On Heading South from Yellowstone


After leaving Yellowstone to the south, Grand Teton National Park is less than an hour away. The park is named after the tallest mountain in the Teton range. The name’s origin goes back to the area’s French fur trappers calling the range les trois tétons.

The range’s sharp, jagged peaks are not only a contrast to the rounded ones at nearby Yellowstone, the peaks also serve as a reminder that the Tetons are the youngest mountains in the Rockies.

The drive through the valley east of the range offers stunning views. These mountains are spectacular!

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Jackson Hole refers to the long valley east of the Tetons. Jackson, the major town in the valley, is a popular destination for tourists and serves as a base for vacationers during all seasons and a seasonal home for some notable people. Our tour group stayed an evening in Jackson before embarking on the long drive to Salt Lake City.

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After an evening in Salt Lake City, our next destination was Bryce Canyon National Park. Bryce, resembling more of a natural amphitheater than a canyon, is spectacular and very unique. The red, orange, and white color combination below a bright blue sky is stunning.

Bryce’s unique appearance comes from the sea of hoodoos occupying the amphitheater – the pillars of rock formed by weathering and water eroded erosion previously uplifted rock millions of years ago. Although hoodoos are found in other parts of the world, Bryce offers the largest collection.

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After an evening in, we were bound for where we started – Las Vegas – but not without stopping at Zion National Park. Whereas the views of Grand Canyon and Bryce Canyon were from above looking down, one enters Zion Canyon’s deep gorge from the floor, which allows visitors to enjoy looking up at its walls of reddish and tan Navajo sandstone.

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After 2800 miles (4500 km) in 2 weeks, we saw many wonderful sights that America’s National Parks provide. Simply spectacular! Yes, we had a lot of bus time and yes, our visits were long enough for sampling – therefore, not long enough for embracing – but this trip was better than not ever seeing these natural wonders.

To see the post of the entire trip, see the sidebar (Categories > Travel > Western US National Parks Tour), click here, or visit any of the individual posts linked below.

Las Vegas
Vegas to Denver
South Dakota and westward
Yellowstone

57 thoughts on “On Heading South from Yellowstone

    • Charlie,
      Welcome to this trip. This is a beautiful part of the US. Better yet, I invite you to visit the other posts on this trip to acquaint yourself with more US National Parks. The linked list is at the end of the post.

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  1. You visited some of my favorite spots on this leg of the trip. The hoodoos are incredible! The Tetons were a great backdrop for me on my last drive by at sunset–impressive. Zion was one of the first parks I ever drove through–and I love it all the time. How bad were the crowds?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Patti,
      As a lover of national parks, I knew you have visited all these locations while loving them all. What Utah offers is unbelievable! In terms of the crowds, we were lucky because our tour of the company’s first of the season … starting in the last half of May. We were in Yellowstone Memorial Day weekend. I recall our tour guide saying we were a week or two ahead of the crowds and the heat in this section of the trip.

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  2. I’m zeroing in on the Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks in mid to late May for a horseback ride. Another trip would include the Crazy Horse Memorial, Custer State Park, the Devil’s Tower, and Deadwood. Nope on Mt. Rushmore.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Cincy,

    No two rock formations look completely alike, and the panoramic captures you made here are fantastic! I was always in awe of this when I would fly over it, and that’s from high in the sky! Glorious indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marc,
      Thanks for going along with me on this fabulous journey. The variance in the rock formations – especially park to park – makes for quite the site. Couple the iron content and the blue sky, definitely glorious!

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      • I would go on my own. I’m not one to do tours. I find the other members of a tour tend to do things that cause me to become uneasy. Dumb questions, late arrivals, prima donna postures all drive me nuts. Like Strisand once sang, “People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.” I’m not one who even likes people when they are in a pack.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Frank thank you for sharing your wonderful adventures. What stunning scenery reminding me of when I was travelling across Canada and the Rockies seeing those snow capped mountains.. I loved the Canyon photo’s, what stories they could tell.. 🙂
    I was amazed at the amount of deer ankles piled in that arch too in…
    And as much as we enjoy travelling, there is nothing like when you arrive back home, you kick off your shoes and flop on your own couch and make that first cuppa, or maybe in your case that cup of coffee.. 🙂
    Great that you have shared your wonderful trip with us Frank..
    Wishing you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving.. we have much to be thankful for.
    And I agree with what you said earlier in your post..
    There are still MANY good people in this world.. And we WILL make a Difference.
    Take care..
    Sue 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Happy belated Thanksgiving, aFa. . As you mentioned, Bryce, though called a canyon, is technically not a canyon at all. Even so Bryce has become my favorite national park, in part because of the hoodoos and in part because of the spectacular views of the Milky Way on clear nights. Unfortunately, on my last trip there, the skies were cloudy without good nighttime views. We did trek down and up into the hoodoos. Luckily for us, we were on our way up and out as the skies darkened.

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    • C-A-L,
      Happy Thanksgiving to you. Hope you had a wonderful day! Yes, Bryce is both spectacular and unique. I wondered about the Milky Way while on this trip, but I never went to the trouble of finding out a time. 😦 … shame on me! Thanks for sharing your time among the hoodoos!

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  6. With your posts on this wonderful trip you’ve inspired me to plan to see some of these wonders once again. It’s been a while, and I often think of them and don’t prioritize the destination. I’m thinking different! I’ve only been to Zion once, and it is time to go again. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Debra,
      Glad to know this inspires you to visit these parks again. At least I got to see them once. 🙂 Yes, this was a wonderful trip. Now that this series of posts is over, I’ve starting the Eastern Europe trip (first stop now up).

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