Being in nature can be healing to the mind, body and soul. Whether you need a change of scenery, to disconnect from your laptop, or a little more movement, Wyoming offers expansive landscapes, scenic roads and fresh air.
Surrounded by mountains and parks, there are endless possibilities for outdoor recreation around the state. But these times call for planning ahead and taking caution while traveling. Before you head out, make sure to read these tips for traveling safely to some of the most beautiful national parks in Wyoming.
Base in Jackson Hole
Fly or drive to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The picturesque small town has the charm of a mountain village while offering a boutique beer and food scene. There are 2500 acres of skiing and snowboarding at the Jackson Hole Mountain, Snow King Mountain Resort and Grand Targhee Resort in the winter. The National Elk Refuge and The National Museum of Wildlife Art are open year-round.
During spring and summer, there’s hiking, biking, horseback riding and whitewater rafting. Two of the most iconic national parks, Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Park, are just north of Jackson Hole.
If you are looking for a close to home getaway in the great outdoors, you may be thinking of camping, renting an RV, or staying at a cabin. Fireside Resort in Jackson Hole offers a glamping experience with all the modern-day convenience of a boutique hotel. There are 25 LEED-certified sustainable cabins and an RV campground spaced out along a row of trees.
The outside of the individual cabins looks rustic, but they are artistic and functional on the inside. Hardwood floors, oversized fireplace, craftsman style door knobs, local art and Native American rugs make this simple space cozy and welcoming.
After a long day of hiking and biking, a king-size Tempur-Pedic bed, walk-in rain shower, and a modern kitchenette is a nice treat to look forward to.
Get The U.S. Park Pass
If you plan to spend more than three days at any national park in the country, it is worth investing in the America The Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass. For $80, you can enter any of the 2,000 federal recreation sites for up to a year (instead of paying $30 each time). By simply displaying the pass, you can also enjoy a touchless entrance.
Download The App
Driving through parks allows you to explore at your own pace, stopping to view wildlife and finding secluded picnic spots. Plan your stops at iconic scenic viewpoints, trailheads and restroom breaks by downloading the free National Park Trail Guide app from Adventure Projects Inc. Here you search for hikes by difficultly, distance, ratings, and even see pictures of the landscapes before you get there.
Remember that your phone may have limited or no connectivity inside the parks, so map your route ahead of time. Also, make sure to carry a physical map as it will have the most up to date information about road and facility closures. Be sure to also pack a charger for your phone.
Make it To Go
Most parks have limited food offerings and usually serve expensive fast food. You may be able to find an occasional general store or café, but it’s best to carry everything you will need to eat or drink throughout the day. This will save time and money and help avoid standing in long lines.
Visit a grocery store the night before and purchase enough bottled water, soft drinks, fruits, pre-packed snacks and PPP items (sanitizer, wipes, masks). It is worth investing in a foldable cooler with ice packs and a picnic blanket so you can enjoy your meal anywhere.
Before heading out to the park, order your breakfast and lunch online to take with you. There are many great coffee shops, bakeries and delis in Jackson Hole town square to choose from. Nora’s Fish Creek Inn was nominated by James Beard as one of five “ America’s Classics” restaurants in 2012. The French bakery —Persephone — has some of the best pastries and coffee in town, while its sister restaurant, Picnic, offers globally-inspired gourmet sandwiches.
The Teton Range is a 40-mile mountain range towering over Jackson Hole. There are several flat biking and hiking trails, taking you through valleys, along rivers and to historic sites of Grand Tetons.
Drive through the scenic Moose-Wilson road, making frequent stops to see snow-covered glaciers, deep blue lakes, green grasslands filled with wildflowers, and a few hundred bison. While there is plenty of space to spread out in the Grand Tetons, some more popular trails could get crowded.
Yellowstone is the oldest national park in the U.S., located only ten miles north of Grand Teton. The 3500-square-mile wilderness area spreads across the states of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.
There are many interesting geysers, canyons, and hot springs in Yellowstone’s volcanic region that draw visitors worldwide. To skip the crowds, visit places like Old Faithful, Grand Prismatic, and Mammoth Hot Spring either early in the morning or later in the day. Because the park is so vast and there are lots of things to do, spread your visit across a few days, focusing on different park regions.
~ Written for & published by Cuisine Noir Magazine. All rights reserved.