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Route Suggestions: Salt Lake City to West Yellowstone, or Salt Lake City to Jackson/Teton Village?

Route Suggestions: Salt Lake City to West Yellowstone, or Salt Lake City to Jackson/Teton Village?

Old Jul 23rd, 2008, 06:04 PM
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Route Suggestions: Salt Lake City to West Yellowstone, or Salt Lake City to Jackson/Teton Village?

I'm going into anticipation overload planning our vacation this fall (Sedona 9/26 - 10/3, Yellowstone/Tetons 10/3 - 10/12).

We're spending a week in Sedona, then flying into Salt Lake City for some time in Yellowstone/Grand Tetons. We already have 2 nights at the Alpenhof at Teton Village before heading up to our timeshare in West Yellowstone.

Trying to figure out routing -- we have 1 extra night to get back to Salt Lake City. Should we go from West Yellowstone back to SLC via east Idaho, or back thru YNP/GT for a final night?

Since we have an extra night, we'd like to make the most of it. Thinking that going back through Jackson would let us take a scenic mountainous route back down to SLC, but it may be a bit late in the year -- October 10-12. Or, is there something really not to be missed going down through Idaho -- such as lava beds, fossils, etc.?

DH is looking forward to the Tetons, but we'd also like to catch anything else remarkable. We have 1 night on the road back, and then our final night is a Priceline win at SLC Airport for departure on 10/12. Your thoughts?
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Old Jul 23rd, 2008, 08:14 PM
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Going to or from Tetons from SLC I like to go via Logan and Bear Lake. The drive through Logan Canyon is very scenic and the Cache Valley in the Logan area is know for its cheese.
I don't think the route to from West Yellowstone via Idaho Falls, Rigby and Rexburg is as interesting, but might be faster
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Old Jul 23rd, 2008, 11:20 PM
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Why not fly into Jackson instead of SLC?
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Old Jul 24th, 2008, 04:29 AM
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Free tickets on Southwest. SLC is the closest airport they serve.
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Old Jul 24th, 2008, 08:23 PM
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WAAAAAY more scenic to go from Jackson to SLC. And I have done the SLC to West Yellowstone for many years. I usually go through Evanston but that can be a long route. The road through Logan would be pretty. You could stay your last night at Bear Lake--not sure how that route works though.
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Old Jul 25th, 2008, 04:43 AM
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I think boom boom has told you the route we went many years ago. It was probably the highlight of a 6 week trip west with our kids. Absolutely beautiful. If by any chance you are in SLC on Thursday, go to a Mormon Tabernacle choir rehearsal. It may be possible on Sunday morning also.
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Old Jul 25th, 2008, 06:18 PM
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I would not plan on doing any thru travel thru Yellowstone in Oct. There is a better than 50% chance that some roads will be closed within the park, have to plan day by day at that time of year.
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Old Jul 25th, 2008, 09:18 PM
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Either coming or going, try to drive over the Teton Pass. It is highly scenic.

On the western escarpment, the gradient is about 11%. Not overly steep, but it is long.

I was driving it once in a junky rental I got in Denver. For some unknown reason this clunker had a tachometer on it.

I was going from west to east toward Jackson. As we ascended we reached the 11% part. The transmission shifted into the gear just about the lowest while the engine revved up to around 5,000 rpm.

I was steaming along about 35 mph with a loyal train of followers, mainly because they could not get past me and I could find no safe place to pull over. So I kept grinding up the grade with the engine topping 5,500 rpm and approaching redline.

At times I would hot have been surprised if that engine had started to burn a piston or blow a gasket.

My helpful wife leaned over, watched the struggle between the tach and the speedometer and concluded: The red one is gaining. (That was the tach, which was flirting with 6,000 rpm.)

Finally I found a spot to pull over and let that thing cool off. When we got the top after what seemed like an eternity, I stopped, got out, and checked the oil to see if I had any left. I did, but it was down over half a quart.

Now before any of you panic, bear in mind that later I drove over the pass again in a good car with a V6. It was not much of a challenge with a decent engine under the hood.

Even earlier, on my first crossing, back when I was a young man and gas was less than 60 a gallon, I had an Olds 98 with a 455 cubic inch engine in it. It flattened that sucker out pretty well.
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Old Jul 26th, 2008, 10:14 PM
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LOL! Thanks, Bob, you always make me laugh at something or other! I'm concerned that we may run into some inclement weather on our way back to SLC, if we go back through West Yellowstone to Jackson and then down the scenic route to SLC. Whattaya think? We'll be driving a new rental car, condition should be ok but am saving up lots of $$ for the gas..

Is Craters of the Moon worth a stop (in Idaho?) We have 2 days to get from West Yellowstone to SLC, so it's not like there's any hurry, but I would like to figure out some alternatives. Gives me something to do while counting the days to the trip...

Thanks to everyone else who has responded as well; I appreciate it.
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Old Jul 27th, 2008, 11:10 AM
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Craters of the Moon is awesome. It is just a gigantic lava flow so not so much to look at--but when I was there you could tour some of the lava tubes underground. In the spring it is amazing with flowers. It is also an excellent star watching site.

The Herriman Railroad Ranch outside of Ashton Idaho is interesting--some amazing bird viewing there.

Other than that there just isnt' that much between West Yellowstone and SLC--having spent the last 30 years driving that route at various times etc. It is gorgeous in that there is all this awesome space and that is just fantastic given how crowded the rest of the world is....
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Old Jul 27th, 2008, 05:23 PM
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sludick,

If you do have a couple of "extra" days, you might want to drive back via Evanston and spend a couple nights in Park City. Much to do and see. A 30 minute drive to SL Intl Airport.

Check out www.parkcityinfo.com
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Old Jul 27th, 2008, 07:44 PM
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Thanks for the link, Dayle. We don't have the extra days this time, but we do have timeshare opportunities in the Park City area for future trips. I'll save the link in my Vacations folder.
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Old Jul 28th, 2008, 07:09 PM
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sludick,

I would drive from W. Yellowstone to SLC in 4.5 hours. So, by Westerners' standards you still have an "extra" day and a half!

I would suggest Bear Lake except mid-oct would be too late for water sports. Beautiful fall colors though!
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Old Jul 28th, 2008, 08:13 PM
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So, do you think driving back down through YNP and GT, etc., would be doable in mid-October? We live in Florida now, and plan our vacations so we can enjoy some crisp weather. But I'm not too crazy about driving icy mountain roads -- gave that up. I'm thinking that's the way to go, actually. That time of year, I'm wondering if I even need to worry about having a reservation somewhere, or if just a list of good prospects would suffice. (Tell you what, I'm just wound a bit too tight -- have to give up project managing my own vacations!!!)
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