RoadTrip America

Routes, Planning, & Inspiration for Your North American Road Trip

Road Food: Articles by Dennis Weaver
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Mountain Meadow Picnic

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The Mountain Medow Picnic Menu

Burns Creek Canyon Road
Burns Creek Canyon Road

The fruit, cheese, and salad fixings should be kept on an ice pack to keep them cold. A cloth for a picnic blanket is nice. A pocketknife is handy. A few matches and a space blanket in case it happens to rain (which it rarely does) is a good idea. Though we haven't used it since June, insect repellant is a good idea.

If You Go:

If you are headed to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks from the west, the Big Hole Mountains make for a nice, quiet, day-long, diversion. Take the road from Idaho Falls to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Highway 26. Turn left to the little town of Ririe and then right to Heise. Cross the Heise Bridge and turn right again on the river road. Past Heise Hot Springs, the road will fork with the left fork heading up Kelly's Canyon and the other paralleling the Snake River.

There are numerous trailheads above Kelly's Canyon and plenty of roads to explore through pine-filled canyons and along high ridges. The other fork, South Fork Road, is very picturesque framed on one side by the river and on the other by high lava cliffs. Watch for moose along the water's edge, deer in the evening, and eagles perched in the cottonwoods.

The roads along both forks are gravel but usually in good shape and passable for an RV or trailer. Where the river road is crowded by cliffs along the river, the road is only one lane and you may need to stop to let someone by before proceeding through a narrow stretch. The road ends at Black Canyon, about an hour up the road. If you would like a loop route, on the way back from Black Canyon, take the cut off to Table Rock and then up to the Kelly's Canyon Road.

If you go hiking, get a map on line or from the forest service. Carry a compass, matches, and a space blanket. Insect repellent is a must in the early season. Unless you are experienced in backwoods travel, stay on the extensive trail system. As with all backcountry travel, keep your bearings. The Big Hole Mountains seem to flow in every direction, and without major peaks to use as landmarks, it is easy to get turned around. Moose, elk, and deer are abundant but bears are scarce.

Dennis WeaverDennis Weaver -- having burnt food from Miami, Florida to Point Barrow, Alaska -- is RTA's road food expert. He has logged thousands of hours on the roads, trails, and waterways of America including many of Alaska's wilderness rivers and has consistently been elected the trips' "chief cook and bottle washer." Dennis is currently general manager at The Prepared Pantry, a company in Rigby, Idaho, that produces ready-to-eat meals and baking mixes packaged in Mylar. Weatherproof, bug-proof, and critter resistant, they're ideal for both roadtrips and back woods camping. Dennis may be reached at


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