Summer Road Trip 2017, Part 7: South Yellowstone
With Jackson in the rear view mirror, I continued north on US 191 through the Moran Entrance Station. The 7-day entrance fee for Grand Teton and Yellowstone is $50 but I planned to purchase a pass valid 12 months from the month of purchase. The Annual Pass grants admission (for the bearer's car and its occupants) to all National Parks and 2,000 federal recreation sites, .
Passes are usually available at park entrances but the Moran Station had sold out during the heavy eclipse crowds.. The Park Ranger at the gate let me go through without paying so I could purchase the Annual Pass at Yellowstone's South Entrance
The road from Grand Teton's Moran Station to Yellowstone's South Entrance is beautiful. The initial section follows the Snake River and the shore of Lake Jackson before leaving Grand Teton National Park.
The Snake River crosses to US 191 near the Flagg Ranch Campground. Flagg Ranch isn't technically in Yellowstone but its proximity to the park makes it a good backup plan when arriving in the afternoon.
At the Yellowstone's South Entrance, I bought my Annual Pass for $80 and continued to Lewis Lake in hopes of getting a campground within The Park. The Lewis Lake Campground looks awesome but I narrowly missed two opportunities to assume a campground from vacating campers.
In the end, it wasn't to be. The next campground north was Grant Village, but it was too far to risk the drive back to Flagg Ranch in the event of no vacancies.
To be safe, I returned to Flagg Ranch and secured a campground for the evening. I removed the minibike from the transporter, locked it to a tree and setup my hammock.
Yellowstone is a huge area with a figure-8 layout. It takes a few days to see it all so I decided to get started immediately. Today's drive would take the west side of the south loop. From Flagg Ranch I drove north to Grant Village then northwest toward Madison.
The drive crosses the Continental Divide three times before passing through the Upper, Midway and Lower Geyser Basins. This is an etherial part of the park with steam rising from countless thermal geological features.
This section of road has two must-see sites: Old Faithful and Grand Prismatic Spring.