Grand Teton National Park is 300,000+ acres of spectacular mountains, lakes,
rivers, and valleys. While Yellowstone just 10 miles up the road gets most of the love,
you could easily spend an entire vacation in Grand Teton National Park. The park contains
the major peaks of the 40 mile long Teton Range, and is named after 13,775 ft Grand Teton,
the tallest peak in the range. The park also includes several lakes, a long portion of the Snake
River (great rafting), and the northern half of the valley known as Jackson Hole.
I was never an avid mountaineer, but for those who are the Tetons are close to paradise.
There are numerous climbs for rock scramblers and hard core technical climbers alike.
I've been to Grand Teton National Park four times, spanning the years 1981 to 2020.
Teton Park Road
The Teton Park Road runs from Moose Junction at its south end to Jackson Lake Junction at the north end. Park headquarters and the Moose entrance station and visitor center are located about a mile from Moose Junction. Interesting stops along the road (from south to north) include the Chapel of the Transfiguration, Menor's Ferry Historic Site, the Jenny Lake area, Signal Mountain, and the Chapel of the Sacred Heart. There are also several turnouts and overlooks that offer outstanding views of the Teton range. Taggart Lake, Lupine Meadows, Jenny Lake, String and Leigh Lake trailheads are accessed from Teton Park Road. Teton Park Road is closed to traffic November 1 to April 30 from Taggart Lake Trailhead to Signal Mountain Lodge. The road is open for skiing, snowshoeing, and hiking from mid-December to mid-March.
Jenny Lake Area
Jenny Lake is located about halfway along Teton Park Road. Here you will find the Jenny Lake Visitor Center, the historic Jenny Lake Ranger Station, and Jenny Lake Store. Several trailheads can be accessed from Jenny Lake.
Signal Mountain rises to a height of 7,720 feet on the eastern side of Jackson Lake, about 10 miles east of its nearest mountain neighbors in the Teton range. A paved road off Teton Park Road winds to the top of Signal Mountain. There are spectacular panoramic views of the Snake River, the Teton range, and much of Jackson Hole from the summit. Signal Mountain Lodge is located on Jackson Lake at the base of Signal Mountain, and there is a moderate 6.8 mile out and back trail starting at the lodge and ending at the summit. Elevation gain is about 850 ft. I spent a night in one of the cabins at Signal Mountain Lodge, so naturally I've included a couple of photos of the accommodations.
Colter Bay Area
Colter Bay is located about 5 miles north of Jackson Lake Junction on U.S. 191. Colter Bay Village and nearby Jackson Lake Lodge provide all sorts of services and amenities for vistors to the park. Here you can find lodging, gasoline, general store, campground, stables, marina, and picnic areas. The Colter Bay visitor center is located a short distance from the marina. There are numerous short hiking trails in the area. Boating, fishing, hiking, and wildlife watching are the most popular activities at Colter Bay.
Jackson Lake is the largest lake in the park, being some 15 miles long, 7 miles wide, and over 400 feet deep. The lake was enlarged by construction of the Jackson Lake Dam, originally built in 1911 and rebuilt in 1989. The Snake River flows into the lake from the north, and flows out at Jackson Lake Dam. The lake contains several species of both native and non-native trout.
John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway
John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway is a 24,000 acre strip of land that connects Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, and includes the highway (U.S. Highways 26,89, and 191) running from the southern end of Grand Teton National Park to West Thumb in Yellowstone. It's named in honor of John D. Rockefeller Jr., who was instrumental in the creation of many national parks, including Grand Teton. We will pick up the parkway out of Colter Bay and follow it south to Moose Junction, completing a circuit of the park. The road parallels the Snake River on the eastern side of the park for most of its length. On our way south we will pass Willow Flats, Jackson Lake Junction, the Oxbow Bend turnout, Moran Junction, Cunningham Cabin Historic Site, Snake River Overlook, and several other turnouts before reaching Moose Junction. Look for wildlife along the entire length, but especially at Willow Flats, Oxbow Bend, and the southern turnouts.
More Mountain Views
Can't have too many photos of the Tetons.
Wildlife commonly seen in Grand Teton National Park include deer, elk, mooose, bison, black bears, grizzlies, otters, and beavers. Gray wolves and cougars are present but rarely seen. There are some 300 species of birds.
Bison (no audio)
White Pelicans (no audio)
Bonus - A Blast from the Past
Here are some photos I took during a 1981 winter trip to Grand Teton with my dad. I had a tiny pocket camera that took slides about the size of postage stamps.
Background information provided by Wikipedia and the National Park Service
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