After a quick stop at West Thumb, we’ll continue towards the Southern Entrance before hitting Grant Village!
Now I’ll admit, Grant Village has the reputation as kind of an overflow area for last-minute campers, and there’s not a TON of stuff to do. However, it’s Yellowstone, so there are some great lake shore views, some waterfalls, a couple of hiking trails, and a pretty cool museum too!
So without further ado, here’s everything you need to know about visiting Grant Village in Yellowstone National Park:
Things to do and see in Grant Village
For Boating- the Grant Village Marina
Because Grant Village is situated along the southern branch of the mighty Lake Yellowstone, it’s a great place to go boating. The Grant Village Marina is a bring-your-own-boat type of deal, but be prepared to go through lots of screenings, since rangers are dedicated to preventing the transport of invasive species like Zebra Mussels.
To Learn about Yellowstone’s great fire- Grant Visitors Center
Due to a carelessly tossed cigarette butt, Yellowstone experienced a massive forest fire in 1988 that spread through 1/3 of the park. The Visitor’s Center at Grant Village has a small museum dedicated to this historic fire, as well as the importance of naturally occurring wildfires with interactive exhibits.
While we were walking along the lake shore, a ranger was giving a talk about the wildlife of Yellowstone, and had a lot of different animal pelts for the kids to touch, like deer, coyote, and buffalo hide. I personally will never pass up a chance to feel buffalo fur (it’s surprisingly soft)!
The back of the museum opens onto a large deck which provides a grand sweeping view of the Yellowstone lake, and there’s a small trail leading from the back deck that will take you to the water’s edge.
For a remote adventure- Heart Lake Geyser Basin
5 miles south of Grant Village is a trailhead that leads to the Heart Lake and Heart Lake geyser basin. It’s a whopping 7 mile hike, but as one of the most remote geyser basins in the whole park, it is a magical experience to visit these secluded thermal features.
Most of them are bubbling blue springs and colorful vents, but there are a few geysers too. The Rustic group in particular attracts a lot of attention for its features, which include the Rustic Geyser.
While much smaller than the neighboring Lake Yellowstone, Lewis Lake is a nice, secluded spot that you can visit right off the road- no hike required! (Unless you want to). You can camp, fish, picnic and even kayak here.
Lewis Falls is a ways down the South Entrance Road, and is usually only passed if you’re coming from or going to the South Entrance of the park.
Still, be sure not to miss it if you’re headed that way! You can park along the side of the road and wade in the stream leading up to the falls. Part of the shore is shaded by trees and it’s just a lovely spot. I always stopped here on the way to Jackson Hole/Grand Tetons, as it’s a perfect way to break up the journey.
Grant Village Marina Trail
As you follow the trail from the visitor’s center down to the water, there’s a small pavilion where parents can relax in the shade while their kids splash around in the (freezing!) lake. The water is surprisingly clear, so as you walk along, see if you can spot trout or river otters!
The hike to Riddle Lake is an easy one- it’s only 2 miles to this quiet Lake’s shore. Bears are often found in the area, and swans like to build their nests here too. Be sure to check in with a ranger before heading out to Riddle Lake, though, since the trail is sometimes closed for these reasons.
The Riddle Lake Trailhead is located a little over 3 miles south of Grant Village down the South Entrance Road.
Dogshead is a simple 4.6 mile trail leading from the South Entrance Road to the Shores of Shoshone Lake. From there, the trail converges into multiple trails surrounding the lake.
The Dogshead trailhead is a little over 6 miles south of Grant Village down the South Entrance Road.
This is a multi-segmented hike, starting at the South Entrance Road and leading through the Red Mountains, to Heart Lake and the Heart Lake geyser basin. It’s 2.2 miles to Heart Lake, and the trail forks from there. Since it is a complicated one, I would absolutely recommend visiting the Grant Visitor’s Center first to talk with a ranger and ensure you’ve got the best insight before setting off.
The Heart Lake trailhead is just south of the Dogshead trailhead.
Lewis Lake Dock Trail
For something much more laid back- take the Lewis Lake Dock Trail for an easy exploration of the shores of Lewis Lake.
The Pitchstone trail is another long journey. The trail itself spans a whopping 18 miles, but at the 4.6 mile mark, you arrive at Phantom Fumarole, a massive, hissing thermal vent that spits clouds of steam from the center of the earth. Along the way, you’ll also enjoy the trail’s namesake- the Pitchstone Plateau, which provides views over both Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons Mountain Range.
The Pitchstone trailhead is situated halfway between Lewis Lake and the park’s South Entrance.
Moose Falls is one of my favorite types of hikes- it’s short and ends in a waterfall! 0.1 miles takes you to the brink of this lovely 30-foot falls.
The Moose Falls trailhead is 1 mile north of the park’s south entrance.
Where to Eat in Grant Village
Grant Village Mini Store
The mini-store is perfect for picnic-types of food, plus souvenirs and camping gear, and so it will likely be your best friend if you’re camping at Grant Village.
Grant Village General Store
The General Store offers a bit of a wider selection than the mini store- and also offers fast food options inside.
Grant Village Dining Room
For fine dining and locally derived food options, the Grant Village Dining Room can give you an unforgettable experience. Situated on the shores of Lake Yellowstone, you can have great views along with your great food. I’d try the trout if I were you.
Grant Village Lake House Restaurant
Adjacent to the Dining Room, the Lake House Restaurant offers a more casual dining experience with typical American-style sandwiches, noodle bowls, and other food offerings.
If you’re self catering and want to eat in the great outdoors, you’ve got lots of options around Grant Village.
There’s a nice picnic area that my family stops at often near the visitor’s center, it’s got nice views of Lake Yellowstone.
There’s another picnic area at Lewis Lake, and one on the Snake River that’s just North of the South Entrance (if that isn’t a confusing sentence haha).
Where to Stay in Grant Village
Grant Village Campground
The Grant Village Campground is one of the major campgrounds in Yellowstone. Whether you’ve got a tent or a giant hook-up RV, this campground has got what you need.
Be sure to reserve your spot as soon as possible, especially if you need a hookup, as spots fill up fast.
Lewis Lake Campground
If you’re not able to get a spot at Grant Village, the Lewis Lake campground is another option within the park. This may also be a good option if you’re looking to stay in a quieter area of the park.
The nearest hotels will be in Lake Village 22 miles North of Grant Village, or in Grand Tetons NP/Jackson Hole, ~35 miles South of Grant Village and outside of the park’s boundaries.
And there you have it!
That’s everything you need to know before you visit Grant Village in Yellowstone National Park.
As always, feel free to let me know if I missed anything, or if you want to know more about any particular part of this post.
Next, we’ll continue the Virtual Yellowstone Road Trip to Bridge Bay and Lake Village- so many exciting things to see and do there!
If you want to backtrack, no worries! Check out everything you need to know about visiting West Thumb village here.