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  1. Default Jackson Hole to Seattle ~ 7 days

    My wife and I are planning our first road trip. We would like to explore some of the West. We would like to end up in Seattle and have at least 3 days to spend in the Seattle area. We were also hoping to see some other areas. We are thinking of starting in Jackson Hole going to the Grand Tetons and then northwest to Seattle. The tentative route (link) follows Rt. 84, but we aren't sure what there is to see/experience off of Rt. 84, if anything. An alternative route that goes through Montana/Wyoming/Idaho, that is slightly longer.

    Does anyone have any experience or input?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Idaho

    Some of my favourite routes and roads are through central Idaho. It is beautiful serene country, albeit not highway country.

    From Idaho Falls to Arco take route 20 and then 93 to Craters of the Moon NM and onto Twin Falls. Shoshone Falls are worth visiting and depending on the time of year, can be quite spectacular. Just west of the falls is the canyon where Evil Knievel tried to jump over the Snake River on his motorbike, and ended up parachuting down into the water. There are lovely walks along the canyon top.

    Heading north out of Twin Falls, on route 75 there is a lookout point where the bridge crosses the Snake River. Further up are the Ice Caves, and then the road takes one through lava fields, some of which come right up to the road.

    At Ketchum, a ski resort area, there are the Clarendon Hot Springs. The road then takes you to Stanley, through the Sawtooth National Recreation Area and over Galena pass, with its expansive vistas.

    Or you could continue on 93 from Arco to Challis by the Lost River Range, and 75 to Stanley. This will take you through View Canyon at Willow Crescent Summit - probably the shortest canyon ever. Then follow the Salmon River, featured in the movie, River Of No Return.

    Stanley, with its population of 100 permanent residents, is a lovely and welcoming little town, with a great history mainly centred around gold.

    The scenic Ponderosa Highway through Lowman and Garden Valley, will take you into Boise. Or you could choose to go north from Garden Valley, through Lewiston and on to Spokane, while savouring more of beautiful rural Idaho.

    Lifey with fond memories of Idaho
    Last edited by Lifemagician; 04-09-2011 at 08:50 PM. Reason: correction

  3. #3

    Default And on to Montana

    Hello burlsube,

    Lifemagician's reverence for Idaho is well-placed. I happen to be very fond of the southwest corner of Montana, having spent much time there since the late 1970s.

    From southeast ID, one must make a choice on which of two directions to take around the +4,000,000 acres of designated wilderness along the ID-MT border. In order to see some of ID and some of MT, I'd consider the following:

    From Arco, head up US 93 through Challis to Salmon. From Challis to Salmon, the highway follows the Salmon River and is quite scenic. At Salmon, run south a few miles on ID 28 to the vicinity of Tendoy. A gravel road there takes you to the east, past Sharkey Hot Springs (developed by the BLM in recent years in to a nice, clean facility with a bathroom/changing house), to Lemhi Pass, where Lewis & Clark first crossed the Great Divide. The gravel road is not daunting and is developed and promoted as the Lewis and Clark Backcountry Byway and Adventure Road by the BLM and the National Forest Service. The gravel road continues into MT to MT 324 to Grants. At Grants turn north on the gravel road to Bannack, a preserved ghost town, the first territorial capital of MT, and now a MT state park. After visiting Bannack, take MT 278 through Jackson to Wisdom. The segment from Jackson to Wisdom passes through the Big Hole, which for my money rivals Jackson Hole for the most scenic alpine valley in the Lower 48. The Big Hole National Battlefield is near Wisdom and is a must-see stop. Just west of Wisdom, MT 43 ends at Lost Trail Pass at the ID-MT border, where north on US 93 brings you through the Bitterroot Valley to Missoula. Along the way, Darby, Hamilton, and Missoula are all fine stops for the night, as would be Jackson, where the sole accomodations are the Jackson Hot Springs Resort, featuring a hot spring-fed swimming pool, a nice bar and restaurant, and both rooms and small cabins. A rough estimate of the distance and purely travel time from Salmon, over the divide, to Bannack, Jackson, Wisdom, to Darby where one more or less encounters civilization once again, is 130-140 miles and 4-5 hours. The gravel segment is perhaps 40 miles, less a handful of paved miles on MT 324 near Grants. You'd be wise to leave Salmon with a full tank of fuel, although fuel is available at Wisdom and a few places south of Darby. Spending an hour at Sharkey's Hot Spring, an hour or two at Bannack, and an hour or two at the Battlefield would make for a long but invigorating day ending in Darby or Hamilton in the early evening.

    If you were to undertake this journey, you'd see parts of ID and MT few tourists ever see. There's plenty of history to be experienced at Bannack and the Big Hole Battlefield. Unless you passed through on a weekend day, chances are you'd see but a handful of other travelers.

    Enjoy planning and taking your ID-MT RoadTrip!

    Last edited by Foy; 04-10-2011 at 06:46 AM. Reason: corrections, clarity

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