John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway northwest Wyoming Visited: September 17, 2004 NPS Site Visited: 95 of 353 NPS Website
WHAT IS IT? An 82-mile section of road that travels from West Thumb Geyser Basin in the southern portion of Yellowstone NP and follows through Grand Teton NP all the way to its southern entrance and Jackson Hole, Wyo. The Parkway also encompasses the land between the two parks, some of which John D. Rockefeller, Jr. bought in the 30’s and donated to the National Park Service in order to preserve it for public use.
BEAUTY (10/10) The portions of the John D. Rockefeller Memorial Parkway within Grand Teton NP are breathtaking. The jagged peaks just stand there, majestic, without obstruction. The Parkway offers countless pullouts, picnic areas and snapshot chances.
HISTORIC SIGNIFICANCE (4/10) The Parkway remembers Rockefeller’s philanthropic commitment to our nation’s public lands. His land purchases ensured what he hoped to be the everlasting protection of the Great Smoky Mountains NP, Acadia NP, Grand Teton NP, the Virgin Islands NP and more. We are thankful to foresight of Mr. Rockefeller and other like-minded industrialists who treasure the public’s enjoyment of our beautiful country.
CROWDS (2/10) Despite the beautiful surroundings rife with wildlife, most of the Parkway’s visitors still drive well over the posted 45 mile and hour speed limit. It is hard to enjoy nature when gargantuan pick up trucks and/or RV’s are aggressively tailgating your humble Nissan Altima. Even though there a pull offs for cars going the speed limit, the stress level of driving the Parkway, especially the sections in Yellowstone NP can be particularly high.
EASE OF USE/ACCESS (1/5) Large portions of the Parkway’s northern section are under construction and amount to one-way unpaved gravel conduits. Waits of up to a half an hour are more than likely. The Parkway cannot be accessed without entry into either Yellowstone or Grand Teton NP’s.
CONCESSIONS/BOOKSTORE (1/5) The Parkway’s bookstore, located at the Flagg Ranch, closed for the season in early September, leaving us one National Parks Passport stamp short. We could see it through the door’s window and left distraught.
COSTS (2/5) A $20 vehicle entrance fee is good for a week’s stay at both Yellowstone NP and Grand Teton NP, an incredible bargain given the sheer amount of things to in the Parks’ combined 2.5 million acres. Entry is free with the National Parks Pass.
There is an outsourced campground available near the Flagg Ranch Lodge in the Parkway portion in between the two National Parks. Reservations can be made for the $25 a night sites. Pretty steep by our book.
RANGER/GUIDE TO TOURIST RATIO (1/5) The Ranger Station, along with the bookstore, closed for the season in early September. If you sincerely have John D. Rockefeller, Jr. related questions we are sure the Ranger at Grand Teton NP will be able to help.
TOURS/CLASSES (1/10) Only a roadside exhibit conveniently positioned right before the flagman stops traffic. From the view Michael had, face pressed up against the glass, it did not look like there was a museum at the closed Ranger Station.
FUN (6/10) How much fun can driving through a 30 miles of construction and unpaved roads really be? Pretty fun indeed, when the Grand Tetons are your destination. Once the traffic holdup ends, the Tetons stand to your right. For over 50 miles!
WOULD WE RECOMMEND? (10/10) Location. Location. Location. The Parkway receives a mandatory perfect score here since it is your only paved route through the stunning Grand Teton NP and part of Yellowstone.
USA-C2C.com is an independent website, not affiliated in any way with the National Park Service, the National Parks Foundation or any of their partners.