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Old 07-20-2018, 04:23 PM   #1
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Advice/info on my Tetons/Yellowstone route choice

Hello-

I've read tons on this forum about the various routes into the Tetons and Yellowstone, and they are starting to blur. Thanks much to all of those who have written SO MUCH helpful info.

Anyway, I'm going to be driving my MH (see signature) from Casper, WY to Jackson Hole Airport (pick up rental car), then to the Colter Bay RV campground. After spending a few days there, we're driving to Fishing Bridge Campground in Yellowstone, staying a few days there as well. Then we're driving from Fishing Bridge back to Jackson Hole Airport (return rental car) then back home to the midwest.

From Casper to Jackson Hole Airport: Rt. 26/287 to Rt 191
Jackson Hole Airport to Colter Bay: Rt 191
Colter Bay to Fishing Bridge: Rt 191 to Rt 20 to Rt 14

Just planning on reversing the route on the way home.

Any thoughts/advice on these routes? I'm planning on lots of two lane roads, scenery, but nothing too weird right?
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Old 07-20-2018, 05:33 PM   #2
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You've picked the best route to get to the Tetons from Casper. I've done that route many times. As you pass Boysen St. Park Reservoir, about 3.7 miles down the road you'll see a WY 134 off to your right. (just past Campbell Livestock on the left) WY 134 will take you west until the road comes to a 'T' intersection with WY 133. Turn left and it will take you back to US 26 past Riverton. Unless you like lots of shopping traffic, Walmart, etc. it's a good by-pass.

My only criticism is why retrace your same route to go home? You have options. From Jackson Hole Airport, you could continue S on US 89/191 through Jackson to Hoback Jctn. Stay on US 191 all the way to Rock Springs at I-80. If you desire, you're not far from Flaming Gorge or Dinosaur Nat. Mon. You could then go E on US 40 to I-70 at Berthoud Falls. This route is very scenic but does have some passes and switchbacks, especially as you get past Winter Park Ski Resort.

An alternative would be to go back north in Jackson Hole from the airport and follow US 26 back over Togwotee Pass. After passing Crow Heart, bear right at the US 287 junction. Go S on US 287 and go through Fort Washakie, which has a grave purported to be Sacagawea's, the guide for the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Continue down US 287 and you'll cross the Oregon Trail that still has visible wagon ruts. Split Rock is also a famous spot on the trail and also was a Pony Express Station. US 287 joins I-80 at Rawlins.
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Old 07-20-2018, 10:21 PM   #3
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Tetons/ YNP routes

Not route related but maybe a helpful hint. Instead of renting your car at the Jackson Hole Airport, pick it up at the in town rental office. You will have an appreciable savings as the surcharge for the airport rental will be avoided.
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Old 07-21-2018, 08:50 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Tooth Doc View Post
Not route related but maybe a helpful hint. Instead of renting your car at the Jackson Hole Airport, pick it up at the in town rental office. You will have an appreciable savings as the surcharge for the airport rental will be avoided.
Yes, I've not rented a car in Jackson in a few years, but National is on WY 22, just south of town, Budget is a bit further south on US 89/191, both had better deals than Alamo or Avis at the airport.
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Old 07-21-2018, 11:57 AM   #5
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You've picked the best route to get to the Tetons from Casper. I've done that route many times. As you pass Boysen St. Park Reservoir, about 3.7 miles down the road you'll see a WY 134 off to your right. (just past Campbell Livestock on the left) WY 134 will take you west until the road comes to a 'T' intersection with WY 133. Turn left and it will take you back to US 26 past Riverton. Unless you like lots of shopping traffic, Walmart, etc. it's a good by-pass.

My only criticism is why retrace your same route to go home? You have options. From Jackson Hole Airport, you could continue S on US 89/191 through Jackson to Hoback Jctn. Stay on US 191 all the way to Rock Springs at I-80. If you desire, you're not far from Flaming Gorge or Dinosaur Nat. Mon. You could then go E on US 40 to I-70 at Berthoud Falls. This route is very scenic but does have some passes and switchbacks, especially as you get past Winter Park Ski Resort.

An alternative would be to go back north in Jackson Hole from the airport and follow US 26 back over Togwotee Pass. After passing Crow Heart, bear right at the US 287 junction. Go S on US 287 and go through Fort Washakie, which has a grave purported to be Sacagawea's, the guide for the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Continue down US 287 and you'll cross the Oregon Trail that still has visible wagon ruts. Split Rock is also a famous spot on the trail and also was a Pony Express Station. US 287 joins I-80 at Rawlins.
BF-

Thanks for that info.......That last paragraph sounds interesting. At those sites you mention (the grave and wagon ruts) is there parking so that RVs can visit easily? I've been hesitant to visit much on the way home not only due to time constraints, but reading lots on the forum about visiting sites out here, the parking tends to be tight for large RVs?
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Old 07-21-2018, 11:59 AM   #6
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Not route related but maybe a helpful hint. Instead of renting your car at the Jackson Hole Airport, pick it up at the in town rental office. You will have an appreciable savings as the surcharge for the airport rental will be avoided.
Thanks Tooth Doc. I'm not familiar with Jackson Hole and wasn't sure how "RV friendly" the town would be, hence the reservation at the airport with easy in/out. Too late now, anyway. I'm sure rental rates this close to the date have skyrocketed as I made this reservation many, many months ago.
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Old 07-21-2018, 02:56 PM   #7
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BF-

Thanks for that info.......That last paragraph sounds interesting. At those sites you mention (the grave and wagon ruts) is there parking so that RVs can visit easily? I've been hesitant to visit much on the way home not only due to time constraints, but reading lots on the forum about visiting sites out here, the parking tends to be tight for large RVs?
There are historic markers along the road, all with pull-off areas. In addition, about 12.5 mi south of Jeffrey City, WY is the Split Rock marker and then a 'rest area' on the left. (Pit toilet, parking) and 500' past the end of the parking lot are plaques explaining the history of the valley below. I've stopped and shown it to many travelers.
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Old 07-21-2018, 10:12 PM   #8
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There are historic markers along the road, all with pull-off areas. In addition, about 12.5 mi south of Jeffrey City, WY is the Split Rock marker and then a 'rest area' on the left. (Pit toilet, parking) and 500' past the end of the parking lot are plaques explaining the history of the valley below. I've stopped and shown it to many travelers.
So all these pull-off areas are big enough to park an RV?

Is there a list of things to see along this highway? Or do you just know from experience?
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Old 07-21-2018, 10:53 PM   #9
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So all these pull-off areas are big enough to park an RV?

Is there a list of things to see along this highway? Or do you just know from experience?
As I recall, each historic marker has a parking area that RVs can easily use. For almost 20 years I taught a Grad class for Miami University (OH) at the Miami Geology Field Station ranch near Dubois. I'd make a point of trying new roads each summer and learned about things by experience. Besides teaching Geology, biology, and ecology, I love history and have traced the Oregon/Mormon Trail, Lewis & Clark, etc. At various times I've detoured through South Pass, South Pass City, Atlantic City (WY) and many other historical places in Wyoming.
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Old 07-21-2018, 11:11 PM   #10
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As I recall, each historic marker has a parking area that RVs can easily use. For almost 20 years I taught a Grad class for Miami University (OH) at the Miami Geology Field Station ranch near Dubois. I'd make a point of trying new roads each summer and learned about things by experience. Besides teaching Geology, biology, and ecology, I love history and have traced the Oregon/Mormon Trail, Lewis & Clark, etc. At various times I've detoured through South Pass, South Pass City, Atlantic City (WY) and many other historical places in Wyoming.
Interesting, thanks! I'm going to check out that stretch of highway for the return journey.
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Old 07-28-2018, 01:04 PM   #11
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Some general information about YNP (some items apply to GTNP also)

YNP is about 45 miles E/W and about 65 miles N/S (2.2 mil. Acres total). The figure 8 loop road inside the park is about 140 miles around. The lower loop is 96 miles and the upper loop is 70 miles around and yes, it is bigger than the states of Rhode Island and Delaware combined.

Whatever time that you think you will need to see YNP you better double it, or to say it another way is that you will see one half as much as you planned on in the allotted time. The Bison think that they own the road (they do!) and will slow down the traffic to walking speed or all stop for 1/4 mile or more blocking both directions of travel, the thermal attractions also tie up traffic and with a 5 month long summer tourist season that coincides with a 5 month long road construction season and a 45 MPH radar controlled speed limit it will take about a full day to see each loop and then you will only see the main attractions. In addition to the occasional construction delays they will also sometimes close whole sections of road (for uninterrupted night construction) between 10 PM and 8 AM in the morning, if you are running late and get caught at night in the wrong area it CAN be a LONG way around to your CG! (The entrance stations will have current construction information or go on line to check it out)

Then there is the elevation- YNP ranges from a low at Mammoth- 6239 ft to 7784 ft at Fishing Bridge or higher if you go hiking and there are passes on the grand loop road that are close to 8000 ft or so! Drink plenty of liquids and pace yourself when walking.

I recommend that you get up EARLY, leave the CG and be back by 4 or 6 PM have dinner and be sitting in your recliner drinking a cool one when your neighbor drags himself back to the CG at 8-10 PM. Remember that from mid May to mid July in YNP the sun doesn't set until about 9:30- 9:45 PM then there is a long twilight.

Cell Phone Service- Only at the major visitor centers, otherwise spotty to non-existent!

Clothing- Especially in the early or late season it is not unusual to have a 30 or even the occasional 40 degree temperature change throughout the day. Dress with easily shed layers of clothing. Also dress in bright easily seen clothing. I am sure that we all have been to a sporting event, parade or Disney World etc. and we blink our eyes and our partner/child has disappeared. My DIL was born and raised in HI, you guessed it, every Xmas, b-day or Father's Day I receive a Hawaiian shirt. One of them is shiny black with 4-5 inch dia. bright flowers. Not many of them in Wyoming and in YSNP, that is what I wear. If your partner has on a Violet blouse and a Orange scarf with a Pink hat I guarantee that she will be the only one within the boundaries of either NP. It can save you a few anxious moments.

Water- Now I will have to contradict myself, at the altitude of YNP yes, drink lots of water! HOWEVER, be aware that the flush toilet restrooms are are in the major tourist areas- Mammoth, Canyon, Fishing Bridge, Lake Hotel, Bridge Bay, Grant Village, Old Faithful, Madison Junction etc. The geyser basins and other thermal attractions areas only have pit toilets. I have seen the pit toilet line (2 rest rooms) at the lower Geyser Basin 25 or more feet long (bless the tour buses) So be smart about drinking your water and use the major tourist area R/Rs before leaving the area! I.e. “Never pass up a flush toilet!”

Sun- At YSNP altitude the Sun is intense (uv)have and apply sunscreen, wear that old floppy wide brim sun hat, wear Sunglasses!

If your luck is like mine Old Faithful will have just erupted when you get there and you will have up to a hour and 10 to 15 minutes wait for the next one. Tour tour the O/F Geyser basin while waiting. O/F INN is a must see, reportedly the largest LOG building in the U.S. (Meals in the O/F dinning room are “OK” also.

We have lived about 110 miles from West Yellowstone, MT since 1964, go to YSNP 3-4 times a summer (normally before Memorial Day and after Labor Day) and haven't seen it all yet! So don’t be discouraged that you didn’t have the time to see all of it. Just plan on coming back another time!

I honestly don’t mean to scare or discourage you but to give you a heads up as to what to expect! After all there was 4.1 million visitors in 2015! As far as I know we didn’t lose one of them. Except those who by their own stupidity step off the board walks into BOILING HOT water and ignoring the warnings about the WILD ANIMALS! That is called purifying the gene pool!Early in the summer of 2017 a foreign visitor stepped off a boardwalk into just a few inches of hot water. He walked about 100 yards (according to the newspaper) broke thru the crust and parboiled himself. The park service decided not to try to retrieve the body! Between the temperature of the water and the acidity of it the body would just fall apart when retrieving it, as well as being dangerous to the rangers. Of course a few Bison fall in every winter also.

Note I have seen on this blog and others about folks “day tripping” from YSNP to GTNP, it is done all the time (myself included) however remember this is BIG country and with the speed limits, animals and thermal attractions you will NOT come close to a 60- 65 MPH average. From the West Thumb Area, Grant Village Visitor Center (extreme S/E corner of the lower loop road) to Jackson, WY is about 80 miles with Coulter Bay being about 1/2 way then from Grant Village you have to add the distance to your CG it will be a Long days trip!

A point of Coulter Bay (in GTNP) clarification- there are two (2) CG’s at Coulter Bay, One, the “Coulter Bay RV Park” a full service “RV Park” with FHU’S that takes reservations. The other is the “Coulter Bay Campground “ has no hookups and doesn’t take reservations. Both have about 300 sites and are located basically across the road from each other.

Also in GTNP be sure to see Jenny Lake, the water is swimming pool clear! You almost feel like you are in space when you are on the boat dock and you can see the rental boat shadows on the bottom of the lake!

When in the Jackson area I highly recommend seeing the Bar J Chuckwagon dinner show! If you go, MAKE RESERVATIONS and BE THERE EARLY TO PICK UP YOUR MEAL TICKETS/ TABLE SEATING ASSIGNMENTS! They seat you by when you show up to get your tickets NOT by your reservation number. Tim, their fiddle player has won the "Idaho state old time fiddle contest 7 times and the US open fiddle championship twice". If you decide to go you will sit at picnic type of bench seats/table, they get pretty hard, I recommend that you take along a blanket/pads to sit on. We day trip it there 2-4 times every summer just to see them! Disclaimer- We have no financial or other interest in the Bar J only that it will be the best $$ value for your money for your trip! Check out their website.

Bar J Chuckwagon

Also in Jackson check out the “COWBOY” bar, the bar stools are saddles and check out the # of Silver Dollars imbedded in the bar. The Wort Hotel Bar (just around the corner from the Cowboy Bar) also has Silver Dollars imbedded in the Bar
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Old 07-28-2018, 07:27 PM   #12
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Some general information about YNP (some items apply to GTNP also)

YNP is about 45 miles E/W and about 65 miles N/S (2.2 mil. Acres total). The figure 8 loop road inside the park is about 140 miles around. The lower loop is 96 miles and the upper loop is 70 miles around and yes, it is bigger than the states of Rhode Island and Delaware combined.


Also in Jackson check out the “COWBOY” bar, the bar stools are saddles and check out the # of Silver Dollars imbedded in the bar. The Wort Hotel Bar (just around the corner from the Cowboy Bar) also has Silver Dollars imbedded in the Bar
Wow, that's a lot of good info, thanks. We only have a few days in both the Tetons and Yellowstone. We have a few trips pre-planned, a couple free days, and that's about it. We plan on every road being slow, every line being long, and only being able to see a small fraction of the park at a time.

Thanks for typing all that out. It is very, very useful.
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