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From GTNP to Salt Lake City

Bucks County...
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From GTNP to Salt Lake City

We're planning to spend 3 nights in Grand Teton National Park after 6 nights in Yellowstone. We'll then be driving back to Salt Lake City to get a flight back to PA and wanted to know if there are interesting places to stop on the drive back to SLC. Google Map directions show the trip to be around 6 hours. We like nature, hiking, photography, wildlife, interesting small towns, and diner-type eateries. We're not as interested in museums, shopping, or indoor activities. We might even consider adding an extra night's stay somewhere on the way to Salt Lake City if we could find enough to see and do on the way.

Salt Lake City, Utah
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1. Re: From GTNP to Salt Lake City

My answer to a similar question going from SLC to Jackson... so you'll need to reverse the paths:

""It takes us about 5 hrs to Jackson no matter which way we go (a little further to the Tetons). There might be one that is slightly faster, or another one that takes longer only because we make so many stops.

You can go east on I-80 to Evanston and then north along the state borders (the road numbers change frequently), but you eventually end up on 89 through Star Valley (Afton/Thayne)

Or if you want one that is a little more direct roadwise take I-80 past Evanston to the turn off for 189, head to Kemmerer and Big Piney. Catch a glimpse of the Wind Rivers. Nice entrance into Hoback

Or you can take what is generally considered the most scenic, north on I-15, east on 89 at Brigham City, through Logan, up Logan Canyon and into the Bear Lake Valley. It is a beautiful canyon and gorgeous valley. Stop for raspberry shakes. Then continue on to Star Valley

Or you can go up I-15 further north. You can cut over on 30 if you have any inclination to stop in Lava Hot Springs for a soak, then go north at Soda Springs into Star Valley (this would be the last choice I would make)

Or continue on I-15 to Idaho Falls, head east on 26 and then cut north at Swan Valley on 31 to Victor and over the Teton Pass to Jackson. Teton Pass is a dramatic entrance into the Jackson area.

Or if you want just a little longer drive continue past Idaho Falls on 20 and head past Rexburg to Sugar City where you will turn off on 33 and head into the beautiful Teton Valley. (Wished I would have found that before the Hunstmans started developing it.) Then over the Teton Pass

They each have their good and bad points. Most people probably take I-15 to 26.""

So those are your route choices.

A couple towns to stop overnight might be Garden City on beautiful Bear Lake (or Montpelier on the Oregon trail where there is a nice National Trails museum). Definitely try the raspberry shakes in Garden City.

Or Lava Hot Springs, where you could try a dip in the town hot pools.

Or Kemmerer WY (hometown of JCPenny) and visit Fossil Butte NM and maybe try digging for your own fossils.

Or try Park City. Very interesting small town, though it is more shopping there are some good eateries, and it is close to the Uinta Mts. You could even take the Mirror Lake hyw (150) south from Evanston to Kamas. It goes through the western Uintas and is full of lakes and interesting mts....just on a different scale from the Tetons.

Bucks County...
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2. Re: From GTNP to Salt Lake City

Thank you, Kbecjeans-- we'll check out all those routes and try to get more info on the towns along the way.

Salt Lake City, UT
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3. Re: From GTNP to Salt Lake City

Kbecjeans and I usually agree on this point...that stopping around Bear Lake ("The Carribbean of the Rockies") is absolutely the prettiest route. And as she mentions in her very well detailed post above, you can stop and spend more significant time there, or you can stop for a raspberry shake and keep moving (IMO- the best views of the lake are actually at the visitor's center stop that is perched above the lake on the south end...so it would be as you were driving out).

If you take this route, after Bear Lake you will be driving through Logan Canyon Scenic Byway. This is possibly my favorite canyon to drive through in the summer; it's stunning. There are several GORGEOUS hikes in this canyon that I could recommend if you go this route (The Wind Caves is a short, but very interesting one-- The Crimson Trial is stunning). Here's a link to the Byway itself and links to the hikes: http://byways.org/stories/74734

Leaving the Byway lands you in Logan, UT and Utah State University (cute, small college town- a few "diner" options). Then, there's one more pretty drive through "Sardine Canyon," then you land in Brigham City, and then it's all I-15 south for about 1.5 hours to SLC.

Good luck!

Salt Lake City, Utah
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4. Re: From GTNP to Salt Lake City

<<Kbecjeans and I usually agree on this point...that stopping around Bear Lake ("The Carribbean of the Rockies") is absolutely the prettiest route.>>

Usually ?? ;-)

Bucks County...
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5. Re: From GTNP to Salt Lake City

Thanks to browna1234 for your route suggestions and other ideas. I'll link this thread in my Trip folder and use your ideas as well as Kbecjeans' as we plan our route and stops back to Salt Lake City.

And we will definitely be stopping for a raspberry milkshake!

Mystic, Connecticut
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6. Re: From GTNP to Salt Lake City

Ok, I am thinking if we drive from SLC- to GT (Late June) will that be a good time of year to take the route through bear lake? It sounds so nice,and I'm thinking it might be a good place to stop for lunch,etc. Would this work? thanks

Mystic, Connecticut
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7. Re: From GTNP to Salt Lake City

oh...and is Hometown drive in the place to stop for shakes?

Bucks County...
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8. Re: From GTNP to Salt Lake City

Hsmamatotwo-- We stopped at the Hometown Drive Inn (TA reviews here: tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g56993-d51… ) and had a delicious raspberry shake. We saw LaBeaus Drive Inn-- I believe it was just down the street from Hometown (TA reviews here: tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g56993-d51… ) It was a toss-up as to which shake-place we'd try since both advertised their "Famous Raspberry Shakes" (they come in other flavors, too) and Hometowns's was tasty and a nice break in our drive back to Salt Lake City. We shared a shake for dessert since we'd just tried to finish up much of our leftover cooler food for lunch since we'd be flying home the next day.

Mystic, Connecticut
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9. Re: From GTNP to Salt Lake City

ok thanks@ after looking at the map of bear lake, it seems like a lot of choices right in one convenient area! and I think my kids will enjoy it....

Mystic, Connecticut
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10. Re: From GTNP to Salt Lake City

Ok, I am now bombarding the forums here....:-) due to some plan changes, I am now reworking our schedule...we fly in one day earlier than planned. Since YP has no availability left,I am thinking of just staying at Colter Bay on extra night. Could we still visit Jackson itself from this base? Mapquest shows 50 min. drive...

Also, considering a couple of things. If we keep our trip 11 days(now), I could do 3 nites GTNP (JAckson visit) 2 nites OF, 1 nite Mammoth, ***1 nite Cody*** then 2 nites canyon....to break activities up.

Part of my problem (haha) is this....our original stay at Canyon, we had 3 nites total. But we have to move our room,so it's broken into 1 then 2 nites. I was thinking, since we had to move anyway, why not try Cody that night,then head back to park? or is Gardiner,up in the north,a smarter choice (think complaining teenagers) for one night.

I have no idea if I'm being clear enough, but it's all so unfamiliar,I'm having a hard time planning.