Wyoming and Idaho is the home of the Teton Mountain Range. Grand Teton National Park is just outside of Jackson, Wyoming. Named after the largest mountain in the Teton Mountain Range, the Park was established in 1929, under President Calvin Coolidge. This 310,000 acre park, features lakes, fishing, wildlife and miles and miles of beautiful trails. Continuing North, you will find Yellowstone National Park. This massive 2,221,766 acre park is located primarily in Wyoming but also crosses into Idaho and Montana (see our separate page for visiting the Park from Montana). We visited both these incredible American treasures in the early part of June. Picking the best time of year to visit can be tricky. For us, early June was perfect because the snow had melted and the crowds weren't too bad just yet. Best of all, the wildlife all had their babies with them in tow, including adorable grizzly bear cubs.
Grand Teton National Park: Grand Teton National Park has a ton to offer but with only one full day in our itinerary here, we paired it down to just a few stops, namely: Mormon Row (for photos), Taggart Lake Loop Hike, Jenny Lake ferry and hike to Inspiration Point, and the Grand Tetons Visitor Center. We ended the day back in Jackson where we enjoyed dinner and time in the downtown square. The photos from here are spectacular. If you love photography, this is a "must do," destination. We were mesmerized by the Teton Mountain Range from the moment we flew into Jackson Hole Airport. This National Park place definitely makes the list for the most beautiful places we have ever visited.
Yellowstone National Park (South Entrance): Yellowstone NP, from the South Entrance, brought us way more excitement than anticipated. Sure, we knew the Park is famous for its wildlife, but we were still surprised to see so many animals, including a Grizzly bear with her baby cubs. Driving a loop through the Park, we stopped at Old Faithful Geyser, Grand Prismatic Spring, and Yellowstone Falls, and then ended the day driving through Hayden Valley. As this is a ton of driving in one day, we recommend breaking up the day with shorts hikes at each stop. See blog post for more info.
Teton Valley, Idaho: Dry Ridge Outfitters offers 1/2 day, full-day and multi-day rides with the western-side of the Tetons as a backdrop. While this outfit sits 1-hour from Jackson, Wyoming, we think the drive is well worth it. Not only is the cost comparatively modest ($100/rider for 1/2 day), the ride is highly personalized from horse selection to the private outing with our family of four. The horses, beautiful well-trained Morgan horses, expertly handled the tough terrain and were great with our inexperienced teen riders. We had such a great time riding with Dry Ridge Outfitters. We highly recommend this experience.
Jackson, Wyoming: A visit to the Jackson Hole area would not be complete without spending an evening at the Jackson Hole Rodeo ($31/ticket). This former frontier town is deeply rooted in the Western rodeo culture and there's no better way to display this history, than attending the actual rodeo. The rodeo runs twice per week during the summer (Saturdays/Wednesdays) and features all the classic events including Bull Riding, Bronc Riding, Barrel Racing, and Team Roping.
Where We Stayed
Victor, Idaho: Staying in Jackson, Wyoming is a pricey endeavor. Staying in Yellowstone is limited due to options (no homes with kitchens) and also quite pricey. We opted instead to stay in Victor which is just 30 minutes from Jackson. We did not find the extra drive too troublesome and we really liked our comfortable accommodations at Teton Springs Resort. This AirBnB condo had everything we needed, plus a gorgeous backdrop. Photo credit AirBnB listing.
Where We Ate
Merry Piglets: During our June trip it was nearly impossible to find a restaurant without a 2+ hour wait in the town of Jackson. Our successful stop at this restaurant was only because we choose to eat at 4:30 p.m. This Tex-Mex spot was delicious and we especially recommend the spicy strawberry margarita.
Victor Emporium: Located in Victor, Idaho, is an old fashion soda fountain shop called the Victor Emporium (photo right). At the recommendation of our horse tour guide, we stopped here for their Huckleberry Milkshake and it did not disappoint. So good!