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Driving from Park City to Jackson Hole at night?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

I've looked at the driving route recommendation from SLC to JH. Seems one option is head up 89, which is the closest one from Park City.

 

I'll be staying with friends at Park City to ski early part of next week. Then drive up to hit JH for the latter part of the week. To maximize "slope time", I would like to ski part of the day and start heading up mid-afternoon (2~3). Though that means a good part of my driving will be in the dark! :-(

 

Is 89 to JH dangerous in the dark? Or is it managable? If 89 is not a good route for night driving, is there a better, more "night friendly" route?

 

Or should I simply resign myself to quitting earlier so that I can finish the drive in daylight? (night fall is pretty early this time of year, unfortunately. Hence my hope of leaving a couple hours of the drive in the dark)

post #2 of 13

My cousin lives in Driggs, ID and takes I-15 from SLC. It would probably add @ an hour to your time and you would have to go over Teton Pass at the end, but the road out of SLC is an Interstate, so maybe easier night driving for you.

post #3 of 13

From PC, I would just do the 89 route.  I've driven it at night and didn't find it bad.  Of course weather will be a factor in this.  If you do 15 it will not only be longer, but you will drive over Pine Creek Pass and Teton Pass.  Look carefully at the map as there are a few vagagieties on that route and the signage is wrong.  You will still get there, but it will take a little longer.  Ideally you won't be on 89 the whole way.  You will go through Cokeville, but not Bear Lake.  It should take about 4 hours from PC.  If you leave PC around 2, you should be past Cokeville and on your way over the low pass into Star Valley by dark.  Star Valley and the Snake River Canyon are not very hard most of the time. 

post #4 of 13


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by at_nyc View Post

I've looked at the driving route recommendation from SLC to JH. Seems one option is head up 89, which is the closest one from Park City.

 

I'll be staying with friends at Park City to ski early part of next week. Then drive up to hit JH for the latter part of the week. To maximize "slope time", I would like to ski part of the day and start heading up mid-afternoon (2~3). Though that means a good part of my driving will be in the dark! :-(

 

Is 89 to JH dangerous in the dark? Or is it managable? If 89 is not a good route for night driving, is there a better, more "night friendly" route?

 

Or should I simply resign myself to quitting earlier so that I can finish the drive in daylight? (night fall is pretty early this time of year, unfortunately. Hence my hope of leaving a couple hours of the drive in the dark)


April,

 

Having done that drive a few times, I highly recommend you do it during the day unless you're pretty certain the roads are almost completely clear.  It's moderately flat in many spots, but the last 90 minutes is all mountainous.

 

I've also gone the I-15 to Idaho falls route and don't really have a preference for either one, but 89 on decent roads should be faster for sure coming from Park City.  Only advantage to going the interstate route is easier to get help if something goes wrong.  But even then, once you get east of Idaho falls you're still in the middle of nowhere with Teton Pass to contend with.

 

Just make sure your vehicle has necessary winter supplies and use common sense and you'll be fine.

post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks Jim.

 

I've only driven that route once, in the summer. Once it got dark, it felt pretty desolate. Though that being summer, dark was 9 or 10 o'clock. So zero traffic at all, which was pretty spooky. If I start at 2 or no later than 3, I should be at JH about 7. Hopefully there're more traffic around to not felt so lonely.

 

The appeal of going on the interstate, is if for whatever reason the drive took longer and time too late, I could conceivably overnight at Idaho Falls and resume the drive in daylight the next morning...

post #6 of 13

If its a big storm / blizzard got to ID falls and then wait for a break in the storm to get through the mountains. Other wise, I would take I80 East and then go through Evanston then 16 north to cokeville to 89. That way you only have to go over 1 pass (salt creek) to get to jackson.

post #7 of 13

I drove Park City to/from Jackson twice in Feb 2009. I went Evanston - Big Piney. It's about 5 hours, pretty flat and a good road. The last bit is through some hilly stuff but it's not difficult or precipitous. However, I discovered that doing it in heavy snowfall in the evening wasn't such a good idea as they stop ploughing around 4 or 5pm!  The hilly bit in a Cobalt in quite heavy snow was worrying, but in fact it was fine.  Hardest part was working out where the road was.

post #8 of 13
I fit boots for seasoned road warriors who say the fastest way to JAC from SLC is through Soda Springs. Southwestern Wyo is a beautiful yet desolate place. I have driven both routes numerous times and the interstate is far more relaxing.

IMHO, take I-15 to Idaho Falls then to Teton Pass.
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ant View Post

I drove Park City to/from Jackson twice in Feb 2009. I went Evanston - Big Piney. It's about 5 hours, pretty flat and a good road. The last bit is through some hilly stuff but it's not difficult or precipitous. However, I discovered that doing it in heavy snowfall in the evening wasn't such a good idea as they stop ploughing around 4 or 5pm!  The hilly bit in a Cobalt in quite heavy snow was worrying, but in fact it was fine.  Hardest part was working out where the road was.

That's bad news (the stop plowing part)!

 

I expect problem after 7 or 8 but not 4-5pm.

 

post #10 of 13
On all the roads leaving Jackson there are big yellow signs that read ... "NO PLOWING 9PM to 5AM"

They mean it.
post #11 of 13

From SLC to Jackson, the fastest way is through Soda Springs.  It's really pretty once you get off the interstate by Lava Hotsprings and the steam from the soda plant looks surreal at night.  I always think of Pink Floyds Welcome To The Machine when driving past.  From Park City the fastest way is though Evanston, Cokeville, and Afton.  I don't find the interstate very relaxing as I hate traffic and am not used to the SLC 5 lane type driving after living in JH for so long.  I am comfortable with empty roads.  The I-15 route from PC will be much longer than the route through Cokeville.  It will be safer until you leave IF and then, if the weather is funky, its just as bad as the other route for almost 90 miles and you will be more tired from driving longer.  Everyone talks about Teton Pass, but I've had many trips to IF where I thought Pine Creek Pass was the more dangerous road.  I can remember two trips where the scariest part was the stretch between Rieri and Conant on Antelope Flats.  The Pass between Cokeville and Star Valley is low and relatively easy.  I've done that route at night in a blizzard with my Subaru and it wasn't too bad.  I am an experienced winter driver with an AWD vehicle, but IMHO if the weather is even close to being reasonable take that route and start by 3.  You should be fine and it will take about 4 hours.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skiing-in-Jackson View Post

I fit boots for seasoned road warriors who say the fastest way to JAC from SLC is through Soda Springs. Southwestern Wyo is a beautiful yet desolate place. I have driven both routes numerous times and the interstate is far more relaxing.

IMHO, take I-15 to Idaho Falls then to Teton Pass.
post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
Changed plan and decided to beat the storm to Jackson.

Thanks for all who responded. Decided to come up on 89. No problem in pouring rain (in daylight). I'm hoping all that rain came down on the mountain as snow?
Edited by at_nyc - 12/14/10 at 4:13pm
post #13 of 13

It was snowing like crazy at the end of the day.  Powder up to and over my boot tops in most places.  A little soft crunch underneath on the south slopes and I heard that the lower faces got "interesting" pretty quickly below south pass traverse.  I was surprised how good it was and how quickly it changed for the better.  Look me up.  I'd love to ski with you if I can get some time.  Starting tomorrow I'm scheduled every day until the end of the first week in Jan.

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