Go Back  Fodor's Forum > Destinations > United States
Reload this Page > Brief trip to Grand Tetons and Yellowstone
Notices

Brief trip to Grand Tetons and Yellowstone

Reply

Jun 29th, 2010, 09:52 AM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 2,091
Brief trip to Grand Tetons and Yellowstone

Well, I just returned from a 4 day trip to Wyoming. I was staying with my gf at Snowking Resort in Jackson - she was attending a conference. Snowking is a dated property and I wasn't all that impressed overall. The lobby and breakfast room area are impressive, as are the views, but that is about it. The thing that turned me off was the lack of hot water and no water pressure whatsoever. I had to have the shower on full hot and it was still lukewarm. I can't imagine taking a lukewarm shower there in the winter when you really need hot water. However, the price was right (free) since her company was paying, so I can't complain too much.

Grand Tetons:

The first morning, I had the breakfast buffet at Snowking (which by the way is very good) and then headed out. The weather was absolutely beautiful, so I put the top down on my convertible.

I head straight north into Grand Teton National Park and went to the Visitor's Center. Stopped there and got maps/information. From there I headed north on Teton Park Road with the top down - full unimpeded views of the Tetons.

I stopped at the various overlooks. I must admit the views are quite fantastic. Now, I've seen mountains at least as high as the Tetons (been to Switzerland and other mountainous places), but the Grand Tetons were unique in that a flat green valley floor filled with sagebrush and grass let to an abrupt mountain range. If you look at other places in the mountains, like Denver, there are usually foothills so the effect is not as dramatic as the Grand Tetons.

So I stopped at each overlook for a couple of pics, then headed onto the Jenny Lake Visitor's Center. For some reason the parking lot was chock full of cars, I circled the lot for over 30 mins to no avail - decided to go to the Jenny Lake one way drive. I took that and stopped at the Jenny Lake overlook - very impressive.

From there I went back to the Jenny Lake Visitor's Center, determined to find a parking spot this time. This time I managed to after around 15 minutes. I noticed some storm clouds billowing (happens quite a bit in the summer I hear) so I decided to park with the top up - this ended up being a very wise move.

I bought some lunch and some gifts at the gift shop, then took the boat ride across Jenny Lake to the hike up to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point. About half way up to the Falls there was a great flat rock with a view of the rapids that I stopped and had lunch - a view fit for a king!

I then hiked up to the Falls and then Inspiration Point. Inspiration Point reminded me of views of Lake Tahoe. After some photos I needed to head back, there was still lots to be seen.

On the boat ride back, the sky opened up. Now I've seen and felt thunderstorms in Louisiana, where I grew up, which are nothing to be messed with, but generally a summer thunderstorm is somewhat of a relief in the oppressive heat/humidity of Louisiana. In Wyoming, a thunderstorm turns summer into winter within seconds. It was 85 degrees when I first arrived at the Lake Jenny Visitor's center, but the temp dropped 30 degrees on the boat ride. Of course, I was unprepared without sweaters and coats because I just didn't fathom what could have happened (although I did have them in the car, I hadn't thought about bringing them when it was 85 and sunny earlier). Even though I was under the shelter of the boat, the water was coming in sideways and I was getting soaked. I ended up ducking down behind the seat for some protection.

I got back to my car and decided to leave the top up and warm up a bit for a while. The sky stayed overcast for another 2 hours and then cleared up again. North of Lake Jenny, I was dismayed to find out that Signal Mountain Road was closed due to it being resurfaced. Then, I ran into a traffic jam that took 30-45 minutes off my schedule around Jackson Lake Junction.

Along Highway 191 bison were freely roaming and I got a few great photos, one I got a little too close and a bison gave me a look that said I better not get any closer so I didn't. It was getting later so I needed to head back. I had left Jackson around 9 AM and returned by 5:30 PM to meet my gf for dinner.

We decided to head to Teton Village for dinner. I wanted to catch the aerial tramway but that stops at 6:30 and we just missed it. We ended up having dinner at an Italian restaurant, sitting on the patio. I had a pasta dish with wild boar - figured I'd try something local to the area and it was great.

The only other thing I wished I'd seen was Phelps Lake - I'd like to have done the hike up to Phelps lake. Also, maybe Mormon Row but overall I feel I got a good feel for the Tetons.

Next Day: Yellowstone
bkluvsNola is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 29th, 2010, 11:37 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 3,912
A 30 degree drop in temp is pretty significant, thanks for the warning. Look forward to reading more!
AnnMarie_C is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 29th, 2010, 11:56 AM
  #3
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 2,091
AnnMarie_C, some other tourists said that it had hailed a couple days earlier with the same drop in temps. My recommendation is to be prepared at all times.
bkluvsNola is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 29th, 2010, 02:39 PM
  #4
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 2,091
Yellowstone:

Next day I had another fabulous breakfast at the Snowking. Garmin said that Old Faithful was 2.5 hours away but it ended up being more like 3. I somewhat rushed on the ride up through the Tetons, I needed to make good time to see all that I needed to see. The weather was quite unsettled so I had the top up. When I got out at the Yellowstone Welcome Sign, it was cool and there were tons of mosquitoes. I was hoping that all of Yellowstone wasn't like that and it ended up not being like that at all, thankfully.

I stopped at the Continental Divide - that was something that I had always wanted to see so this was great. Somehow it wasn't as great as I thought it would be - I imagined the Continental Divide as the top of a steep mountain range where it has a sharp slope in either direction. Nonetheless, I could see where water on one side drained one way and on the other drained the other way. Very interesting.

On the third Continental Divide, the weather was bright and sunny. I decided that the top was going down although it was quite chilly, probably low to mid 60's. I had the heat going with the top down and windows up to combat the wind.

I stopped at Kepler Falls and I must say that place is just plain gorgeous. I really enjoyed it.

I was quite amazed that there was an exit ramp to Old Faithful - I guess they get enough visitors to justify that. I quickly found a parking spot and went to the Visitor's Center, housed in a trailer. I wished the new Visitor's Center would open soon, the existing one was jam packed.

I found out that Old Faithful would blow shortly after 2 and it was around 1:30, so I decided to get some grub in the cafeteria. It was extremely crowded there. My hint is to not get any of the hot plates, they take way too long. Get some fruit and a wrap, some of the pre-made items, and you're off on your way.

I finished my food and had around 10 minutes to spare, so I went over to find seating which was hard to come by. A couple let me squeeze in next to them.

I must say that Old Faithful was quite different than I thought it would be. I was expecting a loud roar when it erupted, not a small hissing sound. Nonetheless, it was cool to see the geyser shooting water so high. However, the highlight of that area to me wasn't Old Faithful, it was the large assortment of features to be found on the boardwalk. I hadn't realized the quantity and variety of various geologic features - there are literally hundreds in every way you can go. I meanered along the path and lost track of time as I was marveling at all of the wonders there. I specifically like seeing the thermal pools with the various colors indicating where different bacteria live. I also was quite mesmorized with the various continually bubbling springs. It was quite a site.

Now, I knew I had a 2.5 hour drive back so I had to get going. I feel like I just got a taste of Yellowstone and I will indeed have to come back. It's just a wonderful place!

I managed to get back around 7 PM, just in time to go to a restaurant in Jackson. We ate at Cafe Genevieve and the food was very good. It's a restored 1910 house that has original Oak floors.

The next morning I was a bit sad to have to leave. I really wished I had more time, but now I understand why people love the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone...
bkluvsNola is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 29th, 2010, 06:09 PM
  #5
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 5,285
So glad to hear you got the Yellowstone/ Grand Teton bug. When you go back, you'll see there's a lot more than just a geyser. The weather in the mountains is unpreditcable! Don't like the weather, wait 30 minutes! Signal Mt road was closed in May, too. But that was for snow. We were bummed,too. And the lakes were still frozen solid. Any idea when the visitor's center will be finished? The trailer is way too small and little info is on display.
christabir is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 30th, 2010, 12:03 PM
  #6
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 159
Loved reading about your trip, and the restaurants you mentioned are now on my itinerary!

Heading that way next week, hope the weather is nice!
DejaDeb is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 30th, 2010, 08:07 PM
  #7
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 2,091
DejaDeb,

Have fun!
bkluvsNola is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 1st, 2010, 03:39 AM
  #8
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 3,912
Thanks for the tip(s) and your trip report, bkluvsNola!
AnnMarie_C is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 7th, 2010, 03:48 PM
  #9
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 173
bkluvsNola, how would you describe the hikes up to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point? easy? intermediate? difficult? steep? How long did they take you?
fieldtripcoordinator is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 8th, 2010, 07:56 PM
  #10
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 2,091
fieldtripcoordinator,

I think both hikes are fairly easy. I saw people from 4 years old up to 80 doing it with no problem. The incline is steep and it is *very* crowded, meaning no "being one with nature" or anything like that. There will be people in front of you, behind you, on the side, etc...
bkluvsNola is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 10th, 2010, 04:55 PM
  #11
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 173
Thank you!
fieldtripcoordinator is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 01:19 PM.