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Trip Report

Yellowstone and Grand Teton Adventure

10 days of hiking through Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton.

by secolem2About Me:I love adventure, trying new food, and meeting new people! Exploring the world is my favorite thing to do. My dream is to learn how to speak Spanish and be able to work or live in South America! read more

North AmericaUnited States7 days / August 2020

Highs & Lows

Heart Lake is worth the hike there!

It was difficult to see the Tetons because of the smoke coming from the California fires

Itinerary Overview

I flew with American Airlines from O’Hare airport into Salt Lake City Nevada. I would highly recommend flying into Salt Lake City and driving from there because it is usually the cheapest option and the drive is really nice from Salt Lake City to Yellowstone compared to flying into Idaho. Since I arrived later in the afternoon my first day, I decided to stay at an Airbnb for the night called the Beehive. It was really nice spot with individual rooms and a shared kitchen and living area. The next morning, I rented a van from Microcampervans.com. I highly recommend using this company. It is owned by a really nice man who buys vans and then decks them out to allow people to live in the van. We had a mattress, sheets, shower, stove and utensils, kitchen area, solar powered fridge and basically everything you might need to live in a van. My first day I drove about 3 hours West to the BonnevilleSalt Flats. In the Salt Flats I drove to a place called floating island which does not have any really hiking paths on it however it is a beautiful hike. I spent the night sleeping in the van next to floating island and the next day started heading back to go to Yellowstone. During my ride back through the salt flats I ended up driving on dirt in an area that was too soft, and the car began to sink, the engine over heated and the car go stuck. I ended up having to call a tow truck called Larry’s tow service and get towed out. This was a very costly part of my trip so I would recommend staying away from the softer ground and turning around if you feel the wheels start to slow down. After the Salt Flats, I drove to Grand Teton which was about a 6-hour drive. It was manageable however if the drive is too long you can always stop at a local gas station and buy a map to look for BLM land. BLM land is land that allows people to camp on it for free, so it is a great place to use if you are in a van. The first hike I did was a at Phelps Lake. It was a pretty easy hike and the end you get to a large boulder where you can jump into the lake. During August it is berry season, so I highly recommend eating the Huckleberry’s as you walk. Berry season also means you have a better chance of seeing bears! I saw three just on my hike to Phelps Lake. The brown bears are shy and will not bother you. The other hike I did was to Glacier Lake which was an absolutely stunning hike. After Glacier Lake I drove and stayed on BLM land for the night and then headed to Yellowstone the next morning. In Yellowstone I went straight to talk to a ranger about booking a couple longer overnight hikes. Unfortunately, you cannot book these later than 24 hours so I recommend calling the morning you are going to Yellowstone. Also make sure you have campgrounds reserved before you go (which you can book online) Because you cannot park and sleep in your van or car without a permit in Yellowstone however you can do this in Grand Teton. The first hike I did was to Heart Lake which was about a 7-mile hike. It was so beautiful there and I camped there for two nights. The next morning, I hiked back and drove around Yellowstone. I went to Artists point which was a beautiful waterfall and also saw the pain pots which is a nice easy hike. I camped in my van that night at Grant Village which is a camp ground in Yellowstone. There isn't much to see there as it is very crowded with other tourists so if you are able to get a couple backpacking campsites, I highly recommend this option. The next morning, I drove to Shadow Mountain and stayed the night in my van there. Shadow Mountain is a beautiful view of the Tetons and is free to camp there. Make sure to get there early in order to get a nice spot with a view. The next morning I drove back to Salt Lake city, returned the van and unfortunately had to go back to Chicago. I will definitely go on another trip to Yellowstone as there are so many cool places to explore. 

  • 1 Night: Salt Lake City
  • 3 Nights: Grand Teton National Park
    camping and hiking
  • 3 Nights: Yellowstone National Park

Q & A

  • What would you have changed?

    I don't think you need to buy bear spray to go hiking. As long as you make noise the bears will not bother you.

  • Anything go wrong during the trip?

    I would have not driven on the soft part of the salt flats because I got stuck and the tow truck was very expensive.

  • How was the food?

    Most of the food I ate was from groceries from Trader Joes in Salt Lake City. Since I was traveling on a budget and my van had a full stocked kitchen already. However, I would recommend StageCoach Bar in Jackson Hole for a chill atmosphere, cheap drinks and really good tacos and burgers.

  • Packing tips?

    Bring one pair of each clothing item so you do not over pack but you are prepared for all the weather. Example: one pair of pants, one pair of shorts, tank top, slong sleeve shirt.

  • Transportation Tips?

    Rent a van.

  • Any surprises?

    august is bear season!

  • Booking details?

    I used airbnb and looked for BLM land.