Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Odel meets grizzly in the Forest Service Visitor Center If you’ve ever thought of driving a big rig over Teton Pass – from Victor, ID on the west side to Jackson, WY on the east – forget it!  What a bear! 

According to the Wyoming Department of Transportation, the grade is 10%: 3 miles from top to bottom on the west side, 5 miles on the east.  Five miles of winding, 10% grade is plenty exciting in a car, no doubt heart pounding in a motorhome.

We set out at 10 am on Tuesday for a long day trip into Grand Teton National Park, on the other side of the Teton Range from our current “home”, Teton Mountain View Lodge and RV Park (click here to read our review and see photos).  We are planning to move to the national park on Thursday, and had a list of potential campsites we wanted to checkout.  First, though, we negotiated Teton Pass, SO GLAD to be in the Jeep.  We’ll be taking the “long way”, a more southern route, when we move our home to the other side.

Plenty of tourists still enjoying Grand Teton National Park.We entered the park at the southern end and made our first stop at the Visitor Center at Moose Junction.  As in Yellowstone, visitors are still here in abundance!  Then we were off to Moran Junction, on the east side of the park, where we exited the park to check on a boon docking spot just outside the park boundary.  Nice (and free) – and currently occupied.

Back in the park, we drove through heavily forested Colter Bay Campground, with big rigs lined up one after another in pullouts just off the edges of the campground roads.  Hmmmm, not really what we had in mind.

We continued all the way north, past the northern park boundary, to check on a few free camping spots off Grassy Lake Road.  These were gorgeous (also currently occupied), but no cell service there.  Yes, we are spoiled – we like our cell phones and aircard to work.  :)

Stopped for a break at the Oxbow Overlook. Turning back, we drove the entire length of the park once again, into Gros Ventre Campground, the most southern and most lightly used campground in the park.  We’ve stayed there once before, and found that it best met our needs/desires once again: rather open, mostly back-in sites in amongst cottonwoods.  We drove past a herd of bison (mamas and calves) to get there, and saw two huge bull moose relaxing in a small grove of trees on the edge of the campground.  Phones work!  It’s the place for us.  We made notes on our favorite sites for our return on Thursday.

Our round trip driving day was over 200 miles – SO unusual for us.  What made it palatable?  The gorgeous, incredible scenery.  Yellowstone is a fascinating place, but I don’t think you can beat the sheer beauty of the Teton Range, the rivers and lake of Grand Teton National Park.  Can’t wait to get back over there!


  1. The Tetons are a beautiful spot but we are partial to our own Canadian Rockies and the Icefield Parkway.

  2. We stayed a week at Gros Ventre in July. The only bad thing was that we didn't have any shade and the motorhome wasn't oriented right for our awning to be of much help. We were able to get online in the campground using our mobile hotspot on our phones.

    We've been over Teton Pass a lot of times over the years. In 2007, I was pulling a 11,500 pound 5th wheel and was doing alright on the downhill side -- until I hit the brakes to slow down to let a faster vehicle get by. It didn't take much to figure out that I was going way too fast if we needed to stop or to slow down fast -- there was too much inertia and gravity against us. By pumping the brakes and slowly shifting the Allison transmission into lower gears, I finally got down to 1st gear where I could drive with only lightly touching the brakes on occasion. Fortunately, the brakes were not damaged. We had some more steep inclines later on the trip -- as high as 9% -- and I was much more careful going into them. ;)

  3. Hi JB, I agree with you that the Canadian Rockies and the Icefield Parkway are very, very nice. Laurie and I stayed overnight along the Icefield Parkway (across from the Athabasca Glacier) 5 years ago.

  4. If you want a GREAT burger in Jackson, try Blu Kitchen. It's an upscale Asian /seafood restaurant, but for some reason or other, offer a fantastic Kobe beef burger. We sat at the bar and shared this amazing burger. It was enough for both of us.
    Tetons are special, eh??

  5. I enjoyed the Tetons on a perfect day for photos this past June. Looks like the crowds haven't subsided much, though. :)

  6. Thanks for the great info on the CG selection and why you chose the one you did. I'm taking notes here!!! Your pic of the Teton area was fantastic. Can't wait for more of this part of your journey.

  7. Odel, I'm sure Laurie would have liked to have closed her eyes going down grades like that. I appreciate hearing your tales of driving the Teton Pass and knowing that when we get there we just might leave the coach behind...nice to hear all went well.

  8. Saw the Grand Tetons briefly in 93 & have always wanted to return to that whole great
    Teton/Yellowstone area ever since. Not likely to happen though with this 'Snowbird' venue we are stuck in:((

  9. Glad you found a better route to take the motorhome when you move. And I hope you can find space at the nice boondocking spot. When we visited, 3 rigs were parked there, and there was still room for 1-2 more although that would have been a little tight. Keep enjoying that beautiful scenery!