Re: Jackson/ Grand Tetons in late July with my family
You're going to have a GRAND time!
We've been traveling to this area since '91 and it remains one of our favorite National Parks in the US.
First off, I assume you'll have a car? You have to drive both inner and outer loop roads - two totally different vantage points view wise.
I suggest you start out outer loop to Moran Junction and return via inner loop.
Family Hike: Hidden Falls hike although crowded is a must do.
Suggestion that you start off early, cross Jenny Lake and hike to Hidden Falls.
Before heading out, stop off at Dornan's Spur Ranch Cabins and pick up one of their incredible home made local sandwiches and some of the home made trail mix.
Also, plenty of drinking water.
You can hike past Hidden Falls and into the canyon where you see amazing views of the Teton peaks and the glaciers.
You can stop off and have a picnic lunch in the canyon. The river/creek at the base of the peaks is our favorite.
You can relax your feet in the cool water here or, watch the chipmunks come beg for food.
Please do not feed them or the Pikas, feeding wildlife is highly discouraged - (although everyone it seems, does it).
Addtionally, a little frequented place is Red Rocks campground beyond the Gros Ventre (this is where we usually stay when we travel in Lower Slide Lake).
Continue on past the Gros Ventre slide area, through the Aspens and notice the amazing cabins which are from original pioneers just before you arrive into Kelly.
There are usually many buffalo in these sage prairies and, if your time is limited, there is no need to drive to Yellowstone to see them.
Also, Proghorn Antelope and even Big Horn sheep abound in these parts.
Watch out for Mule deer when driving through the Aspen or, late in evening.
We've tried several white water raft companies, all mostly the same.
Our favorite however was Mad River as they ran smaller boats.
They all however run the same course and the river does get crowded.
Another fun thing for the family to do is to visit Moran Junction early early morning or late evening for good views *usually* of moose and other wild life.
Also, they have ranger talks at Jackson Lake Lodge which are highly informative.
Horse back riding again, we've done several times.
Our favorite is any of them geared to a particular section of the park.
We enjoyed one that used to go into the canyon but were unable to find them in operation the last time we traveled there.
We've also ridden out of Flagg Ranch, again, basically trail riding.
Depends on what section you're interested in seeing. Don't expect anything exciting. It's basically hot, gruelling and slooooooooooow, not fast.
They will not allow you to run horses.
I also enjoy visiting "Elk Island" area late in the eveing when, in August, you can hear the Elk bugling.
Even in July you can see them crossing over from their morning foraging into their evening lay downs.
It is on the way to Signal Mountain, another must do in the park.
Simply drive to summit of Signal Mountain (you can stop off at Jenny Lake for lunch on way down), and take in the amazing views from the top.
There are also many stop off where you can view wildlife on the way up or down.
Keep an eye on the road!!! This stretch is winding!
We've seen bear on the way to the top on several ocassions.
There are many fine places for dining in Jackson, proper.
A must go to is the Million Dollar Cowboy bar or course but, there is also the Teton Steak house and many other fine dining establishment.
We love the buffalo below the Cowboy bar, very good, also, good local game here.
For breakfast, again, Jackson Lake lodge with it's incredible scenery of the Tetons CANNOT BE BEAT!!! However, only served in the main dining room on Sundays.
It is a buffet, all you can eat brunch full of wonderful choices including ommelette station, meats, pancakes, waffles, potatoes, etc.
Finally, the shopping (one of our least favorite activities) but, varied non the less.
Jackson, and it's museums, are an artists dream! Everything from photography to paintings to sculpture and local, native western art/wear.
The afternoon gun fight at the antlers in the middle of town is popular with the kids as is the stage coach ride.
Special gear/equipment? Flannel shirts for evening/night, good hiking boots, heavy socks, wind parka, cap/gloves (it can get chilly in the higher elevations) and finally, alot of batteries and chargers or, extra flash cards for your digital cam.
Good luck, enjoy the trip!
Let us know if we can answer anything else for you, I'd be happy to try.
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