Jenny Lake Visitor Center is open from mid May to late September, and is located at Jenny Lake, 8 miles north of Moose along the main park road. The center has a small geology exhibit, and a relief map of the park, and a small book store. The staff is very helpful, and will answer your questions about how best to enjoy your stay, including suggestions for hiking, mountain climbing, and where best to view wildlife. If you are planning a back country trip, or mountain climbing, Jenny Lake Visitor Center is one of the places in the park where you may obtain permits.
The ceiling within this visitor center, is quite interesting. Look at my second photo for a view.
Fondest memory: I always like unique ceilings, which this center certainly has. I also appreciated the information the rangers gave me about the Jenny Lake Shuttle, and the two books I purchased there. These books were the Best Easy Day Hikes Grand Teton by Bill Schneider, and There’s a Hair In My Dirt! A Worm’s Story by Gary Larson.
Although, not known for their wildlife as well as Yellowstone, keep your eyes open as you drive the park roads and hike the trails. You may spot red squirrels, Uinta ground squirrels, deer mice, least chipmunks, coyotes, pronghorns, elk, bison, or moose. Both black and grizzly bears, as well as wolves also live in the park. If you are a birder, sage thrashers, green-tailed towhees, western meadowlarks, and a variety of birds of prey such a eagles and red-tailed hawks may be spotted.
Bison are often referred to a buffalo. Look for them along open grass land areas. In August you may spot males charging each other as they compete for mates. Bison are large animals, and weight between 900 and 2,200 lbs.
Moose are most active during dusk and dawn. These large mammals, weighing 700 to 1,400 lbs. eat aquatic vegetation and woody plants. They may not look it, but they are excellent swimmers, and can stay under water for more than 30 seconds. My third photo is of a moose.
Elk are one of the largest members of the deer family, and tend to live in or near forests. Elk are plant eaters. During mating season (called rut) the bull elk makes a combination of shrill whistles and grunts to attract a mate. This is called bugling. If you are visiting the park in the fall, you may be lucky enough to hear this. It is a sound you will never forget. (photo 2)
Trumpeter Swans migrate to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National parks in the winter time. I have seen them in the early spring, soon after the parks open. These beautiful snow-white birds can be seen on lakes and rivers. They get their name from their horn like call. Please be quiet and respectful if you see these birds, as they are very sensitive to humans.
Black and grizzly bears are found in the park. There are a number of ways to tell them apart. Black bears have a distinctive tan snout, grizzly bears have a distinctive hump on their shoulders. This hump may sometimes be golden in color, and is made of muscle. A male grizzly weights around 500 lbs, while a male black bear averages between 210 to 315 lbs. A grizzly has a dished face and round ears, which look small in proportion to its face. A black bear has a straight and fairly long snout. His ears are long and pointed, appearing larger in proportion to its face. A grizzly is usually more aggressive than a black bear, but do not get close to either.
Wolf or coyote? Wolves tend to stay away from the roads, but coyotes can often be seen along roads, so if the animal you see is near road, it is most likely a coyote. A wolf is much larger than a coyote. According to the Princeton Field guide, wolves tend to range in size from about 50 to 121 pounds, and coyotes range in size from 15 to 44 lbs. If the animal is running or moving at a lope, the tail can be a clue. Coyotes generally hold their tails in a position lower than their back bones, often even low to the ground; where wolves usually hold their tails straight out, in a higher, horizontal to the ground position. Wolves range in color from white to black, but are most commonly gray with a black tipped tail. In Yellowstone and Grand Teton, wolves are commonly gray to black. Coyotes are never black, so if the animal you are watching is large and black, you can positively identify it as a wolf. Coyotes usually range in color from gray to reddish gray and may have rusty legs, feet, and ears. The shape and size of the ears are a distinguishing feature that may help you with your identification. Wolves have broad faces, with ears that are somewhat rounded and look somewhat small compared to the size of their heads. Coyotes have narrower heads, with large pointed ears. The snouts of wolves are broad and blunt, while the snouts of coyotes are longer and thinner.
Fondest memory: One year we enjoyed watching a moose swim across a small lake. He then stopped in water a little over chest deep, where he began to feed, placing his head under water for a number of seconds, pulling up water plants to much on.
Our very brief travels in Grand Teton National Park began after our first day and a half exploring Yellowstone NP to the north. Due to our late attempt at booking accommodations in the peak of the summer tourist season, the only lodging we could get inside either National Park was two nights at Jackson Lake Lodge, shown near the top-right in this map. It had a beautiful location with views across Jackson Lake to the Teton Range mountains running north-south on the far shore.
Fondest memory: We spent our one full day in Grand Teton exploring to the south, starting at the Mount Moran Turnout where we observed amazing geological formations on the mountain peaks. Not much further south from there is the very popular Jenny Lake area, where we stopped for a bit of hiking before retreating to the cool waters of the lake itself. From there our drive continued south along the foothills of the Teton Range mountains until we reached the pretty little town of Jackson just outside the southern boundary of Grand Teton.
It was nice to wander around town for a while in the beautiful early August sunshine and even stop for a cold drink but, because we only had one day at our disposal, we soon had to begin our trip north to Jackson Lake Lodge for our second night.
However, on the way north we chose to take the easternmost roads along the Gros Ventre River, where we ran into impressive Bison herds as well as a detour east to the location of the deadly Gros Ventre Slide of 1925 when the side of a mountain gave way after heavy rains. This was a really scenic part of Grand Teton as the distance from the mountain peaks to the west really made them stand out. During this part of our trip, we also came across two abandoned log cabins - one with no official history and the other a bonifide tourist stop.
It was late afternoon be the time we returned to Jackson Lake Lodge from our counter-clockwise route, so that evening we closed out this portion of our trip with a great meal in the Lodge's fine dining Mural Room. The next day was spent in final explorations of Yellowstone NP before we had to make a very long drive home the day afterward.
The first day was a tough climb. It sure was easier without a pack as I remembered it. Of course, it had been 14 years since I did it and that unfortunately meant I was 14 years older too. In fact, it was my 50th summer and I was very happy how the old knees had held up over this long summer of hiking.
The climb over Paintbrush Divide the next morning was breathtaking. Not only in scenery but also with the wind whipping. That's how it tends to be at 11,000 feet and we quickly descended to Lake Solitude. This long day hike is never truly crowded but having it to yourself is not all that common either. We did just that for a good hour before tearing ourselves away from this alpine jewel. That was the advantage of backpacking, to be in places before anyone else could get there and we loved it, basking in the serenity of nature.
We had a short walk from there to our camp that night and that was where I was standing now, looking at a wife that had made her husband's summer the best of his now half-century life. I was sure glad she was my wife, even if she said she didn't want to go back to Lake Solitude, preferring to remain in the tent. I went back up alone and despite the appropriateness of being alone at Lake Solitude, it was not nearly as nice and once the first day hikers arrived I knew it really was time to head back to my honey. There was room in that tent for two.
There were only two parks left: Grand Tetons in Wyoming and Rocky Mountain in Colorado. They had been two of the greatest parts of that summer of 1994 and it was only natural for me to have my doubts about my luck running out. It was also a week into September and at these elevations it meant that winter was well on it way. Summer surely was over. Or was it? After a very cold stay at Yellowstone, we arrived to a patch of weather on arriving at the Tetons that can only be described as a miracle. All the locals said as much. Ok, maybe they didn't phrase it quite that way, but then again, they hadn't been waiting 14 years for this chance. But they did say, it was the nicest long patch of weather of the summer. In fact, they said it felt like it was very much like a nice summer if a little late. Not one to squander opportunity, we went about the red tape of getting the coveted permits that would make this dream come true.
Despite the great weather, it was after the season so it was no problem getting spots in the most popular backcountry campsites. Best yet, it was free to backpack in Grand Teton National Park. They even threw in a bear canister for good measure. I went right for the jugular, reserving two spots on perhaps my favorite day hike of all time, the combination of Paintbrush and Cascade Canyons. I had played with doing a five night hike, about the minimum we would have needed to comfortably walk the entire spine of the Tetons but it was a day past our typical four-night limit so rather than push it, we opted to eat this cake slowly, in pieces. (concluded below in Fondest Memory)
Grand Teton National Park is one that can be enjoyed by even the most passive. There are some amazing views to be had right from the road. It is also first and foremost a hiking park blessed with unparalleled scenery and incredible trails. For us, backpacking in its vast wilderness was the highlight of nearly two weeks in one of our very favorite national parks of a six-month trip of exploring them. Can't wait to go back one day!
Fondest memory: Looking at my wife lying in our tent with the Grand Tetons as the backdrop, deep in the North Fork of Cascade Canyon, I knew dreams could and very well did come true. It was only the second night of what would turn out to be five in this majestic national park's stunning backcountry, but it was the culmination of a summer of trying to top what had previously stood as the benchmark of the summer of my life, 1994. That was the summer I fell in love with hiking, traveling to most of the national parks of the western US. It was also the first time I saw people backpacking. I wanted to do it too. I would a few years later in Alaska and again in a few countries of South America, but little did I realize at the time that it would take 14 years to return to the places that instilled this great desire.
The summer of 2008 had been one of great conquests, of setting out to do, and doing. Of all the experiences that seeped into our souls during those six months, none did so as deeply as those during what would turn out to be nearly a month of backpacking in the vast wildernesses of our national park system. Many of these hikes I had done previously as long day hikes and this finally was my chance at living a long held dream. Park after park passed. Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Olympic, Glacier. The big backpacking parks. I would like to say successful beyond my dreams but really, it happened just like I dreamed it. They were dreams coming true. Each time prior to arriving, the fear of it not living up to my ideals flirted with my consciousness only to quickly dissipate in prayers for good weather and health to complete the next physical challenge at hand. (continued below in Fondest Memory)
One thing that is just so great on travelling in America is that everything is so well organised for the tourists.
When you are visiting a national Park there are several Viewpoints, with plenty of parking space. Some even have toilets.
And at almost every viewpoint there are signboards. These signboards provide you with extra information on nature, historical facts, animals, names of mountains in front of you, and so one.
Fondest memory: The magnificent views
Whenever you are visiting America, and you want to visit a number of National Parks (and federal recreation areas), I can advise to buy an America The Beautiful Annual pass.
This America The Beautiful Annual pass costs 80 US dollars.
It replaces the Golden Eagle pass, which was used in the past.
This America The Beautiful Annual pass can be bought online at:
Unfortunately, this service is only available for US customers.
But no problem at all, you can just buy your America The Beautiful Annual pass, at the entrance booth of the first National Park that you visit.
I agree 80 US dollars is a lot, but when you visit a few parks, you surely make a profit, see my list with the parks I visited during my USA roundtrip 2007 and the entrance prices:
- Grand Teton / Yellowstone : 25 US$
- Big Horn : 5 US$
- Devils Tower : 10 US$
- Badlands : 15 US$
- Scots Bluff : 5 US$
- Fort Laramie : 3 US$
- Mesa Verde : 15US$
- Black Canyons of Gunnison : 15 US$
- Rocky Mountains : 20 US$
- Cedar Breaks : 4 US$
- Bryce Canyon : 20 US$
- Grand Canyon (North Rim) : 25 US$
- Zion : 25 US$
Which gives a total of 187 US$, so I paid 80 US$ for my America The Beautiful Annual pass, you see I made 107 US$ profit by buying this card.
Fondest memory: Easy access in the National Parks, by just showing your America The Beautiful Annual pass .
And it is valid for one year
Enkel de foto werd gepost, in afwachting van de informatie, deze informatie komt wat later.
bedankt voor uw bezoek en tot nog eens.
I have just posted the photograph, the text with more information will follow later on
Thanks for your visit and you are welcome to revisit later on.
Fondest memory: The fascinating scenery
Entrance to Grand Teton National Park is $20 per car for 7 days. We were also visting Yellowstone (which actually would have been included in the $20 fee). We were, however going to be staying longer than 7 days, so instead of paying the $20 fee twice, we opted to get a National Parks Yearly Pass, which costs $50. This pass gives you access to any National Park for one year. We don't have any immediate plans to visit another National park, but hey, you never know. We will be prepared :) The card will also make for a fun souvenier.
When I was there we purchased a now discontinued National Parks Pass,( Which will still be honored for 1 year from the date we received it) The NPS have since introduced a new system. The "America the Beautiful" Passes. These will replace the traditional pass, the Golden Eagle, Golden Age and Golden Access passes. The new standard pass is $80, which is $30 more expensive then the pass we bought but does allow access into the areas that were only formerly available with the Golden Eagle pass (which at $15 more that the regular pass was still $15 cheaper than this new one) Ah but time marches on and prices keep going up, what can you do? It's still more than worth it to support the parks. You can of course still buy a weekly pass to each park, which is $15 per vehicle, $7 if you are on foot or bike.
Check out the NPS website for more details on ALL passes.
For all National Parks Passes
Grand Teton is a lot smaller than Yellowstone so we'd assumed when planning our trip to Wyoming that we didn't need to allow as much time. Correct - but we should have planned to spend more than the single day recommended by a (non VT) friend. He's a mountain climber, we're not, and his view was that if you're not into mountain climbing you probably won't want to spend a lot of time here.
Consequently we really only had time for the boat across Jenny Lake and walk to Hidden Falls, plus a number of view points. No time for boating or to enjoy Jackson Lake, no time for a float trip on the Snake River, and no time for the drive up Signal Mountain - all of which I'd have loved to do. The good news is that this gives us a great excuse to go back again, but whether we ever will I don’t know.
Fondest memory: I could have stared at those mountains for ages – and did! Perhaps that’s another reason why we didn’t fit as much into our day as I’d have liked?
If like us you don't have a lot of time to see the park you'll need to plan ahead. We'd bought the useful trip planning pack from the Yellowstone Park website (http://www.nps.gov/yell/) which included a National Geographic publication: "Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks Road Guide". I really recommend you get hold of this, either in advance as we did or from a shop or visitor center on arrival. It includes a series of detailed road maps for both parks which make it very easy to anticipate possible good stopping places and decide which ones will offer the best views, walks or whatever else most interests you.
Fondest memory: We found some wonderful views at several of these stopping points. Our favourites were probably Willow Flats and Oxbow Bend.
Make the effort to visit the Visitor's Center at National Parks. The rangers and staff are very helpful regarding great trails, park highlights,and history. Our visits are always more fulfilled after we talk with the staff.
Entrance fee is $20 per car per week good at both Yellowstone and Grand Teton. However, we bought the yearly NP for $50 and it is good for admission at all National Parks.
Favorite thing: Mount Moran looks like a stand-alone megalith, iced with glaciers. It's the most massive mountain and has the highest peak in the northern end of the Teton range, at 12,605 feet. Besides its bulk, you can pick it out by its eroded top, unlike many pointy peaks in the range. Moran was named after landscape artist Thomas Moran, who traveled through here in the 1870's.
Favorite thing: Next to the Sawtooth Mountains in Idaho, the Grand Tetons are my favorite mountain range in the U.S. because they rise so abruptly and their peaks are so jagged, due to their young geological age. They rise more than a mile above Jackson Hole, and are still rising. Three of the peaks were dubbed "the three breasts (tetons)" by some of the first non-natives to discover them - French fur trappers, who had obviously been away from home for too long! The highest peak here is Grand Teton at 13,770 feet.