Our lodging for week 1 was located in Teton Village located near the Southwest corner of Grand Teton National Park. It is an amazing location because one can stay in resort level accommodations with quick access to the park. The Park entrance is less then five minutes down the road via Moose-Wilson Road –partially paved but partially dirt road once you enter the Park.
“This 10,300 acre corridor is in the park’s southwest corner and features a remarkable variety of natural communities, cultural and wilderness resources.”
Our “morning commute” was slow… but not because of traffic. Very few cars enter the park this way. Leisurely we drove along past the open meadows where we saw elk, across the bridge where we were determined to see a bear fishing in the river (did not happen), and through the woods were we saw mule deer. Our back road excursion was unto itself a morning ritual — several times we even returned in the evening hours to look for wildlife.
There was a favorite pond just before the turn off for Muir Ranch – not labeled on the map but it t was a perfect pull over for spotting animals, taking in the quiet area before entering the busier area of the park (at Moose), or just enjoying lunch while viewing the ducks in the pond below. Evenings this spot was filled with those viewing wildlife (however even during the early morning hours we spotted elk and deer)
Because this scenic road also provided access to many incredible trails we decided to heavily explore the south and central portions of the park.
Only once did we go beyond North Jenny Lake Junction for a drive to see the sites in the northern end of the park. Primary areas we explored: The Jenny Lake Area, Moose, & Laurance S Rockefeller Preserve.
Visitor Centers – We only visited one on this trip. (very unusual for me) The first week of our expedition was more about doing – being out there and soaking it all in. I usually stop here first but our desire to get to trail heads early to avoid the crowds changed my usual mode. Our trail guides and information I printed out prior to our trip provided much of the information, our rafting trip midweek answered our questions, and the final visit to the visitor center wrapped it all up for us.
What follows next is areas we explored by land and water, areas we visited, our trips into Jackson, and what vacation was like in Teton Village in the summer (amazing!). Although we were only first time visitors, the planning beforehand and our free spirit while there lead to an amazing expedition – a perfect first trip.