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!
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!
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!
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!
A Grizzly Bear….
This guy is definitely the king of our forest. So when he crosses your path, you definitely want to stop!
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!
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!
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….
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.)
The scenery is so unique…And it just keeps getting better and better along the way!
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.
…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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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! On 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 ~
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!
Grand Teton Lodge Company began as a transportation company.
Jackson Lake Lodge was built in 1955.
Colter Bay is comprised of 166 guest cabins that are all authentic settler’s cabins from around Grand Teton National Park. Each cabin was moved from its previous location to Colter Bay Village to provide lodging for guests visiting the national park.
Jenny Lake Lodge is the only inclusive and award-winning hotel in Grand Teton National Park ~ recognized by Conde Nast, Travel + Leisure, AAA, Mobil, Fromer’s, Food & Wine and many other prestigious entities.
Grand Teton Lodge Company has it’s own butcher shop, bakery, laundry facility, grocery store and recycling center all on-site within Grand Teton National Park.
Jackson Lake Lodge houses the only pool in Grand Teton National Park.
Each cabin at Jenny Lake Lodge is named after a native wildflower.
Grand Teton Lodge Company employs an Interpretive Specialist who focuses on training and guest programs to enhance Park visitor experiences.
Jackson Lake Lodge (we believe) is the largest meeting location within a National Park. With over 17,000 sq ft of meeting space and 385 guest accommodations, meetings are affordable and inspiring.
We are proud to host nearly 30 weddings each summer….and many more happy anniversaries!
Gros Ventre Campground is the closest campground to the town of Jackson with over 300 campsites available making it easy to enjoy the Park and play in Jackson!
Jackson Lake Lodge is 20 miles from the entrance to Yellowstone and approximately 1 1/2 hours from Old Faithful.
Grand Teton Lodge Company is certified to the standards of the International Organization for Standarization (ISO) for 14000 (Environmental), 9001 (Quality) and was the first hospitality organization in the US to acheive this 9001 certifications. These third party certifications ensure we are providing a quality operation with environmental standards in place to protect our unique setting.
We’ll provide a few more facts in upcoming blogs. In the meantime, do you know a few you’d like to share with us about GTLC or the Park? If so, we’d like to hear from you….
Each year the National Park Foundation sponsors the Junior Ranger Essay Contest. The focus is to ask kids their ideas about how to protect and preserve the national parks.
In 2009, the essay contest question was “Why are our national parks important to you and what is your best idea to protect our parks for the future?”
Grand Teton Lodge Company was please to learn that the 2nd place winner this year was an essay contributed by Jason Roy Maki of Marysville, Wa. Jason’s essay focused on treasured memories of time in Grand Teton National Park. Below you will find the essay he contributed.
Way to go Jason! We hope you continue to enjoy and promote our national parks…and return to Grand Teton National Park very soon.
“When I see or even think about a national park, it is like no other feeling I’ve ever had. A national park is like a special cabinet that contains memories that are filled with truly special natural treasures. When you see a picture of a national park on post card, on TV or in a movie, you will probably say, “Wow! That is beautiful!” But actually being at a national park and seeing it in person is even more wonderful and breathtaking. When you go to the zoo and see an animal up close it is very interesting. But imagine that same thrill in the wild – in an animal’s habitat. Habitat is the natural place where an animal lives — like the forest, the meadows, the lakes and ponds, the rivers, mountains, valleys and the prairie.
I love Grand Teton National Park the best. When I visit, I always see elk, deer, black bear, grizzlies, moose, bison, wolves, bald eagles, and more. I’ve seen an eagle and an osprey fighting over a fish. I’ve seen a little baby moose with its mother at the edge of the Snake River. I’ve seen a pair of grizzly cubs wandering out in the middle of a green meadow with their mother close by. And I’ve even seen a rare black wolf running across a snow field. But not all things are exactly what I’d call peaceful. I’ve watched a huge bison lit up against the night sky when lightning struck the mountains. I went swimming with my cousins and came out of a beautiful lake covered in leeches! Ahhhhh! I was even surprised by a black bear ten feet away when I walked around a pickup truck! Even though I’ve had a few scary experiences, it should never stop you from visiting a national park.
National parks are fun places to learn about things that you could never experience anywhere else. That’s why we have to take care of them. We have to follow all national park rules. They are more than just rules. They are choices we make to help our parks survive forever. Don’t litter a park. Don’t feed the animals because they forget how to feed naturally. Make sure campfires are dead out with water. Forest fires are caused every year by careless campers who do not put their fires out. I would like to propose a contest where school kids everywhere come up with a few things to protect and preserve our national parks. We could have a reading program where school kids read about a neat national park. Then they could maybe visit one for themselves some day. I know they will enjoy every moment. That I can promise.
We the people own the national parks. They are ours. That is why we need to protect our parks and preserve them forever.”
At nine months old, Susan Bishop made her first trip to Grand Teton National Park. The family traveled from Casper, Wyoming on Fourth of July weekend. “My earliest memory of the Park was my mother bathing me in a washtub and me feeding the squirrels,” laughed Bishop. More than sixty years later, Bishop has made an annual trip to return to this special place every Fourth of July weekend.
In the late forties and early fifties the family would stay at the once active Kimmel Kabins, by Cottonwood Creek south of Jenny Lake. “We heard they were building Jackson Lake Lodge,” said Bishop. “We were driving down the road and actually saw it under construction and the next year we stayed here.”
The family would get two cabins and because they were set a bit away, it felt like their private escape. They would continue to stay at Jackson Lake Lodge, because of the facilities. “You can stay at the whole complex and get whatever you need. That was another nice thing when Jackson Lake Lodge came into the park. There were no real eating places in the park. When we stayed over in the Kimmel Kabins, in addition to not having plumbing, they didn’t have any place to really eat so you had to drive into Jackson almost every night for a meal.”
The magnificent view from the cabins also draws Bishop back. “Colter Bay is very nice, Jenny Lake is very nice, but none of them can you wake up in the morning and see the mountains like this. This morning I woke up early and it’s like a whole nature study to see how the atmosphere changes in two or three hours and you can do that all from your own bed.”
After so many years, Bishop’s most memorable spot remains Leigh Lake. “I’m actually named for Leigh Lake. My middle name is Leigh,” said Bishop. “My parents also honeymooned there so it’s always been a big part of our family.”
Bishop remembers wading into Leigh Lake and String Lake as a child, trying to catch tadpoles in hopes that they would grow into frogs. “I think we only got one frog out of it,” laughed Bishop.
“When my dad was alive we always would go fishing,” said Bishop. The trip was built around lake fishing and the family would go with the same guide. “Since he passed away we don’t do that activity any longer. With my husband we always look forward to playing a round of golf at the Jackson Hole Golf & Tennis Club and we always try to hike around Leigh Lake.
“The brilliance of the Lodge was the way it was situated,” said Bishop. “That you walk up the stairway and you see this magnificent panorama of the Tetons. That has been constant and every year when you come it’s like a ‘Gee whiz, awe’ type of thing, no matter how many years we have been coming.”
There have been a few changes since the Lodge opened in 1955. “When the Lodge was first built, there was quite a large bar and it was where the gift shop was now. It had very much of a western theme. People wore cowboy clothes and came in their boots and jeans. In the dining room we saw them paint the murals. I think where the bar is now used to be a meeting room or something like that. The counters have always remained the same in the Pioneer. This year they remodeled the cabins and that has been a tremendous improvement.
Bishop adds that the demographic of visitors to the Park has changed. “It used to be more of a regional type destination and you’d come up and see a lot of people from your home town of Casper and around and now it’s becoming much more of an international grouping.”
One thing that hasn’t changed is the family unit vacationing here. “It sorts of renews your faith in the family, because you see them having fun and being together.
Another constant is the amount of electronic communication. “There’s no TV’s, no radios and originally there were no telephones in the rooms. It’s really a nice time to say I’m away from all of that.”
“For our family the reason we come is tradition. My grandparents were pioneers in Wyoming and they vacationed up here. We have pictures of my father as a young man bringing his mother and sisters up here. It has been a tradition for our family to come up. One reason is because of the proximity. When my parents were growing up, a drive was a big deal; a 200 mile driving trip was a very big deal. It was always a nice, affordable getaway for the family for years. For me, it’s a matter of coming to rejuvenate, to get back in touch with my roots and bring out good memories.” Bishop even spent part of the summer of 1972 working in the gift shop.
“Our family is very much into historic preservation as well as nature preservation. I think what is so important is as we grow as a country is that we realize there are very few opportunities to keep our country beautiful, almost every time we come to the park I think of the brilliance of the Rockefeller family for seeing this sight and saying this should be kept pristine so that all generations present and future can enjoy it. That mentally in our lives is so important and I think it is so important that we as each generation make that happen and continue to keep it, because there are never going to be more mountains like this and the pleasures and the people that come and see this landscape—it’s tremendous and once you’ve been here it stays apart of you. I think that’s true of all the national parks. That’s one of the wonderful things about our country. That we have set these sites aside and said ok lets keep them that way and I strongly hope our government keeps that mentality.”
The family plans to continue staying at Jackson Lake Lodge after 54 years. “My husband and I were just talking, ‘Should we make reservations for next year?’ and I said ‘Yes, we should.’ It’s a tradition we will try and continue and keep going as long as we possibly can.”