Today was our Grand Teton National Park day! We were checking out of our accommodations here today and checking into West Yellowstone after touring Grand Teton, so we had to pack everything and load up the car. We started off bright and early with breakfast at our hotel (Headwaters at Flagg Ranch). Since I missed them at dinner last night, here are some pics of the inside of Sheffields:
They had a really nice breakfast buffet here! We finished eating and headed out towards Grand Teton.
On the way, I noticed on Waze that there was red up ahead…meaning traffic. Well…that turned into our first bear sighting! Everyone was pulled off the side of the road, and we joined in not knowing what we were really looking for. We had to ask, and then some kind people pointed it out to us. It was kind of far, and my pics did not get very good, but there she was. They said her cubs were also there, but I could not see them.
Here you can see everyone pulling over to have a look:
Our goal was to do Grand Teton in one day. So using the Gypsy app, we started on our journey. We were entering from the north. You can see Flagg Ranch at the tippy top of this map.
We did the usual stop at the sign. One note about the weather…it was cold! It did warm up a lot as the day went on but it was brisk first thing!
The views along the drive were nothing short of amazing. We stopped briefly to see Jackson Lake. The scenery is like nothing I’ve seen before! Snow capped mountains at the top, and beautiful greenery at the bottom.
We continued on to our first official stop, which was Signal Mountain. This mountain sits at 7700 feet above sea level. The views from here were just breathtaking! Looking over each side of the mountain, you could see so many different landscapes.
THAT VIEW! There were so many wildflowers. I’m going to put together a little gallery of all of the ones we saw while in the Tetons. Kinsey did a really great job of capturing them.
Some more views from the top of Signal Mountain:
Our plan was to stop at Jenny Lake next. We were going to park, take the boat across the lake, take a small hike, and then continue on driving throughout the Tetons. Well…that didn’t quite work out, because there was NO PARKING ANYWHERE! All spots were taken in all parking lots, and all along the road, kind of far away. This was around 11:30 a.m. If you plan on going to Jenny Lake, get there early , or much later in the afternoon!
We decided to continue driving south and stopped at the Teton Glacier turnout.
At this stop, you could see the glacier. I’m so glad they included these informational signs at the stops so we could read about them.
Here you can see it in my photo. Right in the center of the picture. The landscape is just AMAZING in the Tetons!
We continued to drive south and stopped at the Menors Ferry Historic District.
The first building we saw was the Chapel of the Transfiguration. This is a very popular photography spot. And to our surprise, it’s a functioning place of worship still to this day!
The reason we know this is, we went to open the door to look inside, and it was FULL OF PEOPLE! In the middle of a worship service! We later saw their tour bus in the side parking lot. So we didn’t get to see the inside.
This was actually very interesting! You could see both landings where they put the ferry and traveled across the Snake River. There were no bridges, so this is how they transported things across.
This is a replica ferry:
After leaving this area, we headed to Mormon Row Historic District. This is also a popular photography spot.
Our next stop was one of my favorites! Schwabacher Landing! We actually almost did not stop here because it did not look like very much, but thanks to the Gypsy app, he really encouraged us!
The backdrop here was just amazing! The Snake River, with the mountains in the distance…just beautiful!
It was so good, that my teen daughters just had to have a small photoshoot for their Instagrams. 🙂
This area is known for moose especially, and that was one animal we had not seen yet! So we were on high alert and really searching as we walked along the river.
If it would have been a little less windy, this would have been the greatest reflection photo! Sadly, we did not see any moose here. The search was still on!
We continued driving and looped back around to Jenny Lake to check out the parking situation now. It was about 3:00 p.m. by this point and we were able to find a spot in the main parking lot.
These were the first two things we saw when entering:
Sooooo, we continued on to find the boat dock. Our plan was to take the boat across the lake and then climb to see some waterfalls, and hike back around the lake.
I loved this board! Besides letting us know temperatures (look at the range!), it showed local animal sightings so we could be aware.
There are several different hikes you can take in this area that are on the easier side.
View of the lake from the boat dock before boarding:
The water was clear!
There were a few waterfalls in this area that we wanted to see. This little one was Cascade Falls. The water was flowing very fast and was casting a chill in the air.
Hiking up a little further, we made it to Hidden Falls.
We sat at the bottom of this for a little while, while Erik hiked up to Inspiration Point, which was farther than the girls and I wanted to go. The air coming off of the falls was so chilly! The snowcapped mountains were still melting and a lot of this water was from the top of the mountain.
We continued our hike around the lake.
The hike was fairly easy and the views were just amazing. We were still on high alert for any kind of wildlife in this area. We did see a beaver dam!
We came across this sign along the trail:
Sadly, we did not see any of these either!
We made it back to the parking lot at about 6:00 p.m., and to our surprise, look what was running around!
Now, because we checked out of Flagg Ranch, and were checking into West Yellowstone, we had to drive alllllllllll the way south into Jackson, and west into Idaho, then north. We were not permitted to enter Yellowstone, which would have been way easier, because of our license plate. It ended up being fine and we got to see a different landscape on the way. We stopped in Driggs for dinner.
We finally made it to our hotel at about 10:00 p.m. and met up with the rest of the group who were also checking into this same hotel. The girls were hungry and luckily there was a McDonald’s basically in our parking lot, so we walked over there. Strange circumstances and for some reason they wouldn’t let us in, but let us walk through the drive thru??!!
It was a long, fun day. So we got to sleep so we could wake up and do it all again tomorrow in YELLOWSTONE!
This was probably my favorite day of the trip. I loved the different landscapes, the weather, and the different landmarks.
Up next…Yellowstone Day 2!