Wednesday: Part of our plan while staying in Idaho Falls, was to explore Jackson and Grand Teton NP , rather than while at West Yellowstone. That way we could cut down our stay at West Yellowstone to a week, rather than 10-14 days (and at $60 a night, that was a big savings), even if it was a bit of a longer drive from Idaho Falls to Grand Teton.
We took US 26 out of Idaho Falls (Swan Valley Parkway) to ID 31 to Victor ID. From there, ID33 which becomes WY22, (Teton Pass Hwy) to Jackson. The Teton Pass Hwy is a great collection of steep grades, tight switchbacks and slow speed corners, but gives you a lovely overlook of Jackson Hole valley just before the last descent down the mountain. The Teton Pass Hwy is the southern leg of one the Continental Divide Driving Tours, the Yellowstone/Grand Teton Loop, which then goes north from Jackson, into Grand Teton NP and then into Yellowstone.
Jackson is the ultimate tourist trap to separate you from your money. It was congested and crowded. It was all we could do to find a parking spot at the Tourist Info center for R & A to have a short walk and visit the restrooms ourselves. Once that was done, we hightailed it out of there.
The main road from Jackson through Grand Teton, is US191, which we then took northbound. We came across a herd of bison, and kept on having to close our mouths from looking at the jaw dropping scenery. Just north of Moran, is the John D Rockefeller Jr Parkway and the start of the toll road part of the park. We bought a Senior’s Pass (really Lynn got a Senior’s Pass) for $10 that gives us a lifetime pass to all National Parks. A great deal!!!
We went as far as Teton Park Road and then followed it to the Signal Mountain Lodge for a walk break for R&A and a lunch break for L&S. On our way to the lodge, we came across the Jackson Lake Dam with some spectacular views of Mt. Moran reflected in the lake.
For our return trip, we kept on Teton Park Road southbound through the valley which travels parallel to US191, but farther to the west, and closer to the mountains, rivers and lakes. Teton Park Road joins back to US191 at Moose. From there, we retraced our steps through Jackson and back along the Teton Pass Hwy. When we finally got back to the Snake River Campground, Dale and Marnin had arrived. Dale was there to greet us, but Marnin was out on his bicycle, as usual.
A bit of a digression about the John D Rockefeller Jr Parkway, something I didn’t know. When he was touring Jackson in the early 1900’s, he was unhappy with the way the land was being managed. Recognizing the importance of preserving the area, he secretly started buying up land under a shell company, the Snake River Land Company. Although the park was established in 1929, it was expanded in 1949/50 when JDR Jr donated the land to the government and Congress joined the existing park, the valley floor and the donated land to create what is now Grand Teton National Park. To finally recognize his contributions, the road was named after him.
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|Early Summer 2013|
|Late Summer 2013|