Take a Road Trip North to Jackson Hole on Route 89

The Tetons At 10 million years old, the Tetons are relatively young, but they contain rocks that are nearly 3 billion years old.

Route Details


About 240 miles.

When to go:

May to October.

Nearby attractions:

Fossil Butte
National Monument (fossil displays), west
of Kemmerer, Wyoming. Lava Hot Springs,
Idaho (known for its hot mineral pools).
Periodic Spring (the spring gushes every
18 minutes from an opening in a canyon
wall), in Bridger-Teton National Forest, near
Afton, Wyoming.

Visitor centers:

At Colter Bay, Jenny
Lake, and Moose in Grand Teton National

Further information:

Grand Teton
National Park, P.O. Drawer 170, Moose, WY
83 012; tel. 307-739-3300, www.nps.gov/grte/.

Bold and larger than life were the
trappers, hunters, homesteaders,
and prospectors who trod the ranges
and ridges of Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming
a century and more ago. On this drive you’ll travel in their footsteps,
following them through still-untamed country that seems both
remote and accessible, forbidding
and beautiful. The reward at the end
of the road is a relatively small but
priceless jewel — glorious Grand
Teton National Park.

1. Logan Canyon Scenic Drive

From Logan, Utah, Rte. 89 follows
the Logan River northeast toward
Bear Lake. On either side of the
river rise the steep
slopes and dramatic limestone
cliffs of Logan Canyon. Among
the intriguing stops along the
route is the Preston Valley Campground,
where a sign calls attention
to a slab of quartz tunneled by
tiny seaworms some 400 million
years ago. Another is the Wood
Camp Campground, from which
a trail leads to the Jardine Juniper,
an evergreen believed to be more
than 1,500 years old.

2. Bear Lake Summit

After a climb of some 3,000 feet
between Logan and Bear Lake
Summit, the drive rewards travelers
with a breathtaking view of Bear
Lake, which shimmers with a
shade of blue-green so vivid it
looks like a tropical lagoon — or a
suburban swimming pool. A mile
farther on, another commanding
view overlooks not only Bear Lake,
but a horizon rimmed by the Sawtooth
Mountains to the northeast,
the Trump Range to the east, and
the Uintas to the southeast.

3. Bear Lake

Turning north at Garden City,
Rte.89 parallels the western shore
of Bear Lake, whose aquamarine
waters — colored by tiny suspended
particles — straddle the border
between Utah and Idaho. Because
geologic upheaval long ago isolated
it from surrounding bodies
of water, Bear Lake has managed
to nurture four species of fish
found nowhere else in the world.
The wide sandy beach at the lake’s
northern shore, part of Bear Lake
State Park, is a local mecca for
swimmers and picnickers. Just
north of the beach is Bear Lake
National Wildlife Refuge, 18,060
acres consisting mostly of wetlands
that provide nesting places for
snowy egrets, white-faced ibises,
and Franklin’s gulls.

4. Greys River Road

The fast way north to Jackson is
via well-traveled Rte. 89 through
the Star Valley, where the rugged
mountains of Wyoming flatten
and slide toward blandly bucolic
Idaho farmland. A more adventurous
route is the 80-mile, two-lane
gravel detour by way of the Smith
Fork and Greys River roads, beginning
at a turnoff about six miles
south of Smoot. Following a verdant
valley tucked between the
Wyoming and Salt River Mountains
and cloaked with lodgepole
pines (part of the Bridger-Teton
National Forest), the road runs
along the trout-rich Greys River.
Frequent turnouts invite hungry
travelers to pause for a picnic and
tempt eager anglers to wet a line
in the flowing waters.

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