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Planning a trip to Grand Teton National Park? Jackson, Wyoming can be an expensive place to hang out, but here are a few tips to make your experience cozy and local without breaking the bank.
- Stay at the Grand Teton Climbers’ Ranch. If you’re headed to the Tetons in summertime, this is an amazing find. You do not have to be a climber to stay here! The Climbers’ Ranch is located just south of Jenny Lake and was purchased by the American Alpine Club in the 1970s. The Ranch was a former dude ranch and is comprised of several cabins with bunk beds, a main office/library area, a cooking area, and showers and bathroom facilities. When we stayed, the rates were $27 per person (non-member) and $17 each (members of the American Alpine Club receive a discount) . This fee provides you with a bunk in a shared cabin and use of all facilities.
You cannot BEAT the view from this place! There are many hiking trails that leave from right here and we enjoyed comparing notes with fellow travelers. We brought a game to share and stayed up late several nights with new friends.
2. Ask a local for hiking recommendations! In our case, we chatted with the folks at the Climbers’ Ranch, they were very helpful and eager to make our experience awesome. When we asked about a challenging 10 mile hike, they recommended Delta Lake. This is an absolutely stunning hike! Click here to read more about our hike to Delta Lake.
3. DO spend ten bucks and purchase the GyPSy Driving Tour of Grand Teton National Park. We don’t receive a spiffy if you buy, this, we just recommend it because we enjoyed it so much. GyPSy makes driving tour apps that work from your phone even without cell service. The app uses GPS to tell where you are and as as you drive, the GyPSy provides a professional tour guide commentary. Their tours highlight the very best of the region with entertaining stories about history, geology, legends and local advice, so all you have to do is drive, listen and soak in the scenery. We also did a wildlife tour in Teton and noticed that much of the information we heard from GyPSy was repeated by our wildlife guide. Ten bucks! How can you beat that?
4. Rise early at least once on your trip to enjoy the sunrise. We did a hike around Jenny Lake to Hidden Falls and Cascade Canyon. We had the trail all to ourselves (except for a moose or two!), saw a ton of animals and an epic sunrise. We left the Climbers’ Ranch around 4:30am with headlamps, hiked around Moose Ponds to Hidden Falls and up Cascade Canyon several miles. We took the Jenny Lake hiker shuttle back across the lake to the visitor’s center, which provided some more incredible views from the water.
5. Go hang out at the Jackson Lake Lodge for a few hours. Daniel and I both love exploring national park lodges but we were on a budget for this trip that did not include the pricey Jackson Lake Lodge. Instead, we decided to head over one morning, enjoy breakfast in their 1950s style diner, then take our coffees (they will send you with a to-go cup from the diner!) to watch for wildlife from the Lodge’s great room and patio. Bring your binoculars! We saw several moose and elk, some eagles, beavers, and other birds!
A trip to Grand Teton National Park should be on everyone’s getaway list, especially if you are National Park Geeks like ourselves. We hope this short list helps to make your upcoming adventure special and memorable. Have you been to GTNP? What were your favorites? Feel free to comment below and thanks for visiting our site!