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Grand Teton National Park
A Visit to to Grand Teton National Park
In August 2010, I took a trip to Wyoming and saw Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park, and other sites in the area. In total, I spent just over 2 days in the Tetons and hiked a number of trails and captured some of the things I saw with my camera.
On this page I will share a few details of my trip, my Grand Teton pictures, and provide some information to help you plan your own Grand Teton vacation and learn more about the area.
My Grand Teton National Park Vacation
I had spent a few days in Yellowstone National Park prior to driving south into adjacent Grand Teton. I actually hiked more in the Tetons and became more aquainted with the landscape there than I had in Yellowstone.
The weather was sunny and the temperatures were fairly mild. Western Wyoming is rather dry, and the high altitudes assured that temperatures were more mild, although the variation between elevations, times of day. and so forth were significant.
I saw wildlife such as deer, ground squirrel, foxes, eagles, and more, but to my relief I came across no bears while hiking although I know they inhabit the area. Backcountry and day hiking is possible within the Grand Tetons and there are hikes available which range from very rugged to very easy.
If you live in an area with a lower elevation, you'll need to keep in mind the potential effects of hiking in a higher elevation. More frequent rest stops may be needed.
There are bike trails available and visitors can boat, swim, camp, hunt elk with special permits, and more.
There are several areas in the park where visitors can get a meal if they won't be enjoying a picnic. At the northern end of the park the Flagg Ranch Village offers facilities, as do the Jackson Lake Lodge, Jenny Lake Lodge, Colter Bay Village, and Moose Junction.
We had lunch the first day in Colter Bay at Leeks Marina. Eating outdoors we could view Jackson Lake and the highest peaks of the Tetons while we enjoyed our meal. We even had a group of friendly ground squirrels who kept us entertained.
My visit to the park wasn't planned well in advance, so we stopped at the Flagg Ranch Village as we entered the park at the north end. Here there was a visitor information center where I was able to get park maps, trail maps, and so forth. Because there were some easy hiking trails here, we took the 2.5 mile Polecat Creek Loop Trail. It offered a very level, easy hike.
Following lunch we took the hike around Two Ocean Lake just south east of our location, or at least we attempted it. We found that a number of trails lie off of the main road a few miles. Many of these connecting roads are narrow, winding dirt roads that are sometimes rutted. They make for an interesting excursion but aren't always well marked.
A portion of the Two Ocean Lake trail was closed for the season, but we hiked nearly 5 miles. The hike was moderate in difficulty as we passed through meadows of flowers as well as pine and aspen wooded areas. Two Ocean Lake was often viewable although we never really skirted the shore.
Probably my favorites hikes around Grand Teton National Parks were around the areas of Leigh Lake, String Lake, and Jenny Lake which are clustered in the center of the park on the west side of the loop. These mirror like lakes are situated with quiet paths along their eastern shore and the moutains along the western shore. Hiking along the canyons to the west of these lakes is more strenous but provides some rewarding views. (I have a couple of pictures of the lakes lower on this page.)
Even for those who don't hike, taking the one way road that diverts from the main road at North Jenny Junction will provide a taste of this natural beauty, with views of the stream and lakes. There is also a boat available to take visitors across the lake to view the Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point rather than hiking the full distance.
Time didn't permit me to hike some of the longer trails like Death Canyon, Granite Canyon, or Teton Canyon but there were plenty of shorter, and easier options.
On the second day, we stopped at Menor's Ferry, visited the homestead, general store, and sampled some of the goods such as fresh baked gingersnap cookies and pretzels with Huckleberry Jam. We even took a short ride on the ferry across the river.
At Taggart Lake we took the 3.2 mile hike which although it was easy, required a fair amount of climbing. Part of that trail is pictured above. Just north of Taggart Lake, Lupine Meadow is where many of the trails going up the main moutain begin. However, this wasn't something I could tackle on a short trip as 8 or more hours were required.
With time running short, we took a number of quick hikes along the eastern route through the park, seeing historic homesteads, wildflowers, and wildlife. On my final effort, I took an unmarked dirt road a few miles north of Jackson Lake Lodge and found the trailhead for Grand View Point. It was a moderate to difficult hike with an ongoing climb which took me to an elevation of 7586 feet and provided a great view of Jackson Lake with the Tetons as a backdrop. (A rather hazy picture of the view is featured below.)
With that, my visit to Grand Teton National Park ended. However, for those with more time the park offers horseback riding, fishing, boating, float trips, biking, educational seminars and workshops, moutaineering, and more. In the winter skiing, sleigh rides, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling are possibilities too.
Below, you'll find a few more of the pictures I took while in the Grand Tetons.