Sunday, July 20, 2014

Montana & Wyoming - Part 3 Grand Tetons National Park & Jackson WY

It snowed 4-5 inches that morning as we drove out of Yellowstone National Park and into Grand Tetons National Park for our remaining final three days.   After that day, the sun came out and we finally enjoyed temps in the 70s and 80s.  We would spend those first two days hiking in Grand Tetons National Park.  The 3rd and final day of our whole trip, we would play at Jackson Hole Resort, all the while staying each night in the town of Jackson, WY.  

Jackson, WY was another cool mountain town with lots to do.  Compared to Bozeman MT, it was more of a cowboy atmosphere, complete with a staged gunfight in the town square that I thought was a little cheesy but the kids loved it.  The town calls itself "The Last Of The Old West".  Tons of good food there, with lots of other fun things to do, and I also managed to sniff my way to Snake River Brewing.

The Grand Tetons were....well...they were grand.  When we first rounded the corner and saw those peaks, it was BAM!  So big and constantly right in your face.  We did some fun family hikes, including another 9 miler off the beaten path to Trapper and Bear Claw Lakes.  I'd like to return one day and tackle the more challenging 40 mile Teton Crest Trail. 

More commentary below in the pics, but overall, what a great family trip.  Like I said in Part 1, you should go if you ever thought about seeing Montana and Wyoming.  So much open land out there and so beautiful.  And so much to do.  And the weather changes quickly and often.  You could spend a month in each place we visited and still not get to everything.  Message me here in comments section if you want more info on our itinerary and/or have any questions or want recommendations.

Here is another short video along with pics and commentary afterwards (click on any pic to see in large format and scroll through).  Enjoy!

Our first view of the Tetons as we rounded the corner on a cloudy, rainy, snowy day.  We stopped at the Jenny Lake Lodge and had a nice lunch (the host was from Charlotte and had just been to Lake Norman to visit a friend - small world).  Then we boarded a boat (while it was still snowing) and crossed Jenny Lake to a trailhead that would take us to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point.  

Hidden Falls

The hike up to Inspiration Point

Inspiration Point

Each of the 3 Tetons

Hiking from Inspiration Point down to the backside of Jenny Lake (we bypassed the boat ride back and hiked around the lake)

Snowing on our hike!

SUP is becoming more popular in the area.

We did a hike around Leigh Lake and on to Bearclaw and Trapper Lakes.  The sun came out for us.

more of our hike around Leigh Lake

Evidence of forest fires, we saw a lot of this at Yellowstone too.

Our hike on to Bearclaw and Trapper Lakes

a big fat Marmot

At Trapper Lake, having a scenic picnic lunch before turning around.  That swath behind us without trees was where an avalanche came down and took a bunch of trees and debris with it, apparently earlier in the spring.  It pushed debris all the way to the other side of the lake (below).

beautiful clear water

The Tetons

We took the tram to the top of Rendezvous Mountain at Jackson Hole Resort.  I was checking out the bare ski slopes and could tell why this is one of the most advanced ski terrains in the country.

The views from the top - we could see the Snake River, Teton Village, Jackson, National Elk Refuge, the Tetons, and many other peaks and valleys.

The Snake River

The back bowls of Jackson Hole - you can still ski them in the summer if you hike to the top of them.

in the town of Jackson, WY

While the kids played on trampolines and ropes courses, I took to the downhill mountain bike trails at Jackson Hole Resort.  Ride the lift up, ride the bike down.

You could go into the high banked berms/turns at top speed without braking.

Serious stuff with the full face helmet and pads - lots of high banked berms, jumps....and man made stuff on the trails like this much fun!  Each time down was more fun than the last.

Pretty cool stuff for the kids to do.

Our final day was our sunniest & warmest.

Lots of beautiful open ranch land all around