful home we have ever stayed in and it is even prettier than in the pictures (if that’s even possible?). This entire home is a work of art, but at the same time it is so comfortable that we didn’t want to leave. Every single detail has been thought of. Not to mention that the views are incredible! We also had a lot of really cute animal visitors bopping around in the morning (quails and bunnies!). Overall, if it’s possible to fall in love with a home, we have done it and cannot wait to visit again! – Jenni, January 2021

Click here for more information!

Best Joshua Tree Airbnbs For Families Or Groups

Best Airbnbs in Joshua Tree For Families
Best Airbnb In Joshua Tree For Families

Staying in a family Airbnb in Joshua Tree doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself of the luxury, views and comfort, especially at Joshua Tree Green Haus. This gorgeous Airbnb can fit a total of 6 guests with its 2 bedrooms and 1 pullout queen-size couch.

The most defining feature of the Joshua Tree Green Haus is the two-level outdoor terrace. Here you will find a shaded area where guests can just enjoy a coffee with the sunrise or a chilled wine with the sunset.

Want to get a nice tan and relax in the sun? Lounge in one of the spacious sun lounger with impeccable views of the surrounding valleys. Better yet, jump in the outdoor hot tub and watch the wildlife of Joshua Tree unfold around you.

If you are soaking at night, you will get the chance to admire the starry sky, something you don’t get to do if you are from a big city. If you are lucky, you might even see the Milky Way with your bare eyes!

It’s only a short drive to the Joshua Tree National Park, Town of Joshua Tree and Yucca Valley as well as to Pioneer Town and to the Integratron. The Joshua Tree Retreat Center is just down the road. This vacation home is also the trailhead for Bartlet Mountain!

Traveling with pets? This Airbnb is also pet-friendly!

Maximum Occupancy: 6 Guests (1 King Bed, 1 Queen Bed, 1 Pullout Couch)

Guest Review: The Green Haus is a gem! The scenery is beautiful and so relaxing. Enjoyed a nice hike and watching the stars from the patio area. This was the perfect getaway. Definitely plan to return in the future. – Genesis, February 2021

Click here for more info!

Where To Stay In Joshua Tree National Park
Can You Stay Inside Joshua Tree National Park

If you are looking for the ultimate family vacation home in Joshua Tree, then this Airbnb is ideal for you. With a total of 4 bedrooms and 4 queen beds, it can accommodate up to 8 guests comfortably.

However, this Airbnb isn’t just about comfort, it is also about luxury, relaxation, and a complete reconnection with your family or group of friends!

Featuring a massive outdoor area that includes a hot tub for relaxation, a pergola for just hanging out, a unique tee-pee area, fire pit, lounging chairs, and several hammocks, the exterior of this Airbnb is as incredible as the interior. Nature-lovers could spend the night outside in the tee-pee if they wish!

One of our favorite features of this Airbnb home is the game room. Featuring foosball, ping pong, and a pool table, guests can challenge their friends or family members. Get ready to get rid of your phone because you won’t get bored in this beautiful desert retreat home!

Maximum Occupancy: 8 Guests (4 Bedrooms, 4 Queen Beds)

Guest Review: This Airbnb was amazing. The views were unreal (especially watching the sunrise through our bedroom window), the house was extremely comfortable, and the amenities made it so that we almost didn’t have to leave the house. The location was also nice for having our own privacy but still being close to town and the park entrance. Will definitely book again. – Hailie, February 2021

Click here for more pictures and details!

Joshua Tree Airbnbs For Families
Joshua Tree Airbnb For Families

Located on a hill over the valley, the Rockbound Oasis Retreat offers spectacular views, especially if you are soaking in heir 14-foot-long hot tub. Tucked in between massive boulders and a 65-year-old cactus garden, this oasis belongs to the cover of a travel magazine.

The views and atmosphere are unquestionably the highlights of the Rockbound Oasis Retreat, but guests will find much more than that here.

Featuring 3 bedrooms, this Airbnb can comfortably fit up to 5 guests. The master bedroom features a king-size bed with an ensuite bathroom and a hanging swing on the outdoor deck. The bathroom also has a stunning large bathtub with incredible views!

Across from the master bedroom is a bedroom with a queen bed and incredible sunrise views. The last bedroom is located adjacent to the main entrance and contains gorgeous views of the boulders and a twin bed.

Other notable features include a fully-stocked chef’s kitchen, a large swimming pool, an outdoor rain shower, a large outdoor propane fire pit, and probably the best location in Joshua Tree. The back property line is Joshua Tree National Park!

Maximum Occupancy: 5 Guests (3 Bedrooms, 1 King Bed, 1 Queen Bed, 1 Twin Bed)

Guest Review: We had a fabulous stay at this home and loved the outdoor amenities such as the hot tub and fire pit. Location was perfectly situated between the two entrances to the park and made for easy travel to and from each day. Sunsets from the fire pit with a glass of wine were to die for! Stocked kitchen to be able to cook and BBQ outside were perfect for us. Highly recommend! – Alexandra, January 2021

Click here for more details!

Best Joshua Tree Airbnbs For Couples

Airbnbs in Joshua Tree for Couples
Airbnb in JOshua Tree for Couples

Built in the 50s, Starfire is truly a one-of-a-kind accommodation. Perched on a hill, guests are gifted with 360-degree views of the surrounding area, views that are normally seen at the top of  mountain after a long climb.

This Airbnb is located 3 miles off of the main road, so guests can have that utmost privacy. It is a truly romantic location as it offers an unworldly feeling of just you and your loved one in this entire desert.

However, because it is off-road and requires driving up a hill, you might not be able to reach this place if you are traveling in a sports car. Every other car is perfectly fine.

This romantic Joshua tree Airbnb features 1 master bedroom and 1 loft “stargazing bedroom”, where the large windows allow for incredible night views of the starry skies. On the outdoor terrace is also a cowboy pool, where guests can relax in after a day of exploring Joshua Tree NP.

Alternatively, guests can cozy up next to the wood-burning stove and select one of their favorite shows on Netflix or HBO on the 55-inch TV.

Maximum Occupancy: 4 Guests

Guest Review: Like everyone has already said, it’s simply amazing. My favorite parts were the deafening quiet of the desert atmosphere, drinking coffee in the morning and enjoying the beautiful view of the landscape through the homes many windows and cooling off in the cowboy tub. – Taylor, November 2020

Click here for more details about Starfire!

The Joshue Tree House Airbnb
Joshua Tree Cabin Airbnb

The Casita is a remotely-located 2-bedroom 1-bath 1958 home located 20 minutes from the west entrance of Joshua Tree National Park and 15 minutes from the nearest grocery store.

Its secluded location allows guests to properly enjoy the best of the Mojave Desert: peace, solitude, and relaxation. With the goal for dreamers to rest, reflect, and create, the slow pace of this Airbnb aims to ease the stress in your mind and body, allowing you to enjoy every part of your desert retreat.

Wake up to a nice local coffee drip, choose the perfect record to put on as the sun sets, stargaze in the heated Jacuzzi, and just share this intimate experience with your loved ones.

Maximum Occupancy: 4 Guests (2 Bedrooms, 1 King Bed, 1 Queen Bed)

Guest Review: We couldn’t have been happier to stay at the casita. Every last inch of this abode has been thoughtfully curated, both inside and out. It was quiet and serene, immaculate and cozy. The kitchen had the basic necessities to prepare our meals, the beds were beyond comfortable, and the hot tub overlooking the desertscape – incredible! The host was readily available and easy to communicate with, making sure all of our needs were met. Thank you for allowing us the time to relax in this peaceful oasis! – Erica & Gino, January 2021

Click here for availability and more details!

Accommodation in Joshua Tree
Best Place To Stay In Joshua Tree

Some of Joshua Tree’s most iconic features are the beautiful night skies and dreamy deserts. The Outlook is an Airbnb that maximizes guest’s ability to admire these stunning visuals at the comfort of their own home.

The Outlook’s most exemplary feature is the incredible rooftop deck with hammocks, fire pit, hot tub, and a huge cozy lounging area. Providing the utmost privacy and cozy atmosphere, guests can drool over the stars in the skies, wide stretches of deserts, and the native wildlife.

This spacious Airbnb features a full kitchen/dining room, 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom, a detached container room, and a functioning outhouse by the hot tub. It contains 2 queen size beds and 1 sofa, allowing 6 guests to sleep soundly. Couples will find an ideal romantic setting here. 

Though located in Yucca Valley, this Airbnb is only located 15 minutes to Joshua Tree National Park, 14 minutes to Pappy and Harriet’s, and 10 minutes to the Integratron. Its convenient location allows guests to explore the nearby areas as well as Joshua Tree NP easily.

Maximum Occupancy: 6 Guests

Guest Review: Marks place is wonderful whether you’re on a romantic getaway or there with friends. The space is clean and beautifully decorated with wonderful touches like the chunky knit blanket on the couch. Every area is cozy and inviting, especially the backyard. It blew us away. There’s nothing better than sitting in a hot tub under the stars or chilling in a hammock during the warmer part of the day. It was also nice to view the spectacular desert sunsets from the deck. I’d definitely come back, with friends next time to make full use of the property. Thanks for the awesome stay Mark! I left feeling refreshed and ready to take on the world. – Samantha, January 2021

Click here for more info!

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Joshua Tree Airbnb Pinterest

With so many Airbnbs in Joshua Tree, finding the perfect one is not easy. We hope our Joshua Tree guide has given you a good idea of the best places to stay in Joshua Tree so you can explore its surrounding areas more easily!

Any questions? Leave a comment below!

Disclaimer: Some of the links above are affiliate links. That means if you book through the links, we will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you! The money will help run this site! Thank you 🙂

All Images Of Properties Courtesy of Airbnb

Joshua Tree Airbnb Pinterest
13 Places You Don’t Want To Miss In Yellowstone National Park

13 Places You Don’t Want To Miss In Yellowstone National Park

Are you planning a trip to Yellowstone National Park (YNP)?

As one of the most incredible national parks in the United States, Yellowstone is bigger than the state of Rhode Island and Delaware combined! With such massive proportions, it shouldn’t surprise you that there are so many things to do in Yellowstone National Park.

However, given how expensive and difficult it is to get vacation days in the US, visiting Yellowstone without a plan is like jumping off a plane without a parachute (okay, maybe not that extreme). 

With so much ground to cover, what are the must-sees of Yellowstone? Below we have hand-picked 13 places you don’t want to miss in Yellowstone along with the recommended duration of stay. This way you can plan your Yellowstone itinerary perfectly!

Must-See Yellowstone Attractions Map

We find it much easier to plan our trip when we can visualize where the places are. Given how massive Yellowstone is, we would say this is essential.

Above is a must-see Yellowstone attractions map. We have numbered them the same way on this blog post for extra user-friendliness. The toggle on the top left will allow you to see more details about the attractions you decide to inquire about! 

13 Must-See Places To Visit In Yellowstone National Park

1. Grand Prismatic Spring (GPS)


If we have to pick on one place to visit in Yellowstone National Park, it would be the Grand Prismatic Spring or GPS for short.

As the biggest hot spring in the United States and the third-largest in the entire world, the word “grand” is quite suiting. However, size isn’t everything when it comes to this surreal geothermal features.

The GPS features rainbow-like colors (hence the name “prismatic”) that start in the center and propagates to the perimeter of the spring. In the center where it is the hottest, blue is prevalent, but slowly it goes to green, yellow, to finally orange once you reach the edges of the hot spring.

This phenomenon is caused by the different microorganisms that live in such extreme temperatures. Different-colored microbes live in different parts of GPS because temperature decreases towards the edge of the spring.

As one of the biggest attractions in Yellowstone, it is important that you visit this celebrity in the early mornings (8 AM) or late afternoons. Otherwise, you might have trouble finding parking!

Duration Of Stay: 1 Hour

2. Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook At Fairy Falls Trail

After visiting the Grand Prismatic Spring, you might actually be disappointed (at least we were). This mega geothermal feature of Yellowstone was simply too big to appreciate its beauty up close.

That is where the GPS Overlook comes into place.

The GPS Overlook is located on the Fairy Falls hiking trail, and the trail is only a short 5 minutes away from the GPS itself.

After you have parked your car at the Fairy Falls parking lot, you will need to hike for 20 minutes to arrive at the overlook itself. The trail is extremely flat and fairly moderately-trafficked, perfect for any traveling to Yellowstone with kids.

At the GPS Overlook, you can fully appreciate one of nature’s most beautiful creations. The vivid rainbow-like colors will look surreal no matter how long you look at it. If this was a sci-fi movie, we would expect aliens to jump out any minute!

Duration Of Activity: 1 to 1.5 hours

3. Old Faithful Geyser


Along with the Grand Prismatic Spring, the Old Faithful Geyser makes up the two must-visit sightseeing places in Yellowstone.

Earning its fabled name by being one of the most regular geysers in the park, Old Faith erupts around every 60 to 90 minutes. Reaching up to a height of about 185 feet, Old Faithful’s eruption will amaze you.

The short interval between eruption means that not too much pressure can be built up underground. As a result, Old Faithful is not close to being one of the highest geysers in the world. It takes pride in being one of the biggest regular geysers in Yellowstone.

The tallest active geyser in Yellowstone (in fact, in the world) is the Steamboat Geyser located in the Norris Geyser Basin. But because of its unpredictable eruption time, it is impossible to plan your Yellowstone trip around it.

Before you visit Old Faithful, head into the adjacent Old Faithful Visitor and Education Center, where they will have the predicted eruption times of many of the park’s geysers (Old Faithful included) and information on the science behind the phenomenon you are about to witness!

Duration of Stay: Anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours depended on eruption time.

4. Grand Canyon Of  The Yellowstone (Artist Point)


Did you know Yellowstone National Park has its own Grand Canyon? We sure didn’t!

Formed by constant erosion from the water of the Yellowstone River, the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone stretches a total of 20 miles with two waterfalls – the 109-ft-high Upper Falls and the 308-ft-high Lower Falls.

With such a long stretch, it shouldn’t surprise you that there are multiple viewpoints to admire its beauty. While we aren’t exactly sure which one is the best, Artist Point surely offers some incredible views of the Lower Falls.

Dramatic white-bleached cliffs surround the massive Lower Falls, and rumor has it that Artist Point earned its name from the paintings drawn by artists at this location.

Duration of Stay: 45 minutes

5. Point Sublime Trail


Located in the rear of Artist Point (No.4) is one of the most spectacular hiking trails in Yellowstone National Park. The Point Sublime trail is a 2.3-mile out-and-back trail that continues southward along the Yellowstone River.

The majority of the trail is situated on the edge of the cliffs, offering incredible landscapes of the extensive Yellowstone Grand Canyon. However, those prized views do not come for free as extra precautions should be taken when hiking the Point Sublime Trail.

With no guard rails along the edge of the cliffs, a small misstep could result in falling over several hundred feet. Unlike the Fairy Falls trail, we don’t recommend this hiking trail for kids or anyone with a fear of height for that matter.

But for those that do venture on this trail, they will be properly rewarded with awe-inspiring scenery. This trail is heavily trafficked so a bear spray might not be necessary. (But bring one just in case!)

Duration of Activity: 1.5 hours

6. Mammoth Hot Springs

Located near the north entrance of Yellowstone National Park, Mammoth Hot Springs is a must-see Yellowstone attraction, especially if you are staying in Gardiner, Montana.

But don’t be mistaken, it isn’t because the Mammoth Hot Springs are nice soothing hot springs to relax in. In fact, they are too hot, enough to easily melt you away.

What makes the Mammoth Hot Springs so spectacular is the iconic inside out cave appearance.

Because Yellowstone is located in a volcanic hotspot, extremely hot water runs underneath the ground. The water melts the porous limestone in this region and pushes the mixture above ground, where it eventually “cools” and forms the travertine terraces that you see.

This unique hydrothermal phenomenon is only seen at the Mammoth Hot Springs and well worth the trek even if you are staying in other parts of the park!

Duration of Stay: 1 to 1.5 hours

7. Great Fountain Geyser


If you are visiting Yellowstone in the summer, you might run into a big crowd. Nothing ruins the beauty of nature more than walls of tourists preventing you from seeing anything and getting smacked in the face by selfie sticks. Unfortunately, this happens quite often, especially at Old Faithful.

Luckily, there isn’t a shortage of breathtaking geysers in Yellowstone National Park. Our personal favorite is the Great Fountain Geyser. Erupting only around once per day, the Great Fountain Geyser reaches a maximum height of 220 feet (67 meters) and lasts around one hour!

The entire area of the Great Fountain Geyser is also massive, which we found to be quite astonishing for a geyser.

Situated in the Lower Geyser Basin, it is the perfect place to just relax, bring a snack (or packed lunch), and sit and watch mother nature unfold before your eyes!

To find out when the Great Fountain Geyser erupts, you must visit one of the visitor centers inside Yellowstone. There you will find a monitor with the predicted eruption time for many geysers in the park, including the Great Fountain Geyser, Old Faithful, and many more.

Duration of Stay: Because the prediction is plus-or-minus 2 hours, you can stay up to 4 hours waiting for it to erupt.

This certainly isn’t a place to visit if you have one day in Yellowstone, but considering adding this to your Yellowstone itinerary if you have multiple days in the park.

8. Calcite Spring Overlook

Calcite Spring Overlook is one of the best hidden gems in Yellowstone National Park (for now). We didn’t plan on visiting here on our Yellowstone trip but stumbled upon it when visiting the (supposedly) mighty Tower Falls (it was a big disappointment).

The overlook features stunning northward views at the narrowest section of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. White-bleached cliffs, beautiful lush forest, the roaring Yellowstone River, and the mountains in the distance all come together to create one of the best views in Yellowstone.

The best part about the Calcite Springs Overlook is that it requires minimum effort, perfect for those who might already be tired from long travels or jet lag. There is no hiking, no bears, and risk of your kids getting lost, Calcite Springs Overlook just cannot be any better!

Duration of Stay: 30 minutes

9. Old Faithful Inn


Credit: WikiCommons

Old Faithful Inn is one of the nine lodges inside Yellowstone National Park. As the largest log structure in the world, Old Faithful Inn boasts a rustic yet charming decor that is fitting for the old American Midwest.

This national historic landmark first opened in 1904, making it the first hotel inside Yellowstone National Park.

As the most sought out accommodation inside  Yellowstone National Park, you might not have the luxury to stay in one of their rooms. On average, you must book at least 6 months in advance, especially if it is peak summer season.

If you don’t get the chance to stay inside the Old Faithful Inn, worry not. Visitors are allowed to just stroll around and admire its rustic resort architecture. Its 76-foot tall lobby will make you wonder how in the world did they build this massive building with just logs in the early 1900s!

Free guided tours are also available for all visitors. You can find more information about the Old Faithful Inn guided tour here.

Duration of Stay: 1.5 hours (if you can get the free guided tour)

10. Hayden Valley


No trip to Yellowstone is complete without seeing some of its wildlife – elks, bison, wolves, bears, and more. While you might encounter a few bison on the road while you are on the road (and experienced wildlife traffic jam), nothing is like watching them roam wild on the beautiful plains of Yellowstone.

The best place to see wildlife in Yellowstone is Hayden Valley, an area between the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and the Yellowstone Lake. Hayden Valley along with Lamar Valley make up the two best spots for spotting wildlife in Yellowstone.

While it is usually sufficient to drive by and see what’s on the way, visitors are welcome to get out of their car and observe the wildlife extensively. We highly recommend you to bring a binocular because the herds are usually very far from the road.

The best time to see wildlife is at dawn or dusk, which is when they are the most active. Fall is also rutting (mating) season for elks and foraging season for bears, which means they will be even more active. If you are lucky, you might even see the famous grizzly bears!

Duration of Stay: 30 minutes

11. West Thumb Geyser Basin


West Thumb Geyser Basin is one of the numerous geyser basins in Yellowstone. Not as famous as the Upper Geyser Basin (where Old Faithful is) or the Midway Geyser Basin (where GPS is), West Thumb Geyser Basin offers a placid environment for visitors to enjoy some of the best attractions in Yellowstone.

With the Yellowstone Lake adjacent to the West Thumb Geyser Basin, every geyser or hot spring complements the gorgeous lake and further enhances its beauty.

The West Thumb Geyser is home to the Abyss Pool, one of my favorite hot springs in YNP. Though not as deep as the name suggests, the Abyss Pool reaches a depth of 53 feet. Its teal-ish blue color harmonizes with the blue of the Yellowstone Lake, and the color combination is just beautiful beyond words.

West Thumb Geyser Basin also features a geyser by the name of Fishing Cone. It earned its name when fishermen used to throw their catch in the hot geyser to cook their fish and then eat it. Nowadays, fishing or cooking anything inside the geyser is prohibited in that area.

The minerals inside the geyser are also toxic for your body!

Duration of Stay: 45 minutes

12. Mud Volcano


The Mud Volcano geothermal area is located adjacent to Hayden Valley, perfect for anyone that wants to see some spooky geothermal action after seeing some wildlife.

Unlike the name suggests, mud volcanoes aren’t towering giants that spew out mud, tormenting anyone that dares to get close. Mud volcanoes are ore like muddy pits, like a witch’s cauldron.

A little disappointed? Me too.

However, the science behind these mud volcanoes is incredible.

The hot water underneath the ground surface mixes with other mineral deposits, eventually creating the mud slurry you see. By closely monitoring these mud volcanoes, scientists can get a better understanding of what is happening beneath the surface.

The most famous mud volcano in the area is the Dragon’s Mouth Spring, a cave created by erosion from the hot muddy water from beneath. This cave traps steam and further pressurizes the mud, causing a loud roar as if a dragon is residing inside!

Duration of Stay: 45 minutes

13. Morning Glory Pool


The second most famous geothermal feature in the Upper Geyser Basin (after Old Faithful) is the Morning Glory Pool.

Earning its name from looking like the morning glory flower (when it was first discovered), the Morning Glory Pool features incredible vivid colors similar to the Grand Prismatic Spring. The only difference is that Morning Glory Pool is much smaller in size.

The Morning Glory Pool used to be blue in color but it’s now green. Human activity such as littering into the pool has blocked the source of hot water, causing the temperature to drop and color to change.

Nowadays, Morning Glory Pool is one of the most protected hot springs in Yellowstone. If we don’t protect it now, this delicate natural creation might not be here for our grandkids to admire!

Morning Glory Pool is located a 25-minute walk from Old Faithful on the Upper Geyser Basin trail. Because of the other wonderful geothermal features on the path, you might end up spending longer than expected!

Duration of Activity: 1.5 hours (including walking and leisure time) 

Where To Stay In Yellowstone National Park

When you are deciding where to stay in Yellowstone National Park, you have two options: staying inside the park or staying near the park. 

Staying Inside Yellowstone National Park


Staying inside the park is a quintessential component of an authentic national park experience. However, booking must be made well in advance and the lodges are expensive.

There are a total of nine lodges and over 2,000 rooms inside Yellowstone National Park. While most of those are available in the peak season (summer), keep in mind that some of them are closed during the off-peak seasons.

Which lodge is the best in Yellowstone National Park?

Personally, we haven’t stayed in Yellowstone National Park due to budget/amenities reasons. But if there is one place we have to pick, it would unquestionably be Old Faithful Inn.

If you cannot secure a stay at Old Faithful Inn, check out the other lodges available on the YNP official website here.

Staying Near Yellowstone National Park


Staying near Yellowstone National Park means you are staying in one of the towns next to one of the entrances of Yellowstone. These towns usually feature more luxurious hotels, better amenities, and diverse dining options.

There are only two towns that you should be staying near Yellowstone: West Yellowstone and Gardiner.

West Yellowstone is the most popular town near Yellowstone because it is located near the west entrance of Yellowstone. You can easily reach all the popular sights in Yellowstone such as GPS or Old Faithful from there.

Gardiner is located near the north entrance of Yellowstone, which is near attractions such as Mammoth Hot Spring and Calcite Springs Overlook. We recommend staying in both towns (but on different days) to maximize your time in Yellowstone.

Here are some of our favorite hotels in West Yellowstone and Gardiner:

Best Hotel In West Yellowstone – The Evergreen

The Evergreen is one of the top-rated hotels in West Yellowstone and it is not difficult to see why. Featuring affordable prices, great amenities, and friendly staff that will answer any questions you might have about the town.

If this is your first time in West Yellowstone, this small boutique hotel will make sure you have the personal care you need!

Click here for more info! 

Best Airbnb In West Yellowstone – Tao’s Inn


(Images Courtesy of Airbnb)

Tao’s Inn is one of the most gorgeous accommodations in West Yellowstone. Featuring beautifully decorated rooms, visitors can feel complete zen when staying here. 

The property grounds also features many green spaces, ideal for guests to just lounge around and enjoy the beautiful weather of West Yellowstone!

Check the latest price here!

Best Hotel In Gardiner – Yellowstone Village Inn and Suites

Out of the handful of hotels in Gardiner, Yellowstone Village Inn and Suites are the best among them. Featuring spacious rooms, complimentary breakfast, a heated indoor pool (WHAT?!), and a sun terrace for guests to relax, there isn’t much not to like about this hotel. 

Click here for more information!

Best Airbnb In Gardiner – Yellowstone Townhouse (#2)


(Images Courtesy of Airbnb)

This Yellowstone Townhouse (#2) is one of the top-rated Airbnb homes in Gardiner. Feature a huge living area, enough sleeping spaces to fit 6 guests, and a fully-equipped kitchen, guests can enjoy this home away from home.

Located less than 1 mile away from the north Yellowstone entrance, this Airbnb is the perfect base for anyone with a short visit to Yellowstone!

Check the latest price here!

Best Time To Visit Yellowstone National Park


The best time to visit Yellowstone National Park is summer (June to August).

During summer, the temperature is warm, all the facilities are open, and a sense of liveliness sweeps the park. However, you will find higher prices for everything from food to accommodation, a harder time to make reservations, and the infamous summer crowds.

Truthfully, the crowd and high prices might deter some tourists (such as me). If that is the case for you, then autumn (September to October) might be the best season to visit Yellowstone. The summer crowd has gone and the autumn foliage brings out the park’s rawest form of beauty.

Autumn is also rutting (mating) season for elks so they are more active. It is also foraging season for bears so you might have a higher chance of spotting them as they stock up for the harsh Yellowstone winter. 

However, the weather in autumn isn’t so nice. Temperatures are low and sometimes even below freezing. Make sure you bring lots of layers if you are visiting Yellowstone in autumn.

Yellowstone tourism in spring (April to May) is similar to autumn. Expect fewer tourists, lower temperatures, and some facilities to be closed. If the weather is nice enough, the spring’s blossoms in the park can be spectacular!

Winter (November to March) is harsh in Yellowstone. Unless you have a specific reason to be there, we highly recommended you to not visit Yellowstone in the winter.

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These are the 13 places you don’t want to miss in Yellowstone National Park. If you do have extra time in Yellowstone National Park, why not spend one day exploring the nearby Grand Teton National Park?

For the veterans of Yellowstone, which one one these places is your favorite?

Let us know in the comments!

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