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The Perfect Road Trip

How to combine Jackson Hole, Grand Teton National Park and
Yellowstone into one amazing adventure

 

Cross two life-changing experiences off your bucket list during the same vacation when you travel to Wyoming. Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone – two of the most beautiful destinations in the world – are within an easy hour’s drive of one another.

 

Combine these two treasures into one vacation of a lifetime by completing one of these easy road trips. Whether you drive to the starting point or fly into Jackson Hole and rent a car, you’ll find plenty of local resources to help you along the way.

 

Drive #1: Best of Grand Teton and Yellowstone

 

Start: Jackson, WY (often called Jackson Hole)

The route: Take US-89 N to Moran, then northwest to Jackson Lake, continuing north to the south entrance of Yellowstone.  You'll soon pass Lewis Lake and several waterfalls.  As time allows, continue on the park road to West Thumb and Upper geyser basin (where Old Faithful lies).

 

Highlights: This trip allows you to explore the Grand Teton range and Jackson Hole along with Yellowstone, our nation’s first national park. You’ll discover geysers, historic lodges, wildlife, alpine lakes, and more.

 

 

The first things you’ll notice, rising 13,000 feet into the sky, are the Tetons.  The drama of these peaks are in the contrast – they rise sharply from a horizon of shimmering lakes, braided river flows, thick forests, and alpine meadows. 

There are several overlooks along the route. Lace up your hiking shoes, grab your camera, pack a bottle of water, and get out of the car to explore.  Or just roll down the window and absorb some of the most jaw-dropping scenery in the world.

 

 

 

 

 

John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway connects Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone. The parkway provides a natural link between the parks and tours many features that are iconic of both areas.  As you drive through this area, notice the jagged granite peaks turning into green rolling mountains and new pine regrowth from the 1988 wildfires.

 

At West Thumb, walk the boardwalk through the geyser basin at lake's edge. Exhibits at Grant Village Visitor Center, two miles south of West Thumb, highlight the role of fire in Yellowstone.

 

 

 

Where to stay: Jackson Lake Lodge or Colter Bay Village are just north of Moran and offer easy driving access to both the Tetons and Yellowstone. Rent a charming historic cabin right on the lake at Colter Bay Village, or stay in one of the well appointed, eco-friendly rooms at Jackson Lake Lodge.

 

 

Pit stops: Jackson Lake Lodge is a great place to stop for a meal, great views, and shopping.  You'll first notice the Tetons perfectly framed in 60 foot windows rising up to the rafters of the Upper Lobby.  Grab a latte and enjoy the view or have lunch in one of the three restaurants.  Afterwards, browse the gift shops for the perfect t-shirt or handmade gift.  One our way out, stop by the Activities Desk for recommendations on other sights and hikes in the area. 

 

 

Drive #2: The Grand Teton Loop (The 42 Mile Scenic Loop)

Start: Jackson, WY or Moose, WY

 

The route: This is a loop, so start wherever is convenient for you. One recommendation is to start in Moose and travel north along US-89 to Jackson Lake and return to Moose via the Teton Park Road.

 

Highlights: US-89 parallels the Snake River, framed by the jagged peaks of the Teton Mountains to the west. Stop at Schwabacher's Landing and Teton Point Overlook for wide-open views of the serrated Tetons, blue skies above and the sagebrush-dotted landscape below.

 


A few miles ahead, pull off at the Snake River Overlook, grab your camera and capture the sweeping view that was made famous by photographer Ansel Adams.  You’ll see Jackson Hole (the name of the valley) and the Snake River as it winds in the foreground of the Tetons.

 

As you approach Moran Junction, notice Mount Moran in the distance, looming at 12,605 feet tall.  Turn left and drive through the park entrance station.

 

About a 4 miles up the road, turn left onto Teton Park Road.  This section of the road travels close to Jackson Lake where you can enjoy hiking, camping, fishing, boating, as well as dining and lodging.

 

If time allows, make a side trip east onto Signal Mountain Road, a narrow, twisty road that leads 5 miles to the summit of Signal Mountain (no trailers or RVs, please.)  At 1,000 feet above the valley, the summit provides panoramic views of the Tetons, Jackson Hole and Yellowstone National Park.

 

 

Continuing south on Teton Park Road, you’ll reach the north portion of the Jenny Lake Loop. For this scenic side trip, turn right and continue to the Cathedral Group Overlook. Then head south to the Jenny Lake Trailhead and stretch your legs on the String and Jenny Lake Trails.

 

When Jenny Lake Road rejoins Grand Teton Road, turn right to finish the drive. Shortly afterwards, stop at Teton Glacier Overlook to sight one of many glaciers that forms the Teton Mountains.

 

As you pass through Moose, be sure to visit the Craig Thomas Discovery & Visitor Center.

 

 

Where to stay: Jenny Lake Lodge offers a retreat that sits tucked among pines at the base of the Teton Mountain Range.  This four-diamond luxury resort is complete with a restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch, and a five-course dinner with an award-winning wine list.  When you book the Signature Stay, these meals will be included as well as horseback riding and use of cruiser style bicycles.

 

Pit stop: The little town of Moose offers a variety of services, restaurants, and travel information.  Moose also has a National Park Service Visitor Center, the Craig Thomas Discovery & Visitor Center.