June 22 – 26, 2016: We entered Grand Teton National Park from the east and started our hunt for a campsite.
Since we’re now traveling in high season we started to experience crowds and fully booked campgrounds – yuck! Definitely made us retrospect and appreciate, even more, our 2014 USA and Canada road trip in Camper Dan in the months of September through December. Things were empty at that time!
However, we were able to obtain a site at Colter Bay Campground within Grand Teton National Park. Portions of this very large campground are adjacent to the shore of Jackson Lake so we hiked the Lakeshore Trail (2 mile loop trail) in the early evening. The hike afforded views of the mountains with a stunning lake in the forefront. Jackson Lake has a swimming area and even a marina; both of which we haven’t yet experienced in a national park. As a result the park has almost a resort town feel since I haven’t yet seen swimming and boating in a national park.
The following day, after booking our campsite again (this became a daily ritual), we headed into Jackson, Wyoming. The views along the drive were spectacular.
Unfortunately our reason for deciding to head into town was due to Camper Dan. He had developed a vibration and Michael was pretty certain our u-joint required replacement. Not a DIY job. Ultimately we ended up at Roy’s Auto Repair and have nothing but fantastic things to say about Roy and his operation. After checking his schedule, he was able to juggle things to accommodate us that afternoon. He had clear communication and did the job properly for a fair price whilst we enjoyed a refreshment at Snake River Brewing. Couldn’t have asked for a better experience! Thank you Roy!
On the way back to our campsite we stopped to gaze at BISON.
FUN FACT: Did you know that the bison was proclaimed the national mammal of the United States of America in 2016?
It turned out that we’d see many, many more bison throughout our time in Grand Teton but that first sighting was super cool. We enjoyed a relaxing evening at our campsite.
The next day, with Camper Dan healthy again, we started to explore Grand Teton National Park. We drove Teton Park Road; primarily stopping at overlooks but also enjoyed a short hike (2 mile round trip) at Leigh Lake.
Most amazingly, we saw two MOOSE! My first moose sighting! They were a bit far away (sorry, no photo) but we watched them with binoculars.
Our last full day in the park, we packed in the activities. We started with a visit to Mormon Row. This community was settled in the 1890s and originally called Grovont. It consists of homesteads, churches, a school, and a swimming hole. You’ll likely recognize the iconic image of John Moulton barn.
We then drove north on the eastern spur of the park to the South Jenny Lake parking area. From here we walked to the ferry boat dock. For $15 per person round trip, we traveled to the western shore of Jenny Lake. This shortened our hike but getting out onto one of the many lakes in Grand Teton National Park was an experience we wanted. The hike we selected was the Hidden Falls / Inspiration Point hike to start. This hike, if you take the ferry boat, is only two miles round trip with an elevation gain of 420 feet. If you elect to walk around Jenny Lake (instead of taking the ferry boat) then add four miles (two mile walk around the lake each way). This hike provides beautiful views of Jenny Lake. We continued from Inspiration Point down into Cascade Canyon. The journey to the fork of the canyon (including the Inspiration Point hike) is 9.6 miles round trip (when taking the ferry boat). It’s a fairly flat easy walk. We probably only went about two miles into the canyon before we had to turn around to catch the last ferry boat at 7pm. Even still, we had majestic views of Grand Teton, Mt. Owen, and Teewinot.
And…we saw MOOSE! These beautiful animals were laying in the grass and again we watched them through binoculars. I never realized that their antlers were so furry!
The next morning we departed Grand Teton National Park via the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway; connecting us directly to the south entrance of Yellowstone National Park. But, Grand Teton National Park was definitely a park that exceeded my expectations. I’ll be back!
TIP: As an alternative to camping, check out these accommodation options in Jackson, Wyoming.