One can see by the hikes we did and the distance we covered that hiking the trails was our primary interest. We were up early most mornings and on the trails before the crowds arrived. However there is so much else to do in the park.
What to do on a day when you want to take a break from hiking?… For us we chose a midweek sunrise float!
Have you ever seen the famous Ansel Adams photograph of the bend in the Snake River? (Great photographer’s site on this) One can drive to this overlook (called the Snake River Lookout)… but how about actually floating down that bend in the river? There are only a handful of float companies allowed to do this – for us we chose Solitude because they offered the Teton Sunrise Float launching at Deadman Bar Road. Our guide advised us from the start of our trip that there would be limited wildlife because of the time of year. Spring was by far the better time to do this trip. Furthermore, I was deeply concerned for instead of seeing the sun coming above the horizon instead we saw lightening crackling in the sky….
However our guide certainly knew the course the weather would take …which was away from us for the time we were on the water. And once we began our float we did see plenty of wildlife and wonderful views!! What surprised me most was Pelicans. I had no idea Pelicans lived in this area. We saw a pair of juvenile eagles, duck, deer, and even a moose. Regardless, if we saw wildlife or not, just being down on the river, being in that bend painted by Adams 73 years ago, and seeing the mountains reflecting in the water was an amazing journey.
Add on that we had a great guide (happen to be from our home area) whose name I do not recall who was a wonderful narrator sharing with us stories of the river, the park, and the surrounding area. I had no idea it would be such a great informative tour.
And what to do after a long hike and it is only midday?
Step into the past: By far one of our favorite afternoon stops was Menors Ferry Historic District. This is really a must see when visiting the Tetons…but from the 2 others cars in the parking lot not seen by many. Step back into time at Menors General Store. Perhaps the cookies are baking like the day we visited…I was able to take home (and have baked) the delicious cookies! Step inside Maud Noble’s Cabin where on July 26, 1923 the historic meeting between Horace Albright met with local ranchers and businessmen to discuss the beginnings of the Grand Tetons.
Pick up some delicious lunch: No visit is complete without stopping by Dornans
Take a scenic drive in the Park: