Updated December 22, 2016.
Following the historic Snake River Wyoming into the wilderness often leads to surprising adventures!
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.
Considered one of America’s major rivers, the Snake has sustained life in Wyoming since ancient times.
These early peoples, including Native Americans, depended upon the river to supply them with the what they needed as they traversed its course, a major travel corridor through harsh terrain.
Eventually seasonal camps were established for reaping the abundant natural resources essential for survival.
Early European-American exploration led to the era of fur trading by mountain men, who capitalized on the vast wealth of this fantastic wilderness.
Then, “Manifest Destiny” called and the settling of the American west began by emigrants in search of the “American Dream”, who crossed these same primeval trails that followed the banks of the Snake River.
Today, the Snake River Headwaters Wild and Scenic River in Wyoming is one of the few remaining temperate ecosystems left in the world.
Virtually untouched, these pristine waters and surrounding wilderness are preserved thanks to the diligent guardianship of America’s National Park system and the Bureau of Land Management.
Visitors can enjoy many historical and archaeological sites as well as myriads of recreational activities.
The amazing wildlife and breathtaking scenery of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway, the National Elk Refuge and the Bridger-Teton National Forest make this region one of the most visited on Earth.
Crossing the state border at the southeast end of the picturesque Palisades Reservoir we entered Wyoming after a two day sojourn across Idaho via various scenic byways. Read more about our road trip in, The Snake River Idaho—Road Tripping Up-streme!.
We were greeted by the quaint town of Alpine, Wyoming, located at the mouth of the Palisades Reservoir’s major tributary, the Snake River. Here, water sports and winter sports abound, making the area a year-round destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
At the junction in Alpine, we turned east, northeast on US 26/US 89 and drove through the forest to the next junction. The highway hugs the shore of the beautiful Snake River Wyoming.
Keeping the river in sight, we hooked up with the Wyoming Centennial Scenic Byway by turning north on US 26/US 191/US 287 and followed it into Jackson Hole valley and Jackson, Wyoming.
Driving this scenic byway is an amazing trip through the Bridger-Teton National Forest, and parts of Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks.
While we didn't tour the full loop on this trip, I definitely added it to my bucket list of must-see things to do.
Sandwiched between the Teton and Gros Ventre mountain ranges, the city of Jackson sits toward the south end of the Jackson Hole Valley. . .
. . . and the Snake River Wyoming runs through it all!
Originally occupied by Native American tribes, Shoshoni, Gros Ventre, Blackfeet, Bannock and Crow, the area began to open up after the Lewis and Clark expedition passed through on their return trip.
Remember the famous mountain men, Jedediah Smith, Sublette, Jim Bridger and David Jackson? It was David Jackson for whom the valley, the lake and town were named after.
Soon Jackson Hole became a prime center for the fur trade.
World-class recreation opportunities flourish through four seasons, attracting tourists from around the globe. . .
. . . and Jackson thrives on it.
Though international tourists swell the restaurants and shops, the American west is alive and well-preserved in this frontier town.
Winter transforms Jackson into a white wonderland where visitors enjoy skiing, snowmobiling and ice climbing.
We lodged here for three nights at the Pony Express Motel while we made long day excursions into the wilderness exploring the sights.
This was our second trip to this incredible region and there’s still more for us to see!
Early the morning following our arrival in Jackson, we set out to explore Grand Teton National Park, a bucket list destination for me and the reason for this trip to begin with.
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.
Our adventure following the Snake River upstream continues in, Grand Teton Mountains--Road Tripping Up-streme!
Operated by the National Forest Service, Alpine Campground is a rustic accommodation on the southeast shore of Palisades Reservoir about 2 miles west of Alpine, Wyoming.
Watersports are plentiful as is some of the best trout fishing in the region. Other recreational activities include hunting and wildlife viewing. A boat ramp is nearby.
Located on the banks of the Snake River 10 minutes south of Jackson, Wyoming, this campground has you covered.
You don’t need a tent or RV to stay here; well-appointed cabins can be reserved. KOA.com
We loved the rustic setting and the old-west hospitality at the Pony Express Motel.
Staying here became part of the frontier experience while we explored this special region in Wyoming.
Finding lodging in Jackson is a challenge.
There are so many to choose from and competition for reservations is fierce. Make reservations about 9 months in advance of your road trip.
The best tool I found to help us plan our trip to the Jackson Hole Valley was WyomingTourism.org.
Outstanding exhibits are the hallmark of the Jackson Hole Historical Society & Museum. Immerse yourself in the history of this colorful region.
This world-class museum is a Congressionally-designated arts organization.
Located in the city of Jackson, this place exhibits a treasure trove of wildlife art history dating back to 2500 B.C. Wildlifeart.org
Practice your mountain and rock climbing skills at this unique, free park located in Jackson.
Various events and camps are scheduled throughout the year. Teton Boulder Project
A.K.A. Jackson’s “Town Square” is best known for its iconic elk antler arches stationed at each of the four entrances.
The antlers were gathered from the nearby National Elk Refuge.
The park is the center of many annual events and festivals throughout the year including a nightly “Shoot Out” show during the summer, and boasts an ice skating rink in the winter. The "Town Square"
Established by Congress in 1912 to protect one of the largest elk herds in the world, the National Elk Refuge extends its guardianship of habitat to all endangered wildlife and big game in the area, as well as one of the largest herds of buffalo.
Wildlife gathers here during cold harsh weather, a place where they can survive the bitter winters; the best time of year for viewing.
In the heart of Jackson proper, Snow King Ski Area rises steeply from the streets and the busy shopping and restaurant center.
Citizens are proud of this prominent part of their city’s culture.
Consider hiking to the top for some grand views of Jackson Hole.
Catch a skyline view of the Grand Teton Mountain Range and the Jackson Hole Valley via the aerial tram.
Lodging, shopping, dining, winter and summer sports sum up the many things to do at Teton Village.
The old west comes alive with good old-fashioned cowboy cooking!
Bubba's dishes up a satisfying Texas barbecue, family style. We enjoyed great food and good camaraderie.
We asked the locals what their favorite restaurant was. Rendezvous Bistro was at the top of everyone's list!
Excellent food and impeccable service at a reasonable price.
I loved Chef Roger Freedman's take on food. . . memorable.