I’m taking advantage of the quiet time around the holidays to do a little planning for our next trip to Grand Teton and Yellowstone. Lodging and flights are set. Just DW and me for the trip (early 50s; hiking and photography are the main goals of the trip). We’ll be in Grand Teton in mid –July for 4 nights staying at Signal Mountain. I know the first rule of visiting the parks, that being don’t over plan, just go with the flow, but I still want a nice outline and some back-up options (you never know what Mother Nature will throw at you!). Besides, I just hate wasting time with the whole “I don’t know, what do you want to do?” scenario ;-)
I’ve been reviewing several threads that I had saved from the GT and YNP forums, particularly looking at the hiking options (great input from several folks, particularly TetonBill and BlueBirdDay, so thanks for all the advice). Last trip we really only did one hike in GT, from LSR Preserve to Phelps Lake (very nice hike), but the weather conspired against us for the hike we had planned up Cascade Canyon so that one is a top priority.
Anyway, here’s my current thinking.
Day 1: Arrive JAC at 12:30; collect the rental car and head into Jackson for supplies (bear spray, bug spray and groceries). We’ll do a drive through of the park on our way to Signal Mountain Lodge. After check-in it will be back to the park to check out trail conditions, Ranger program options at the visitor center. Perhaps we’ll cruise up Signal Mountain for the views. Is this a better morning or evening view?
Day 2: We’ll want to acclimate to the elevation today, so maybe “flat” activities today. Morning photos at the favorite spots (Oxbow, Schwabacher Landing, Mormon Row, etc.) then a hike. Maybe something from the Two Ocean Trailhead or Bradley/Taggart Lake (we’ll do one today and one later in the week). I liked the option that TetonBill described about going CCW around Two Ocean, then up to Grand View Point and finally along the north side of Lake Emma Matilda.
Day 3: The idea is to hike up Cascade Canyon, taking advantage of the boat ride across Jenny Lake. We’ll start as early as we can and hike as far as we like, but hopefully we can get to the fork of the Canyon. Who knows, if we feel good, maybe we can make it to Lake Solitude (that would be a looong day of hiking). I’m guessing we’ll be done for the day after this hike!
Day 4: Perhaps hit some of the favorite photo spots again in the morning. Then some combination of a hike (either Two Ocean Trailhead or Bradley/Taggart Lake) and the tram to the top of Rendezvous Mountain with a hike at the top (Rock Springs perhaps). Would it be better to do the tram in the morning followed by our other hiking option? My first thought was to take the tram in the afternoon, but it looks like the last tram down the mountain is at 6:30 PM so time could get a little tight (hey, I like to have a plan when on vacation but not a hard schedule).
Days 5 - 9: Change of base to Yellowstone….still working on that plan; will most likely post it later today.
Day 9: Leaving Roosevelt and heading back to GT for another night at Signal Mountain. We’ll most likely arrive early evening, so it may just be a check-in and find some dinner (maybe Jenny Lake for the views).
Day 10: MsHick wants to spend a day in Jackson, so we’ll just do a drive through of the park on our way to town. We’ll be staying in Jackson tonight and flying home tomorrow morning.
Of course we'll be doing other activities as time allows. But these are the “main attractions” based on my current research. How’s it look? Am I overlooking anything? Is it reasonable to think that I can fit all of this into the time I have? Are the hikes that I have selected provide a good over view of the park as well as good variety of scenery and opportunities for wildlife viewing? They seem to from the descriptions I’ve read, but I want to hear what y’all have to say.