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Views vs. traffic west of Yellowstone

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Baton Rouge...
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Views vs. traffic west of Yellowstone

We'll be driving from the Ennis area down to Idaho Falls at the beginning of August. One alternative is going over to Dillon and coming down I-15; the other is 287 to 87 to 20. I know that road has gorgeous views, but it's close to Yellowstone and I'm guessing it will have heavy traffic at that time of year. We would rather forgo stupendous beauty in favor of Really Nice, if it means an open road. Can anyone give advice on the traffic on 287 and 87 and 20?

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1. Re: Views vs. traffic west of Yellowstone

heypaula717 and DObby who post on the Yellowstone NP forum come thru that area often so hopefully they will see this post and reply.

West Yellowstone...
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2. Re: Views vs. traffic west of Yellowstone

I don't think you'll suffer from too much traffic in your way from what I've seen so far this summer. Having traveled the loop around Hebgen Lake/Quake Lake once, I can assure you the views on the bypass of 287/87/20 as you mentioned are very nice. I would choose that route.

heypaula717 and D0bby will have good input if they pop onto this forum as they've both been coming this way longer than I have.

western WA
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3. Re: Views vs. traffic west of Yellowstone

The traffic can be bad going into the park, but that wouldn't affect you.

Edited: 04 July 2013, 15:33
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4. Re: Views vs. traffic west of Yellowstone

Your frame of reference is important here. Heavy traffic in Baton Rouge (yep, been there, done that) is way different than heavy traffic in say, N. Idaho, where I live. In my small town, *heavy traffic* is 3 pickups and a loaded log truck, lol!

I do not think you will run in to anything near what you would even consider *traffic* on those roads.

Paula is the local on this question, though, so she has the final and best opinion!

Pam

Ennis MT
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5. Re: Views vs. traffic west of Yellowstone

I would take the 287/87/20 route - a much prettier drive than the Interstate. The only time traffic is really a problem is if you hit a construction zone. We drove through there last month, and the only place we were held up any was north of Ashton - and that was just for a few minutes for a project that I think is finished now. You can check the Idaho DOT website for updates if you're concerned.

Edit to add the website: …idaho.gov/idlb/roadreports/routeselect.jsf -there are a lot of closures shown today because of parades :-)

Edited: 04 July 2013, 18:14
Baton Rouge...
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6. Re: Views vs. traffic west of Yellowstone

Thanks to all of you! We have decided to take the more scenic route, something we would have missed without your reassurances. Thank you for taking the trouble to answer. One more question! We'll leave Ennis in the morning and will need to be at the Salt Lake Airport by 4. Will we have time to stop and see anything, and if so, what on that route is in the "must see" category? We'd be interested in [short] hikes, scenic byways, scenic vistas, anything unique, that sort of thing.

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7. Re: Views vs. traffic west of Yellowstone

It is about 5 1/2 hours of straight driving- we have only driven straight thru with only a bathroom break.

Paula will know about scenic routes, hikes, etc.

western WA
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8. Re: Views vs. traffic west of Yellowstone

It is not too scenic once you pass the backside of the Tetons. Southern Idaho is agricultural. Those long low gable-roofed barns you'll see are for storing potatoes. They are filled to the top.

If you want scenery and hikes, the better choice is to go through Jackson and south on 191 or 89. But that will take a lot longer. Going through the park always does.

Is your flight at four? You really just need to get on the road and get to Salt Lake.

Edited: 07 July 2013, 18:56
Ennis MT
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9. Re: Views vs. traffic west of Yellowstone

I agree with ainwa that you won't have much time for sightseeing.

The drive through the Island Park/Targhee MT area is a pretty one. Keep an eye out for wildlife, including osprey and eagle nests. There are also some beaver dams in some of the ponds along the road.

You could drive into Big Springs - it's just a few miles off the main road around Mack's Inn in Island Park. A nice area for a short break. The Mesa Falls scenic byway north of Ashton is also very nice, but I don't think you'd have time for that - it would take a couple of hours to drive the loop, especially if you stop to look at the falls etc. Around Blackfoot ID there's a rest stop in the lava beds that's quite interesting. There are paths where you can take short walks around the rock beds. That wouldn't take long and would be a nice break.

Baton Rouge...
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10. Re: Views vs. traffic west of Yellowstone

This is great info. If there is stuff to see, we'll be motivated to get up and get on the road early enough to give us about eight hours (flight is not at four, we just have to be there at four). I hadn't thought about the landscape changing south of the Tetons. But my husband's career has been in agriculture and he will find the barns, the equipment, all that, quite interesting. I think we'll check out Big Springs and the lava beds, and the beaver dams -- I've never seen one! One last question, and let me know if this is too far out of your area. I want to see the prairie dog village at Greycliff. My boss, who is a native Idahoan (north Idaho), scoffs at this. "You want to see WHAT?" he said. So-- in your opinion, is it worth visiting?