If you are anything like me, you have no concept of miles and distance. If you tell me “Oh that’s like 100 miles away” I think “I can get there in about 50 minutes.” Which is probably false. At least if you are planning on obeying speeding laws. So when I first looked up the distance of Yellowstone and saw 760 miles, I didn’t think it would be that bad. With the purest of hearts, I thought that a 3.5 day trip would be enough time to see everything on my list at leisurely pace. I was wrong. Now, if you are doing a little bit of math you’re most likely noticed that if Yellowstone is 760 miles away… round trip that is only 1520 miles. Maybe even 1720 if we throw some extra miles in there for rest breaks and the driving required to get and return the rental car. “Where do the other 1000+ miles come from?” I’m glad you asked! Let’s discuss that shall we.
We got lost
I’ll admit it. We got lost somewhere in Idaho for brief moment. We veered too far west when we needed to go north. This added about 90 miles to our journey. Ooops. All part of traveling every now and then I suppose!
The Park is Huge
I cannot stress this point enough in my various posts and even this one as well. If you are driving in to Yellowstone National Park, always be cognizant of your gas tank. We tried to fill up before going into the park just to be safe. There are times when the sites you want to see can be as far as 40 miles from one another, or as close as 10 miles. Either way, you can easily rack up over 100 miles in a short day at Yellowstone. “But Zea, you didn’t drive nearly one thousand miles through the Yellowstone Park, did you?” Why, no I didn’t. I estimate that we did about 250 miles total the two days we were there. Let me explain about the rest.
If some of you are not familiar, like I was just a few weeks ago, Airbnb is a website or phone app where you can book a unique accommodation almost anywhere in the world!! Basically, someone will post their accommodation (spare room or guest house) and you can book it. Usually, the prices are very reasonable and cost much less than staying in a hotel. It’s a cool concept a different way to travel. Since we would be a group of 6, we decided it would be more cost effective to book a condo through Airbnb. It would only cost $25 a night per person as opposed to a hotel near Yellowstone which would cost about $75 a night per person. The experience was fun and I would give that another try. I’m not sure if it’s my favorite way to choose a place to stay, but it’s nice to have something different once in a while. The compromise to the condo was that it’s in Driggs, Idaho.
This wouldn’t have been too bad if Wyoming or Idaho believed in street lights, but they don’t. It is almost pitch black on most of the roads. Google maps clocks the travel time at 1hr 42min and 95 miles. We did that roundtrip drive twice. Imagine driving that far in an unknown place, in the dark! It was stressful at times. But back to the miles, for those of you keeping up, that means we are about 2440 miles in. Give or take a few miles.
We were unable to make it to Yellowstone National Park on the third day as planned, so as a consolation, we drove through the Grand Teton in Wyoming.
Grand Teton National Park was about 50 miles away from the condo in Driggs. (Actually a much easier drive than getting to Yellowstone). The park was easily accessible and totally worth the detour! I’m super pleased I was able to drive through and play around for an hour and a half or so. The mountains were majestic and much more peaceful than Yellowstone. The trails that were available looked like the type I would enjoy hiking. I.e. not paved.
Overall, it was definitely one of the better 150 miles (roundtrip) that I spent in the car. Bringing our total to 2640. Almost there!
Farmlands & Forests
On the drive home to Las Vegas, we thought we would give the scenic route a chance. Our car group didn’t want to look at freeways any longer than we had to. We headed south through Wyoming as opposed to going back west into Idaho. It added about an extra 40 miles into the trip. We also took an accidental detour through the Wasatch-Cache National Forest in Utah.
The forest was so serene. At times, we were the only car on the road. I found it peaceful, however my boyfriend who was driving another 40 miles out of the way did not seem so in tune with nature. Luckily for everyone in the car, our last stop before Vegas was Salt Lake City! A few miles through the traffic filled streets to get to Chick-Fil-A then we were finally home.
With the numbers provided it should bring the total around 2720 miles. I’m assuming that I may not have taken into account a few more side trips but it’s more fun using a round number like 2750 for a blog title. Don’t you agree? To put that mileage into some kind of perspective for you, you can drive across the United States from Los Angeles, CA to Miami, FL. Imagine covering that distance in 3 days.
Next time I find myself taking in the sites in Wyoming, I plan on flying into a closer city. Maybe Idaho Falls or even Denver or Salt Lake. I can survive an 8 hour drive but not another 12. There’s just something about those added 4 hours that kills me. Also, I would be more willing to spend a little extra money to be closer to the park. Be in a condo through Airbnb or even a hotel. These were lessons learned that I happily pass on to my readers.
Overall, this Yellowstone journey gave me a chance to experience nature and the countryside.
It made me appreciate living in a city. I think I’m ready to vacation in one. Stay tuned for my next set of adventures!