This summer, we packed our bags and headed out on a Western National Park tour. We hit up Glacier National Park, Yellowstone National Park and The Grand Tetons. Many miles were put on our sturdy Subaru as we attempted to eat healthy on the road while taking in our beautiful country. Come along with us as we document our journey to these three parks and share our tips for getting the most out of our national treasures. Last time we chatted, we had visited Yellowstone National Park.
Our final stop was The Grand Tetons which are conveniently located to the south of Yellowstone National Park. This might be one of the most beautiful places on earth and the drive into the park from the north is breathtaking.
We headed directly to Colter Bay and ended up at Jackson Lake. After fueling up at the Ranch House, we strolled down to Jackson Lake. The boating center offers a multitude of boating rental opportunities from canoes, kayaks to motorized boats. They also run a scenic boat cruise which we quickly decided to take. Mid-July in The Grand Tetons is hot and we were looking for some relief on the water. The boat ride was stunning and gloriously cool. The covered ride helped a lot. The scenic cruise is about an hour long and while the tour guide wasn’t necessarily the best, the boat captain was full of quips and interesting stories. The tour company also offers meal cruises for those looking to add to their water enjoyment. Colter Bay offers everything from camping to cabins, restaurants, a visitor’s center, beautiful hikes and cooling swims.
We had booked a cabin at the Jackson Lake Lodge so after our boat cruise, headed that way. Built in 1955, Jackson Lake Lodge offers rooms within the stunning lodge and cabins on the surrounding property. The 60-foot windows lining the Lodge’s lobby offer a panoramic view of Jackson Lake with the Teton Range above. Head to the lobby to take in the nightly sunset or get up early to enjoy an amazing sunrise.
Jackson Lake Lodge also hosts two restaurants along with bar and coffee cart. The Pioneer Grill was our home kitchen away from home. We even befriended Will, the waiter who treated us like the family he never wanted. The best part of Jackson Lake Lodge though, has to be the pool! The mid-summer heat was brutal and the pool was nicely cooling. The pool bar was also a nice feature though one would be hard pressed to find many micro brews.
Our second day within the park was spent at String Lake. We felt like we had stumbled upon a local secret which was actually revealed to us via the Grand Teton App https://www.nps.gov/grte/planyourvisit/nps-grand-teton-app.htm, installed on our phones. The shallow lake is only 6 feet deep and is the ideal location for swimming, canoeing, SUP and kayaking. Warning, the lake is glacier fed so while our kids splashed in the water for hours, we quickly jumped in and out. Rangers also walk the area to ensure proper food storage as bears are often spotted. We were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a deer no less than 10 feet from our set-up. Along with the fantastic water activities, the lake also offers a child-friendly length hike.
After a morning at the lake, we decided to make the rather quick drive into Jackson Hole for lunch and some civilization. Jackson Hole is both a summer tourist destination and a fantastic ski resort come winter. We spent the afternoon exploring the town square with antler gateways before heading back to the Jackson Lake Lodge.
As with Glacier, the Grand Tetons offer a plethora of hiking trails along with horseback riding, fishing and other outdoor activities. The best thing about the Grand Tetons might be their beauty though. Pull over anywhere in the park and just stare up at the mountains.