- Phelps Lake Trail/Death Canyon Trail
- String Lake Trail to Leigh Lake Trail
Grand Teton is another beautiful national park located just south of Yellowstone National Park. In fact, Rt 191/89 connects the two parks. The mountain tops of the Tetons are sawtoothed, which creates a skyline that is dramatic and unique to Grand Teton. It’s a park that lies in the valley of towering young Rockies, with lakes and trails scattered throughout the landscape. We visited in early summer, so most roads and trails were open (typically May-Nov).
Grand Teton has some of the most beautiful alpine landscapes I’ve ever seen (online or real life!). The mountains are high and dramatic, with snow capped peaks and alpine forests. Outside of Yellowstone’s caldera, the Tetons are better known for its lakes, rivers and trails. Jackson Lake is the largest lake, followed by Leigh and Jenny Lake. People were kayaking/canoeing at every lake we passed. There’s also Snake River, which is a great place to take a float trip.
We started our Teton adventure in the southwest part of the park. We visited Phelps lake, which is located across from the Rockefeller Preserve. We drove to the Death Canyon trail head, which was an adventure in its own right! The road went from paved, to gravel, to rocks! I think I was driving 3 mph (walking speed) at one point. The trail brought us through the forest to an opening that had a magnificent view of Phelps lake. We decided to continue along Death Canyon trail instead of down to the lake shore since we spotted a bear down by the lake! The rest of the trail along the ridge was amazing! It was covered in wildflowers, which I love photographing, and we saw several marmot. Our hike ended abruptly when our trail turned into a creek! haha So, we turned around and hiked back out. Overall, we really enjoyed our hike
The first part of our day was awesome! We rented bikes in Moose and biked the paved bike trail that goes throughout the park. It took us from the Moose Junction to Jenny Lake. The first part of the bike ride caught us off guard. It started nice and flat and then BAM! All uphill. I was in such a low gear trying to get up the incline. Haha! Once we summited the mini-mountain, the rest of the ride was more leisurely. It was about a 16 mile bike ride in total. When we arrived at Jenny Lake, we were surprised to see how popular it was and for good reason. It was beautiful!! The lake was set in the backdrop of Mount Moran to the north and Grand Teton to the southwest. People were laid out on the shores with umbrellas and picnics, while others enjoyed the lake on kayaks and canoes. It looked like a great way to spend a beautiful day. Reluctantly, we headed back to the bike shop to return our bikes and made our way right back to Jenny Lake to start our hike.
We visited the Jenny Lake area on our second day in the park. Jenny Lake is beautiful. It’s set right at the base of Mount Moran and the Teton Ridge. The lake is actually a series of lakes that are all connected. String Lake is a narrow lake that connects Jenny Lake to Leigh Lake. Jenny Lake is a popular destination in the park for picnics on the shore, kayaking & canoeing, and for hiking. Our plan was to do the Jenny Lake Trail but it was so crowded, we opted for the String Lake & Leigh Lake Trails. The beginning of our hike along the lakes was so much fun. It was a longer hike but not too strenuous. Kayaking in the lake looked like a blast. If we are ever back in the park we’ll be sure to bring our inflatable kayak to String Lake. Unfortunately, the end of our hike turned sour. As the sun began to set, the bugs came out in droves. At one point, we both had clouds of mosquitoes following us on the trail! Without bug spray, I think our only saving grace was the thick layer of sunscreen we both had on. No bites!! So, we high-tailed it back the trail head. At the end of the day we met up with friends who drove into the park from Salt Lake City. It was great to catch up!!
For our last day in the park we took it easy. Yesterday wore us out! We decided on a driving tour of Grand Teton. We started at Mormon Row off of Antelope Flats Rd. There are several homes still standing from an early Mormon settlement. It was a neat place to walk around and imagine was life used to be like. We also met some prairie dogs there that kept my attention for a good half hour. One in particular, I’ll call her Munchkin, was being extra cute. She sat in front of me and ate grass on her belly for a good 5 minutes. It was the best 🙂 From there we drove down to Jackson for an errand. I may have packed someone’s hiking boots, which are now in Washington state. My bad. Jackson was more modern and developed than anything we had seen in Wyoming so far. Lots of shops, restaurants and accommodations. Jackson Hole is also down this way, which is a popular ski destination. While we were in Jackson we decided to try the huckleberry milkshakes we kept hearing about. They were delicious!
We left Jackson and drove the park loop to the summit of Signal Mountain. The view from the summit was great! We could see Two Oceans & Emma Matilda Lakes to the north and Jackson Lake to the west. We ended our trip with another visit with our friends and headed back to camp. Grand Teton was an experience to remember!