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May 26, 2018 / mws

2018 Grand Tetons May

Adventures from our 2018 trip to Grand Teton National Park and surrounding area

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Taggart Lake Hike/GTNP

The hike to Taggart Lake is great for those who only 1 or 2 days in the Grand Tetons.  This hike provides a great introduction to the fabulous views of mountains and lakes in the park. It may be possible to spot a moose or bear along the way for an added bonus.

Taggart Lake

Our second time hiking to Taggart Lake was different than when we hiked in the fall.  The Spring season has a landscape far different from Fall.  In the fall, everything was dry and the golden autumn hue was incredible.  Springtime hiking is wetter, cooler, and less crowded but still a great hike for all ages. We saw many young families, some with backpack carriers for their youngest one.

We had a perfect blue sky warm Spring day for our hike.  The wildflowers were blooming and the cascading creek was flowing high and mighty.  There were wet muddy spots along the way, but they were manageable.

Moose Visitor Center (officially, the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center)

Here’s the one visitor center that always causes us to pause for just a few minutes or as long as an hour if we have time. Located at the South entrance to GTNP, The modern Moose Visitor Center is a marvelous place to stop in and talk to the rangers and look over the exhibits. It  offers restrooms, a book store/gift shop, hiking maps, ranger led activities schedules and the local weather report. Updated road conditions and bear closure information can be discussed with the rangers.

One of the main attractions at the Visitors Center is a large dimensional topographic display of the Grand Teton area. It shows the locations of hiking trails and the interface between the mountains and the lakes. The center also has a short film about the park with a “perfect” ending.   There is an outside observation deck adjacent to the center.

Just outside the far end of the Moose Visitor Center is a trail to the Murie Cabin.  This is a nice mini-hike for all ages.  The trail is level and meanders along the forest.  At the end of the half mile stroll is a group of historic cabins with Docent Dan to give you the facts.  Along the way on our mini-hike, we saw a sage grouse.  Docent Dan told us that there were two moose and a bear in the area and additional evidence of moose and bear.

Lexington Inn in Jackson, WY

It’s usually difficult to select lodging, but we have returned to the Lexington several times.  The front desk is efficient and offers maps and free cookies!!  There is also a drink station with water, tea, coffee, etc.  The top floor in the main building is quiet, well-appointed and adjacent to the breakfast area.

The included breakfast is a deluxe continental.  Both hot and cold items are offered, including oatmeal, eggs, bacon, sausage, all kinds of pastries and fresh fruit.  The attendants keep everything clean and the food was good and filling.

The Lexington is located at the north end of Jackson very close to a gas station, the information center and within easy walking distance of downtown.  It would be nice to have a little bit larger parking spaces, but you just have to be careful when parking! 🙂

Pilgrim Creek Road/GTNP  

Like most other Spring visitors, our top priority is to see wildlife, especially bears.  The area along Pilgrim Creek Road is a good place to look for bears in early spring.  We make multiple trips back this road and enjoy the area at the end of the road with great mountain views.  There is a small pond on the left as you drive in and this is where many photographers create great calendar photos.

l-38.jpgIt was very evident in  May 2018 that this is the Bear Area.  There were multiple groups of bear being spotted.  We were lucky enough to see “Blondie” and her 2 cubs on several occasions.

On one very special day (which happened to be our last day in the park) there was a grizzly with two cubs on one side of the road and a different grizzly with two cubs on the other side of the road.  Perfect!!  ❤  Very thrilled to see the bears! 🙂

Natural Regrowth in the Grand Teton Ecosystem/GTNP

2016 note:  A wildfire erupted along the northern corridor of the Grand Tetons in mid August 2016.  It caused smoke warnings and closed the southern entrance from Grand Teton National Park to Yellowstone.

It was a tense time as we waited to see how it might affect our planned routes and activities. In 2018 we were eager to see the beginning of the regrowth.

The landscape showed the charred remains of trees but the ground cover showed the renewed plants and trees starting to grow.  It was a lovely lush green ground cover enchanced by the abundant Spring rains.

We always enjoy this section of Grand Teton Park, so it was great to see a prime example of how nature recovers.







Comments about Spring in the Grand Tetons

The Spring allure in Grand Teton National Park has everything to do with the newborn animals.  It’s such a great joy when a young moose, bear cub, or fox is spotted.  We have been so fortunate to enjoy numerous sightings and sometimes without having to “share”.  It is always safer to see the animals from your vehicle, but we have been on trails when we have spotted bears and moose ahead.  We always carry bear spray and pay attention to the instructions for use.  However, when it’s just you on the trail and a bear is spotted, the nerves kick into high gear!

There is so much chatter about the crowds in the parks and what to do about the situation.  It does make me sad to see visitor experiences diminished by too many tourists at one spot.  I have noticed more of a problem in Yellowstone than any other park, but this year was less crowded in Yellowstone.  We try to plan our times and activities to avoid as many crowds as possible.  Spring continues to be our favorite time to visit the Tetons,  To avoid crowded attractions, we try to get out early, take a break in the middle of the day, and enjoy the extended evening light that occurs in May.

Weather can be a concern when travelling in the Spring.  It is always a good idea to have a Plan B and be willing to use it!!  Layered clothing is generally a great idea too.  Since we have visited the Tetons about a dozen times, each time we try to venture out of the park boundaries to discover new adventures.  We have enjoyed the Dubois area, Victor and Driggs, Idaho, Afton and Alpine.

To see more photos from this trip, click here

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 “It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.”
– Robert Louis Stevenson

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