Saturday, March 3, 2018

Grand Teton National Park

Schwabacher's Landing

While some adults and teenage boys giggle at the name, the Grand Tetons (no, not referring to breasts) is such a beautiful park. Like jaw-dropping beautiful.

Often overlooked by its older brother to the north Yellowstone National Park, Grand Tetons is fantastically beautiful in it s own right. This weekend is when our best laid plans (OK, not that well thought out) were thwarted but it all worked out in the end.

We decided to gamble and snag a first-come-first-serve camping spot. By the time we drove the 6 hours to the park entrance, we discovered that it was the weekend of the county fair. Everything was booked within a 100-mile radius. Car camping not allowed although primitive camping was (what you carry in, you must carry out- including human waste). After calling around and begging for even a closet to stay in, we found a hostel on the north-east edge with one. last. room.

Not to be outsmarted twice we woke up at 5 a.m. to see the sunrise and snag the first campsite available. Upon discovering the world of camping, I learned that there is a special breed of camper. The kind that awake and pack up before dawn. A time that I will only greet upon desperation. Our desperation paid off and we got an awesome campsite from one of those early-rising weirdos.

Sunrise was blanketed in a cloud of fog. If you were looking for the actual sun it would have been a bust but who needs the actual sun when you can be all moody and emo with fog? :)

The best part of waking up early is the you beat the inevitable crowds and wildlife is more active. We had our hearts on seeing a bear but no dice. We did, however, see a few other animals that were not so scary (except for the moose, those animals are terrifying).

While Grand Tetons is not as popular or as big as its big brother Yellowstone NP, it is still very popular and can be very crowded. These are the things we think you should not miss.

Dinner with a view at Blue Heron Lounge at Jackson Lake Lodge. If the weather is nice request to sit outside on the patio with a fantastic view of the Teton Range.

At Willow Flats Overlook

Two of the most popular and beautiful places for photography are Oxbow Bend (pictures above) and Schwabacher's Landing (pictured below). Early morning and early evening is great for pictures and animal sightings but be prepared to bump some elbows at Oxbow Bend. It is definitely not a secret.

Mormon Row is where you get the classic Teton's photo.

And finally, the beautiful Jenny Lake. The water is so clear you can see so far to the bottom. We took the boat ride across the lake and then hiked up Inspiration Point. Along the way we saw a moose, but sadly (yet for the best) not a bear. We also rented a row boat and rowed around Jenny Lake for an hour. It was a great way to experience the lake, especially since Jacob did most of the rowing. :)

We adored Grand Tetons and can't wait to go again!


  • Accommodations: they book out! If you cannot reserve in advance, prepare to be there early for first come, first serve campsites. We loved Jenny Lake campsite because it is tents only. My parents have stayed at Colter Bay with a camper and loved it. 
  • Food: There are a couple of restaurants at the lodges but they are expensive considering. If you bring your own food and camp, you must use a bear box or keep it locked in your car. 
  • BEAR COUNTRY! If you are hiking (we recommend Inspiration Point by Jenny Lake, Grand View Point), carry bear spray and be noisy. 
  • The one thing I wish we would have done was whitewater rafting down the Snake River. 

Our 3-Day Itinerary (very fast paced)

Day 1: arrive mid-afternoon.
Willow Flats Overlook
Explore Jackson Lake Lodge
Dinner at the Lodge

Day 2: wake up for sunrise
Get campsite at Jenny Lake (arrived before 7 a.m.)
Oxbow Bend for photos (great at beginning of day when water is still)
Hike Signal Mountain lookout.

Day 3: wake up for sunrise at Schwabacher's Landing (access via a dirt route without a sign)
Visit Mormon Row area
Hike around Two Ocean Lake (wish we would have brought a kayak)
Hike around Colter Bay starting at the Visitor's Center
Rent a rowboat at Jenny Lake

Day 4:
Take boat ride across Jenny Lake and hike to Inspiration Point
Drive Home

Traveled July 2015. 

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