The Great American Road Trip: Guide to Grand Tetons National Park
We stayed at Headwaters Campground at Flagg Ranch on the northern border of Grand Teton National Park. We chose it for it’s proximity to both Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, allowing us to be flexible with our schedule and return to Yellowstone if desired. There’s tent camping, RV camping and log cabins and primitive log cabins available here. And there’s a lodge! If you didn’t know, the Tetons can be particularly moody and it was wonderful to take refuge by the warm fire and sip cappuccinos and read my book when the heavens were pouring down.
One such time, it rained so much that our campsite flooded! Thank goodness our Big Agnes tent has a high wall before the mesh starts and saved our sleeping bags from drowning…again. And thank goodness our neighbors had an extra tent handy and let us join them in their non-flooded campsite. They’re a cheery father and son duo and from day one I was already sad to part ways. On that note, we met some really wonderful people in the Tetons and at our campground. So many memories of lovely conversations and shared meals and stories from the road and trail that I’ll cherish forever.
Headwaters offered plenty of ranger lessons and campfire talks. Like always, I urge you to go! We attended a bear safety talk on our first night that delved into the differences between Grizzly and Black Bear protocol. I left feeling half empowered with knowledge and at ease and half terrified and ready to run. I’m putting together a bear safety post that I hope to post in the next few weeks. (Because I’m a regular bear (ahem cow) expert don’t you know).
See & Do
Honestly you can NOT go wrong in the Tetons. Every. single. bit. of. it. is. stunning! Here are my top 5 musts:
- Paintbrush Canyon – Cascade Canyon Loop: This 18 mile loop was the absolute highlight of our time in the Tetons. The views and wildlife make my heart soar. This hike can be done in one sun-up-sun-down day or broken up into two days. Keep an eye out for a detailed post on this hike next week.
- Death Canyon Trail: This trail can be the jumping off point for a number of different stitched together loops. Another highlight and must see while in the Tetons. If making this a loop, expect a 24 mile hike. Keep an eye out for a detailed post on this hike next week.
- Signal Mountain: You can drive to the top of this mountain for an expansive view of the valley and Jackson Lake. We ventured up here on a day when we were both feeling exhausted and my chest cough was particularly bad. True to its name, there is a signal tower at the top and we took the opportunity to reconnect with the outside world and assure our mom’s we had not become grizzly bait yet.
- Jenny Lake: Enjoy the blue waters set against Storm Point for a lunch break and dip in the water. You can rent canoes and kayaks.
- Table Mountain Hike: Access this 11 mile out and back trail from the South Teton trailhead.
- Bonus must: a visit to Jackson Hole, Wyoming!
The Tetons are known to have some serious afternoon thunderstorms. Start your hikes early and plan accordingly so you’re not at the summit / above the tree line in the afternoon.
This time of year (August), the mama bears and babies can be seen on the roadside. They are trying to get away from the males who want to mate and will kill the cubs to do so. You can spot them int the early morning hours and at dusk. A side note: follow the speed limit folks! The roads are winding and the leading cause of death for these majestic beasts are car crashes.