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Need advise on road trip from SLC to Yellow stone park

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Need advise on road trip from SLC to Yellow stone park

I want to plan a one week road trip drive from Salt Lake to Yellow stone park to visit some of the major scenarios sites (old faithful, Idaho falls, grand Teton) in last week of this upcoming September.

Will the weather too hot during this time at Yellow Stone? We would like to stay at least 3 to 4 nights lodging within Yellow stone park if possible. Please advise on what is the best driving route to plan for the trip.

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1. Re: Need advise on road trip from SLC to Yellow stone park

I would come in to Jackson Hole and stay in the GTNP lodging or a hotel in the town of Jackson first. Then I'd move up into Yellostone and stay at in park lodging if you can find some to reserve. If not, stay at gateway cities. Then exit at the west gate to West Yellowstone to return to SLC. A lot depends on your flights.

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Jackson Hole, WY
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2. Re: Need advise on road trip from SLC to Yellow stone park

You may have a misconception about Idaho Falls. The falls there are more or less a none event. The town itself is good for an overnight stop. It certainly isn't a "major scenario site".

With a week, consider this plan:

Day 1: Fly in to SLC early in the day. Drive to Yellowstone.

Day 2: Yellowstone

Day 3: Yellowstone

Day 4: Yellowstone

Day 5: Drive to GTNP.

Day 6: GTNP

Day 7: Return to SLC for late flight home.

This itinerary can also be done by going to GTNP first, followed by Yellowstone. The drive times from SLC to either are about the same. Where you go first will probably be dependent on what accommodations are available inside Yellowstone when you want to visit. If you want to stay at in park lodging, use the Xanterra website to book those rooms.

The weather in September will not be hot. In fact, the last week of September there could be snow.

There's one route from SLC to Yellowstone. That's north on I 15 to Idaho Falls and then highway 20 to Yellowstone.

There are several routes from SLC to Jackson/GTNP. The one we like the best is north on I 15 to the Lava Hot Springs exit/highway 30. Take highway 30 to Soda Springs ID. In Soda Springs, take highway 34 to Freedom WY. At Freedom, take highway 89 to Jackson.

Another route is north on I 15 to Idaho Falls. Then take highway 26 to Alpine WY. In Alpine, take highway 89 to Jackson. There are at least 3 other ways to get to GTNP/Jackson from SLC. They all take about the same amount of time.

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3. Re: Need advise on road trip from SLC to Yellow stone park

Welcome to Trip Advisor!

If you are coming the last week of September, definitely do Yellowstone first. Head from Salt Lake City to West Yellowstone and enter there. It will not be hot. You may have warm afternoons but nights will be below freezing so if you are out early AM or into the evening you'll need a jacket, light gloves and a warm hat.

The last 2 years have seen enough winter weather from mid-September to late September/early Oct that Yellowstone roads were closed off and on. Does this happen every year? Of course not...but it's something to be aware of both when you are planning and when you are traveling. When traveling you'll want to check Yellowstone Road Line every AM before you start out and keep an eye on the weather forecasts.

Bookmark this page and also scroll down for the phone number for the recorded message on road conditions. I'd put this in your phone and call it every AM.


Here's a thread we had going last September on 2017 road closures:


Here's 2016:


As mentioned it doesn't mean weather the end of September will ~always~ be this way...but it is an indicator that it ~can~ be this way.

Services start to close in Yellowstone after Labor Day as things button up for winter. Here's a link as to which lodging areas are still open.


Here is a suggestion on how to split your time for 7 nights:

1 Arrive SLC. Depending on what time you arrive, drive north on I15 toward Idaho Falls. IF you can get to West Yellowstone before dark, overnight there. If not, overnight Idaho Falls.

2 Overnight Old Faithful

3 Overnight Canyon or Lake

4 Overnight Canyon or Lake

5 Overnight Grand Tetons or Jackson

6 What time does your flight leave tomorrow? If in the AM or early afternoon you'd want to be closer to SLC, perhaps Idaho Falls or Park City UT. If it leaves late afternoon or evening you might be able to stay this night in Jackson.

7 Depart SLC

There is really nothing to see in Idaho Falls. There are really no *falls* per se, just a disappointing 3-foot drop. There is a nice greenway along the river but with your short time and the fantastic scenery in Yellowstone and Grand Tetons it will look pretty shabby.

Do you have your airplane reservations yet? If not, can you consider flying in closer to Yellowstone/Grand Tetons such as in to Bozeman or Jackson?

editing to add: Connie and I were cross-posting, lol!!


Edited: 25 June 2018, 02:06
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