August 2017 – Flying into Jackson Hole’s tiny but efficient airport, we were already amazed at the scenery surrounding us. We picked up our rental car for the next week and grabbed a late lunch in Moose before heading north to Colter Bay Village. We checked into our cabin, which was quiet and offered a good amount of privacy, and then hit the trails.
The Hermitage Point trailhead is located at the end of the parking lot, which is a quick walk from the cabins. The trailhead offers access to a network of trails, so you can choose how far you want to go. We spent about three hours and enjoyed the views of forests, meadows, and wetlands, complete with mountain views in the background. Unfortunately, our visit coincided with an influx of smoke from Idaho wildfires, so many of our views were clouded a bit with the
smoke during the week. Even with that, the scenery was still gorgeous, and the mountain air still smelled clean and crisp.
The following day was planned as a full day in Grand Teton NP before heading to Yellowstone for three nights. We headed out for Mormon Row, stopping at several pullouts and other interesting-looking spots. We saw our first bison here (saw many, many more in Yellowstone), and enjoyed the views of the mountains and Snake River along the way. We spent some time around the famous Moulton Barn (sunrise or sunset is very pretty here), before taking the Scenic Loop Drive to Signal Mountain. We didn’t hike at Signal Mountain, so we felt like driving the road up was kind of a waste of time. The views really weren’t all that great, and I think our time could have been spent at other, prettier places in the park.
After leaving the area, we headed south and took Moose-Wilson Road, where we saw our first black bear of the trip. There is an overlook to a pretty pond on this road, but there was no wildlife hanging around when we stopped. We headed to Jackson next and spent a few hours exploring the shops and eating dinner.
A tip for visiting the parks – Grand Teton NP and Yellowstone both have several convenience stores and general stores located within the parks. Although the prices are definitely higher than I would pay at home, this is good option to avoid eating in a restaurant everyday. We grabbed lunch at these when we could, as they are all located in the village areas near lodging.
Around sunset, we drove back out to the Mormon Row area and took some more pictures. We saw quite a lot more life out at this time of day. Once it was dark, we headed back to Colter Village for the night. The next morning we drove to Yellowstone for three nights, but we returned to Grand Teton NP for our last two nights of the trip. The highlights of our second visit will be posted under Part 2.