Road Trip From Chicago To Yellowstone

road trip from chicago to yellowstone

Chicago is a great location for any road trip because of its central position. Yellowstone is among the top bucket list destinations for road trips. How do you link the dots? There are a variety of routes that we’ll detail on the way to our most popular.

If you’re contemplating a road trip from Chicago to Yellowstone, this route will set you on the road through some of the most exciting places across the nation.

Find the most popular spots to stop at, breathtaking natural beauty to discover, and top suggestions to make the lengthy trip to Yellowstone as pleasurable as possible.

Table of Contents

Why is Chicago to Yellowstone the perfect road trip?

road trip from chicago to yellowstone

Planning an excursion from Chicago to Yellowstone allows you to be flexible. This itinerary also includes many bucket list destinations. There are four national parks to visit. Additionally, you’ll find a wide variety of species of wildlife. 

The journey is segmented so that you have plenty of time to recover. A note to keep in mind: the time for driving listed here is for standard cars. 

How Far Is Yellowstone National Park From Chicago, And How Long Will It Take To Get There?

road trip chicago to yellowstone

It could be one of the longest routes that many undertake. The direct route is 1,340 miles long and takes about 20 hours to finish.

With a journey this long, we do not want to take it longer. But, we’re planning to take a slight deviation to give you the chance to take in all that’s available.

There are several stops on the route; what’s 50 miles when it allows you to enjoy many unique experiences?

What are the Best Places To Stop Between Chicago And Yellowstone National Park?

As you might imagine, the length of the drive starting from Chicago to Yellowstone implies that you’ll need to split it up into some stops.

Overnight Stay In Des Moines, Iowa

Overnight Stay In Des Moines, Iowa

The first stop is 335 miles west of Chicago, located within the State of Iowa.

The largest city and the state’s capitol of Iowa. Des Moines is a lovely city, but its location doesn’t get the attention it merits. While plenty of things keep you entertained all night or daytime in Des Moines, it’s a tourist attraction outside the city. It will provide the best reason for you to visit.

The museum lets you take an intimate look at one of the biggest and most well-known film stars ever at a more personal level, with plenty of memorabilia and fascinating exhibits.

Since we’re headed to Wyoming, known as the country of cowboys, what better stop could we discover than to learn about the most famous cowboy on the route?

This is likely to be a trip filled with stunning historical sites. If you’re planning to travel, why not choose an establishment full of character and history in ‘The Historical Oscar Lofquist House.’

The apartment will be like a home away from home in the heart of Des Moines, with friendly hosts and everything you need to enjoy your visit.

Split Your Trip With A Stay At Sioux Falls

Split Your Trip With A Stay At Sioux Falls

It is just a little less than halfway along our journey between Chicago and Yellowstone. And it is the ideal spot to split the trip in two. Sioux Falls, the biggest city in South Dakota, is situated alongside the banks of the Big Sioux River.

The city is famous for its breathtaking assortment of parks and open spaces, including Falls Park, where the waterfalls that gave this city its name are located.

This is the ideal spot to get a taste of what is to come in Yellowstone. It makes enjoying delicious food or drink after a long day much more accessible.

A Not So Rapid Stay In Rapid City

A Day Stay In Rapid City

You will reach Rapid City after driving the entire length of South Dakota and making a circle via the Black Hills National Forest.

There are many National parks, forests, and national monuments. The Sturgis Festival, the Crazy Horse and Mount Rushmore monuments, the historic town of Deadwood, and wildlife trips are all nearby.

If you’d like to travel farther, there’s the notorious Wounded Knee Massacre location within 90 minutes to the city’s southeast.

Since this is a journey centered around this stunning region’s natural aspects, It only makes sense for our accommodations to do the same. For this reason, you ought to get a room at the opulent Black Hills View.

This spectacular home offers breathtaking views of the surrounding wildlife and the natural world. It is located just a few miles from the West of the City on the edge of the Black Hills National Forest.

5 Best Hotels On The Way From Chicago To Yellowstone National Park

Best Hotels On The Way From Chicago To Yellowstone National Park

When you travel between Chicago and Yellowstone National Park, you might want to stay at specific points along the route. The best five hotels on the trip from Chicago to Yellowstone National Park are listed here.

Graduate Madison

One of the most prominent hotels is Graduate Madison. Here, you can stay along the Chicago and Yellowstone National Park routes. The drive to Chicago towards Yellowstone National Park might take approximately two hours and 23 minutes. This hotel is situated in the downtown area, equipped with its own parking space, and has allergy-free rooms.

Home2 Suites Hilton Des Moines at Drake University

Another hotel that allows you to choose the option of a stay during your road journey to Yellowstone National Park from Chicago is Home2 Suites by Hilton Des Moines at Drake University. 

The hotel is located 334 miles from Chicago. It would take four hours and 59 minutes to travel. The hotel provides complimentary breakfast parking, a pool, and a gym for kids. Pets are also allowed in the hotel.

Hilton Garden Inn Sioux Falls Downtown 

Didn’t our initial two hotel options entice you? This hotel, the Hilton Garden Inn Sioux Falls Downtown, is one we’d be happy to recommend to you.

You may drive nonstop for 8 hours and 23 minutes to get to Hilton Garden Inn Sioux Falls Downtown from Chicago, 574 miles away. 

The hotel has complimentary parking and rooms that are accessible, and pets are welcome.

Tru By Hilton Rapid City Rushmore, Sd 

The Tru by Hilton Rapid City Rushmore, Sd., 909 miles from Chicago, is the next suggested hotel. The distance from the first idea to Tru By Hilton Rapid City Rushmore, SD, is 344 miles.

The hotel is a fantastic choice for those seeking convenience because parking and breakfast are complimentary. Apart from gaming rooms, social areas, and areas for working, the hotel features a pool.

Robin’s Nest Bed & Breakfast 

The following hotel in the city is Robin’s Nest Bed & Breakfast. It takes 18 hours, plus an average of 57 minutes, to get to this hotel from Chicago. The Quain, as well as the Romantic Style hotel, welcomes pets. It also offers breakfast and parking for free.

What are the things To See On A Road Trip From Chicago To Yellowstone National Park?

There are many places and sights you can visit. It ensures that you can experience everything you’d like can be pretty tricky.

This is a list of the most exciting things to observe along your travels so that you can mark the boxes as you travel and be aware of what you’ve accomplished.

Bighorn National Forest 

Bighorn National Forest 

The Medicine Wheel National Historic Landmark is located in one of the oldest protected woods in America.

John Wayne Birthplace Museum 

In the home where he was born in the town of Winterset, there is only one museum devoted to John Wayne’s life and career.

Wind Cave National Park 

Wind Cave National Park 

South Dakota, next to Custer State Park, has one of the most protracted and intricate cave systems.


Omaha Drinks

The capital of Nebraska, Omaha, is worth taking a trip to discover its charming neighborhoods among world-renowned zoos worldwide and the vibrant scene of food and drink.

Sioux Falls 

The state of South Dakota’s capital and largest city.

Wall Drug 

Wall Drug is situated on the outskirts of the Badlands National Park. It is home to a pharmacy, restaurants, and shops with a Wild West motif.

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

It is a unique national park with huge plains and rock canyons. Be on the lookout for bison and bighorn sheep, known to call Badlands their home.

Rapid City 

Even if you’ve never gone, the second-largest city in South Dakota has that comfortable feeling.

Bear Country USA 

A drive-through park for wildlife with local wildlife. Such as black bears, elkand mountain lions, and more in their natural habitat. It is an hour’s drive to Rapid City.

Shoshone National

 Forest is the longest-running preserved forest in the US, covering 2.5 million acres.

Crazy Horse Memorial 

A massive sculpture of the war’s native chief may someday surpass the giant statue in the world. It has been under construction since 1948, with no final date.

Mount Rushmore 

 A magnificent monument carved into the Black Hills rock face. It features some of America’s most illustrious presidents.

Black Hills National Forest 

Black Hills National Forest 

 A 1.25-million-acre mixture of mountains and forests in the southwest corner of South Dakota.

What’s the best Time To Go On A Road Trip From Chicago To Yellowstone National Park?

This is a trip focused on experiencing the wonderful outdoors. Everything you do, from exploring and hiking to eating picnics and even camping, could be outdoors.

The best time to do the trip starting from Chicago towards Yellowstone is May through September. You have the ideal opportunity to experience nature because the weather is pleasant and there is a low likelihood of rain. Make sure you talk about your experience with crowds of tourists during July and August.

You cannot drive through Yellowstone because it is closed for the season. You could still take the trip from Chicago and then stay out of Yellowstone National Park, taking snowmobiles or skis and other ways of getting around.

How Many Days Do You Need in Yellowstone National Park?

It is best to plan to spend 2-3 weeks at the smallest in Yellowstone National Park. To experience the most well-known attractions, two days are plenty. The addition of a third day allows you the chance to discover lesser-known and less-traveled-to.

This guide offers itineraries between 1 and 5 days. It allows you the most excellent flexibility. With five days of full-time, you’ll have time to explore Yellowstone thoroughly.

Where Do You Stop On Driving From Chicago To Yellowstone National Park?

road trip to yellowstone from chicago

We have a few ideas to consider if you want to transform the Chicago to Yellowstone National Park journey into an unforgettable experience.

Suppose you want to stop at any notable landmarks or popular tourist attractions. In that case, you should consider visiting the Anderson Japanese Gardens, the Wisconsin State Capitol, Grandad Bluff, Sioux Falls, Rapid City, or Cody.

Final verdict

A road trip from Chicago to Yellowstone National Park will take you past Chicago, the Great Lakes, and into its vast wilderness.

You will need more than two hours to travel the 1,340 miles from Chicago to Yellowstone, passing through Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wyoming’s enormous wilderness. To enjoy the magnificent route, it is advised to take three or four days.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is There To See Between Chicago and Yellowstone National Park?

On the drive from Chicago to Yellowstone National Park, the top six places to visit are Anderson Japanese Gardens, Wisconsin State Capitol, Grandad Bluff, Sioux Falls, Rapid City, and Cody.

What is the cheapest way to get from Chicago to Yellowstone National Park?

The cheapest way to travel from Chicago toward Yellowstone National Park is to fly and drive. It costs between $240 and $500. It takes 7 hours and 4 minutes.

How do I travel from Chicago to Yellowstone National Park without a car?

The journey takes roughly 7 hours and 4 minutes. From Chicago in the direction of Yellowstone National Park, including transfers.

Can I drive from Chicago to Yellowstone National Park?

Yes, the distance between Chicago and Yellowstone National Park is 2276 kilometers. The distance between Chicago and Yellowstone National Park is 23h 19m.

How long is the flight from Chicago to Yellowstone National Park?

The direct flight takes 3 hours and 7 minutes to complete and is the shortest route between Chicago O’Hare and Jackson.

What is the time difference between Chicago and Yellowstone National Park?

National Park in Yellowstone is one hour ahead of Chicago. It’s currently at 01:37 in Chicago and at 00:37 within Yellowstone National Park.

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