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  1. Default Routes to Yellowstone and Grand Tetons

    My sister and I are driving from Boise, Idaho to Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, and will fly home from Salt Lake City over 6 nights from July 11-17. So soon; so exciting! Looking for any and all advice on the following, please:

    1. What alternate routes are suggested from Boise to Yellowstone (we are staying at Old Faithful Lodge the 1st night and Lake Lodge the 2nd) that would provide a more scenic route or off the beaten path? We are mainly interested in the view and won't stop for museums or attractions.

    2. Do you have any recommendations on where to stay on the 11th before we get to Yellowstone on the 12th? I was thinking Twin Falls, Idaho Falls, or possibly driving into Wyoming....

    3. Is it worth it to drive up Red Lodge on Beartooth or out to Cody on Route 14 during our 3 days/2 nights at Yellowstone?

    4. Should we stay 2 nights near the Tetons and a night near Salt Lake City/Antelope Island or do 3 nights near Tetons?

    We love nature, want to do some mild-moderate hiking, and catch a bunch of sunsets. We are looking to keep budget modest (as best as can be in Jackson Hole, I guess!) and will pack snacks and eat dinners out. Thank you for any insider tips or recommendations. We would greatly appreciate it!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default You Can Hardly Go Wrong

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    (1) There are two, and really only two, basic routes between Boise and Yellowstone. They diverge at Mountain Home and rejoin at Idaho Falls. The 'major' route, I-84 runs along the Snake River and through the Thousand Springs area of the river. The alternative would be US-20 which runs a bit farther north, is considerably less traveled and passes by Craters of the Moon National Monument.

    (2) Similarly, if you don't already have a reservation somewhere, your choices of where to stay on that first night are also pretty much limited to two locations, Idaho Falls and West Yellowstone, and I'd be making a reservation ASAP.

    (3) Yellowstone is HUGE and the traffic at this time of year is heavy and slow. I would not recommend that you try to do anything other than see the park in the time you have available, certainly not try to venture out to the north and east when where you want to be heading is south.

    (4) That's entirely up to you. What I will point out is that the drive from the Grand Tetons to Salt Lake City is another chance to get off the beaten path a bit and use US-89 and WY-89 south through western Wyoming, maybe even making the detour to Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area, and then enter SLC from the east using I-80/I-84 over the Wasatch Mountains.


  3. Default

    Thank you so much for your help and welcome! I love reading through tips and advice. So helpful! Thank you for the Idaho Falls tip, we booked one this am! As for the Idaho drive, Iíve looked up both and the northern route seems more time consuming but equally beautiful and less traveled. I k ow itís personal opinion, but would you recommend one over the other?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Six of One...

    To be honest, having driven both routes, I don't have a real clear preference. I tend to enjoy two-lane roads through what I call "desolate grandeur" such as US-20 across the Columbia Plateau and Rocky Mountains of central Idaho, and the Craters of the Moon would certainly fill your desire for some mild to moderate hiking off the beaten path. On the other hand, I-84 is clearly the more 'civilized' route with many more travelers' services should you need them and Thousand Springs is both beautiful and relatively easy to get to. Now, Boise to Idaho Falls makes for a relatively short day so I will offer one possible tie-breaker for your consideration and that is the town of Bruneau and two of its namesake attractions, Bruneau Sand Dunes and Bruneau Canyon. Both of those are definitely worth a visit and would argue for the I-84 route, but both are close enough to Boise that if that's your home you could easily do them as day trips. Sorry I can't be more definitive, but RoadTrips are by their very nature the results of myriad personal choices. This is just one of many that you'll have to make.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Beautiful Idaho.

    It's hard to find a route through ID which is not beautiful. Many of the off-the-beaten-path roads are full of lesser known attractions and history. There's a great book I once had which was full of road trips through ID, all off-the-beaten-parth. Wish I could recall its title.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Not a Book, But...

    There is a website that lists a couple of dozen scenic routes through Idaho. They won't all fit on your route or in your time frame, but it's a good resource.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    I will second AZBuck's recommendation about the scenic byways of Idaho. Two years ago, my husband and I were on several of them: Sawtooth, Payette River, Wildlife Canyon, and parts of both the Pend Oreille, International Selkirk, and the Lake Couer d'Alene byways. All were beautiful.


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