Yellowstone National Park: Close, but Not Close
I have only listed this as an Off the Beaten Track tip, because of its distance from Jackson, Wyoming. Yellowstone National Park lies 56 miles north of the town of Jackson. Most people who visit Grand Teton National Park, are including it with a trip to Yellowstone. Yellowstone is one of the most popular National Parks in the country, and if you have never visited Yellowstone, and are planning a trip to Grand Teton, be sure to set aside a few days to spend in Yellowstone. Because of the distance from Jackson, and the slow driving through the parks, do not make Jackson your base for visiting Yellowstone. Instead, enjoy the Tetons from Jackson, then move to Yellowstone Park for the next part of your vacation.
When in Yellowstone, don't just go to Old Faithful and leave. There is SO much more. One thing that is fun is to take the Old Faithful Lodge historic tour, which is quite interesting. If you don't want to do this, at least go in and look around. It is the most outstanding log structure I have ever seen. If you only have a couple of days, be sure to visit the Old Faithful geyser basin, and the Norris geyser basin. And a visit to the Canyon area and it's falls is a must do! Artists Point is my favorite look out point along the canyon, although Lookout Point is also a very nice view of the Lower Falls. Inspiration Point will also give you a wonderful view of the canyon. If you have time, and are in good physical health, you can also hike down to the base of the lower falls along the Uncle Tom's trail. It's quite a down/up walk with lots of stairs, but if you are up to it this is a nice outing. If you have more than a couple of days, visit the Mammoth Hot Springs area and Tower Falls. For wildlife, visit Lamar Valley and Hayden Valley.
For detailed pages on Yellowstone Park, visit my VT pages at Yellowstone National Park, My Neighbor.
- Road Trip
- National/State Park
Grand Teton Brewing
I knew things were looking a bit fishy when I began seeing the labels for Teton and Old Faithful Ale. The did not quite looks the same as I remembered from my 1994 visit to the area but I couldn't put my finger on it. They certainly looked close but not exact. I also had not seen my favorite of their beers, the greatly named Moose Juice Stout.
I stopped by at Otto Brothers Brewing in Wilson, Wy in 1994. Along with touring the national parks that summer, I was also hitting every small brewery in my path. The stop by to see the Otto Brothers was one of the most memorable. These two hippies were holed up in a small brewery with an even smaller tasting room attached. They were hands-on, doing everything themselves. They loved to talk and of course, loved the idea that my girlfriend and I were touring so many breweries. We enjoyed the beers enough on tap but mostly bought some bottles as well as a few t-shirts as they were such cool guys. The next fall, I wound up running into them at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver and they saw me coming from 100 feet away. They remembered me instantly even though I was now without my ex-girlfriend.
Once I knew I was heading back out to the Grand Tetons to show the wild west to my wife, I began looking for the brewery online. I found it and didn't even realize it had changed its name to Teton Brewing. The logo looked so similar you didn't even notice Otto Brothers was no longer part of it. We were in the area for nearly two weeks but spent the majority of the time in the national park and the rest in Snake River Brewing which had grown since my last visit into one of the top brewpubs in the country as far as quality was concerned. In fact, if my old memories of the Wilson brewery hadn't been so good, I would have blown off going back. As it turned out, it was no longer in Wilson, but had moved 15 miles west to Victor, ID. Those 15 miles were also over a huge pass that while overing a scenic drive were bound to slow the trip down and burn more of the gas that was selling for well over $4 a gallon in the summer of 2008. No, matter, we decided to go. No trip to the area seemed complete without checking it out.
The drive was scenic if slow and my wife got to be in Idaho even if for only a couple hours. Another state off her list. We arrived to find a much bigger facility, explaining why I had seen their beers in so many places in the region. The tasting room was a lot bigger too and the brothers Otto were nowhere to be seen. A very friendly girl was manning the taps and was certainly a willing accomplice in helping us taste their wares. She explained that they had moved to Victor in 1998 likely due for tax and certainly less expensive real estate reasons. They changed the name to Teton Brewing in 2000 to make it more recognizable over a larger area. With the peaks already in the logo, I guess it made sense. The brothers were still working the brewery but not so much like in the old days and were in the process of looking for buyers so they could retire and move onto other interests. Sadly, they had been sued over the use of the name Moose Juice Stout by Moosehead of Canada so were no longer making my favorite of their beers. It was a bit sad but at least I had gotten to the bottom of what happened with the logo and name. I probably won't be out that way again but if you enjoy trying new beers, I would say it's worth the scenic trip.
Our hostess was quite free with the samples, prices for pints were good and considering we tried 8 beers for $8, I could not complain about the visit. Doreen nicely agreed to be my designated driver back over the pass! Danke.
Anyway, the beers: 1) Workhorse-4%-10.4 IBU (International Bittering Units)-Light golden American Wheat ale. A bit too smooth and lacking real character. 2) Au Naturale-4.9%-23 IBU-organic-Bland Belgian style thin on flavor. 3) Teton Ale-4.9%-24 IBU-Amber session ale w/ good balance of malt & hops. Crisp clean finish. 4) Fest Bier-Marzen-Amber w/ spicy malt character. Bready but not quite as dry as the real McCoy. Still, not a bad attempt. 5) Beetch Creek-5.5%-51 IBU-Darker amber session brew w/ good hop/malt balance. Dry bitter finish but remains balanced throughout. 6) Sweet Grass IPA-5.5%-58 IBU-Light golden IPA with medium hop bitterness. Seems to be missing some malt in its mix. This oddly won the gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival in 2009! Maybe it's better now. 7) Double IPA-Deep golden hearty brew with much bigger mouthfeel and better balance & complexity. Rich & malty w/ long dry finish. Not in league with the very best (Racer #5 in Califorina) but a noble attempt at a difficult style. 9) Double Organic Red-Rich malty brew which should have been tried earlier in tasting but it seemed to need a bit more hops in the finish to dry it out.
I notice on their website they have some very interesting seasonal beers like Double Cauldron Imperial Stout so maybe I will go back again after all!
Take Route 22 west out of Jackson, head over the pass, and it becomes Route 33. The brewery is on the north side of the road just before you get into Victor proper in Idaho. It's a little over 17 miles and should take you about a half hour.
- Beer Tasting
- Budget Travel
- Road Trip
Teton Wagon Train and Horse Adventure
My son and I went on this covered wagon, horseback riding and camping trip in August, 2003. When a teenager flings his arms around you at the end of the 1st day and announces how much he's enjoying the trip and sleeping in a tent you know you have a hit on your hands.
We were in the Targhee National Forest bordering Yellowstone. We pitched our tents in a different location each night. As we moved from camp to camp you could choose to either ride a horse, ride in the covered wagon, hike or a combination of all three options. We splashed in a waterfall, we canoed, we lassoed, we shot guns-all kinds of guns, we rode, we hiked we heard cowboy poetry around the campfire, we saw a double rainbow. I can't remember when I had so much fun. There was plenty to eat and drink and snack on. The owners and the wranglers were warm and wonderful people. Really hospitable.
- Family Travel
- Adventure Travel
Most people may go into the Parks to find Bison, but the best place to see these magnificent cow thingies is Kelly, Wyoming. Minutes East of Moose junction Kelly offers great views of Teton Range, and TONS of Bison. They are everywhere, so be careful. Also, if you are a Shane buff, the film site for part of that movie is in Kelly.
- Hiking and Walking
Grand Teton Brewing Company...it's in Idaho
I had heard a lot about The Grand Teton Brewing company and their interestingly named beers. We figured we should make a little trip out to the brewery to sample some beer. Now before you get the wrong idea as I did, it's not a pub, there is no resturant, it's not even a bar, it's just the actual brewery with a tiny tasting room. Our time there was all of 15 minutes. We sampled some beers, the B1tch Creek was actually my favorite, Lou was a fan of the Teton Ale. Sadly they no longer make the Huckleberry Wheat, I was looking forward to trying that one!
The brewery also creates it's own root beer and ginger ale.
Getting here was really half the fun. It's only 20 miles away from Jackson, but the road travels over the Teton Pass. The scenery is quite spectacular!
If you don't make it out here, I'm sure you'll find their beers in almost any bar or resturant.
- Beer Tasting
Jumbo size camping car ?
The following picture gave the explanation : the picture was for the log cabin carried on the trailor ! Wouldn't it be nice to use it as a king size camping car ? That would be more comfortable than one of these toy size camping cars ! Of course, you will not be able to drive everywhere ! Winding small mountain roads will not be for you but comfort is worth some sacrifices, isn't it ?
- Road Trip
Why this photo ?
I have taken a number of photos of fancy trucks with their special look. At first, I felt that this photo was one of these, with the truck parked close to a log cabin. However, what puzzled me was that the truck was rather plain and not so much fancy. Then, why did I take this picture ?
- Road Trip
Huckleberry Hot Springs
These are a local favorite.
Natural hotsprings, no fees, no concrete, just you and nature.
There are many pools which lead into a creek. The pools are much too hot during the summer but can be enjoyed in the winter.
There is a guardian of the hotsprings...which happens to be a bison. Don't bother him and he won't bother you.
The springs are accessible by a 1 mile hike/snowshoe/ski. Usually there is a boot pack so hiking is possible. If there is a lot of fresh snow you will probably want snowshoes or cross country skis however.
The trail starts in a parking lot and is marked, but not extremely well.
The trail starts at the Flagg Ranch parking lot which is in between Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park.
You will have to drive through one of the parks to get to Flagg Ranch. You can ask one of the park rangers at the gate for maps and directions. There are also maps in the Flagg Ranch parking lot, though the tourist facilities at Flagg Ranch are closed during the winter time.
- Water Sports
- Hiking and Walking
- Adventure Travel
Where Indy lives on a ranch
Have a look for Hollywood celebrities or politicians. Lots of them visit Jackson regularly. "Indiana Jones"-actor Harrison Ford even has a ranch in Jackson. The airport just out of town is frequently used by the stars who visit the city.
- Budget Travel
- Road Trip
Ski at Grand Targhee. The...
Ski at Grand Targhee. The powder makes for a forgiving landing.....it was a long hike back up to that other ski.
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