The Tetons: Three Steps to a Perfect Day

I grew up visiting national parks all over the country on long and slow family road trips. I participated in the Junior Ranger Program[i], and somewhere in my parents’ house lie the patches to prove it.

I enjoyed these trips, and encourage everyone to visit as many national parks as possible. The parks provide a beautiful escape into nature, and vary wildly in what they each offer.

With spring well underway, you may be considering where to go on summer getaways. I urge you to consider Grand Teton National Park—one of my favorite national parks. There are many ways I could describe the park to you, but I choose to offer up instructions for the perfect day, should you choose to follow my lead and head there forthwith.

(1) Wake up early.

If you can manage this feat, the universe will reward you. The early morning hours around Jenny Lake are blissfully serene, and you must hike around Jenny Lake when you visit the Tetons.

The loop around Jenny Lake is 7.5 miles.[ii] The trail elevation is 6800 feet, and the total elevation gain is 275 feet.[iii]

When my husband and I hiked around Jenny Lake in August 2013, the early morning start time was key. No other hikers were yet on the trail—although we did have the pleasure of running into some deer. The lake, the mountains—still and fresh—were ours.

Even if you cannot manage to get out of bed at 6:00 a.m., I still recommend doing this hike sometime in the morning. You will likely come across other hikers on your trek, but it is still worth it. A hike around Jenny Lake is the start to my perfect Teton day.

Tetons 2

(2) Take a shower.

After completing the hike, head back to your cabin (or wherever you are staying). Rinse off the dirt and grime that certainly will have accumulated on your tired self. Once you feel human again, you are ready for step three.

(3) Have a drink.

Settle in at the bar at Jackson Lake Lodge. Dubbed the Blue Heron Lounge, this must be one of the most beautiful places in the world to have a drink. The bar patio overlooks the Tetons and the marshes below and in between. The view is spectacular.

Despite being in the middle of nowhere in Wyoming, the bar has a selection of wine, beer, and bites that is completely satisfactory.

Sit back. Let the hike from the morning marinate. Relax with a drink and a slider as you gaze at the Tetons. Not much feels better.

Teton 3

If I have convinced you to visit the park this summer, do not feel discouraged if all in-park lodgings are booked. Cancellations always occur; my husband and I have booked trips last minute by piecing together others’ cancelled nights.