Leaving Yellowstone National Park through the southern boundary we are about to take one of the most beautiful drives in the USA – through the Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.
Take a look at our slideshow of Grand Teton National Park and Jackson.
The drive begins on the John D. Rockefeller Jr Memorial Parkway along Jackson Lake with views of the Grand Teton mountains on our right. This sets the scene for our stay in this beautiful area – the Grand Tetons rise up and dominate the landscape.
At Leeks Marina there is a pretty view of the mountains across Jackson Lake. There is also a good restaurant at the marina with tables outside on the deck to enjoy the views.
Colter Bay Visitor Centre
Colter Bay Visitor Centre is a good place to stop for some great advice on what to see and do. The Visitor Centre has excellent information boards, maps and brochures on what to do, ranger programs, films in the auditorium, an Indian Arts Gallery and gift shop. We picked up a ‘Driving Tour’ leaflet, which was very helpful.
Colter Bay is a small village with camping, cabins, RVs, convenience store, petrol, Ranch House Restaurant & Bar. It is worth the drive to Swim Beach – where there are wonderful views of the Tetons at close range across the lake.
Driving out the main road again, it is not long before we stop to take photos of the Tetons across a meadow of yellow flowers – known as “Mule’s Ears” for the shape of the leaves.
This iconic hotel is a must see. The view of the Tetons is spectacular. Don’t miss the 1st floor, which has huge windows, a central lounge area and various restaurants and gifts shops.
In front of the hotel is a landing with excellent views and photo opportunities of the mountains.
There are a few choices at Jackson Lodge for lunch:
- Pioneer Grill – an excellent diner where we have delicious sandwiches for lunch
- Blue Heron Lounge – with wonderful views of the mountains and outside seating area
- Mural Room – a more formal restaurant
Be sure to check out the beautiful gift shops.
Scenic Loop Road
Just beyond Jackson Lodge, at Jackson Lake Junction, is the beginning of the loop road which is a popular drive known as the 42 Mile Scenic Loop Drive. One side of the loop is Teton Park Road where you are close to the mountains. The other side of the loop begins at Moose Junction and is a high road with views across to the mountains. The loop is definitely worth doing as there are many interesting stops along the route.
We take Teton Park Road to begin the loop drive.
Jenny Lake Loop Road
Be sure to look out for the Jenny Lake Loop Road off to the right – a one-way road that it takes you close to the lake and has beautiful views. There are a few excellent stops on this road:
- Cathedral Group Overlook
- Jenny Lake Lodge
- Jenny Lake Overlook
If you are interested in a beautiful walk, the 11.4km Jenny Lake Trail around the lake is one of the most popular.
Jenny Lake Visitor Centre
We would have liked to stop here but the car park is full and a signs say there is construction work going on here.
We continue on Teton Park Road – there is a paved bike path on our right and beautiful wildflowers in the meadows.
Teton Glacier Turnout
Another stop not to miss – wonderful views from the Teton Glacier Turnout.
Menors Ferry Historic District & Episcopal Chapel of the Transfiguration
Don’t miss the Episcopal Chapel, a rustic log chapel. From the alter there are beautiful views of the Cathedral Peaks. There is a wonderful feeling of serenity inside.
Craig Thomas Discovery & Visitor Centre
If time permits, stop at this excellent visitor centre.
At Moose Junction, turn left onto the upper side of the loop road. Take a right at Antelope Flats Road – a short gravel road to Mormon Row – a collection of historic homestead buildings. Of particular interest is the photogenic Moulton barn and Andy Chambers homestead
Lower Schwabacher Landing
We loved this spot on the Snake River. From the second carpark, there is a very short walk along the river and the views of the Grand Tetons are spectacular. It’s a great photo stop.
Snake River Overlook
This is another spectacular viewpoint and wonderful photo stop.
Oxbow Bend Turnout
You can park very close to the Snake River here and this is said to be a good spot for seeing wildlife.
At this point we have driven the complete Scenic Loop Drive.
We decide to drive back down the high side of the loop and just beyond Moose Junction we take the Moose-Wilson Road – at dusk it is a good road to spot wildlife and sure enough we see two moose.
The Moose-Wilson Road is a narrow road in parts and very interesting.
If time permits, stop at:
- Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve
- Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (Bridger Gondola)
After a quick stop at Jackson Hole Resort, we pass by small ranches and pretty fields, eventually coming to Wilson.
Wilson is a charming little town. Popular here is:
- Mountain biking in Summer
- Backcountry ski activities in Winter
- Hungry Jacks General Store
- Pearl Street Bagels
- Stagecoach Bar
- Nora’s Fish Creek Inn
- Teton Raptor Center
- Scenic drives along Fish Creek Rd and Fall Creek Rd
From Wilson it is just 7 miles/11 kms along a scenic road back to Jackson.
Our accommodation in Jackson is at the centrally located Antler Hotel.
In the morning we have breakfast at Pearl St Market across the road from our accommodation. It is a very nice gourmet food and gift market serving a delicious breakfast.
Be sure to take time to walk around Jackson – such a pretty town with good quality shops.
- Visit the town square with arches made out of antlers on each corner of the square (most of the antlers are from the nearby National Elk Refuge).
- Buy a muffin from the beautiful Persephone Bakery.
- Take a stagecoach ride on the main street.
- Visit the Cowboy Bar.
- Jackson Visitors Centre.
- If you need supplies, visit Albertsons for water and snacks – a great store that has everything – groceries, pharmacy, picnic ware, etc.
We would recommend a minimum of two days in and around Jackson to see the highlights.
Jackson or Jackson Hole?
Jackson Hole is the valley where there are a number of small towns including Jackson, Moose, Hoback and Teton Village.
For more information on visiting Grand Teton National Park and Jackson in Wyoming, contact Dave Upton, firstname.lastname@example.org
4 June 2018