South Dakota - Wyoming - Utah Roadtrip Part 3

South Dakota -Wyoming - Utah Roadtrip

Part 3

(Grand Teton National Park & Salt Lake City)

We arrived late at our next overnight stop. Luckily we had booked in advance and got the last cabin at the Hatchet Resort in Moran. Exhausted and tired from Yellowstone, we soon fell asleep and were only awakened in the morning by our alarm clock. After we had packed our hiking gear again we enjoyed a hearty breakfast in the restaurant attached to the resort. The friendly waitress gave us the latest tips for our day in Grand Teton National Park.

Day 4

Strengthened with an eggs and pancakes breakfast, we finally drove off towards the national park. First, we passed a group of horses, which probably could be booked for rides, and then we drove insight of the Snake River, directly to the entrance of the park. Here came then already the first time our "America the Beautiful" annual pass to the use. After a friendly greeting, the ranger handed us the park documents and we could move on free of charge.

After passing the park entrance, great views of the still snow-covered mountain ranges already awaited us. The ride now went towards Jackson Lake, where we turned left to drive over the Jackson Lake dam along the lake towards Jenny Lake which was our actual destination. The route around Jackson Lake was already impressive and we had the whole ride a breathtaking view of the mountains on the opposite side of the lake with the all towering Mout Moran in the center.

A little further down the Teton Park Road and after leaving Jackson Lake behind us, we turned off onto a one-way road that would take us to the viewpoints at Jenny Lake. Since we were not far from the visitor center, the road was very busy with bicyclists. Especially since there were separated bike lanes this was an ideal bike destination - unfortunately, we were traveling by car and had not brought our own bikes. Again a point for our next visit to the area.

Jenny Lake was amazing. We found a spot at a small parking lot right on the lake. From here there was access to the "Jenny Lake Trail" which goes literally around the whole lake. With 7.1 miles it was not feasible for us today due to time constraints. However, we hiked the entire east shore to the visitor center and enjoyed the numerous views of the lake and over to the Tetons.

Our plan was initially to also hike up the west shore of Jenny Lake to "Inspiration Point" and then continue up to "Hidden Falls", a 100 ft. tall waterfall. However, it was recommended that we carry bear spray for this hike, as there were numerous grizzly and black bears in the area. Since we had not thought of it and had none with us, we did not dare to undertake the hike and were content with the beautiful hike along the shore of the lake.

Since our afternoon hike was canceled, we had time to visit another sight worth seeing. One of the most photographed barns in the world is the "T.A. Moulton Barn". Every photographer who visits the area probably tries to get his perfect shot of this barn with the imposing Tetons in the background. So that was one of my goals as well. After only a short drive, we reached Mormon Row, where the Barn is located. Mormon Row was home to 27 settler families who arrived in the area in 1890 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1997.

As idyllic as the scenery was, it was time to hit the road, because our destination for today was Salt Lake City, and we still had about 300 miles of driving ahead of us. After leaving the Grand Tetons heading south, we first had to pass the famous town of Jackson Hole. Due to the advanced time, we could only take a short walk through the city and visit the central square with its souvenir shops as well as the impressive Elk Antler Arches that stand at the accesses to the park.

After this short tour, we finally drove on and were looking forward to the next stage with Salt Lake City to come.

Day 5

Since we had arrived late in Salt Lake City the day before, it was difficult for us to get up in the morning with the necessary energy for the upcoming sightseeing tour. However, our curiosity about the city was greater, so we just started the day a little later than planned. The first stop was the "This is the Place - Heritage Park", which was already close to our hotel. The sculpted monument was dedicated in 1947 and honors the arrival of Mormon pioneers to the Salt Lake Valley.

From the Monument, we drove down to the city center, where we luckily found a parking spot. We had heard a lot about the Mormons who dominated the cityscape with their temple and were eager to learn more about this religion. First, however, we passed the "Cathedral Of The Madeleine". Remarkably, it is the only Catholic Cathedral in the United States under the patronage of St. Mary Magdalene. The Romanesque exterior is composed of Utah sandstone and the cathedral was completed in 1909.


Then just half a mile away we reached Temple Square, where not only the imposing temple but also the Congress Center and an Assembly Hall of the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints". Unfortunately, the main temple was under construction at the time of our visit, so we could only see the building from some distance. Nevertheless, the construction took 40 years to complete and the building was finished in 1893.

During our tour of the temple, we got to talk to two friendly young missionaries of the church who approached people and gave us the opportunity to learn about the religion. They explained to us that this religion is also known as the Mormons and that the heart of their faith is the belief in Jesus Christ in an unaltered form. Love and belief in the good in people are essential. Touched positively and encouraged, we moved on to explore the rest of the temple complex.

After this tour, we went back to the car to explore more highlights of the city. From Temple Square, we drove back towards the city center and then turned north towards Capitol Hill. Already when entering Main Street we could catch a glimpse of the mighty government building on the hill.


When we reached the top of Capitol Hill, we were treated to a breathtaking view of the building and the scenery. Home of the Utah State Capitol building, Capitol Hill is an elevated district with sweeping views of downtown Salt Lake City. From here you have a view of the entire Valley and the mountains of the adjacent ski resorts, still covered with snow at this time of year.

After this varied excursion to the capital of Utah, we were already looking forward to the next stage. 230 miles southeast of Salt Lake City we should reach Moab in the late afternoon. Moab is also our starting point to Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park for the next few days.