This is the greatest 5-day summer road trip you'll ever take
If you need Rocky Mountain adventure, brand-new faces and a couple of bad decisions across four different states, then it’s time to gas up that Accord and hit the open road. So shut down Google Maps, because we’ve got your whole trip covered.
(yes, this is Sinks Canyon and is actually in Wyoming ...)
Stop 1: Lander, WY
DISTANCE: 5 hours 30 minutes from Denver Metro
In just a little over five complete plays through Dr. Dre’s “The Chronic,” you could be in one of the coolest towns in the country — just imagine Boulder if it only had about 7,000 unpretentious residents, way less money and no hippies or homeless people. Sinks Canyon has tons of climbing, hiking and fishing just a few miles out of town, and Lander Bar has the food and strong drink you need after all that exertion. Best of all, you can channel your inner vagrant and legally camp in city park for free.
Stop 2: Jackson, WY
DISTANCE: 3 hours from Lander
On the way north out of Lander, you’ll cruise right by the Grand Tetons, which erupt out of the valley floor and stand shit-your-pants beautiful at around 14,000 feet. After gawking for a few minutes, slap on your cowboy boots and roll into Jackson. Explore the surrounding mountains. Pose by the huge elk-antler arches. And no trip through Wyoming would be complete without kitschy, old-timey cowboy shit, and the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar has that coming out of its greasy leather chaps. Saddle seats at the bar, a taxidermied bear and honky-tonkin’ country tunes will have you screaming “yee haw” in no time.
Stop 3: West Yellowstone, MT
DISTANCE: 2 hours 30 minutes from Jackson
After wading through the cesspool that is Idaho, you’ll be in the tiny southwest sliver of Montana and all of its glory. There might be busloads of Asian tourists in your way, but they won’t stop you from checking out Yellowstone National Park’s crazy-ass terrain. Since you’re here, you might as well watch Old Faithful and all the hot water shenanigans you can’t see anywhere else. There’s a ton of wildlife, so just remember that if you get gored when trying to take a selfie with a bison, you probably deserved it.
Booze to Try at All Your Stops
Lander, WY: Lander Brewing Company
The Lander Brewing Company is one of the oldest in Wyoming. It was founded during the 1800s and pumped out some of the best (and most potent) beer west of the Mississippi — until Prohibition shut it down. Once it reopened, they continued to produce some of the best beer in America, winning “Best Microbrewery in Wyoming” in 2011 and accumulating numerous medals from The Great American Beer Festival and The North American Brewers Association.
Jackson, WY: Snake River Brewing
This joint features an overwhelmingly long list of craft beers that are sure to satisfy even the most weathered beer connoisseur. Snake River Brewing won best small brewery in 2000 and 2001 at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver (and we hear those Denver people really know their beer). And, for all you environment-loving hippies, Snake River offers one of the only USDA-approved organic beers in the country: the OB-1. This beer is not only delicious but also works to promote the sustainable farming of hops and barley.
West Yellowstone, MT: Willie’s Distillery
If you find yourself bored of Yellowstone, and you prefer serious alcohol, then head just 45 minutes north to one of the best distilleries in America. Willie’s Distillery in Ennis makes some serious moonshine that’ll knock you on your ass. For those that don’t know, moonshine is whiskey that is bottled without ever being aged in a barrel first, and no one knows how to make it better than the people at Willie’s Distillery. If you don’t have time to make the trip to their distillery, you can still find their moonshine and bourbon in almost every liquor store in Montana.