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My 2021 National Park Road Trip, Park Three: The Grand Tetons (via West Yellowstone)

Updated: Feb 27, 2022


We left West Glacier around 8am to start our drive down to our next hotel in West Yellowstone. We figured this to just be a driving day, so we took somewhat of a scenic route. Around 9am we came to a beautiful lake area, and it was still somewhat cool, so there was a fog drifting from the lake to over the woods on the other side. It was a beautiful and calming moment along our journey.. I later discovered this was called Swan Lake. It was one of five lakes we passed heading south on Hwy 83.

The following photo is of the last large lake we passed, Salmon Lake. If you look on the left of the photo, you can see a house among the trees. This is an island. How cool would THAT be?! As I'm going over our trip to tell you about it, I'm learning things myself.. The island has a name: Sourdough Island. And it has an interesting history..

It's about 11:30 when we come across the intersection of 83 and 200 (still in Montana), known as Clearwater Junction (there's a link at the bottom of the blog). Here we find a good size Sinclair service station with a few touristy photo ops.. At this point, I'm also hoping to find a Sinclair Dino for my hubby..

Apparently, this bull is also well known in the area, and has been there for like 30 years or something.. I also just learned that he had returned that July from being renovated (our trip was in Sept).

Scored a Dino for the hubby!!

Not much to see for a good portion of our drive, until we got to Norris Montana.. That's when we came to the Giant Boombox... (Checkout Roadside America for stuff like this, link at the bottom of the blog)

A few hours later, and we were at our hotel in West Yellowstone, the Kelly Inn.. It was very nice, and BIG! We had a first floor room, so we had exterior AND interior doors! I thought that was pretty convenient. We only stayed here two nights though, as the price went up another $200 for the two nights after, so we got a room in Cody for the second half of our Yellowstone stay (more about that later). For now, time to rest, we had a VERY early morning planned..


I couldn't be this close and NOT go to the Grand Tetons, so that was the plan for our first day here.. For me, when I knew we were going to go to the Grand Tetons, I knew I HAD to go photograph at Mormon Row. So, we got up at 5am and headed south.. It's about a two and a half hour drive from West Yellowstone to Mormon Row, and I wanted to be there when the sun was on the Tetons behind the historic buildings...

I think my personal favorite is the one with just the fence. The buildings are photographed so much, it makes me feel like the fence one is MINE, ya know?

I also photographed some nearby wildlife..

Just beyond the buildings is a little creek, so I positioned myself and took a photo..

After Mormons Row, we headed to Schwabacher Landing, another famous photography spot.

Although most people don't photograph the chipmunks when the go there.. lol

I really liked the shadow of the cloud on the mountain..

So I screwed up with my directions a bit, and we had to backtrack after Schwabacher Landing to get to the south entrance to go north thru the park. But it worked out (one of those "ended up where we supposed to be" moments..) for us in a big way.. A few minutes after entering the park, we see a traffic jam.. And for a good reason.. Our first, and only, wolf sighting. And it wasn't easy shooting a black wolf, in the middle of the day, with light surroundings, handheld, at 600mm.. The following photos are very cropped, and worked on..

After spending quite some time watching the wolf we drove on to see some more of the park. And again, we didn't see nearly enough.. But what we did see, was absolutely beautiful..

Jenny Lake Overlook..

This was near Jenny Lake Visitors Center..

We stopped for gas and lunch (not together, lol) at Signal Mountain Lodge, and I met a couple of cuties..

We got nachos to share.. Supposedly "The Signal Mountain of Nachos" serves two..

Two what.. lumberjacks?! That mountain could have fed both of our families!

This was a model of the the park at the Colter Bay Visitors Center.. Pretty cool..

Since we entered Yellowstone at like 5am and it was still dark, we took the obligatory park sign photo coming back in at the south entrance, on the way back to the hotel.. lol. At this point, it was almost 6pm.

We knew we didn't have time for much in Yellowstone on this day, but I took a couple of photos before it started getting dark.. This is the Lewis River..

And this is Lewis Falls.. I took a photo with a person in it for scale. And he was there, sooo... lol.

It was 6:30ish at this point and we still had about 2 hours of driving to the hotel, so it was about a 15 hour day.. And worth every minute..

The next blog will be all about Yellowstone! Thanks for stopping by and following the journey! Below are links you might be interested in..

Clearwater Stop N Go:

Roadside America:

Grand Tetons:

Signal Mountain Lodge

Yellowstone National Park:

Kelly Inn; West Yellowstone

** ALL photos on this blog are property of Christi Bushby, copyrighted and protected as such by law.

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