We spent the last two weekends camping in Grand Teton N.P. Here are some highlights.
We stayed at the Signal Mountain Campground in sites #69 and #68 for the two weekends. The campground itself is moving toward the north part of the park, but not quite all the way up to Colter Bay. The location is off of Teton Park Rd. and is right on Jackson Lake.
The two sites we stayed at where both in the “generator free” zone. Theoretically, there is a vehicle size limit in the campground as well, but that did not seem well enforced.
Both sites had private paths down to the lake, which was key. We preferred #68 vs. #69, since the site had more space for your tent, etc. Site #69 is better for small RVs that do not need a tent.
We did six hikes. Here they are in my order of preference:
- Cascade Canyon – This was a great hike. We opted for the (fairly expensive) boat ride across Jenny Lake. And once we cleared most the folks who stopped at inspiration point – other hikers thinned out considerably. We went up the North Fork of the trail for about another half mile or so and found a good lunch spot. The views were amazing. We want to come back and try to make it all the way to Solitude Lake, but need an earlier start.
- Hermitage Point – This was pretty long hike (~9 miles), but the views were worth it and the traffic was surprising low. We had an awesome lunch spot all to ourselves. I would suggest hiking clockwise. The opposite direction we hiked, but you would get better views of the mountains.
- Woodland and Lake Creek Trail – We did this hike on our way out of the park on our last Sunday. The trailhead is in Laurence S. Rockefeller Preserve, which is a cool story and worth researching. The hike is short (~3 miles) and easy, but nice. Traffic was not bad, despite being close to Jackson, due to limiting cars in the parking lot (no overflow parking on the road allowed). We waited a bit for a spot, but it was worth it.
- Taggart Lake – We did this hike heading out of the park on Sunday of our first weekend. Since we had to break camp, we got a bit of a late start and the trailhead was packed with substantial overflow of cars onto the shoulder of the road. Despite all the other hikers, this was a pretty enjoyable hike and we snagged a great lunch spot on a rock in the lake. The hike was ~4 miles and pretty easy.
- Grand View Point / Two Ocean Lake / Emma Matilda Lake complex – We affectionately called this one Daddy’s Death March. One, the parking lot is not where the book said it was going to be, so we added another 1.5 miles or so on unexpectedly. Two, it was hot. Three, we wove a few trails together, so my family was convinced we were lost, while I on the other hand knew we were in Wyoming the entire time. In all seriousness, I think we would have liked this hike better if it had been cooler and we had saved ourselves some mileage at the beginning. I think we hiked ~11 miles. These trails are toward the north side of the park and away from the mountains, so much lower traffic. And I did particularly enjoy the trail segment between Emma Matilda and Two Ocean Lake, which we walked heading westerly and were staring at the mountains the whole time. We did see three separate piles of bear scat, so bring our bear bell and spray.
- Signal Mountain Summit – This was our first hike of our first weekend and it disappointed. The view at the top was marginal. The hike itself – while low traffic – was not that great. A plus was the trailhead was at our campground.
We used Hiking Grand Teton National Park by Bill Schneider as a reference and it was worth it.
A few other thoughts – aside from the park is phenomenally beautiful and we had two great weekends.
On the Cascade Canyon hike, I was pretty surprised at how many folks we saw venturing fairly far up that trail that were totally unprepared for any change in conditions. Think shorts, tshirts, poor footwear, and little to no water or food. We live in a mountain environment. The weather folks are mostly guessing and they are wrong a lot. Be prepared.
The first weekend was very busy. Jackson looked super busy – we just drove through it. Some of that was a hangover from Memorial Day weekend, but I would be prepared for lots of traffic and some long lines.
Our annual National Park pass continues to pay for itself. We bought ours at REI.
We live at about 6,700’ so the altitude was not an issue. That was about the base of most hikes.