It’s Wednesday and I’m just now feeling rested up from the weekend. This means I have 3 days (well…in reality it’s 2.5 days since today is half over) to be productive before this coming weekend. Last week, Casey and I decided to knock off the Grand Teton National Park, which has been on the top of our bucket list for a while now. Friday after work we headed out of town to explore the park.
We left without much of a plan, which resulted in us spending the first night in our car. Basically, we got one of the last campsites available (you can’t reserve most of them ahead of time so it’s first come first serve). However, when we arrived at our campsite, someone else was in it! This was super frustrating because it was already late AND because we had paid $37 for the campsite. Fortunately, Casey ended up asking for a refund, so the silver lining is it ended up saving us $37! It was a rough night, literally. We had no pillows, no (usable) air mattress, and a back seat that didn’t fold down completely flat, but we made it through the night in one piece. Thankfully, packing up in the morning was super easy and we got to enjoy some beautiful morning light.
So, here is the rough break down of our schedule and what we did…
Weekend Itinerary: Grand Teton National Park
We drove down to the Grand Teton National Park, which was a little over a 4 hour drive for us (but totally worth it!) We didn’t leave town until after 5-6 and made some stops to check out a herd of buffalo and the beauty of Montana and Wyoming along the way. Therefore, we really didn’t arrive in time do anything on Friday.
On Saturday we woke up super early and entered from the north entrance (bordering Yellowstone.) We drove south, making stops to explore along the way. Our first stop was at Jackson Lake, which was our first of many lake views against the Grand Teton backdrop.
Chapel of the Sacred Heart was soon after. We took some time to go inside this adorable little chapel.
Next, we stopped at the Trapper Grill at Signal Mountain Lodge, where we enjoyed a savory breakfast overlooking the lake and Tetons. The coffee was delicious and the view was the amazing. I would definitely recommend this for a breakfast (or any meal) stop. After breakfast it was onward and upward as we made our way to an overlook near the top of Signal Mountain.
As we continued to drive down Teton Park Road we made several stops just to catch the amazing views. Our first hike was at String Lake, where we took a short trail around the lake. It was beautiful and seemed less crowded than the ever popular Jenny Lake. We had also planned to check out Chapel of the Transfiguration, but a wedding was going on so we weren’t able to go in. It would be a gorgeous destination wedding though!!
After lunch, we decided we should go ahead and find a camping site before they filled up. We ended up with a site at Gros Ventre campground (don’t worry, frugal friends, it was not $37!) After settling in to our campsite we drove down Mormon Row. The iconic John Moulton Barn, frequently captured in photographs of the park, was just past the intersection. We finished up our night in Jackson Hole, WY for dinner.
We drove into Moose shortly after packing up camp the next morning. Moose is a tiny area, but they have several stores and a couple restaurants. Yet again, we enjoyed a delicious breakfast at a small restaurant with all the seating being outside on picnic tables.
We spent most of the day Sunday at Jenny Lake, where we took the hike around the lake to Inspiration Point. The hike ended up being at about 6 miles round trip, perfect for a day hike. Inspiration point offers beautiful panoramic views of the lake and surrounding area including the Tetons. This hike is a must see when in the park.
We took the scenic route of Mesa Falls Scenic Byway in Idaho to get back home. Mesa Falls is a waterfall that pours over an ancient volcanic eruption. The rocks surrounding the falls, which are left from the volcano, are amazing and almost look man-made.
Near the end of our trip we stopped in Montana at Quake Lake (formed by a devastating earthquake in 1959.) Quake Lake isn’t far from from us so we hope to make it back another time.
Finally, we arrived home…exhausted, hungry, and ready for showers. Grand Teton National Park was definitely one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been (next to Ireland, of course) and I hope to make it back in the future.