When I looked into visiting Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park I was not able to find any availability close by the route I wanted to take going north. This was compounded by the fact that the area I wanted to visit was big – on the order of 200 miles long both north-south and east-west.
I ended up staying at Red Lodge which is close to Beartooth pass and the northeast portal at Silver Gate. I planed to drive from north to south and stay in Jackson overnight. I decided to drive across the top of the park then drop down to the thermal area and finally Jackson that night. In the morning I would photograph the Teton range at sunrise and drive back exiting the park through the east gate. This would take me to Cody, Wyoming and then back to Red Lodge.
It all worked well except by the time I got to the thermal areas the park was crowded to the max. I bailed and headed for Jackson but still had to deal with the heavy traffic. By the time I got to the hotel room I was beat but still saw some of Jackson (really tourist-mania!).
The next day was much, much better. After catching a most excellent (and but freezing cold) sunrise in Grand Teton I headed back to Old Faithful. Much better at 8AM! Jake and I both got to see Old Faithful blow before heading back on a stunning drive along Yellowstone Lake and an equally stunning drive through Shoshone canyon before heading back to Red Lodge.
We left early and drove back to Beartooth pass. We were able to get some good views from the overlook (that was crowded with cars yesterday). We drove over the pass and finally made it to the northeast entrance.
The northern most road from the entrance was most excellent with breathtaking panoramas and large herds of buffalo.
From there we visited Mammoth Hot Springs and into the thermal areas of the park. this is where it started to get crowded. By the time we got to the Old Faithful area it was getting stupid with people parking all over the place and creating traffic jams. Interestingly enough, there was nary a Park Ranger in sight outside of the areas themselves. I took this (as well as the dog policy – more later) as a sign of the times and decided to just roll with it!
I decided to bail out and head for Jackson and start out early in the morning to see Old Faithful. Along the way we stopped at Lewis Falls which we saw the day before.
It was much better when we reached Old Faithful before 8AM – only had the main parking lot was full. I left Jake in the car but noticed that a lot of other people had their dogs with them. So Jake and I got to watch Old Faithful blow it’s top – together 😎🐶!!! Most Excellent!
After that we headed east for Yellowstone Lake and the eastern entrance to the park. The drive along the lake was most excellent indeed!
Grand Teton National Park & Jackson
The drive east of the mountain range offer fantastic views of the Grand Teton range. We headed for Jackson and out $200 a night Motel 6 room. I do have to say it was the nicest Motel 6 I ever stayed at other than the bed which pretty much sucked 😏.
Jackson itself is a mess of a tourist town in a spectacular setting. The drive into town is most excellent. Like Telluride – Jackson is in a box canyon and hosts a ski area which makes it the perfect place for bars and T-Shirt shops. And lots and lots of traffic.
The next morning was really cold but calm and clear as a bell. Perfect conditions for some sunrise shots. I first visited here in 1978 and forever had the impression of this breathtaking mountain range. I was not wrong. Most excellent indeed!
Leaving the park on the second day I was treated to a superbly excellent drive through Shoshone canyon. The Shoshone river is part of the Bighorn watershed and runs from near the east entrance of the park to Cody. The canyon has darker rock and spectacular rock formations.
Fire near Red Lodge
When I was hiking with Jake before our road trip we noticed a fire on the backside of the mountain range to the east of us. This turned out to be a bad fire that developed while I was in the park. At the end of the drive home we could see the area clearly including helicopters carrying large buckets and DC-10 tanker planes circling the area.
Our road trip comes to a close. Our next stop – Glacier National Park!