Closest entrance and distance: 22 miles from Grant Village to the south entrance
Located on the southern shore of Yellowstone Lake, Grant Village offers dramatic views of summer squalls and one of Yellowstone's most inspiring sunrises. Perhaps the primary appeal of the village, the southernmost outpost in the park, is its location as a jumping-off place for travelers leaving for Grand Teton National Park, or as a place for them to spend their first night in Yellowstone. Named for President Ulysses S. Grant, the village was completed in 1984. It's the newest of Yellowstone's villages and home to the park's most modern facilities.
The Grant Visitor Center (tel. 307/242-2650) has information, publications, a slide program, and a fascinating exhibit examining the effects of fire in Yellowstone. A video about the fires of 1988 is shown daily.
The Grant Village Dining Room is a good restaurant with views of the lake. Reservations are recommended. Nearby is Lake House, which serves less-expensive pizza and pasta dinners in an informal dining room right on the shoreline. Guest accommodations are in a motel-style building. Other services include a general store that serves light meals and fast food, a modest gift shop, and a service station. Given the choice, I'd head north to a different destination or continue south to Grand Teton.
In contrast to this admittedly forgettable village is the beautiful 22-mile drive to Grand Teton National Park along high mountain passes and Lewis Lake. The lake, which is 108 feet deep, is the third largest in the park and is connected to Shoshone Lake by a narrow channel populated by German brown trout. After the lake loses its winter coat of ice, it is a popular spot for early-season anglers who are unable to fish streams that are clouded by the spring runoff.
Beyond the lake, the road follows the Lewis River through an alpine area and along the Pitchstone Plateau, a pile of lava more than 2,000 feet high and 20 miles wide that was created some 500,000 years ago. A high gorge overlooking the river provides views that are different from, but equally spectacular as, those in other sections of the park. At its highest point, the road winds across a plateau that is accented with forests of dead, limbless lodgepole pine -- remnants of the 1988 fire.
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