Favorite Road Trips
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The winding road: Northwestern Wyoming
Why: The towering Tetons, the glory of Yellowstone, and that humongous, gorgeous blue cape of sky billowing over your head.
What to expect: Wyoming has almost no traffic and fewer traffic lights—but try to drive through Yellowstone National Park during summer high season, and you'll either get caught in traffic jams of gawking tourists or recalcitrant buffalo (or, more likely, both). But in the off-season, particularly on roads outside of park boundaries, the open spaces and solitude will recharge your soul.
Start your engines: Chances are you'll start out in Jackson, but an even better option is to fly into the regional airport at the cowboy town of Cody and head due west toward Yellowstone. From there, drop south into the wonder of the Tetons (as pretty as Yellowstone, minus those damn bison) and eventually into the extravagant, moneyed hug that is Jackson. Four days could do it—seven days would be better.
Road secrets: If you're a driver's driver, make a point to seek out the Chief Joseph Scenic Highway, a sweep of 46 miles that spools down an 8,000-foot peak and into the beautiful bowl of the Sunlight Basin. (It's officially WY 296, between Cody and the northeastern corner of Yellowstone.) History buffs will dig it, too: In 1877, the Nez Percé crossed this range while trying to escape the U.S. Cavalry, which wanted to force them onto a reservation.
Shack up: Jackson is no slouch when it comes to properties, but the top-flight option is Amangani, a sumptuous outpost atop a butte. The views of the Tetons are even sweeter when you're taking them in from the heated outdoor pool.
National Park Service, Yellowstone
Tel: 307 344 7381
Tel: 877 734 7333
Doubles from $775