by Emily Buckley, editor-in-chief
When it comes to summer travel for your family there are countless options available, and in the part of the country we live in there is no need to step foot on an airplane or travel too far to find relaxation and unmatched beauty. In less than four hours by car from Logan, you can make your way to Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.
Few landscapes in the world are as striking and memorable as that of Grand Teton National Park. The park has much to offer, whatever your age and interests.
Grand Teton National Park also has a rich cultural history with old homesteads and cattle ranches to explore and photograph. Walk on a trail built by the Civilian Conservation Corps or one that American Indians or fur trappers might have used in the 1820s. You can ride a bike, take a hike, paddle a canoe, ride horseback or take a scenic boat ride: There is something for everyone.
Where to Stay:
Imagine looking out your window to a wide expanse of Willow Flats surrounding a blue mountain lake, with moose, elk and bison wandering close by. Then rising above this scene is one of the most photographed mountain ranges in the world — the Grand Teton Range. All of it is so close, you feel like you can touch it. This is the thrill you can expect from the historical Jackson Lake Lodge in Grand Teton National Park.
The Grand Lobby of the Jackson Lake Lodge, which was built in 1955 under the vision of John D. Rockefeller, Jr, features 60-foot panoramic windows that frame the Teton Mountain Range and Jackson Lake. The view is quite breathtaking, and if you step outside onto the large deck you have a great chance of spotting moose or elk in their natural habitat the Willow Flats; if you’re lucky you may also see a grizzly bear walking through, too.
What to See:
Even before the sun creeps over the hills to the east, the Tetons to the west are painted in early-morning color. Take the 42-mile scenic drive around the loop of the park and enjoy a beautiful combination of rugged blue mountains crowing the meadows dotted with trees, wild flowers, and, if you are lucky, big game animals which are most active in the early hours of the day.
What to Do:
Before your start your driving tour, stop at the Grand Teton National Park Visitors Center to get information about the Park, shop in the gift shops and collect a kit for your kids to become “Junior Rangers.”
If you are a photographer by trade or hobby, Oxbow Bend is a perfect place to stop. The image of the Snake River with Mount Moran’s reflection is iconic and is probably the most recognized image of Grand Teton National Park throughout the world.
Signal Mountain is a popular area and is located about three miles south of Jackson Lake Junction. The four main things to check out in the Signal Mountain Area are the Signal Mountain Road, Signal Mountain Lodge/Campground, the Signal Mountain Marina, and the famous view of Jackson Lake and the Tetons along the main highway (Teton Park Road) just north of Signal Mountain Lodge.
The Taggart Lake Trail is a perfect family hike as the lake is only 1.6 miles from the trailhead, which is located on the Teton Park Road just about three miles north of the South Entrance. The trail goes through beautiful groves of aspens, mountain streams and open fields, and is not steep at all, with only about a 277-foot gain in vertical elevation from the trailhead.
You can’t visit Grand Teton National Park without visiting Jenny Lake. Not only is the Lake beautiful, but it is where the most popular hike in the park begins. This acclaimed hike to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point begins right in front of the Jenny Lake Visitor Center.
Jenny Lake sits directly at the base of the Teton Mountain Range near Cascade Canyon. Jenny Lake is great for fishing, canoeing and boating. In fact, one popular attraction is the Jenny Lake boat shuttle that transports visitors across the Lake and back throughout the day in summer and fall. This is a popular choice for families because it is both fun to ride the boat, and because it shaves off two miles of the four-mile round trip hike.
Looking for some active fun? Visit Colter Bay Village. Visitors can rent canoes or kayaks, swim, fish, windsurf, water ski, horseback ride, take scenic boat tours or fishing trips.
There is plenty to do in Grand Teton National Park, and it is the perfect way to get away from the business of life and connect with nature and your family.