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

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!

Moosin Around 007

 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.

Moosin Around 008

 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!

Moosin Around 011

 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.

Moosin Around 013

 …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. 

 Moosin Around 040

Jackson Lake Lodge Walking Tour

I’ve recently noticed a bronze plaque that stands right outside the portico of Jackson Lake Lodge.  It celebrates the buildings claim to being a historic buliding.  It got me thinking about how little I know about the history of my new home as I am an employee of Jackson Lake Lodge.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that there is a Historic Walking tour of the Lodge that didn’t require me to meet at a certain time or place, instead I just had to pick up a guide at the Activities Desk and get to walking. 

The tour begins right inside the front door in the lower lobby.  The phone booths, Arts for the Parks paintings and the staircase are some of the highlights of this space.  But my favorite tidbit was about the Indian Dress behind the Front Desk.  Did you know that it is an original dress that was used for parade or pow-wow purposes? Apparently, at one time it hung in the Stockade Bar, until it was stolen by some wranglers who cut it in half.  You can see where they stitched it back together right across the bust line.    Indian Dress

 From here we head upstairs to the Upper Lobby.  Of course the first thing you notice about this room is the amazing view!  The windows are 36 feet high and 60 feet wide and look out over Willow Flats, Jackson Lake, the Dam and the Tetons themselves.   

windows

When you finally stop looking at the view, the tour takes you into the Mural Dining Room where you are able to check out the Rendezvous Murals.  Carl Roters painted the two murals at the request of Mr. John D. Rockefeller, Jr. not long after the hotel opened.  It took him two years to paint the ten panels that span two walls and make two complete murals. All together they total nearly 80 feet and they depict the events and people who participated in the 1837 Rendezvous.

murals

 The next stop on the tour is the Pioneer Grill.  This place is great as it feels like something you would find in an old movie.  I feel like I should have a poodle skirt on as I order my huckleberry shake and sit in the swivel stools at the counter. 

 Pioneer Grill Server

Apparently this room is the same as it was back at the opening of the building in 1955.  Snaking throughout the room is one large, continuous counter and it is rumored to be the longest in the US.  Even if you don’t stop for a bite or drink, definitely check out the pictures on the wall and the items over the kitchen!

JLL_PioneerGrill_7326

 After my little snack, I then headed back out to the lobby where I checked out the giant fireplaces (seriously I would be able to walk into them unhindered!), the old Stockade Bar (now a gift shop) and the Peace Table.  Interesting fact about this table is that it was an old door that they took off the hinges and made into a table to host the 1989 Baker-Shevardnadze peace talks between Russia and the US.  Talk about a doorway to peace!  peaceOn my way back to the Main Lobby I went down the “Historic Hallway.”  This display is pretty cool because there are all sorts of old photographs and documents about the history of the park and area.  Definitely something to check out!  

Finding myself back in the lobby, I actually take the time to check out the other displays.  There are several islands with Indian artifacts, as well as a stuffed grizzly bear and trumpeter swan.  I never realized how large these two species are!    I also took the time to look up at the ‘wooden’ beams above, which aren’t actually wood but reinforced concrete that were stained to look like wood.  You couldn’t tell by looking at this building, but it is made almost completely of concrete!

 

 The last stop inside the building is at the Blue Heron Lounge.  This bar was one of the few additions to the building when it replaced the Stockade Bar.  Here is the place to go if you want a drink and to take in a great view!   The decorations in here are quite cool too and include various Indian artifacts like headdresses and moccasins.  You’ll also find the only television at Jackson Lake Lodge and a painting called “The Trapper’s Bride” by Charles Banks Wilson. 
 
From here there are several outdoor activities you can do ~

Lunch tree

 You can head up Lunch Tree Hill and check out the view that is said to have inspired a legacy or…

You could head out to the corrals to check out some of the vintage buses.

I did a bit of both and would definitely recommend doing this tour yourself as I learned so much about this remarkable place!

From Melissa’s Corner

Grand Teton National Park is First to Reach StormReady Status

Thunderstorm Over the Tetons
Thunderstorm Over the Tetons

 

Birds are singing and the sun is shining its rays through a cloud spotted sky. A light breeze rustles the leaves of Aspen trees and the temperature drops a few degrees. Dark gray clouds are forming over the Tetons and almost instantaneously the light breeze turns into gusts of wind. Large raindrops begin to splash over the valley, appearing like curtains being drawn from the sky to the earth. The rumble of thunder echoes over Jackson Hole and flashes of lightning begin to appear. A thunderstorm is orchestrating and Grand Teton National Park has front row seats.

Weather changes like this are quite frequent in the Park this time of year. One moment the skies are clear, the next hail greets us from dark clouds. Grand Teton National Park is StormReady, with enhanced communication capabilities to ensure weather warnings and other emergency information is received and disseminated efficiently to park employees, concession operations, and visitors within the park.

“The StormReady designation also represents a stronger partnership with the National Weather Service (NWS) as we now have multiple ways to provide feedback to the forecasters and communicate with NWS staff, including information on current weather conditions in Grand Teton National Park,” said Heather Voster, Senior All-Risk Dispatcher for the National Park Service.

A rigorous set of criteria must be met to obtain StormReady status. Requirements include:

  • Establishing a 24-hour warning point and emergency operations center
  • Having more than one way to receive severe weather warnings and forecasts
  • Having more than one way to alert the public to severe weather events
  • Creating a system that monitors local weather conditions
  • Promoting the importance of public readiness through community seminars and outreach
  • Developing a formal hazardous weather plan, which includes training severe weather spotters and conducting emergency exercises

“Accordingly, All Hazards Alert Weather Radios have been placed in various buildings where public and employee traffic is common; Dispatch, Moose Administration Building, the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center, the Laurance S Rockefeller Preserve Center, Colter Bay Visitor Center, Jenny Lake Visitor Center, and the Jenny Lake Ranger Station,” said Voster.

The All Hazards Radios will broadcast warnings and post-event information for all types of hazards:

Weather (tornadoes, floods, severe thunderstorms, etc.)
Natural (earthquakes, forest fires and volcanic activity, etc.)
Technological (chemical releases, oil spills, nuclear power plant emergencies, etc.) National (terrorist attacks, etc.)
Local (child abduction emergencies, boil water alerts, 911 telephone outage, etc.)

In addition to the placement of All Hazards Radios, Park Dispatch has several ways to receive weather warnings and other emergency information, such as via telephone, internet, email, and law enforcement teletype.

Formalized Standard Operating Procedures have been put in place detailing how this important information is to be distributed by dispatch, including broadcast on the park radio frequency, internal Instant Messaging, and a phone tree to alert critical facilities and concession operations.

“Grand Teton National Park continually seeks new ways to improve safety for visitors, local residents, and park employees. Completing the StormReady requirements—and gaining the knowledge and network necessary to effectively deal with severe weather events—is an important step in creating a safer environment for anyone residing in, or recreating throughout the park. We are proud to have earned StormReady status, and we intend to effectively implement the StormReady communication system for the benefit of not only the park, but also our neighbors,” said Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott.

There are a number of ways visitors can prepare for weather related emergencies in Grand Teton National Park. “First, before they even leave home, they should do a bit of internet research—find out what the forecast for the area is so they know what to expect and can bring appropriate clothing and gear,” said Voster. When guests arrive, they should stop at a Visitor Center to find the current weather forecast and to learn about weather patterns common to the Tetons. It is also a good idea to be aware of what to do if caught outside in a thunderstorm. Being prepared with rain gear and warm clothing is essential when visiting the Park.

Grand Teton National Park is the first and currently only national park to gain StormReady status. “We hope to be an example for other national parks across the country,” said Voster

Learn more about the StormReady program and how to prepare for various disasters and weather hazards:

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration:
www.stormready.noaa.gov  

Teton County Emergency Management:
www.tetonwyo.org/em

 

Posted from Katie’s Corner

Rafting the Rapids of the Snake River

Skillfully Manning the Snake River
Skillfully Manning the Snake River

 

With just a few white puffy clouds and temperatures in the 70’s, it is a fine day for a whitewater rafting trip. Five of us pack into one vehicle, as we journey to Jackson where I shuttle awaits us. When we arrive, our crew outfits themselves in wetsuits and I ponder my need for one. I know I’ll be getting wet, but it’s one of the warmest days since I arrived in Wyoming. I join a few brave souls and opt out of the wetsuit.

 

Heading to the Raft
Heading to the Raft

 

Our shuttle driver takes us to West Table Creek and 14 of us strap on life jackets and ponchos and climb into the raft. We leave the bank and there’s no turning back.

 

Our Guide Informing Us On the Height of the Rapids
Our Guide Informing Us On the Height of the Rapids

 

Matt, our guide, gives us a lowdown on what to do if a member falls out or the boat flips. “Try to remain on your back if you don’t want a mouthful of water,” he advises. I’m beginning to understand the importance of the wetsuit, as I reach down and feel the numbing water with a temperature of 40 some degrees.

 

Mae in a Moment of Panic
Mae in a Moment of Panic

 
Mae, a first-time rafter, asks, “So we’re not going on a scenic float trip?” Someone failed to mention to her that rapids were going to be involved. After a brief moment of panic, she proudly grabs a paddle and chooses her side of the raft.

 

Mid-Rapid
Mid-Rapid

 

 

The safety talk is complete and we are cruising down the river to face boiling eddies, unpredictable currents, steep gradients, and souse holes. We meet our first rapid as four foot waves pour over our raft. I am drenched, but smiling none-the-less.

 

Paddle and Break
Paddle and Break
                   
Nick Jumps in for a Swim
Nick Jumps in for a Swim

 

We floated 8-miles of the Snake River, with only two overboard and merely by choice, as our guide allowed anyone adventurous enough to hop in for a quick swim. The canyon was a beautiful sight with Osprey nestled in the trees and Bald Eagles soaring above. Our crew skillfully maneuvered over the infamous Lunch Counter, a Class II-IV rapid (depending on the time of year). 

We concluded our trip with Champagne. No, not the bubbly, but a section of the river containing millions of tiny air bubbles rising to the surface after having been trapped by the rushing water.   

 

A Beautiful Day Down the River
A Beautiful Day Down the River

 

Our whitewater rafting trip was a sweet success, as our soaking bodies piled into the van and headed back to Jackson. There are a selection of whitewater trips, scenic floats, and overnight trips down the Snake River for all levels of adventurous tastes. For the whitewater trip, I suggest wearing a wetsuit.

Posted from Katie’s Corner

 

Melissa Post-Trip with Some Excess Water in her Booties
Melissa Post-Trip with Some Excess Water in her Booties

 

 

Mae Conquered Those Rapids
Mae Conquered Those Rapids

Confessions of a Signal Mountain Summit Addict

On the Way to Signal Mountain Summit
On the Way to Signal Mountain Summit

 

Several days a week, I find myself trekking to the top of Signal Mountain for some post-work therapy. The journey is equally rewarding as the destination. The climb to the summit is through Douglas firs, aspens, meadows, ponds, and several overlooks of the Tetons and Jackson Lake. Waterfowl and wildlife grace the area, and elk can be heard bugling in the autumn months.
 
There are two ways to the top, a paved road for bikes and vehicles and a trail for pedestrians. By foot the hiker faces a moderate, steady grade and a 5.5 mile round trip. The path climbs at an elevation gain of 633 ft. to the 7,593 ft. summit. For those with less time, the drive only takes about 10 minutes to reach the top.

 

Top of Summit Looking Out East
Top of Summit Looking Out East

 
“Jackson Hole Hikes,” by Rebecca Woods, describes the Signal Mountain Summit quite accurately.

“From gray-green sagebrush covered flats to the forested moraines and kettled area to the east, the handiwork created by glaciers thousands of years ago is spread out on the valley floor below.”

The summit provides one of the finest geology sights in the area, as the landscape appears as a painting under your feet. Incredible bird’s-eye views of the mountain range, the valley, and the winding Snake River are seen from the top.

 

Looking Through to the East
Looking Through to the East

 

Overlook on the Tetons
Overlook on the Tetons

 

Signal Mountain Summit
Signal Mountain Summit

 

In the 1930’s, Signal Mountain was used as a forest service fire lookout, as the valley can be observed for miles to the east. 

Signal Mountain offers a pleasant escape after a long day or is an excellent morning boost, with fantastic views of sunrise. As my day at the office winds down, I prepare for yet another trip to the summit. I am a Signal Mountain Summit addict and I am proud of it.

Posted from Katie’s Corner

 

Heading Back Down
Heading Back Down

Kids Walk on the Wild Side

For kids, Grand Teton National Park can be a pretty exciting place to explore. From their first Snake River float trip to seeing a 2400 pound bison, there are endless experiences to be shared.

Wildwalk Field Guide is a program that GTLC developed for families to discover the unique nature that surrounds us in the Park.

 

20090512113315728.pdf - Adobe Reader
Wildwalk Field Guide (available in color)

 

Illustrated and written by our employees, the guide features activities to educate kids on Park etiquette, adventures, the Junior Ranger Program, and much more. Kids follow Ranger Pat and Butterfly as they color, word search, check off, and photo hunt their way through the Park.

The guide provides a strong emphasis on Leave No Trace principles, an education program that teaches outdoor enthusiasts how to protect the places they love. Kids learn about the Leave No Trace principles including:

Plan ahead and prepare

Dispose of waste properly

Travel and camp on durable surfaces

Minimize campfire impacts

Respect wildlife

Be considerate of other visitors

When the guide is completed, kids can sign a Certificate of Achievement for learning and practicing these principles. The guide creates a fun and interactive way for kids to learn about and explore the Park.

Other great activities for families to enjoy:

Wagon Ride: Seasonal based on Jackson Lake Lodge to Colter Bay Village Wagon Road accessibility; interactive ride with wagon driver.

Snake River Wild & Scenic Float Trip: Participants must be large enough to fit the life vests properly (typically 6 yrs or older); interactive float – guide may allow assistance with oars as river safety allows.

Guided fishing on Jackson Lake: Originating at Colter Bay Marina – a great activity for the whole family; guided fly fishing excursions on the Snake River are also available.

Horseback Rides and Pony Rides: Horseback rides originate at Jackson Lake Lodge and Colter Bay Village – riders must be 8 years old to participate in the guided trail rides; riders under 8 yrs old can take a pony ride around the corral area instead.  Riding helmets are available.

Jackson Lake Cruise: Get your Jr. Boat Captain License by driving the Rendevous or Teewinot Cruisers; breakfast and dinner cruises include a meal on Elk Island with lots of areas to explore; activity originates at Colter Bay Marina.

Interpretive Bus Tour: Guided tours of Grand Teton and/or Yellowstone National Parks.

Jackson Lake Lodge Swimming Pool:  Open early June to early September – weather permitting.  The complex includes a full size outdoor pool, wading pool and playground.

Pool BBQ:  A Western-style BBQ dinner designed for the family is held at the Jackson Lake Lodge pool complex from late June through mid-August.  Enjoy live music and eating outside while taking advantage of lots of opportunities to make new friends.

Hiking: Over 250 miles to explore by foot.

National Park Service Interpretive Talk: Located on the west terrace at Jackson Lake Lodge, as well as other ranger programs at the Visitor Centers and the Laurance S. Rockefeller (LSR) Reserve.

History Walks: Join our company historian at Colter Bay Village.

Junior Park Ranger: Offered by the National Park Service at the Visitor Centers. 

 

Grand Teton National Park is the ultimate playground. For first time visitors of all ages, it is a breath-taking place. You feel an overwhelming sense of awe when you walk up the stairs of Jackson Lake Lodge and look through the 60 foot windows.  They unveil the magnificent peaks that appear as if you can just reach out and touch them. You have to pinch yourself and ask am I really here? When kids experience this at a young age it instills an appreciation for our environment and national parks that they will carry and share with their own families. We invite you to come play and stay awhile. All those “Are we there yets?” are worth every moment here.