Driggs (pop. 1,500) is an odd conglomeration, mixing an old-time farming settlement and newfangled recreation mecca. It’s also fast becoming a bedroom community for commuters to Jackson Hole. A major development on the south end of town brought many more homes and businesses, and the airport keeps expanding with giant hangars for all those private jets.
There isn’t much to downtown Driggs, so it’s pretty easy to find your way around. After a decade of rapid growth, things have slowed in the last few years—much to the relief of some locals who feared another Jackson Hole scenario.
New in 2011, the Greater Yellowstone Regional Geotourism Center (60 S. Main St., www.yellowstonegeotourism.org, daily in summer, reduced winter hours) provides an outstanding introduction to the region. Historical exhibits cover the original Native American inhabitants, mountain men, emigrants, Mormon settlers, and the rise of agriculture. Other exhibits focus on scenic byways and a National Geographic display on geotourism around Yellowstone.
Especially notable are 24 prints and reproductions of Yellowstone paintings by Thomas Moran and historical photos by William Henry Jackson. One of these is a beautiful reproduction of The Three Tetons; the original hangs in the Oval Office of the White House. Also inside the center is a gift shop and visitor information kiosk.
Find local information at Teton Valley Chamber of Commerce (255 S. Main St., 208/354-2500, www.tetonvalleychamber.com, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Mon.-Fri.) in downtown Driggs.
A mile south of Driggs is the delightfully amusing Spud Drive-In (208/354-2727 or 800/799-7783, www.spuddrivein.com), here since 1953 but now with a Dolby sound system. You can’t miss the big truck out front with a flatbed-size “potato” on the back. The drive-in even attracts folks from Jackson, who cross the pass for an evening of fun beneath the stars. The drive-in is locally famous for Gladys burgers and Spud buds—served by carhops. The Spud also serves as a venue for summer concerts.
Spacious Teton Valley Museum (137 N. Hwy. 33, 208/354-6000, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tues.-Sat. late May-Oct., $5 adults, $2 kids, $15 families) houses historical displays from the valley’s past on two floors, with a separate building containing old farm equipment. It’s on the north side of town just beyond the Super 8 Motel.
At the airport just north of town, Warbirds Museum houses an interesting collection of restored historic planes in a hangar at the Teton Aviation Center (208/354-3100 or 800/472-6382, www.tetonaviation.com, free). Access is through the adjacent Warbirds Café. The collection contains several unusual fighter aircraft—including a T-28 Trojan and a Mig 15—but only four are displayed at any given time.
Just a block from the center of town is a delightful European-style guesthouse built in 1900, The Pines Motel Guest Haus (105 S. Main St., www.thepinestetonvalley.com, 208/354-2774 or 800/354-2778). The Neilson family provides seven rooms with private baths, each different but all nicely appointed with tasteful touches such as handmade quilts, along with Wi-Fi and an outdoor hot tub. Rates are very reasonable ($55-65 d or $110 for a two-room suite that sleeps eight) and kids are welcome.
On the north side of Driggs, Super 8 Motel (133 Hwy. 33, 208/354-8888 or 800/800-8000, www.super8.com) has standard rooms ($88 d) and suites that sleep four ($150). Amenities include an indoor pool, sauna, hot tub, Wi-Fi, and continental breakfast.
On the north side of Driggs, Best Western Teton West (476 N. Main St., 208/354-2363 or 800/528-1234, www.bestwestern.com, $120-130 d) features a light breakfast, indoor pool, hot tub, and Wi-Fi. Closed mid-October-mid-November.
Located a mile east of town, Teton Valley Cabins (34 E. Ski Hill Rd., 208/354-8153 or 866/687-1522, www.tetonvalleycabins.com, $79-99 d) rents comfortable, modern duplex cabins. Most have kitchenettes, and families appreciate units with bunk beds. A hot tub is available, along with Wi-Fi.
Short-term bookings for town houses, homes, cabins, and condos in the area are provided by Grand Valley Lodging (208/354-8890 or 800/746-5518, www.grandvalleylodging.com). Rates range $80-500 per night, higher around Christmas and the Fourth of July. These accommodations are popular with families and groups heading to Grand Targhee Ski Resort.
The nearest public campsites are at Teton Canyon Campground (reserve at 518/885-3639 or 877/444-6777, www.recreation.gov, $9 fee, late May-mid-Sept., $10 per site), 11 miles east of Driggs in the Tetons. This is a delightful camping spot, and the trailhead into beautiful (and very popular) Alaska Basin is nearby.
One benefit of Teton Valley’s growth is a dramatic improvement in the local restaurant scene. Driggs now has several excellent dining places.
Teton Thai (18 N. Main St., 208/787-8424, www.tetonthai.com, daily 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., 5:30-9:30 p.m.), a Jackson Hole favorite, has expanded and offers the same menu of South Asian favorites—including noodle, rice, and curry dishes—in a busy downtown Driggs setting. Most entrées are $12-14, but lighter options such as satay chicken or tom kha gai soup are about $8.
After a spicy Thai dinner, nothing hits the spot like something cold. Head a few doors up the street to Teton Valley Creamery (20 N. Main St., 208/354-0404, noon-9 p.m. Tues.-Sun. in summer, 2-9 p.m. Thurs.-Sun. in winter) for a gelato ($2.50). Made on the premises from local milk, gelato flavors include huckleberry, raspberry, and dulce de leche, plus the standard chocolate and vanilla. The owners also produce a variety of raw-milk artisanal cheeses.
Tiny Wrap and Roll (65 S. Main St., 208/354-7655, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Mon.-Fri., $6-8) is a good lunch spot, with Greek chicken wraps, shrimp spring rolls, rice bowls, and more. Get it to go or take a seat at the picnic table out front.
On the north end of town across from the airport, Hacienda Ccuajimalpa (528 Valley Centre Dr., 208/354-0121, daily 10 a.m.-10 p.m., $4-8) serves inexpensive and authentic Mexican meals: chile rellenos, chimichangas, enchiladas, quesadillas, tamales, burritos, and tostadas.
Best place for an organic latte, fruit smoothie, or gourmet hot chocolate? Head over to Cocoa Grove (180 S. Main St., 208/354-2899, 6 a.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun.); it’s in the mall with Broulim’s. The owners hail from Seattle, and really know coffee.
You won’t find burgers or steaks at Miso Hungry Café (165 N. Main St., 208/354-8015, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 5:30-9 p.m. Mon.-Tues. and Thurs.-Fri., $14-20), a playful spot with covered tables on the front porch and a flavorful globe-trotting fare. The lunch menu includes Thai noodle bowl, Greek Athenian plate, Philly cheese steaks, and a variety of soups, salads, homemade breads, espresso, and desserts. Even the potato chips are made on the premises from local (of course) Idaho potatoes. Dinner features paella, chicken sorrentino, rack of lamb, and curried shrimp. Check the chalkboard for daily specials.
An aviation-themed restaurant at—appropriately enough—Driggs Airport just north of town, Warbirds Café (208/354-2550, www.tetonaviation.com, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 5-9 p.m. Tues.-Sat., $15-28) has windows facing the taxiway, and several tables on the patio provide an even closer view. The dinner menu includes such treats as bacon-wrapped beef tenderloin, buffalo burgers, and big Caesar salads. Several restored old planes fill the adjacent hangar. Warbirds Café is popular with pilots, who can fly in for lunch with a view and an upscale meal. Or, as one local pointed out, it represents “all the things we ran away from when we moved here from Jackson.” Dinner reservations are recommended.
Find Martha Pendl’s amazing Austrian pastries and other treats at
Pendal’s Bakery & Café (40 Depot St., 208/354-5623, www.pendlspastries.com, 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Sat., 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Sun.). Ignore the official address; it’s actually at the back of the public parking lot on Bates Road (and almost directly behind the bookstore). Get a coffee and one of the incredibly delectable treats: Nussknacker, Linzertorte, or Florentiner pastries. Lunchtime soups, sandwiches, and quiches follow. Pendl’s is occasionally open for dinner in the summer.
Get malts, shakes, and hot fudge sundaes at the old-fashioned soda fountain inside Corner Drug (10 S. Main St., 208/354-2334, 9 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Mon.-Sat.). Lime freezes and huckleberry shakes ($4) are their claim to fame.
For late-night foraging and all-around wonderful meals, head to Forage Bistro & Lounge (385 Little Ave., 208/354-2858, www.forageandlounge.com, 4-10 p.m. Tues.-Sun., $10-22) a few blocks east of downtown. This trendy and very hip spot has a brick-paved deck out front and a curvy bar inside with a handful of tables. The limited, moderately priced menu changes seasonally, but typically includes noodles with coconut, garlic, ginger, and peanuts, a cheeseburger with chive aioli, red pepper, onion, and potato wedges, halibut with rice noodle salad, and an “everything” salad.
Shop for groceries at Broulim’s (52 S. Main St., 208/354-2350, www.broulims.com, 7 a.m.-11 p.m. Mon.-Sat.). There’s also a sushi bar, deli, and pizza by the slice. Just up the street is Barrels and Bins Community Market (36 S. Main St., 208/354-2307, daily 9 a.m.-7 p.m.), selling health foods, organic produce, and other earthy fare. The Teton Valley Open Air Market (208/351-4317, mid-June-Sept.) comes to downtown Driggs Fridays 9 a.m.-2 p.m., with produce, crafts, flowers, and baked goods.
© Don Pitcher from Moon Yellowstone & Grand Teton, 5th Edition