Updated August 11, 2016
The Grand Teton Mountains rose to the top of my bucket list of must-see destinations, like they jut into the blue skies of Wyoming.
Little did I know when we ventured forth, this road trip would turn up some adventurous surprises!
As we live in a craggy wilderness off the slopes of the Cascade Range in the Pacific Northwest, we forged our way east by the interstate freeway system. It started at the confluence of the Snake and Columbia Rivers in Pasco, Washington, where we began following the Snake River upstream, through Oregon and Idaho to Wyoming's State boundary line.
That’s when our road trip became interesting . . .
. . . venturing upstream and off-freeway!
You can learn more about our road trip in the Snake River Series.
Built by earthquakes shaking up the Earth’s crust along the Grand Teton Fault, and shaped by ancient glaciers left over from the Ice age, the Grand Teton Mountains are a small range located within the larger cache of the Rocky Mountains running north and south through the western United States of America.
The range’s western foot defines the Idaho/Wyoming boundary line. Yet, the best views are located in Wyoming.
It’s all about the dramatic views as the Grand Teton Mountains rise sharply from the Jackson Hole Valley floor.
Remarkable scenery can be had in any season.
Wildflowers paint a rainbow of color in spring.
Crystalline alpine lakes glisten in the summer sun.
Golden Aspens glitter across an autumn landscape.
Unforgiving storms during the long winters can plunge temperatures into the extreme sub-zeros while blanketing the wilderness in snow.
The monolithic Grand Tetons rise about it all . . .
. . . and the Snake River serenely meanders through this picturesque place of breathtaking wonders.
A mecca for water sports enthusiasts from around the world, thousands flock here to fish, canoe, kayak, raft, float on drift boats and to shoot rapids.
No wonder this dazzling setting was featured in the famous movies, “The Big Trail” and “Shane” starring, John Wayne!
Early the morning following our arrival in Jackson, we set out to explore Grand Teton National Park.
Heading north on the Wyoming Centennial Scenic Byway, we cleared town just as the rising sun touched the glacial peaks of the Grand Teton Mountain Range . . . an awe inspiring sight.
We turned east at Moose Junction, the entrance to the National Park. Teton Park Road courses its way between the mountains and the Snake River.
To say the scenery is stunning really is shortchanging what we saw. You truly have to be there to appreciate the grandeur.
The views from Teton Glacier Turnout were humbling. The Grand Tetons rise from a flat plain carved by the Snake River, projecting into the atmosphere as if reaching for the heavens.
My photos are a mere attempt to capture what I experienced, but don’t begin to convey the splendor.
As I panned from left to right photographing each mountain, the more imposing they became. Their greatness overwhelmed me.
From a distance, Teton Glacier (center) is impressive. On the right, Teewinot Mountain rises prominently to the forefront while Mount Owen hides behind glacier and lofty clouds (center back).
On this day, Grand Teton, soaring on the left side of the glacier, rests in the clouds, unseen.
I was pleasantly surprised my little red camera was able to zoom in on Teton Glacier and capture remarkable detail in spite of the haze. The glacier is colossal against the tall trees at timberline.
The rugged heights reached out and grabbed me!
I breathed deeply the immeasurable peace of this pastoral place. Fresh. Clear . . . untouched.
Cascade Canyon is considered the gateway to the Alpine Region. Beautiful meadows filled with wildflowers, perfect lakes and primeval peaks await adventurous hikers.
More and more mountains meet us at every turn! Here I captured a tremendous view of the Grand Tetons at Mountain View Turnout.
"Monumental" best describes Mount Moran's prominence in the Grand Teton Range. This view was taken from Mount Moran Turnout.
I was swept away on a sea of emotion.
Like a reverent hymn, America the Beautiful, written by Katherine Lee Bates in 1913, played in my mind, and whispered upon my lips.
Surely this is the place for which the lyrics were written. The scenery, the history and the American spirit culminated, and a tear coursed down my cheek.
Click here to hear Frank Sinatra sing "America the Beautiful".
The Snake River fills Jackson Lake, a man made reservoir, with its precious waters, an important resource for residents, visitors and wildlife in Grand Teton National Park.
The road winds around the Lake’s shore and over the National Park boundary at the point where the Snake River meets Jackson Lake.
This is where a new adventure begins as we journey the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway.
One of the most beautiful road trips in the world is the 8 mile drive connecting Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park.
Beginning where the Snake River empties into Jackson Lake, the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway follows the river north to the South Entrance at Yellowstone National Park.
The scenery was stunning, especially the views of the Snake River as it wends its way through the wilderness.
I watch for wildlife, my camera ready to shoot anything I see through the window as we drive along.
This lovely Elk cow was undaunted by our passing by.
We close in on the South Entrance to Yellowstone National Park, where the Snake River turns east and disappears into the mountains to its headwaters deep into the wilderness from which it was born . . .
. . . Our adventure continues in, Yellowstone National Park WY—Road Tripping Up-streme!
Located on the shores of Jackson Lake, Colter Bay Village Campground is a huge accommodation offering supreme views of the Grand Teton Mountains.
Operating inside the Grand Teton National Park, Headwaters Campground provides accommodations for recreational vehicles and tent campers, as well as featuring campers cabins for those who wish a rustic stay.
Bike enthusiasts and hikers love the quiet solitude on shores this alpine lake. Jenny Lake Campground is open to tents only.
Lizard Creek Campground is a tiny accommodation located in the middle of moose, elk and bear country, deep in the remote wilderness of Grand Teton National Park. First come, first serve.
Next to Signal Mountain Lodge on Jackson Lakes is a quaint getaway tucked into a pine forest. Signal Mountain Campground is a rustic getaway on the edge of adventure.
The greater Grand Teton/Yellowstone region is a mecca for fly-fishing aficionados from around the world. It’s trout, trout and more trout! For more information consult the Greater Yellowstone Resource Guide.
"Remodeled in 2012, the Colter Bay Visitor Center displays 35 artifacts from the David T. Vernon collection never before on display." NPS.gov
The Bridger-Teton National Forest is the birthplace of the great Snake River. This remote wilderness remains essentially untouched since time began. There is much to see here for those seeking high adventure.