Grand Teton National Park, WY

Falls in the national forest between Yellowstone and Tetons

Falls in the national forest between Yellowstone and Tetons

Thursday, July 16

After two months of living in Yellowstone, I finally make it into Grand Teton National Park. I have no excuse for not coming earlier, since if you head out the south entrance of Yellowstone you hit the edge of it almost immediately after a small chunk of national forest land. It’s an easy day trip especially if you’re on the southern end like Old Faithful is.

Four of us ladies from work are having a girls’ day out. Two of us have never been in the park before (or haven’t been here in a long time, I can’t remember whether we hit Grand Teton on the family road trip or not), and two of us have, so the day is sort of a mini tour run by the two who have been here.

Not having a map, it’s hard for me to remember the names of the places we visit. I’ll give the location in the description as close as I can,Β and maybe you all can fill in some of the blanks.

This view at a pullout was made famous by an early artist or photographer to the area, the trees have grown up since then

This view at a pullout was made famous by an early artist or photographer to the area, the trees have grown up since then

At the northern end of the park, the mountains and Jackson lake come into view in tantalizing glimpses through the trees. The elevation is lower here than in most of Yellowstone and the peaks are taller, making for a greater contrast and possibly the most stunning mountain views I’ve seen.

There's a marina at the northern end of the park

There’s a marina at the northern end of the park

I believe I read at one of the visitor centers that the Tetons are the youngest range in the Rockies. It makes sense. The older a mountain gets, the more worn down it gets. The Tetons are incredibly tall and jagged looking. The wind and rain haven’t been wearing them away for as long.

View out the large rear windows and one of the lodges

View out the large rear windows at one of the lodges, that’s Mount Moran on the left

Grand Teton is a narrow park that runs north to south, with the mountain range on the western side. And the mountains are the star of the show at this park. If you’re a photographer, you’ll want to get here in the morning for the best lighting, when the sun is behind you. Bonus points if you happen to be here on a calm day, because then you can get the reflection of the mountains in the various bodies of water in the park.

Grand Teton (center, slightly in clouds) is the tallest point in the park at 13,776 ft.

Grand Teton (center, slightly in clouds) is the tallest point in the park at 13,776 ft.

grand-teton7The wildlife viewing here is similar to Yellowstone. There are bison, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, pronghorn, elk, bear, wolves, and moose. Moose are what you’ll really want to look for, they’re more common here than in Yellowstone. We do not see a moose today, but we do get an extreme closeup of a badger! It crosses the road right in front of us as we’re walking out to view the old barns, and starts digging a big hole in the ditch, hunting out ground squirrels.

These barns are old historic structures (the road they’re on is called “Mormon row”), and currently being worked on by the NPS. As exposed as they are, I bet the wind and snow do a number on them. A lot of postcards for the park are taken here.

grand-teton8

Again, need morning light to catch the front of the barn, this early afternoon shot isn’t as good

At Moose, we stop for a late lunch. There are two, possibly three food joints in this tiny little town, the one we eat at is a pizza and pasta place at the end of the parking lot. It has an upper deck where you can enjoy the splendor of the mountains while you eat. My 7″ pizza costs $9 and it’s quite good, not a bad price for this view!

grand-teton9

After that, we stop at a lot that has an old chapel, boat ferry (Menor’s ferry), and another historic building with a general store inside (Bill Menor’s cabin). The church still has regular services and you can ring the bell in the arch leading up to it. I couldn’t resist pulling the string, and the clang reverberates through my head, talk about loud.

grand-teton10

Chapel of Transfiguration

Jenny Lake is next up on the tour. We stop in at the lodge, where you can get a cabin for $680 a night, or share a duplex cabin for $460. Yikes. The lobby is really nice though, and the view is pretty spectacular, this location is off the main highway and closer to the mountains. Farther down the road is a pullout where one can walk down to the lake shore, but sadly it’s been closed off. Still, it’s hard to get a bad picture here.

grand-teton11

Jenny Lake

The final stop of the day is a mountain overlook that gives a rare view off to the east. The sun is lowering and the temperature dropping. Must be about time to go home. On the way back down the car in front of us slows and we peek out the windows in time to see a young black bear disappear into the brush. Believe it or not, this is my first black bear sighting since I arrived in Yellowstone.

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The much less photographed eastern side of the park

It’s a little sad to see the mountains fade into the distance behind us on the way back to Yellowstone, but at least it’s not far away. I’m definitely going to hit the Tetons at least once more this summer. I’d like to try a hike or two, and poke around the town of Jackson. A lot of RVers have said that they like the Tetons better than Yellowstone. I can’t say that I’m in that camp, although the Tetons do have one big advantage – it’s less crowded. There are still campground spots and lodging available into the late afternoon, which is unheard of in Yellowstone. As a visitor, it would probably be easier to stay in the Tetons and take trips into Yellowstone than the other way around. However you decide to do it though, this park is definitely worth a visit.

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The ducks also good a good view with their seaweed dinner

The ducks also snag a good view with their seaweed dinner… and it’s even cheaper than mine was

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Becky

At IO I teach people how to ditch the status quo and travel full-time before retirement, and share stories of my adventures (and misadventures) to inspire future nomads and armchair travelers alike. Included at no additional charge: seizing your dreams, living boldly, and making a difference.

28 Comments

  1. Angela on July 23, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    When I view your photos, I can just smell the fresh air. Nice shots, regardless of the lighting! πŸ™‚



    • Becky on July 24, 2015 at 11:21 pm

      Thanks Angela, glad you like them. πŸ™‚



  2. J Dawg on July 22, 2015 at 6:22 am

    Nice pictures, Becky. I was there in 2013 and camped at Colter Bay for a couple of days.



    • Becky on July 22, 2015 at 10:01 pm

      Thanks J, hope you enjoyed your time there. πŸ™‚



  3. Jeff on July 21, 2015 at 8:00 pm

    Perfect timing Becky! Arrived in Grand Tetons and saw your ‘blog’. Unfortunately did not have your weather … rain! ugh. But have found you to be among the best resources available for info on Yellowstone and areas. — Thanks!



    • Becky on July 21, 2015 at 9:16 pm

      You’re welcome Jeff! Sorry you weather wasn’t better but glad you’re enjoying the park. πŸ™‚



  4. Jim Schmechel on July 20, 2015 at 10:27 am

    With the barn photo, or other photos where lighting is less than ideal, there software that can help those conditions. I know you are not a professional photographer, and almost certainly do not carry a tripod with you. However maybe someone who reads this reply will find it helpful. I recently started using the free version of Fusion:

    http://fusion-hdr.com/

    I don’t have a tripod, but I prop my camera on an object, and hold it steady that way, while I shoot a few photos of different exposures. The software then combines them, and can show details in the shadows etc.

    The price of lodging is definitely worthy of your word: Yikes!

    I’m glad you are able to see all of the beauty of this world. πŸ™‚ We are all so blessed to have you share your life with us!
    Jim Schmechel recently posted..Ruegsegger FarmsMy Profile



    • Becky on July 20, 2015 at 9:26 pm

      I’m pretty sure there’s an app for the iPhone that’ll do that for you, but it costs money and I’m cheap. πŸ˜‰

      Glad you’re enjoying the ride Jim.



  5. Bonnie Chambers on July 20, 2015 at 7:40 am

    Loved your pictures and stories–I have been to JHole the last 3 summers and could not make it this summer, so my loved the pictures and writings. I really miss the mountains and just to be there makes life better–so thanks



    • Becky on July 20, 2015 at 9:24 pm

      You’re welcome Bonnie. Sorry you can’t visit this year, hopefully next year huh?



  6. Don Matthews on July 19, 2015 at 2:43 pm

    We were there in June 2014. We stayed at Signal Mountain campgrounds, and toured Yellowstone from there. We always enjoy the Tetons and Yellowstone very much.



    • Becky on July 19, 2015 at 9:41 pm

      Glad you enjoyed your stay Don, it’s a very special place. πŸ™‚



  7. Ed@Chasing Sunrises and Sunsets on July 19, 2015 at 11:53 am

    We have spent time in the Tetons on a few occasions. Most recently, a few years ago, we decided to take an admittedly late season road trip from S. California to the Tetons. It was November. We were in a Honda Civic. When we arrived in Jackson, the weather was as depicted in your photos. Before checking into the motel in Jackson, we decided to make a beeline to the Tetons to take a few photos. The next morning, we awoke to 8 inches of snow on the roof of the car, and everywhere else in town. Our only choice was to chain up the front wheel drive and head south until the roads were clear. Talk about a quick trip.
    Ed@Chasing Sunrises and Sunsets recently posted..DONE!My Profile



    • Becky on July 19, 2015 at 9:41 pm

      My last car before Bertha was a Honda Civic, love those. Hopefully next time you visit you’ll get more than a day.



  8. Brooke on July 19, 2015 at 11:02 am

    I also worked at the Lodge in GTNP in 2010. Lived in my RV at the employees park. (24 foot Born Free Class C) Saw lots of moose grazing near my rig.

    There is a really good hike not far south from the south entrance to YNP (On the west side) that goes out through a beautiful pasture across a small creek and over to a natural hot springs. Absolutely no one else around. A went with a couple of girls I worked with, too. Also, spent our days off swimming and canoeing in Jenny Lake.

    Off the main road to the east (in GTNP) are several great, easy hikes, one up a dry riverbed where we almost ran into a grizzly foraging. There is also a Lake (can’t remember name) in the same area, that is the beginning of the western side of the Continental Divide. Watched the sun set there (again, with no one else around) and then had two elk and a moose walk right in front of our vehicle on the road. Very exciting day

    Make sure and go to Cody for a day and visit the museum there. It is 5 museums in one and spectacular.

    Also the drive thru Wind River Canyon and the hot springs around there, good two day trip.

    I also took the Beartooth Highway. What a view !

    Spent a month at a campground in Jackson Hole two blocks from downtown. Have a pic of a brown bear running through the parking lot there. Fun to watch the “shootout” in the square. Its every day in summer I think.

    Another great drive is from the South of GTNP entrance to Teton Village on the back road (cars only) AWESOME! Guaranteed to see wild life and lots of little hikes off the road. Then lunch in the ski area.

    I also spent as much time as I could exploring Yellowstone myself. What a summer, I envy you right now!



    • Becky on July 19, 2015 at 9:39 pm

      Thanks for all the tips Brooke, always nice to get the inside scoop from someone who’s been there before. πŸ™‚ Hopefully you can get back out here someday!



  9. Jodee Gravel on July 19, 2015 at 9:54 am

    Definitely a favorite, and I’ve only seen it from the south. Can’t wait to get back there next summer. I’d rather come across a rattle snake than a badger, but they have such beautiful coats. Your photos are spectacular, especially the water. What a great day trip!
    Jodee Gravel recently posted..Fixed But Not SolvedMy Profile



    • Becky on July 19, 2015 at 10:46 am

      The badger paid us no mind at all luckily, he or she was intent on the ground squirrels that were running all over the place.

      You’ll enjoy it when you get back here. πŸ™‚



  10. Mike Goad on July 19, 2015 at 9:37 am

    In all the times I’ve been to the Tetons, I’ve never seen a badger. In fact, I’ve never seen one anywhere in the wild.

    The barn, I believe, is on historic Mormon Row, one of the most photographed barns in the world because of the spectacular backdrop.

    The church is the Chapel of the Transfiguration. The ferry is Menor’s Ferry. Was it operating? We’ve ridden across and back a couple of times. The building with the store is Bill Menor’s cabin and store.

    We actually had a close encounter with a moose in that area in 2010. We were walking from Maud Noble’s cabin to Bill Menor’s and, next to an old farm building, we saw a young ranger motioning us forward. When we got up to her, she told us that there was a bull moose laying down in the brush next to the river. She told us that some young boys had riled it up earlier and that the moose had shown some aggression. She and another park ranger were just getting there to block off the trail to keep people from getting too close to the moose.

    A nice hike, if you get the chance is from Jenny Lake up to Hidden Falls and, then, beyond Inspiration Point into Cascade Canyon. The last couple of times we’ve been on it, we’ve taken the ferry shuttle across the lake. By not walking from a trail-head, we were able to go considerably further into Cascade Canyon. Of course, you need to get back by the last boat or you will have to walk around the lake.
    Mike Goad recently posted..A Couple of Class C Motorhomes in the SmokiesMy Profile



    • Becky on July 19, 2015 at 10:44 am

      Thanks for the info Mike, I’ve updated the post.

      That must have been neat. Last time I saw a moose was on the family trip out west when I was 14. Someday, someday.

      I’ll keep that hike in mind. Bill Menor’s ferry was not operating when I got there, we’d just missed the ranger tour for it when I arrived.



  11. Ron on July 19, 2015 at 8:21 am

    I guess I am one that likes the Tetons better than Yellowstone, esp the Jenny Lake area. Thanks again for sharing the great photos and beauty of the area.



    • Becky on July 19, 2015 at 10:33 am

      You’re not alone Ron. I’d say Grand Teton’s mountains are better than Yellowstone’s mountains, but then those hydrothermal features and the hundreds of miles of hiking trails sway me back to Yellowstone.



  12. Mark on July 19, 2015 at 8:10 am

    Hi, found your blog watching some of technomadia’s video’s. Nice to see someone so young living the rv lifestyle. I am just starting to research the life style and have been looking for people who blog about workamping. This is the first of your post I have read and find your pictures and commentary pretty awesome. When I have some more time I will read some more of you post. Stay safe and have fun.
    Mark



    • Becky on July 19, 2015 at 10:31 am

      Welcome to IO Mark, glad to have you here!

      If you haven’t found it already, the “Useful Stuff” tab at the top of the site has links to the most helpful and popular posts I’ve written, and there’s a section in there on working on the road. Hope you find it helpful.



  13. Tom Reed on July 19, 2015 at 7:35 am

    As always, your narrative is splendid. But to think, the price of a one night stay in a cabin there could also buy new tires and a axel bearing repack and still have money leftover to eat a great meal is mind boggling…..Keep it up and Thanks for the look at the “Tetons”



    • Becky on July 19, 2015 at 10:29 am

      You’re welcome Tom.

      And yeah, I could never see spending that much on a room.



  14. edward on July 19, 2015 at 4:42 am

    almost 60 years ago, camping in the Tetons, my tentmate left a box of crackers open in our tent. While we were across the meadow, a black bear smelled the crackers somehow and invaded our tent leaving quite a mess. The group I was with had a cook named Jack and it was truly wonderful watching Jack run the bear off whacking it with his cast iron skillet.

    as always, your posts of the Tetons and Yellowstone nurture great memories. Thanks.



    • Becky on July 19, 2015 at 10:28 am

      Yikes Edward, that’s quite a story. These days there’s a hefty fine involved with a bear breaking into your tent/vehicle to get at food, even if the bear does trash everything. Let me just say I’m glad to have a hard-sided home. πŸ˜›

      You’re welcome.



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