Our last day in Grand Teton National Park started with a ranger-led hike. We all met at 8:30 a.m in front of the Colter Bay Visitor Center right by the flagpole. This was a short walk from our campsite.
I was very appreciative that the ranger had bug spray we could use before we started our hike. I forgot to put bug spray on which is a lot of fun for the mosquitoes but leads to great misery for me.
Our hike was on the Lakeshore Trail which is 2.2 miles long and rated as easy. The hike travels along Colter Bay and its marina. Colter Bay was named after John Colter, a key member of the Lewis and Clark expedition.
Our hike lasted about an hour as the ranger explained things along the way. For example, she talked about the current water shortage in the west and how the current levels are record lows.
The hike goes along Colter Bay, through the forest and then along the shore of Jackson Lake. There are plenty of views of the Grand Tetons along the trail.
After our hike, we headed for Signal Mountain. Now, there are two ways one can get to the Signal Mountain Summit. One option is Signal Mountain Trail. This is a 6.8 mile hike which goes to the summit. A second way is to drive the 5 miles on Signal Mountain Summit Road. We chose the second way.
At one point as we drove the way up, there were a number of cars stopped along the road. A lot of people were taking pictures of a bear. I took some pictures, too.
After that, we continued on our way. Our tour guide had recommended we visit Signal Mountain. She also advised us that there were two overlooks. She told us not to be fooled when we saw the first overlook but to continue on to the second one.
After our time on Signal Mountain, we headed back to our campsite. Our time was just about up in Grand Teton National Park. The next morning we would head to Yellowstone National Park.
Our visit to Grand Teton National Park was amazing. While we left with wonderful memories, I also left with a list for next time – should there be a next time.
If we were to visit again, I would want to do some more short hikes. Like the trail alongside Jenny Lake. I’d want to take the shuttle boat across Jenny Lake and then hike into Cascade Canyon for a bit. I’d like to hike some of the trails around String Lake. I’d spend more time in Mormon Row and take the self-guided tour.
I’d visit more of the park’s Visitor Centers, and I’d attend more ranger programs and ranger-led hikes. I’d find a picnic table in a pretty spot, eat lunch and play Scrabble with Dan. I’d look up at the stars after attending the ranger Stargazing Tips program.
I would also like to ride our e-bikes. While we didn’t bring our e-bikes, there is a 17 mile Grand Teton Pathway which, if you listen closely, is calling out “Betty!” “Dan!” It may be calling your name, too.
One of the ranger programs we attended discussed Mardy Murie. This program was the ranger’s first presentation on Mardy Murie. I learned she won a lot of awards and a few other facts, but mostly the program planted a seed for me to learn more and to visit the Murie Ranch. My understanding is there is a self-guided as well as a ranger guided tour available.
I’d like to take that tour on the river. See more wildlife. And I’d get the huckleberry cheesecake ice cream at the Colter Bay General Store. I’d attend Sunday services at the Chapel of the Transfiguration and say a prayer thanking God for this beautiful place and my lucky fortune at being able to visit.
I write all these things as a reminder to myself, but also as a possible list for others and their future visits. When we planned this trip, more than once I thought, this will likely be the only time we’ll visit Grand Teton National Park. And while there is a lot more of this country we want to explore, there’s one thing I didn’t plan on.
I didn’t know I was going to fall in love with those lodgepole pines that reach for the sky or those silver Teton mountains that are almost always in the distance or that smell of fresh pine in the air. Even our cozy campsite, nestled among the pines, calls me back. I’d like it to be our home away from home again.
I hope to return to Grand Teton National Park someday, and God- willing, we will.