Grand Teton National Park
by Kaylee Sypherd
Grand Teton National Park was just a quick drive from Yellowstone; it took us less than an hour to get there but that is after stopping at the John D Rockefeller Jr Memorial Parkway visitors center. The JDR Jr memorial parkway lies directly in between the two parks. It is a 24,000 acre piece of land that provides a beautiful and scenic connection between Yellowstone and Grand Teton. The parkway displays varying ecosystem, you can see the land that was carved from volcanic activity (Yellowstone’s signature) rise into the mountainous range that Grand Teton National Park is famous for. It was a stunning sight to see.
As our luck would have it (or not?), the day we visited Grand Teton it was in the low forties with clouds and rain as far as the eye could see. Me being the desert rat I am, I donned all of my winter clothing…the boots, the puffer jacket, the beanie, two pairs of leggings. Yep, I was THAT tourist…all while the PNWers were wearing their shorts and light sweaters. The cold wasn’t even the bad part,I can deal with that, it was the CLOUDS! Anyone who goes to Grand Teton National Park knows you go to see the Teton mountain range of course. Well, with all the low lying clouds, I wasn’t able to even see one single peak. Aside from not seeing the peaks, the park was gorgeous!! There were wildflowers everywhere in every color you could imagine. Canadian geese seemed to dance in the air as the base of the Tetons rose to peaks (above the clouds…yeah I’m still bitter) behind them. Every time I adventure, I like to find a quiet place to soak in the beauty in front of me and at this park, I found silence on the bank of Jenny Lake. I sat there watching the rocky beach get lapped up by the waves as the wind brought the cool chill of the snow-capped Tetons to my face. It was peaceful, and people-free surprisingly- a refreshing treat after the amount of people at Yellowstone.
Driving north to south through Grand Teton was only about 40 miles, depending on which route you choose (we took the Teton Park Road which brings you closer to the base of the mountain range). Regardless of the path, the park offers incredible views in every direction. Since the park was not all that big, and the fact we had a ton of driving to do before we got to Bryce Canyon National Park, we decided to not camp in the park.
If you do choose to camp in the park there are 6 campgrounds that are each $22/night (price varies if you need an electrical hookup). If you aren’t looking to spend $22/night, the Bridger Teton National Forest surrounds the park and offers 3.4 million acres where you can camp for FREE (just be sure to bring your own bear canister!). A lot of people I know have recommended camping in the national forest, Guesit still offers great views of the Tetons but allows for way more privacy and costs nothing, every adventurers dream!