Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Visiting Yellowstone and the Tetons

Posted June 25, 2012
Updated June 27, 2012

If you visit the wildly diverse and massive Yellowstone National Park, it only makes sense to visit Grand Teton National Park just to the south.

We flew into Jackson Airport which is the only commercial airport located within a national park in America. A great place to stay is Signal Mountain Lodge with one of the grandest lakeside and mountain views in the country.

The first morning I joined a photographers' club from Colorado at the site of some old farm buildings and houses in the Antelope Flats area of the Tetons. The early morning light led to some wonderful photographs along Mormon Row.

A scenic boat ride across Jenny Lake and a hearty hike up past Inspiration Point highlighted our first full afternoon in the park. That evening we looked for wildlife in Oxbow Bend but found only mosquitoes.

Grand Teton National park Bill Leslie visits the Tetons

A two-hour raft ride down the Snake River highlighted day two. We saw five bald eagles and elk along the way.

While the Tetons impressed me with their majestic beauty, Yellowstone blew me away with its high adrenaline climate. There is just so much to see in this park. We started with the iconic Old Faithful geyser and then enjoyed some of the rotten egg, bubbling sulfuric wonders nearby.

The second day in Yellowstone began with an awe-inspiring trip to Artist's Point and a look into the Grand Canyon of the park and some glorious waterfalls. We also enjoyed the colorful Grand Prismatic spring.

While in the park, we stayed at Lake Yellowstone Hotel and a cabin in the Canyon area. Yellowstone Bill Leslie visits Yellowstone

Hayden and Lamar Valleys offered fantastic wildlife viewing points. Here we saw elk, bison, moose, wolves, coyotes and a black bear. We even caught a mountain goat giving birth on a steep river cliff.

The crescendo came along the west bank of Yellowstone Lake where we saw a massive grizzly bear.

Tetons and Yellowstone! Truly one of America's greatest trips!

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  • cwood3 Jul 3, 3:08 p.m.

    Great place-want to go someday!!

  • babyblue1981 Jul 2, 10:20 p.m.

    My husband and I went in June 2011. We spent 10 days in Yellowstone, we stayed in Jackson Hole, Grant Village, Old Faithful, Mammoth, and Lake Village. When I discuss our trip with others, I have found most people do not realize you can see the park in 2 or 3 days by car. However, if you want to thoroughly experience it; spend some time hiking on the trails (they have trails for all fitness levels...Fairy Falls is relatively flat). We hiked 8-10 miles every other day. It got to be when we were back around people we were put off by having to see others! :-) Some days we would go 4-5 hours without seeing another person on our hikes. My favorite (definitely hardest hike) was up Bunsen Peak Trail over and down into Osprey Falls. Our GPS unit told us our elevation changed about 3,000 feet that day! I took 1000 pictures on that trip, & saw 3 Grizzly Bears. We were also able to sit in the brush and watch a herd of elk for 15 minutes. We look forward to going back!

  • bleslie Jul 2, 3:29 p.m.

    I totally agree with you Frizz! Alaska is next on my list!

  • Frizz Jul 2, 2:21 p.m.

    Bill - Your account of Yellowstone, while lovely, does not do it justice. I'm not sure there's an author around who can even come close to really describing it. And if you found Yellowstone to be grandiose, you should visit Alaska. You will stand and stare and be totally speechless.... until the mosquitos show up.

  • rjcuddington Jun 26, 6:15 p.m.

    Made pretty much this same trip in August of 2010, but from the saddle of a Harley-Davidson. A long way from Johnston County - but the sights of this "still" beautiful country are awe inspiring. Pretty hard to justify some folks ideas that what we just saw in your video documentary was all created from a BIG-BANG!!!

  • bleslie Jun 26, 9:14 a.m.

    I appreciate your comments. We do have an incredibly beautiful country. Yellowstone is one of those rare places where you can see spectacular scenery, wildlife and geothermal activity unlike any place in the world!

  • Country Girlz Have MORE fun Jun 26, 9:03 a.m.

    When I think about "West" I picture tumble weeds & the wild west. You'd think I have been watch too much TV...I don't watch TV and am behind in the times. LOL These are beautiful pictures. It is amazing how much of my own country there is to explore.

  • dollibug Jun 25, 5:27 p.m.

    My husband and I spent our 40th wedding anniversary out west....and I have to admit that I was not very impressed with the idea of going there. I viewed it as a place to go for someone who enjoyed sports....but I will say this much....we spent 9 days there....traveled all over the mountains....and had a wonderful trip. We were there in June and it was still cool....had lots of snow still on the mountains and it actually snowed one day while we were on the mountains....the highlight of our trip was visiting Mt. Rushmore and seeing a mama moose walking down the middle of a Yellowstone mountain road.. with a baby trying its best to keep up with her...and an older brother or sister not too far behind...What a sight...I never imagined getting so close to a wild animal...(could have touched her as she passed our vehicle)...we had a wonderful trip and I would encourage everyone to go at least once in their lifetime. I have to admit I was disappointed in Old Faithful.

  • bayrvr Jun 25, 2:06 p.m.

    Bill, awesome job capturing what has to be one of the most beautiful places on Earth! We have been blessed to tour Yellowstone and the Tetons several times and each time I can't wait to return. We took our children and grandchildren last time and the wildlife viewing experienced was capped when we saw a mother grizzly with three cubs! A rare sight indeed. Thanks again for the pictures and your great background music!

    Best Regards,

    Dave V.

  • stevemoore3262 Jun 25, 1:19 p.m.

    Bill...

    I had the wonderful opportunity to work on a cattle ranch in Jackson Hole while I was in college in the early 60s. Jackson had two bars, a traffic light that didn`t work and no tourists. The ski resort was a dream in some developers eye. The Cowboy Bar and Grill had poker players in the back and many guys still wore guns. There was a land auction outside of town but the auction shut down at noon because no one was interested in owning any land. The same land is now priceless ! The hours were long and the pay was short but I was lucky enough to see a part of America that has passed into history.

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