The third and final leg of the big late-summer ’22 trip is the Tetons Range. We were mostly playing tourist this time but there has already been a bit of discussion about returning to get up-close and personal with the Tetons on a backpacking trip.
As we headed south out of Yellowstone NP we stopped at the first place that gave us a view of the Teton Range. We also saw that Jackson Lake was a shadow of its former self, a common problem with the western reservoirs. At some point people will have to realize they can’t keep taking water out to dump it on hay fields and golf courses without repercussions. We continued on to Colter Bay, where we found a good visitor center and a place to get a better look at the lake while hiking the 2-mile Lakeshore Loop.
Afterward we left US89 to take Teton Park Rd to Jenny Lake. One of our objectives for the trip was to take the ferry across the lake to do a bit of hiking. Unfortunately, it appeared that’s what everyone else was trying to do as well, so that will have to wait for a return trip at a less-busy time. We continued on through Jackson (which was wall-to-wall humanity as well) to our cabins south of town (they are very KOA-style). My cabin overlooked the Snake River and the staff was very helpful. We enjoyed an afternoon of lounging and making plans.
Monday (Labor Day): The first objective was a hike in the Phelps Lake area via the Laurance S Rockefeller Preserve – a 1100 tract actively managed to preserve its qualities. It seemed like it’s out-of-the-way enough to be uncrowded yet with a good scenic payoff and we weren’t dispointed. We hiked in on the Lake Creek Trail and out on it with a connector to the Woodland Trail – about 3.5 miles. There was a bit of haze that we would later learn was likely smoke from fires in Idaho.
In the afternoon we took a scenic drive, headed a bit south then west on US26 through the Snake River Canyon, turning NW in Alpine before crossing into Idaho (another state checked-off for me!) and driving up along the Pallisades Reservoir, then to Victor ID and back east across Teton Pass and down into Jackson.
Tuesday: We started the long drive home. Our route was back north to Moran Junction then SE on US287 over Togwatee Pass to Dubois WY and eventually to home. We got one last look at the Cathedral Group but the new scenery we expected to see in the higher elevations along US287 was pretty obscured by smoke.