August 27, 2012

Grand Teton National Park

The camping in Yellowstone Park was $28, which included two showers and dumping use, but did not include any hook-ups. After paying for two nights we were interested in finding a cheaper place to live, if not free. On our way down to the Tetons, we remembered that our friends at the Our Take on Freedom blog had been this way previously, and they had found a great boondocking spot between Yellowstone and the Grand Teton NP. We decided to check it out, and it turned out to be great!

There is a road right off the main highway between Yellowstone and Grand Teton, called Grassy Lake Road. The first mile of the road is paved, and then it becomes a level, gravel road. About 2 miles in there is an improved camping area with 4 camp spots. Another half mile in is another camping area with 2 camp spots. We parked in area #3, where there were 2 more camping spots. If you continue further down the road you will find 4 more camping areas, all spaced about half a mile apart. Our spot was overlooking a river and meadows, with mountain views in the distance. There was a vault toilet there and a fire ring, but that was it. The location of this camping area and the cost made it a perfect place to park our trailer while we were visiting the Grand Teton National Park.


Free dry camping off of Grassy Lake Road while visiting Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park
Driving on Grassy Lake Rd
Free dry camping off of Grassy Lake Road while visiting Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park
Our parking spot at #3
We took a down day the first day we were on Grassy Lake road. We slept in, ate a long breakfast outside on the picnic table, and then walked our dogs down to the river. I’m pretty sure Chloe and Sam thought that this parking spot was EPIC. They had the river all to themselves, and we let them off leash, so they got to run around as much as they wanted. The remainder of the day was spent reading and going for a walk along the Grassy Lake road.

Free dry camping off of Grassy Lake Road while visiting Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park
The view from campground #3
Free dry camping off of Grassy Lake Road while visiting Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park
Playing with the pups in the river
The second day we finally drove down to see the Grand Teton Park. The $25 admission you pay to get into either Yellowstone or Grand Teton is good for both parks, for 7 days. Since we had the Annual Pass, we again got in with no wait and no cost. Grand Teton Park is also a driving park, where you have to drive long distances between the points of interest, but it is much smaller than Yellowstone. There is only one loop. Coming from Grassy Lake road, we drove just over 90 miles that day.

Grand Teton National Park welcome sign in Wyoming
Welcome to Grand Teton National Park
Immediately after we got to the park, we saw our first moose. We hadn’t seen any moose in Yellowstone, so I was excited to spot our first glance of this animal.

Moose in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming
Thirsty moose
We drove clockwise around the park loop. The east side of the park is pretty sparse in terms of points of interest, but does offer some great views of the Tetons. The day we visited the park there were wildfires going on in Idaho, and the drifting smoke enveloped the mountains, preventing any good panoramas. On this side of the loop we found Mormon Row, an old Mormon farming settlement. We parked and walked around to see the old buildings, set in the fields with the dramatic views of the Tetons behind them.

Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming
The view of the mountains from the east side of the loop.
Home on Mormon Row in Moose in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming
On Mormon Row
Home on Mormon Row in Moose in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming
Historic Mormon barn
Roaming buffalo in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming
Buffalo sunning by Mormon Row
On the southern extremity of the loop we crossed through Moose Junction, and guess what we saw there? Yup, another moose, but this time he had a massive rack and was much closer to us.

Moose in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming
Huge moose!
The west side of the loop is much closer to the Tetons, and follows the contour of two area lakes, Jenny Lake and Jackson Lake. We’d heard that one of the more popular day hikes in the park was a 6 mile round trip hike to Inspiration Point, so we decided to join the masses and hike there. There are two ways of doing the hike: you can either trek your way around the west side of Jenny Lake, or save yourself 2 miles of hiking one way by catching a ferry across the lake ($7 one way, $10 round-trip). Since we like to hike (and to save money), we chose option one. After rounding the lake, we hiked a half mile into the canyon and found Hidden Falls, a 200 foot waterfall deep in the forest. Another half mile of hiking up into the canyon, and we got to Inspiration Point. From there you get a (so-so) inspirational view of Jenny Lake and the park meadows that stretch out from the Tetons. We ended our drive around the loop by stopping for at the Jackson Lake Lodge, where there is free wi-fi, lots of comfortable couches to sit on and a nice outdoor patio for drinks that has an epic view of the mountains and lake.

Hiking around Jenny Lake in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming
Hiking around Jenny Lake
Hiking at Hidden Falls in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming
Hidden Falls
Hiking to Inspiration Point in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming
Inspiration Point is just around the corner
Lounge in Jackson Lake Lodge in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming
In the Jackson Lake Lodge
To see more pictures of Grand Teton National Park, click here.

Happy Grand Teton,

M.

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6 comments:

  1. Lovely spot! We'll have to keep that campground in mind.

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  2. Yeah, it's definitely worth it if you have time to visit both parks. Its best done in between the two, as its closer to GTNP. Have fun!

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  3. I'm not sure how delayed you are in writing this, but if you're still in town and need a place to park near Moose (7 miles south of Jenny Lake) I have a driveway, and a shower you can use and all that good stuff!

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    1. Unfortunately, I am usually a week behind on my posts. This morning we find ourselves in Souix Falls, SD already. I know, crazy, you're probably dying to know what we've done with ourselves in the meantime. ha! Thank you for the offer, it was very nice of you!

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  4. Yellowstone is a delightful place to be. It's filled with fun, adventures and thrills that will keep your excitement soaring in each step. In fact, every view and angle in Yellowstone is picture perfect. There is no wonder there is the rise of records on guided hikes in Yellowstone and in Montana area. A lot of backpackers are witnessing the challenge of camping in the area, too.

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  5. Howdy! What a good looking site you have! Did you organize your blog with our own help?

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