What a peaceful, beautiful and exhilirating experience we had when we created our own personal driving tour of Grand Teton National Park!
With our worn and torn map of Yellowstone and The Tetons, we mapped out our own driving tour that would fit within our time frame.
Not knowing what to expect, we set out from Yellowstone's Old Faithful Inn on June 5th. We exited Yellowstone through its South entrance and were immediately on the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway that runs into Highway 89/191/287. As we drove past Flagg Ranch Village, you could catch an occasional glimpse of the mountains ahead. Excitement grew as we passed the Lizard Creek turnout and it wasn’t long before the ‘photo opportunity’ happened and we were out of the car snapping away with our cameras. Back into the car and just a little further down the road was another turnout, and, of course we had to stop! This time everyone had their binoculars out peering into the marshland to see what was moving. It was a moose grazing and lazily making its way around the valley. Back into the car we go after observing the moose for awhile and our next stop was at Jackson Lake Dam for another photo session. At the Jackson Lake Junction, we picked up the Teton Park Road and about 7 to 10 miles away, we turned left onto Signal Mountain road. This is a 5 mile drive to one of the park’s most panoramic views of Jackson Hole and the entire Teton mountain range. Continuing on from Signal Mountain , we took the Jenny Lake Scenic Drive and stopped at the Jenny Lake turnout. There were more than enough things to do here as well as enjoy the Cascade Canyon view and Jenny Lake. After spending quite a lot of time at Jenny Lake, we’re back to driving, stopping at all of the turnouts to take photos until we get to Moose.
At Moose, we made a left turn onto Highway 89, where we gazed out the left windows as we had a continuous, awesome view of “Teewinot, Grand Teton, Mt. Owen, Symmetry Spire, and Mt. St. John". To our right on Highway 89, we saw bison grazing ever so slowly in a field of bright yellow wildflowers. The sight was so spectacular that it was enough for another photo stop! Along the way, was the Snake River turnout, and yes, we stopped!! There my husband found his way upon the rock ledge and brought out the binoculars for viewing the wildlife in and around the Snake River and getting a closer view of the glaciers. (I think this was his most enjoyable part of the driving tour)!! After leaving this turnout, we continued on to Moran Junction. This leg of the journey was around 18 to 20 miles. At Moran Junction, we made a left turn and took in my favorite site, Oxbow Bend. One cannot describe in words, the actual beauty that you see from this point. From Oxbow Bend, we continued on for 2 or 3 miles until we reached Jackson Lake Junction. At Jackson Lake Junction, we rejoined the Teton Park Road and followed it down into Jackson, where we spent the night!!!
Thursday morning found us up, eager to hit the trails again. This time we reversed our driving tour, as we wanted to get to Oxbow Bend while the morning sunlight was upon the mountains. We went from Jackson back into the Grand Teton National Park and at Moose, took Highway 89 up to Moran Junction. At Moran Junction, we turned left and went to Oxbow Bend. The difference of a few hours in lighting makes an unbelievable photo comparison.!! At Jackson Lake Junction, we made a right turn and went to the Colter Bay Visitor Center to make our final Teton souvenir purchases. After leaving Colter Bay V/C we then repeated the previous day’s driving tour with the exception of Signal Mountain. We promised ourselves that we would not take any more photos, but naturally, that didn’t happen!!! At Jenny Lake, the water was just so ‘perfect’ with the snow capped mountains in the background, that you just "had" to try and capture the feeling and spirit of the moment!! However, we did manage to drive leisurely through the park and enjoy the awesome sights without taking ALL of the turnouts this time!!! As we were exiting the park for our final time on Thursday afternoon, we saw two deer grazing to the right and yes, you guessed it…. we stopped and took a picture!!
We hope you have enjoyed reading about our driving tour in The Tetons and that you will enjoy a few of our favorite moments captured in our many photo ops!!