Just a little bit north of Jackson Lake in Grand Teton is where a long stretch of the John D. Rockefeller Jr Parkway follows the Snake River toward the Yellowstone National Park South Entrance. This section of road passes through a deep forested wilderness that is very picturesque and wildlife is all around. Before getting to the entrance gate near the big bend in the Snake River, there are a few campgrounds and a lodge resort, which are nice alternatives for when the National Park campgrounds are at full capacity during the summer season. Better still, several rivers, lakes and streams can be found along the southern route to Yellowstone, so keeping the fishing pole handy will likely be more important than having the camera on standby. The John D. Rockefeller Jr Parkway is one beautiful road to drive and there is plenty of adventure to be found along the way!
On the downside, because this parkway is between two very popular National Parks, the campgrounds and lodges along the parkway do fill up during the peak of summer. Making reservations well ahead of time is the key to landing a good spot, just like inside the park. The rustic campsites in the National Forest are an option, especially for those who make no reservations, but these spots are a little more difficult to get to. Overall, better camping options outside of the National Park can be found west near Idaho or north in Montana, which is good to keep in mind.
All it takes is stopping at one scenic overlook along the parkway to see that this is a fly by traffic area. Most people are in such a hurry to get inside the National Park that they just speed on by in a hurry without stopping to smell the roses. For those who take their leisurely time to check things out, there will actually be plenty of elbow room to be found. Everything from pristine wetland birdwatching to viewing dramatic waterfalls can be done along this road. Of course, the number one reason to not be in a hurry when driving the parkway to South Yellowstone is the great fishing opportunities. The Snake River, a bunch of ponds, streams, the Lewis River and Lewis Lake are all located along the roadside, so be sure to tie a few nymph fly lures for the ride!
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