Grand Tetons trip transportationFor the De Anza College trips to the Grand Tetons, our trip can start and end when people traveling together mutually want it to. The official days of each trip will be posted at: Grand Tetons
We could not find any bus or train line that serves Jackson Hole. But
http://www.jacksonholealltrans.com/jacksonholeexpress.html can take you from the Salt Lake airport to Jackson.
NO CAR ON OUR TRIP?
During our trip, if your driver has plans for the day that you don't want to participate in, or if you arrive by plane before the main group, or if your driver stayed up late and slept in all morning, there is plenty to do at or from Colter Bay without access to your own vehicle. See below at NO CAR ON OUR TRIP?
Carpools are arranged among the students going on the trips, not by the club or the college. For info on how to get/give a ride go to Carpool FAQs
The drive from Silicon Valley to the Tetons, as estimated from AAA tour maps, going through Reno, and across Nevada, is about 21 hours without many stops or heavy traffic. In 2002 it took one van 31 hours with lots of stops. In 2009 one guy said it was a 17 hour drive and he swears he didn't speed.
We advise people who intend to drive straight through to leave town in the afternoon or evening to be able to drive across the desert at night. A Tetons road trip veteran advises:
"add the Great Salt Lake
to that, too. That was one of the absolute worst hours of the drive. The
sun was scorching; there was absolutely nothing out there but salt to look
at; and, as far as I recall, there were absolutely no overpasses,
underpasses, trees, or buildings to stop in for shade; it was horrible. I
guess it took only about an hour or two to drive through there, but I just
remember it as being torture."
(The Salt Lake route is longer than the southern Idaho route, but if you have relatives who will let you camp in their backyard...)
Whoa, does this make you think you can't endure a road trip across the US desert? Will you die of boredom? Go to:
Road trip advice and etiquette for ways to save your sanity and save friendships on a long expedition.
Grand Tetons trip cost includes mileage and gas costs estimates.
These sites try to keep up on gas prices across the country:
If you rent a vehicle, try to get the typical AAA rate with unlimited mileage. Remember that most rental agencies will not let you tow anything. Most rental agancies at the Jackson, Wyoming airport will not let you put a canoe or kayak on the vehicle.
Road trip advice and etiquette has decisions to make before the trip, packing advice and more from previous road trip members that could make the long drive more tolerable.
below: rental cars with kayaks loaded on top and the stuffed Bullwinkle trip mascot (two photos by Wendy Sato).
The club and the College are not responsible in any way for your transportation on trips, but they expect that everyone will wear seatbelts and obey all traffic laws, drivers will have sufficient
insurance, and vehicles will be in good repair. Please have the courtesy to let your driver/ passengers know of any changes to your ride needs or ability to drive.
A Wyoming law, (with fines of up to $200 and jail terms of up to 20 days, or both), requires that drivers slow to 20 mph under the posted speed limit when passing stopped emergency vehicles with flashing lights, unless directed otherwise by law enforcement.
The faculty advisor advises that the drivers bring and use the club-owned family band radios, and cars in a caravan stay at all times in sight of each other. If you decide to drive to Wyoming straight through, remember that it doesn't matter if you arrive later than expected, and each driver should get enough sleep.
Can you pass the "Winnebago test"? It's a test discovered by a friend of the Outdoor Club faculty advisor. If you are stuck on a winding mountain road behind a huge, slow moving motorhome and you realize they are not going to pull over and let the dozen cars behind them pass, will you wreck your vacation? The test is at: Road trip advice and etiquette.
If there is an emergency in the park call 911 from a pay phone or (307)739-3300 from a cell phone for park dispatch. (Please verify this phone number in the park newspaper when you get there.)
If you ride in a carpool driving straight through, pack a small bag with the items you will wish you had for 24 hours so that you don't need to stop and go through your luggage looking for: your toothbrush/floss, flashlight, rain jacket, pillow, book, journal, camera, headphone CD player. Other people in the vehicle will appreciate it if you wear freshly laundered clothing without perfume or cologne and have recently washed yourself. There's more on packing at, you guessed it: Road trip advice and etiquette.
Don't exceed the speed limit. According to the FTC, "The faster you drive, the more fuel you use. For example, driving at 65 miles per hour (mph), rather than 55 mph, increases fuel consumption by 20 percent. Driving at 75 mph, rather than 65 mph, increases fuel consumption by another 25 percent...If you anticipate traffic conditions and don't tailgate, you can avoid unnecessary braking and acceleration, and improve your fuel economy by 5 to 10 percent."
In 2010, vehicles in Grand Teton park hit and killed two wolves, five bears, 6 pronghorn, 17 bison, five moose, 41 deer and 48 elk. Most of the deaths occured between dawn and dusk on the main highway between Moose and Moran Junctions. Please drive the speed limit and be prepared to stop suddenly. Speed was the biggest factor, especially at night when people "overdrive their high beams - when stopping distance is greater than the headlight illumination distance." Driving slower than the posted speed limit, especially after dark, can save animal (and human) lives.
Motorists are reminded to drive the posted speed limit and to be prepared to stop suddenly for wildlife along or on park roadways. Driving slower than indicated speed limits, especially at night, can increase the margin of safety for people and wildlife. Collisions between motor vehicles and wildlife may result in severe damage to a vehicle, serious or fatal injuries to the wildlife."
Driving notes for the Tetons trip. SAVE MONEY ON GAS AND TIME ON THE ROAD.
The major brand gas station right at a freeway exit in Lovelock had (in 2009/2012) gas at 33/28 cents a gallon more than the non-name brand station two blocks down a side street in town.
In Carlin the Pilot station posted their prices on a large overhead sign and the major name brand station next door didn't even have fully readable ones at the pump, but they were at least ten to twenty cents a gallon higher. The Pilot station also had a Subway sandwich shop and lots of possibly needed fuses, bulbs, hose clamps, etc.
It's faster to go across southern Idaho than through Salt Lake.
Going from Nevada into southern Idaho, the gas in Jackpot has often been much higher priced than in Twin Falls, Idaho.
'get through Twin Falls, Idaho without going through some downtown, but you can spend a great deal of time on slow side roads if you don't watch out. Coming from Jackpot do not take the Twin Falls city center #74 exit. Continue along as the road widens to a four lane and take the exit that circles around down to town. In 2009 it followed Addison and turned on to Blue Lakes, then highway 93. If you are going through at all late in the day you will find even the fast food places closed. The gas stations in town were (2009) 11 cents to 14 cents more (2010) 10 cents more than just outside of town at the freeway 84 entrance Flying J station, which is open 24 hours and at night might be the only restrooms and food you can find.
When you get to Idaho Falls do not take the first exit that says towards Grand Teton/Jackson, Wyoming, That exit forces you to drive for many narrow downtown blocks (not especially fun when towing a trailer). Instead, get a street map and take exit 119, following route 20 for a bit, go right on an exit to Science Center drive, which becomes Anderson as it crosses Holmes, then bear left onto Yellowstone Highway (route 26). You will save as much as a half hour, perhaps more, as the directional signs have been previously missing on the usually indicated route the city businesses would have you take from the freeway.
Going through Jackson, Wyoming into the park the main route takes you past the Town Square with a lot of slow traffic and pedestrians. It can be fun to take that route at least once, but the faster route is the one marked as a truck route. Get a street map from the club with the alternate route, as well as where to find the main grocery, hardware store, Dairy Queen, library, Kmart, whole-food-type grocer, Visitor Center etc, marked on it.
Plan to fill your tank whenever you are in Jackson, as the cheapest gas stations are in town and the prices get higher the further you go into Grand Teton park. July 2010 in Jackson some as low as $2.82, in the park at Dornan's in Moose $2.92, at Colter Bay $3, in Moran $3.30.
Groceries are also cheaper in town, so most trip participants plan trips into town at least once a week. Grocery stops will take less time if you have planned ahead for what you want, especially if you want to stop at the main huge grocery and the smaller, most basic needs but also more organic/gluten-free/dairy-free/natural care products. Check it out in advance: http://www.jacksonwholegrocer.com/
The speed limit slows to 15 miles per hour within 100 feet of a park entrance station.
Highway(s) 191, 26/89, from Jackson into and through the park has a nighttime (30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes before sunrise) speed limit of 45 m.p.h.
Important safety considerations for a long road trip, and ways to keep from being bored, are at:
Road trip advice and etiquette
You will be so much happier if you actually read this and plan ahead!
Just before you leave, consult:
park fire news http://www.nps.gov/grte/news/fireinfo.htm
Jackson Hole weather
Tetons area road conditions (Wyoming Department of Transportation)
Grand Teton Park road construction (possible delays) is at:
Jackson Hole airport, located between the town of Jackson and the park, is served by Sky West / Delta (through Salt Lake City), United and American Airlines. Alaska Air only gets as close as Idaho Falls. If you look online for tickets, the airport code for San Jose is SJC and for Jackson it's JAC.
A July 2011 search found round trip tickets from San Jose to Jackson for $484.
We recommend if you fly and rent a car that you head into town and get a spare door key made for convenience and so you can't wreck part of your trip by locking yourself out of the car far away from the rental location. On the trip into town you can stock up at the huge grocery with a complete deli, bakery and lots of produce.
In 2004 trip participants got early cheap tickets to Salt Lake City, Utah, rented a tiny car and drove the remaining 6 hours. A July 2011 search online found round trip tickets from San Jose to Salt Lake for $292. If you look online for tickets, the airport code for San Jose is SJC, for Salt Lake it's SLC.
In 2007 a guy who wanted to ride in a carpool one way and fly home at the end of the trip found that the round trip ticket was less than the one-way. But in 2009 a one way from San Jose to Jackson was found for $121.
If you fly in and/or out and are not old enough to rent a car, you could make arrangements in advance to be picked up by a carpool. If you arrive at a time when carpools can't get you, you can take an airport shuttle. See below at NO CAR ON OUR TRIP?
If you fly or stuff a lot of people in a car, you will be limited in what you can bring. If we can transport the kayaks we will also bring your lifejacket, paddle and dry bag(s). The club and/or the drivers will not be responsible for the safety of items we transport for you.
Since different people will have different budgets: drive or fly; some may camp, (but in fall they should expect regular rain, possible snow and cold overnight temperatures and well as warm sunny days), some may get a hotel room, some may get a cheap cabin, the trip cost will vary.
Grand Tetons trip cost has examples of
The cheap trip,
The not-so cheap trip,
The slightly more costly trip, but less driving time, also known as the I-can't-get-much-time-off-work trip,
and The expensive trip.
Grand Tetons trip pages index has brief descriptions of most of the pages about this trip.
NO CAR ON OUR TRIP?
During our trip, if your driver has plans for the day that you don't want to participate in, or if you arrive by plane before the main group, or if your driver stayed up late and slept in all morning, there is plenty to do at or from Colter Bay without access to your own vehicle.
The airport shuttle requires reservations at least 24 hours in advance.
A short walk from the cabins or campground, there are a restaurant and store as well as a Visitor Center with Ranger walks, talks and campfire programs.
TRAILS: At the north end of Colter Bay there is a 1.5 mile trail with a small causeway to an island. A self-guiding nature trail goes around the island. The trail starts behind the visitor center or at the day use area. Swan Lake is about a half mile from the cabins. From there you can take the Hermitage Point trail along Third creek, out to a peninsula on the lake and follow the shoreline of Jackson Lake back to the marina.
There is a fee or free (for guests at Colter Bay cabins) shuttle bus back and forth a few times a day from Colter Bay to Jackson Lake Lodge, Jenny Lake Visitor Center, Moose Visitor Center and into town. http://www.gtlc.com/activities/transportation-town.aspx Please note that if you go all the way into town, or even to the Moose Visitor Center on this shuttle and must come back through a ranger staffed entrance station, you will need to either have a park pass in your name or pay the daily rate to get into the park. Most people on our trips who have used this free shuttle have only used it to get to Jackson Lake Lodge (swimming pool/restaurants/trail rides) and back or perhaps to the Jenny Lake area for a hike or for the return after a backpack so a driver does not have to plan their day around your return time and you can take your time coming back. Please carefully note the return times.
activities besides hikes, ranger walks/talks and visitor centers
In the fall the corral at Colter Bay closes before we are there, but at JL lodge you can take a horseback trail ride: (543-3100) 2012 prices:
Short Ride (Approx. 1 hr) $45.00/adult
Standard Ride (Approx. 2 hrs) $75.00/adult
If you driver doesn't want to go on a general sightseeing tour, doesn't want to go to Yellowstone:
Scenic Park Bus Tour Rates 2012
Grand Teton 1/2 day tour $47.00/adult
Yellowstone full day tour $77.00/adult
On many of our fall trips the 'bay' at Colter Bay has been a mud flat due to irrigation water being drained from Jackson Lake. If it is not:
Jackson Lake Cruises (2012)
Scenic Lake Cruise $29.00/adult
Breakfast Cruise $37.00/adult
Evening Steak-Fry Cruise $57.00/adult