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Grand Teton, Yellowstone & Glacier

In case you’re in search of mountain surroundings, ample wildlife, epic climbing, world-class scenic drives and/or extraordinary pure points of…

By Staff , in National Parks , at August 23, 2021

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In case you’re in search of mountain surroundings, ample wildlife, epic climbing, world-class scenic drives and/or extraordinary pure points of interest, you’ll discover all of it on a northern Rockies nationwide parks highway journey.

Driving from Wyoming throughout Montana, you’ll uncover historic websites, encounter majestic animals, and see unforgettable landscapes. This highway journey takes you to the final word trifecta of mountain nationwide parks in America: Grand Teton, Yellowstone and Glacier.

Discover the Nationwide Parks of the Northern Rocky Mountains on This Epic Highway Journey

All three of those nationwide parks are phenomenal on their very own. From the jaw-dropping, saw-toothed Teton Vary to Yellowstone’s geysers and megafauna, and Glacier’s wonderful glacial valleys, you can spend weeks, fairly actually, exploring every park.

Collectively, nonetheless, they provide one of many biggest highway journeys on the planet. This northern Rocky Mountains nationwide parks highway journey has one thing for everybody.

Like staying at inns? Take your choose from quite a lot of historic lodges in Grand Teton, Yellowstone and Glacier. Get pleasure from tenting as an alternative? There are numerous fantastic campgrounds unfold throughout these parks, too.

Wish to do some scenic drives? Every park has its personal wonderful driving route! The Teton Park Highway, the Yellowstone Grand Loop Highway, and Glacier’s Going-to-the-Solar Highway all cater to motorists and bicyclists alike. In actual fact, these roads are among the many biggest in your entire nationwide park system.

After which there’s epic climbing, stunning viewpoints, scrumptious native meals (huckleberries!),… And the wildlife, after all.

Grand Teton, Yellowstone and Glacier are all dwelling to grizzly bears, moose, wolves, bighorn sheep and different iconic American animals.

Briefly, you can’t go incorrect with a highway journey to the nationwide parks of the northern Rockies. It’s one of many world’s biggest self-drive holidays. Now, let’s take a more in-depth take a look at every of those three northern Rockies nationwide parks.

This publish in regards to the final nationwide parks of the northern Rockies highway journey comprises affiliate hyperlinks. You possibly can learn extra about our Phrases of Use / Disclosure right here.

Grand Teton Nationwide Park, Wyoming

Oxbow Bend sunrise at Grand Teton National Park

Begin your northern Rockies nationwide parks highway journey within the vibrant western city of Jackson Gap and adjoining Grand Teton Nationwide Park. (The Jackson Gap Airport is the one public airport inside a nationwide park in america.)

Grand Teton Nationwide Park is dwelling to the wonderful Teton Park Highway, however it’s rather more than a drive-thru nationwide park.

Though you’ll discover quite a few turnouts and viewpoints alongside the park’s important roads, corresponding to Willow Flats, Oxbow Bend and Blacktail Ponds, it is a excellent park to discover on foot, in a kayak or canoe, or on horseback.

Blacktail Ponds Overlook, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
Jenny Lake boat ferry in Grand Teton National Park

A dense community of trails takes hikers alongside scenic lakeshores, throughout sagebrush meadows, by way of conifer forests and deep into the wildernesses of the Grand Teton canyons.

Wildlife encounters are fairly frequent right here, the park being dwelling to every little thing from American bison, pronghorn, moose and elk to black and grizzly bears, even some wolves.

Grizzly bear 399 with cub in Grand Teton National Park
Elk at Willow Flats in Grand Teton National Park

The primary Europeans who explored what’s now Grand Teton Nationwide Park have been lonely French fur trappers. These hardy wilderness wanderers clearly craved some feminine companionship, naming the mountains’ three important peaks “les trois tétons”—the three breasts.

Afterward, settlers established ranches and homesteads in Jackson Gap, essentially the most well-known of that are discovered alongside Mormon Row. The historic Chapel of the Transfiguration close to Moose is famend for the window behind its altar, which superbly frames the Grand Teton peaks within the background.

T.A. Moulton Barn at sunrise, Grand Teton National Park
Chapel of the Transfiguration in Grand Teton National Park

Exceptionally accessible and straightforward to discover, Grand Teton Nationwide Park lets you hike in mountains, kayak on pristine lakes like Jenny Lake, see bison and bears, and bask in succulent bison steak, hearty sport chili or candy huckleberry ice cream, all in the identical day.

Grand Teton Nationwide Park Weblog Posts

Yellowstone Nationwide Park, Wyoming, Montana & Idaho

Black Opal Pool at Biscuit Basin, Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park sign in Gardiner, Montana, one of the parks to explore on a road trip to the northern Rockies national parks

After exploring Grand Teton, proceed your highway journey to the northern Rocky Mountains nationwide parks with a number of days in Yellowstone.

The John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway connects Grand Teton and Yellowstone, making it extremely simple to journey between each parks.

The world’s oldest nationwide park and a UNESCO World Heritage Website, Yellowstone Nationwide Park is dwelling to over 10,000 hydrothermal options, from geysers to fumaroles to sizzling springs, greater than the remainder of the world mixed.

The park can be a refuge for megafauna, together with bison, grizzly bears, moose, bighorn sheep, elk and grey wolves.

Particularly Yellowstone Nationwide Park’s distant northeastern nook, dwelling to the sprawling Lamar Valley, is legendary for its abundance of wildlife. The realm is usually, fairly rightly, known as the “American Serengeti.”

Right here, guests can see the largest herds of untamed elk and bison in America—Yellowstone is the solely place within the nation the place American bison have lived constantly since prehistoric instances—in addition to pronghorn, black and grizzly bears, and grey wolves, which the place reintroduced within the park within the mid-Nineteen Nineties.

In actual fact, the Lamar Valley is usually touted as the perfect place to see wolves within the wild on this planet.

Bison crossing road at Tower-Roosevelt, Yellowstone National Park
Black wolf in the Lamar Valley, Yellowstone National Park

In the midst of Yellowstone Nationwide Park, a huge volcano slowly breathes—it actually rises and falls. The Yellowstone Volcano erupted about 650,000 years in the past, forsaking an enormous 30-by-45-mile caldera.

This volcanic exercise nonetheless fuels and powers the numerous volcanic options for which the park is so well-known.

It’s these distinctive options, particularly iconic geysers like Outdated Trustworthy, that made the U.S. Congress put aside Yellowstone as America’s and the world’s first nationwide park in 1872.

You possibly can discover quite a lot of completely different geyser basins round Yellowstone, together with the Norris Geyser Basin, the Decrease, Halfway and Higher Geyser Basins, and the West Thumb Geyser Basin.

Mammoth Sizzling Springs within the northwest is dwelling to gorgeous travertine terraces created by a kaleidoscope of sizzling springs.

Old Faithful Geyser sign, Upper Geyser Basin in Yellowstone National Park
Minerva Terrace at Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park, WY

Though most famed for its erupting geysers and multi-colored sizzling springs, Yellowstone Nationwide Park is rather more than hydrothermal motion.

The park encompasses quite a lot of ecosystems, from the near-desert-like hills on the North Entrance, the place you may stroll or drive by way of the enduring Roosevelt Arch, to the subalpine vegetation in its towering subranges of the Rocky Mountains.

Yellowstone Lake is the most important high-elevation lake in america, an enormous physique of water that’s coated with ice about half of the yr, whereas underwater geysers and sizzling springs maintain some pockets ice-free.

Flowing north from Yellowstone Lake, the Yellowstone River meanders by way of the wildlife-rich Hayden Valley earlier than dropping spectacularly into the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone on the Decrease Falls.

West Thumb Geyser Basin boardwalk at Yellowstone Lake, Yellowstone National Park
Brink of the Lower Falls rainbow, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Yellowstone National Park

As you may see, there’s lots to see and do in Yellowstone, which is why I like to recommend spending at the least six full days within the park.

Yellowstone Nationwide Park Weblog Posts

Really helpful Grand Teton & Yellowstone Nationwide Park Books

Glacier Nationwide Park, Montana

Going-to-the-Sun Road viewpoint in Glacier National Park, Montana
Historic boat ferry Morning Eagle on Lake Josephine at Many Glacier, Glacier National Park

From Yellowstone, it’s a 6.5-hour drive throughout Montana to Glacier Nationwide Park. This awe-inspiring nationwide park borders Canada’s Waterton Lakes Nationwide Park.

Collectively, each parks are a UNESCO World Heritage Website, Biosphere Reserve, Worldwide Darkish Sky Park and the world’s first Worldwide Peace Park.

You possibly can take a ship trip throughout the border between the 2 parks, the one U.S.-Canada border crossing the place clearing customs isn’t required.

Often called the “Crown of the Continent”, Glacier Nationwide Park is the assembly level of varied ecosystems, from northwest rain forests and inland prairies to tundra and mountains.

Glacier is legendary for a lot of issues, however maybe its most iconic function is the Going-to-the-Solar Highway. This magnificent mountain highway was accomplished in 1932 and, since then, has allowed many tens of thousands and thousands of holiday makers to discover the center of Glacier Nationwide Park.

Red Bus on the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park
Haystack Falls on the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park, one of the three parks to visit on a northern Rockies national parks road trip

An engineering masterpiece and considered one of America’s biggest drives, the 50-mile-long Going-to-the-Solar Highway takes you thru pristine pine forests and previous enormous lakes to gorgeous Logan Move.

Positioned on the Continental Divide, that is the very best level accessible by automotive within the park. Discover this beautiful space on trails like the favored Hidden Lake Overlook Path and the epic Highline Path.

On the best way, you may take pleasure in epic panoramic views of glacier-carved valleys, see stunning roadside waterfalls and spot wildlife corresponding to bighorn sheep and mountain goats, the park’s official mascot.

Quite a few climbing trails result in shimmering turquoise lakes, beautiful wildflower-filled meadows and jaw-dropping mountain passes.

Grinnell Glacier Trail in Many Glacier, Glacier National Park
Mountain goat near Logan Pass, Glacier National Park

Elsewhere within the park, you may immerse your self in stunning surroundings at locations like Many Glacier and Two Drugs, each of that are a hiker’s paradise and wildlife haven, from black and grizzly bears to moose and bighorn sheep. Standard trails result in gorgeous high-country spots, corresponding to Grinnell Glacier, Iceberg Lake and Swiftcurrent Move.

Within the west, Lake McDonald, the most important lake within the park, gives boating, kayaking, SUP and canoeing alternatives. It’s additionally a fantastic spot to see the sundown.

St. Mary Lake, however, is on the east aspect of the Continental Divide. Alongside its north shore, you may spot moose, watch breathtaking sunrises at locations like Wild Goose Island Overlook. Moreover, this space gives nice climbing as effectively, corresponding to to St. Mary Falls and Virginia Falls.

Sunrise at Wild Goose Island Overlook on St. Mary Lake, Going-to-the-Sun Road, Glacier National Park, Montana
Moose in a pond near St. Mary Lake, Glacier National Park

Standard actions, in addition to scenic drives, embody backpacking, tenting, wildlife viewing, boating, biking and fishing.

Spend just a few nights in or close to the park and luxuriate in some world-class stargazing. With some luck, you would possibly even see the elusive northern lights right here, too—the perfect interval for that’s fall.

Glacier Nationwide Park Weblog Posts

Really helpful Glacier Nationwide Park Books

Northern Rockies Nationwide Parks Highway Journey FAQ

Rustic Falls at Golden Gate, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

How Lengthy Do I Must See These Three Northern Rocky Mountains Nationwide Parks?

I’d suggest planning at the least two weeks for this incredible northern Rockies nationwide parks highway journey. In case you can, spend a minimal of three days in every park.

It will mean you can totally discover and expertise all three parks, whereas additionally providing you with enough time to drive between the parks and/or your lodging.

  • Grand Teton Nationwide Park: 3 days
  • Yellowstone Nationwide Park: 6 days
  • Glacier Nationwide Park: 4 days

The place Ought to I Begin and Finish My Highway Journey?

You would begin this highway journey to the northern Rocky Mountains nationwide parks in numerous locations in Wyoming and Montana, even in cities like Salt Lake Metropolis, Utah, which is just 5 hours from Grand Teton.

To keep away from unnecessarily lengthy drives firstly or finish of your journey, nonetheless, you would possibly wish to fly into Jackson Gap, Wyoming and fly out of Kalispell, Montana.

These two airports are the closest public airports to respectively Grand Teton Nationwide Park and Glacier Nationwide Park. They’re situated completely completely for a one-way highway journey to those northern Rockies nationwide parks.

Bighorn sheep at Tower-Roosevelt, Yellowstone National Park

Which Animals Can I See on a Northern Rockies Nationwide Parks Highway Journey?

Except muskoxen, caribou and polar bears, all of which dwell close to or within the Arctic, you may see virtually all North American megafauna within the nationwide parks of the northern Rocky Mountains.

This contains American bison, elk, moose, pronghorn, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, black bears, grizzly bears and grey wolves. And so they’re surprisingly simple to see, too.

Particularly if you happen to spend two or extra days in every park, which I like to recommend, it’s best to be capable of see at the least a number of of those animals.

What Lodges Ought to I Keep At?

A few of the nice historic lodges and inns in America are situated in these northern Rockies nationwide parks. Staying at considered one of them will probably be one of many highlights of your journey.

I like to recommend selecting one lodge in Grand Teton to your go to, and two completely different locations in each Yellowstone and Glacier. Listed here are my solutions:

Many Glacier Hotel on Swiftcurrent Lake, Glacier National Park

What Are the Greatest Campgrounds in These Nationwide Parks within the Northern Rockies?

There are quite a few campgrounds in Grand Teton, Yellowstone and Glacier. In case you’re in search of essentially the most strategic locations to arrange camp for just a few days in these parks, I’d recommend the next.

Observe that, just like the lodge solutions above, I strongly suggest staying at completely different places in each Yellowstone and Glacier. Each parks are enormous and selecting two basecamps throughout your go to will save numerous back-and-forth driving.

Grizzly bear close to Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park

Wildlife Security within the Nationwide Parks of the Northern Rockies

Many guests would possibly contemplate grizzly bears to be essentially the most terrifying wild animal within the nationwide parks. Nevertheless, in actuality, considerably extra individuals are injured by bison and moose yearly. At all times do not forget that all wildlife is, in actual fact, wild and unpredictable.

Listed here are some fundamental suggestions to securely observe wildlife in your northern Rockies nationwide parks highway journey, which is able to maintain each your self and the animals unhurt:

  • By no means method wild animals or comply with them.
  • If an animal approaches you, again away slowly to maintain a protected distance.
  • Use binoculars, a recognizing scope or telephoto lens to view or {photograph} wildlife.
  • As a normal rule of thumb, if an animal reacts to your presence, you’re too shut. Transfer away.
  • When doable, hike in teams of at the least 3 folks.
  • Make noise whereas climbing, particularly in areas with low visibility. Clap your palms, shout, whistle, sing…
  • Keep inside or near your automotive when observing black or grizzly bears.
  • At all times carry bear spray if you’re exterior in every of those three nationwide parks. This contains busy areas like overlooks, widespread trails, parking tons and round customer facilities. Discover ways to use bear appropriately right here.
  • You should keep at the least 100 yards from bears and wolves, and at the least 25 yards from all different animals, together with birds.

Moreover, you’ll find extra detailed details about behave throughout encounters with probably harmful animals within the following wildlife security guides.

Have You Ever Been on This Northern Rockies Nationwide Parks Highway Journey? Share Your Ideas and Nationwide Parks Expertise Beneath!

Extra Nationwide Parks Highway Journeys

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