Grand Teton National Park
Grand Teton is an active park; it's hard to sit still. Maybe it's all that seismic activity, or the crisp mountain air. Lucky for your restless spirit that Teton has over 200 miles of hiking trails in the park ranging from level and easy trails on the valley floor to steep, arduous trails into the mountains. If churning rivers are your bag, there are raft trips on the Snake River. Watch for moose along the banks and bald eagles soaring above. In fact, wherever you go in Grand Teton, you stand a good chance of spotting wildlife.
The John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway is a traditional great park road, designed to capture every scenic morsel along the way. The Teton Park Road is a little more off the beaten track, with superb sidetrips such as the Signal Mountain Summit Road and the Jenny Lake Scenic Drive. In our opinion, Teton Park Road makes an even better bike ride. It has wide shoulders and superb views of the Tetons. The Antelope Flats Kelly Loop provides riding opportunities on secondary roads.
Whatever your mode of transport, there's lots to see. Here's a quick tour...
You'll want to stop at the Colter Bay Visitor Center and Indian Arts Museum to pick up the usual maps and brochures. While you're at it, visit the museum to view art created by native peoples and gain a glimpse of 19th-century Native American life.
Menor's Ferry and the Chapel of the Transfiguration - Turn off the Teton Park Road 0.5 mile north of Moose. The Menor's Ferry Trail, less than a half mile long, affords a look at homesteading and pioneer life in Jackson Hole. Visit Bill Menor's cabin and view a replica of the ferry that crossed the Snake River at the turn of the century. The altar window of the Chapel of the Transfiguration frames the tallest Teton peaks.
Willow Flats Stop at the Willow Flats - Turn out, six miles south of Colter Bay, for a view of an extensive freshwater marsh that provides excellent habitat for birds, beavers, and moose. Jackson Lake and the Teton Range form the backdrop.
Oxbow Bend - Located one mile east of Jackson Lake Junction, this cut-off meander of the Snake River attracts a wide variety of wildlife. Mt. Moran, the most massive peak in the Teton Range, dominates the background.
Jackson Lake Dam Overlook - Jackson Lake Dam, one mile west of Jackson Lake Junction on the Teton Park Road, raises the level of Jackson Lake a maximum of 39 feet. In addition to being a reservoir, Jackson Lake is also a natural lake formed by an immense glacier that once flowed from Yellowstone National Park. Park on the southwest side of the dam and take a short walk for a peaceful view of Jackson Lake and Mt. Moran.
South Jenny Lake - Park here and take a short walk to view glacially-carved Jenny Lake nestled at the base of the tallest Teton peaks. A six-mile hiking trail encircles Jenny Lake. During the summer, shuttle boats provide easy access to the west side of the lake and trails to Hidden Falls, Inspiration Point, and Cascade Canyon.
The Gros Ventre Slide occurred in 1925 when earthquakes and rain caused the north end of Sheep Mountain to break off and dam the Gros Ventre River, forming Lower Slide Lake.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication