3 Ways to Enjoy Grand Teton National Park this Spring

Welcome springtime in Grand Teton National Park! There are already signs of a new season approaching. With the arrival of the spring melt we see the Snake River  rushing, river otters playing, trumpeter swans swimming, and moose munching on willows. These are all sure signs that Jackson Hole and Grand Teton Lodge Company are coming out of winter hibernation!

Three moose seen this April munching on willows

If you have Spring Fever and are ready for your summer vacation in the mountains, let us help you plan your mountain getaway for family and friends with our Grand Teton National Park packages.

The Grand Adventure Package

A Grand Teton National Park Exploration

The Grand Adventure Package is an all-inclusive package that offers a true discovery of Grand Teton National Park.  This package was designed for the family to explore the majestic scenery, wildlife and activities of the Park for all ages. The key to this package is the amount of activities to participate in; from river rafting on the beautiful Snake River, hiking and horseback riding in one of Americas most treasured and historic National Parks to boat cruises on Jackson Lake below the statuesque Teton Mountain Range to touring our neighboring town of Jackson or Yellowstone National Park.  Create a family experience to last a lifetime.

Hot Dates: May 20-June 20, 2011 and September 15-October 1, 2011 ~ Receive 20% Off Lodging!

Stay & Play Package

A Grand Teton National Park Skins and Fins Experience

Yes you read it right! Where is a more fantastic place on earth for dedicated golfers and fisherman than Grand Teton National Park?  This is a package created for that special outing with friends that may come only every so often. Golf at the beautiful Jackson Hole Golf & Tennis Club located just outside of the Park. Don’t be surprised to see moose munching on nearby greens while gazing at the entire Teton Mountain Range on iconic 13th hole. Spend a day hiking in the inspiring mountains. Catch the “big one” with an incredible day of fly fishing on the Snake River with a private guide. Grab your friends and let the adventure begin!

Give & Getaway Package

A Way to Give Back in Grand Teton National Park

A new year is here and so is a brand new Give & Getaway package.  This summer from June 6th through 9th, volunteers who work alongside Teton Science Schools employees to preserve the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem will receive 20% off their lodging.  Working, on Vacation? With this package volunteer your vacation time to give back to the environment. Experience the Jackson Hole Region on a whole different level by participating in a Willow Restoration Program and a Trail Extension Project. In addition to volunteering partake in an interactive education class about the ecology, plant communities, and wildlife of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

Find a getaway that sounds right for you? Call one of our Package Specialist for more information at 800-628-9988. For more mountain vacation options visit our packages web page, please click: Packages

Breakfast Wagon Ride

This morning I arose bright and early in eager anticipation for today’s adventure in Grand Teton National Park.  My journey led me to the breakfast Wagon Ride. The Jackson Lake Lodge Corrals sponsor this fun activity open to all ages for everyone to enjoy. The morning air was cool and crisp as I ventured to the Corrals. This activity is especially exciting because it is only open five short weeks out of our season due to wildlife activity on the wagon trail. I was greeted at the corrals with a big smile and welcome from our wagon driver Perrin. We loaded the wagon and took off onto the trail which starts by driving in front of lodge along the edges of the willow flats.

Morning Breakfast Wagon Ride

Sunshine Ride Beside the Willow Flats

As we traveled along the wagon trail we listened with delight as Perrin told us stories of the local wildlife and environment. The wildflowers were just at their peak season and were bright and colorful. We rode beside streams and tall pine and aspen trees and part of trail went through some of the oldest forest in the area. It was fun to try and spot for signs of wildlife and share our tales of what we have seen in Grand Teton National Park.

Wagon at Breakfast Site

The Wagon Team Zeta & Zorro

Our team of horses that pulled our wagon were beautiful and they have cute names Zeta and Zorro.  Zeta is short for Cathrine Zeta Jones who is Zorro’s love interest in the movie! After approximately an hour ride we arrived to our breakfast site and were greeted by amazing views of the Tetons and a hot breakfast cooking on the griddle. My favorite was the cowboy coffee sitting on the fire! There was also a campfire for us to gather around and drink our first cup of coffee before breakfast was ready. The pancakes were delicious and were served with warm huckleberry syrup. Yum! When everyone was full there was time to walk around and take pictures, and enjoy the morning outside! Perrin eventually rounded us up and we started our enjoyable ride back to the corrals. As you can see from the pictures below this was perfect morning in the Tetons with a nostalgic journey through the wilderness.

Pancakes Anyone?

Breakfast Location

Teton Breakfast- Eggs, Ham, Pancakes, Potatoes

Perfect Place for a Hot Cup of Coffee

Crossing the Stream on the way Back to the Corrals

Bus Tour to Yellowstone National Park

Did you know Grand Teton National Park is included in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem? Yellowstone National Park is only 40 miles away from Jackson Lake Lodge, and is connected to Grand Teton National Park. The Bus Tour to Yellowstone National Park is the perfect way to see and explore the northern part of Grand Teton National Park and the lower loop of Yellowstone National Park. The tour begins at Jackson Lake Lodge and leaves at 8:30am. (You do not have to worry about lunch, because a boxed lunch is packed and already waiting on the bus.) The tour bus is cozy with large windows so one can easily spot wildlife and see the awesome sights of this unique and awesome terrain. Warren, the tour guide and driver greets all of his guests, and the journey takes off. Be prepared to soak up some great knowledge, because while on the road Warren goes into detail about the landscape, wildlife, and interesting facts about both parks.

The Grand Teton Lodge Company Tour Bus departs for Yellowstone National Park Entrance

The first stop along the way is the entrance to Yellowstone National Park. This location offers views of the Snake River, as well as a possible Grizzly Bear sighting. Warren mentioned he had seen the bear twice here before, and you never know when the bear may be back. No bear at this stop, but it did have the iconic Yellowstone sign which is ideal for pictures! After, the entrance and photo shoot it was on to the West Thumb Geyser Basin.

Entrance to Yellowstone National Park

Geyser at West Thumb Geyser Basin

Geyser in Yellowstone Lake

West Thumb Geyser Basin is only thirty minutes from the entrance of the Park and offers terrific views of Yellowstone Lake, and a variety of bubbling steaming geysers. These unique water features occur when there is a hot spot of lava near the surface of the earths crust, and Yellowstone National Park is full of these pockets of geysers. The first geyser is a deep sapphire-green color which is caused from bacteria found only in water with constant hot temperatures. Makes for some awesome photo’s! The second geyser pictured formed a cone along the shores of Yellowstone Lake, it was neat to see it bubble under the water. (boardwalks encompass the entire basin to ensure one is safe when walking around.)

Old Faithful Geyser

Grand Prismatic Springs

The second scenic location the tour travels to is known world-wide as Old Faithful. This geyser basin is famous because of the Old Faithful geyser and its predictable time of eruption every 90 minutes. What people do not know is that there are more awesome geysers there to see and discover if one just takes ten minutes to hike the surrounding area. Old Faithful was a great stop to experience an awesome geyser, and eat a delicious lunch! After Old Faithful, another famous stop was next on the list known as Grand Prismatic Springs. This hot spring has been featured on the cover of several magazines due to its amazing colors when seen from above. It was awesome to witness the brilliant colors in this spring, although hard to capture on film from eye level because the geyser was so large!

Lower Falls

Artist Point

It is hard to believe but there is still more scenic views to this tour! The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone as pictured above was by far one of the most favorite and picturesque locations of the tour. Yellowstone River flows through this canyon, and tour stopped at the lower falls, and upper falls of this river. It was an excellent way to see the falls up close and from a distance. A fun-fact learned from Warren was that this canyon is the reason Yellowstone National Park received its name, look at the yellow rock along the walls.

Bison in Hayden Valley

Warren in Front of Yellowstone Lake

What about the wildlife? The drive through the beautiful Hayden Valley on the way back to the Tetons held many herds of Bison scattered across green fields. Elk were also seen along the roadside, and as the bus returned to Grand Teton National Park a young adult Grizzly Bear was seen only ten feet from the road! It was so close to the highway it would have been dangerous to leave the bus. It is amazing to think how many  wonders of the world can be experienced in just one day! This tour was a day trip filled with geysers, waterfalls, and wildlife in a remote yet astonishing place known as the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Looking for inspiration, its only a day tour away!

Jackson Lake Lodge Opening Day!

Greeting the First Guest of the Season

Opening day is finally here for Jackson Lake Lodge, and the timing could not be more perfect. It is a beautiful spring day in Grand Teton National Park. The sun is shining, the wildlife are roaming, the ice and snow have melted from Jackson Lake, and the guests have arrived. Excitement floats in the air as the day unfolds. Our first guest arrived promptly at 10am and she was met with an outstanding welcome. It was the first time the  front doors have been unlocked since we closed last October and we are ready to provide quality service, excellent accommodations, and the experience of a lifetime for season 2010.

Jackson Lake Lodge has been busy all winter long in preparation for today. There have been several new developments for season 2010. First, the Blue Heron Lounge has been newly remodeled with new oak furnishings. As you can see below
Newly Refurnished Blue Heron

the remodel was a success, and the atmosphere is warm and inviting. In addition to a new look, the Blue Heron has an awesome new menu to match. How does Oazaca Cheese & Smoked Mushroom Fondue with roasted chiles and parmesan bread sound? That is only one of the ten new Blue Heron Little Plate Specials. Each fantastic dish will be cooked and served right in the lounge. It sounds like the perfect place for a fun-filled night with friends!

Jackson Lake Lodge Business Center

The second fresh look we are proud to announce is the Jackson Lake Lodge Business Center. An entire room dedicated to our guests. It is the perfect place to check your emails, pay the bills, read about Tales from the Tetons and anything else you can think of on the internet! The computers just arrived with comfortable chairs and desks to match.

We are thrilled to state our accomplishments for opening day, but of course none of it would be possible without our superb employee’s who have devoted the last several weeks to learn the quality of hospitality and service Grand Teton Lodge Company offers. Overall, this means we cleaned the lodge, cottages, vehicles and pool from top to bottom. We memorized menus, history, locations and activities. We unpacked the boxes of fine merchandise, designed the stores and remembered how to run the registers. Every year its an adventure to open and it always ends with a fantastic product: a vacation destination located in Grand Teton National park!   We are delighted to welcome all of our guests to Season 2010 and we look forward to your arrival!

 

 

Awesome Autumn Deals!

If you are looking for somewhere to go for a fall holiday, now is the time to book!  You will find a spectacular last-chance vacation getaway by combining our special $145/night Elk Lovers Excursion package with a cheap “Autumn Adventure” Fare from www.United.com

photo by Ernst Mutchnick

photo by Ernst Mutchnick

In addition to Grand Teton National Park’s colorful foliage, a popular fall activity is witnessing the unique sounds of elk during the annual rutting season.  The bull elk’s bugle starts as a low whistling sound that builds and culminates into the high-pitched sound of a flute.  The bugle lets other elk know that the bull has staked claim to a territory and a harem.  In preparation for the winter season, elk herds can be found in abundance migrating through the Park toward their winter home near the town of Jackson, making it prime elk-watching season.

Jackson Lake Lodge’s Elk Lovers Excursion package is valid from September 4 (Labor Day weekend) through September 27, 2009 for new bookings only, and is based on space availability for single or double occupancy.  The $145 nightly rate for Elk Lover’s Excursion includes a welcome amenity and is exclusive of tax, gratuities, and incidental charges.  Use of a private car is recommended in order to enhance the overall elk experience, and transportation is not included in the package. Advance reservations are required and can be made by calling 800-628-9988.

Check out United’s “Autumn Adventure Sale” under Special Deals on www.united.com.   Act fast as tickets must be purchase no later than Monday September 7th.

…Where the Pronghorn Play!

A common confusion for the guests of Grand Teton National Park is calling a pronghorn an “antelope.” 

 

Pronghorn in Grand Teton National Park

Pronghorn in Grand Teton National Park

 The pronghorn has had to live with this mistake for quite awhile, so I thought I’d help clear this matter up!

Fun Fact One:  Family

Antelope are a member of the Bovidae family, which also includes cows, bison and sheep.

Pronghorn are the last surviving membe rof the Antilocapridae family.

Fun Fact Two:  Territory

Antelope are found in Africa, Asia and occasionally the middle east.  Their habitat range from grasslands to marshes.

Pronghorn are found in western North America, from Canada to northern Mexico.

Fun Fact Three:  Horns or Antlers

Antelope have a traditional horn which consists of a bony core with a Keratin coating.  (That’s the same stuff our nails are made of!)  Their horns do not branch in any form and they have one set for life.

Pronghorn have keratin growing on a bony core that is pronged in the male and is also shed annually. 

A true classification for ther term “horns” in animals is they are always unbranched and never shed (like the Antelope).  They are also covered with skin like the horns of a giraffe!

Fun Fact Four:  Speed vs. Height

Antelope come in such a variety that some like the Gazelles are very fast, while others like the Nilgai are very slow.  They are also, primarily, decent to great jumpers.

Pronghorn are the second fastest land mammal, second only to the Cheetah!  They have a very high endurance for racing but are very poor jumpers!

Fun Fact Five:  Young

Antelope typically have just one baby at a time.

Pronghorn are known to most commonly have twins!
Bonus Fun Fact: Pronghorns outnumber people in the state of Wyoming!

From Melissa’s Corner!

Wildlife Crossing In Grand Teton National Park

“Pay Attention:  Wildlife On Road!” 

 This sign greets all visitors to Grand Teton National Park, but let me be the first to tell you it is absolutely true!  You never know when you will have something or a herd of “somethings” dash in front of your car… and let’s just say some of the animals in this park will take on a truck and win!

Let’s just take a quick look at a few of the animals I have had cross my path since arriving her in May!

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A relatively large elk…

Now this buckaroo, decided to mosey across the road right in front of our car.   We were lucky we saw it in time because he would have caused a lot of damage!

 

Bison sml

A Bison…

This guy really doesn’t seem to care who is on the road…but I recommend staying far away from him as they can run up to 30 mph without warning!  In this case, I guess he decided that the grass was greener on the other side of the road!

 

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A Moose….

As we came around the bend in the road, she was right in sight.  Luckily she was just beginning the cross and quickly headed into the brush so other cars wouldn’t be surprised by her!

 

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A Grizzly Bear….

This guy is definitely the king of our forest.  So when he crosses your path, you definitely want to stop!

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A Car Jam!

I’d say the most dangerous road hazard in Grand Teton National Park can be the other drivers, so pull to the side of the road if to stay clear of other Park visitors if you do see something of interest!  Most speedlimits within the park are 45 mph, that’s to help avoid an encounter with an animal.  We know there is a lot of open road, but the wildlife is abundant as well, and staying safe is everyone’s top priority!   Keep your eyes open because you never know when a bear, moose, elk or bison jam is going to sneak up on you!  

 

From Melissa’s Corner!

GTLC Fun Facts II

Grand Teton Lodge Company was started by the Rockefeller family.

Our employees represent all 50 states  and may have worked for us for decades.  Our longest employee worked for us 52 years on a seasonal basis each summer!

The US/Russia Peace Talks of 1989 were held at Jackson Lake Lodge.

We make nearly 30 gallons of homemade ice cream every day.

The Ranch House Restaurant was developed at Colter Bay to honor the many original dude ranches of the Jackson Hole area where our log cabins originally came from prior to being relocated to Colter Bay.

We have a private meal-site on the banks of the Snake River just under the Snake River Overlook where Ansel Adams took his famous photo of Grand Teton National Park.  Join us for dinner throughout the week and then float a 10 mile section of the river with our guides.

Our staff created the artwork and details for our kid’s coloring book called the Wildwalk Passport…ask for one at the Front Desk.

Between all our operations we employ nearly 1,000 people each summer…approximately 49% of which are returning employees.

Colter Bay Marina is the only location on Jackson Lake where boat slips can be reserved….get your name in now…there is currently a 15 year waiting list!

We hope you enjoy learning a few fun facts about our operations.  If you know of more we’d welcome learning of them, so feel free to make a comment!

Wet N’ Wild ~ Kayaking on Jackson Lake

 

Kayaking is not a new sport to me; however that doesn’t mean I’m ready to barrel roll down the rapids! That being said, I’m perfectly happy to rent a kayak from the Colter Bay Marina and take in a paddle on Jackson Lake.  Last weekend, my boyfriend Sy and I did just that!

 

Melissa & Sy Kayaking Jackson Lake

Melissa & Sy Kayaking Jackson Lake

Having done this once before, Sy and I lathered up with sunscreen, donned our safe and stylish life vests, and pushed off into the calm waters of the Marina. We decided on a relaxing paddle around the closest bays, and are very happy we did!

The bays were filled with active water birds.  As we paddled along we watched bald eagles soar overhead, an osprey defend its territory, and saw a blue heron and spotted piper hunting for their lunches along the shore.  We’d like to share some of our photos from that day with all of you!

 

This Bald Eagle Decided that branch looked like a good landing spot.  I love this photo because it reminds me of a flagpole topper!  This guy had a very busy morning.  He soared high above us hunting for his next meal and was chased by the Osprey.  He definitely deserves a nice rest!

 

Our Bald Eagle Sighting

Our Bald Eagle Sighting

This Osprey kept his eyes open for that pesky Bald Eagle.  It was very cool watching him dive bomb the Eagle as he chased him from his territory!

 

The Guardian Osprey

The Guardian Osprey

Can you spot the spotted sandpiper?  I’ll give you a hint….he’s brown and white and is standing on a branch.   

 

The Shy Sandpiper

The Shy Sandpiper

That’s right, he’s right in the middle of the photo.  This Sandpiper was so interesting to watch as he chattered and bobbed his way along the shore! 

  

This Blue Heron was searching the shoreline for some lunch.  I almost paddled right by him until he started moving.   

A Blue Heron Struts Along

A Blue Heron Struts Along

 He was quite shy and flew away when I got closer to him. 

blue heron flying

So if you are in the Tetons this summer, Sy and I definitely recommend coming out to Jackson Lake for a paddle!  If the wildlife is not particularly active that day at least you the have gorgeous view to keep you company!

kayak 3sml

 

From Melissa’s Corner (of the lake)!

Colter’s Floatin’ the Snake River

Hi everyone!  It’s me Colter Moose and today I’m floatin’ the Snake River with the Grand Teton Lodge Company boatmen.  These guys get to cruise the river all day long as their job…and I thought I had it good!

Anyway, I’ve heard all about the dinner they put together on the banks of the Snake River, so I thought I’d try the “Supper Float Trip”.  You see our meal site is located just below the Snake River Overlook ~ the place Ansel Adams made famous for his photos of Grand Teton National Park.  It’s a pretty scenic place to have dinner….

Moosin Around 039

 

Speaking of dinner, the chef (shown above) cooks steaks and trout on an open grill.  I’m told there is something special about meals cooked outdoors.  Since I don’t really eat the same types of food as our guests do…I’ll have to take their word for it…but let me know what you think if you join us on this activity!

Moosin Around 004

During dinner I made a few friends.  This is Katie sitting at one of the picnic benches before dinner began. 

After dinner, we put on life jackets, listened to the boatmen talk about the trip and how best to prepare for our adventure…here’s a photo of Katie and Kelly as we boarded the rafts!

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 The big boats hold up to 20 people.  This is a photo of the rest of the people on our trip who were just about to depart for their 10 mile scenic journey down the Snake River.

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 The guides make each trip unique as they talk about the area, tell folk tales, provide historical information and help guests search for wildlife along the way!

08Jackson Lake Lodge

This here is Mike, a boatman who helps guide river trips ~ he also grew up here in Grand Teton National Park…so he has lots of stories to tell!

(I’m not that great at taking photos, so I asked a friend of mine who is a photographer,Dan Sullivan,if I could use a few of his.)

This photo was taken by a real photographer...Dan Sullivan

The scenery is so unique…And it just keeps getting better and better along the way!

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 On our trip we were lucky to see lots of wildlife.  I’m new to this park so I haven’t made many friends.  Everyone thought it was just because I was along that we saw so many animals along the river, but our guide assured them…this happens often ~ especially on the early morning and evening trips.  Above, can you see the bald eagle in the tree?  This was one of my photos…sorry it’s not clearer, but I hope you can make him out – he’s in the center of the photo.

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 …and here, now this is a challenge…but that rock-like ball sitting just in the water on the right side…that’s a beaver.  There were 5 of them on this trip that we came across – it was pretty cool to see them swimming in and out of their homes along the river banks.

We were also able to find a “real” moose on the river banks, had a heron fly right along side the raft, and encountered many ducks in the river as well

Once we ended the trip, everyone else got out and I was the last one in the boat.  Sort of looks like I’m one the one in charge here doesn’t it??  Hmmm….maybe I should entertain a career change. 

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