Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park

We’re only here in Idaho for a few days, and I’m back to work this week, so we decided to spend as much time as we could in the Tetons on Sunday before the predicted storms moved in by late afternoon.

We found a church in Jackson Hole that had mass at 10am, and figured we could head right into the park after mass.

Our Lady of the Mountains

Teton PassOur drive from Victor to Jackson Hole took us over Teton Pass, so we left plenty early to make sure we got there on time.

Despite the steep climbs and sharp curves, we made it to the top of the pass with no issues!

Warning Signs

Once at the top, we looked down toward Jackson Hole, and all we saw was clouds . . . we were ABOVE them!

Low clouds!

We stopped for a picture,

On the way to Jackson Hole

and then began the descent into the clouds!

Above the clouds

Driving through the clouds!










By the time we reached Jackson Hole, we were out of the clouds an the sky was a beautiful blue!  We had over a half hour until mass, so we walked around the historic town square.

At the Square in Jackson Hole, WY

Comparing my pictures to my Grandma’s pictures from 1966, it still looks a lot the same!











1966 – Stagecoach Stop in Jackson Hole, and antler arches


Stagecoach in Jackson Hole, WY

2013 – Stagecoach – Looks like the same one, with a few modifications

After mass, we drove north towards the Tetons, and got our first glimpse of the majestic peaks!

Our first look at the Tetons

Arriving at the park










As we entered the park, we turned onto Teton Park Rd. to begin our driving tour of the park.  Our first stop was the Teton Glacier Overlook, where we got a great view of the glaciers on the peaks.

Teton Glacier

According to the sign, this glacier reached all the way to the treeline as recently as 20 years ago . . . and it’s rapidly shrinking!

The views of the peaks are amazing from this spot!

Amazing Views!












Grand Teton

Nicolas was trying to take it all in!

Nicolas admires the mountains!

Our next stop was Jenny Lake . . . a very popular spot!  The parking lot at the south Junction was PACKED, so we continued on to the North Junction and the Jenny Lake Overlook, where there was still parking available. 

Jenny Lake

The lake was beautiful and crystal clear!  The trail down to the lake was closed, though, so we couldn’t walk down to the water, but it looked great from above!

In front of Jenny Lake

Mt. MoranWe continued driving and next reached the Mount Moran and the Cathedrals View.

Cathedrals View

They really do look like Cathedrals!

We were starting to get a little hungry by then, so we stopped at the Chapel of the Sacred Heart,

Chapel of the Sacred Heart

and had our lunch on one of the picnic tables overlooking Jackson Lake.

Jackson Lake

After lunch, we walked down to the water.  It looked pretty inviting, and didn’t feel too cold, but the kids from Venezuela who were swimming said it was freezing!  Nick & Bryce skipped some stones on the smooth water,

Skipping stones

and we enjoyed some more views of the Tetons.

Jackson Lake

Continuing our drive, we arrived at the Jackson Dam.


Jackson Lake Dam

On top of the dam










I read somewhere that the construction of the dam doubled the size of Jackson Lake.  My Grandma’s picture from 1966 shows the smaller size of the lake.


There were several people fishing on the banks of the river, downstream of the dam.


CoyoteApparently the area around the dam is a popular spot for wildlife sightings.  We came upon a traffic jam, and saw a coyote off in the field.  He was a little too far for a good picture.



A little further up the road, there were barricades all along both sides of the road, and signs posted that no stopping was allowed along the roadway.  We found out later that this was a grizzly bear hunting area, so the entire area was closed off.

No hiking here!

The pink area on the 2nd sign is the area that is closed.  I just heard on the news tonight that campgrounds east of there (between Moran Junction and Dubois) are not allowing tents, due to grizzly activity.  Yikes!

Our next stop was the Colter Bay Area,

Jackson Lake

where we checked out the full hookup RV sites (sites are nice and long, but it’s very wooded and the roads are extremely narrow – there were some big motorhomes in there, but it would be difficult to tow a long, triple-axle 5th wheel through there), the Marina,

Colter Bay Marina

Looking at the sun


and looked at the sun through a telescope that a ranger had set up on the deck outside the Visitor Center.  Inside, we got some advice from another Ranger about areas to drive that might be good for seeing wildlife (she’s the one who told us about the area being closed due to grizzly activity) on our way back.

From Colter Bay, we passed a few more picnic areas along Jackson Lake, and another Marina.



Leeks Marina

Leeks Marina










Jackson Lake sure looks like a beautiful place to have a boat!

We had finally reached the north end of the park,

North Entrance

and it looks like this is probably where my Grandma entered the park back in 1966!  grandma1








For us, it was time to turn around and go back to the south end of the park.  We took Highway 191 back – so we could see some different views and move slightly faster.  It’s still in the park, but runs along the other side of the Snake River.

We had a great view of the Snake River with Grand Teton in the background,

Grand Teton and Snake River

and yep, my Grandma was at this same spot 47 years ago!


Even from this distance, the Tetons are still an amazing sight!  The blue skies of the morning had been replaced by dark clouds of an approaching storm, but still something to see!

Storms moving in!

Storm clouds over Grand Teton

In order to increase our wildlife sighting chances, we decided that rather than return through Jackson Hole, we would go back into the park, past the Visitor Center, and take Moose Road to Teton Village.  It’s not paved all the way, but the Ranger assured us that a car could handle it.

As we approached the Visitor Center, the sky got really ominous,


and it started to rain and hail! 

Bryce and I ran into the Visitor Center to use the bathroom while Tom and Nick cruised the parking lot.  They saw a convertible Porsche with its top down, and the entire inside of the car was soaked and covered with hail!  somebody was going to be upset when they got back to their car!!

By the time Bryce and I went back outside, the storm had passed, and the ground was steaming!  We turned on Moose Road, and within a mile we saw a bunch of cars at a pull-off and tons of people standing around looking into the woods.

We stopped (of course!), and asked what they were looking at.  There was a moose down by the edge of a stream, but he was currently hiding behind some brush.  within a few minutes, though, he came out, and we were able to get a good look at him (or her . . . not really sure!)

We saw a moose!

He just kept eating, not really bothered by the crowd watching him!

We watched for a few minutes, and then continued down Moose Road. 

Birch Trees


It was a really pretty drive, but the unpaved portion was a little rough for our low clearance vehicle!  We made it though!

We kept our eyes glued to the woods on either side of us, but we didn’t see anymore wildlife until we reached Teton Village.

Goats at Teton Village Golf Course

I’m not sure why they had a bunch of goats penned up on the golf course!  We took a drive through Teton Village & Jackson Hole Ski Resort.  There were some people around, but not too many staying there.  They have a tram that will take you up to the top of the mountain for $25/person, but we said “No thanks!” . . . haven’t they heard that the one in Telluride is free??!!

Tom was amazed by the steepness of the ski runs,

Jackson Hole Ski Resort

and didn’t think he’d want to tackle those, even if he did still ski!

Back on Highway 22, we made it back up to the top of Teton Pass,


and were able to admire the view without the low-lying clouds this time!!

No low clouds in the afternoon!

It was a full day, and we greatly enjoyed our visit to the Tetons!


  1. WOW...you really covered some ground and saw some beautiful mountains and lakes!!! Love that first photo from ABOVE the clouds;o)

  2. Beautiful Marci! Love the comparisons from Grandma's pictures. Looks like a great day trip. Wish I was there. Tina.


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