Grand Teton National Park – Day 4

Flagpole in front of Colter Bay Visitor Center.

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.

Colter Bay Marina

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.

Jackson Lake

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.

A car stopped on the road looking at the forest.  A small black dot is a bear.
Can you see the bear?
A close up of the bear in the forest.
I zoomed in to get this picture.

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.

Signal Mountain Overlook
Betty and Dan at Signal Mountain Overlook.
Signal Mountain Overlook

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.

Short trail on Signal Mountain with Grand Tetons in the distance.
Signal Mountain

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.

Close up of a bear's head.  One that was in the Visitor Center

37 comments

  1. Fabulous post, Betty! Through your beautiful photos and well-written descriptions, I was right there with you. You do a great job of virtual tour guiding. I can just smell that clean pine air!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! Yes, I am glad we were in the car, too. Plus the bear was pretty far away. We also saw lots and lots of bison. And I was really glad to be in the car then, too! Enjoy your day, Julia.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, it is exciting to see bison, elk, and moose safely from the car. I never want to see them up close and personal! We watched in awe when a bison herd was crossing the road in Yellowstone and one stopped to rub his side against a van. The van went up and down! I was so glad no one was hurt! It was a good reminder how big and dangerous bison are.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, it is a big list! And should we return, I would doubt I could do it all. However, I didn’t want to forget these things, and should we go there I can pick what we want then. I think it is a place that draws a person back – probably again and again!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Linda, you’re right. You can really tell how the water level was so low. Normally, there are boats there on those docks! I appreciate your kind words that we do get to make a return trip. Hope you have a great weekend!

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  2. That is so amazing you got to see a bear! We didn’t see any bear on either our trip to Yellowstone or to grand Teton! I will try not to be too envious. 😉
    I totally heard the bike pathway calling “Betty!” and “Dan!”.
    I completely understand not bringing the bikes on your epic road trip though. There are pros and cons to everything!
    It sounds like you really made the most of your time in the park and had an amazing adventure! I’m looking forward to hearing all about Yellowstone next.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! Since we have to put the ebikes in our travel trailer and since we had basically 4 days of driving straight there, we chose to keep the ebikes at home rather than squeeze around them while traveling. After seeing Yellowstone, I would not want to ride bikes there. We saw many bison on the side of the road – and not even in Hayden Valley. The morning we left Yellowstone, there was even a bison wandering around the campground! You are lucky to live so close to such amazing country! I’m behind on my posts (more than I ever have been), but I will get there! Hope you have a great day!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. That was a great read full of tips! We arrive in Jackson tomorrow. Will spend 2 nights in Victor and 2 days in GTNP before heading up to West Yellowstone. We are beyond excited to see the beauty of that part of our Country. With so much to see, I am so nervous that I have an itinerary that is all over the place, full of saved posts found on various Facebook groups.
    Thank you for this read, I especially liked your idea of bringing a game! I can’t think of anywhere I would rather sit and play a game!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am so excited for you! I enjoyed our time there so very much. It is good you have an itinerary. I did a lot of planning, but I did get overwhelmed as there is so much to see and do. Of course, we didn’t get to do it all. That’s why I made the list for next time. We often hike or bike or walk in the morning when we have energy. Then we play a game in the afternoon. I hope you have a wonderful, wonderful time. Enjoy!

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  4. Once again, beautiful photos! The one of Colter Bay Marina was sad but actually not surprising to me as a number years ago, I saw the very same thing at a marina on Lake Mead in Nevada. Thanks again for all of the details of your trip and I look forward to your next post from Yellowstone!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, David. Yes, when I first saw Colter Bay Marina, I didn’t realize it was the marina! I saw a recent picture of it on Facebook, and it did look better. I appreciate your enthusiasm for my posts. Enjoy your day!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Oops! Didn’t finish my comment before hitting send. Anyway…I was saying I think there is a place I would not go back to, but I can’t think what that might be. Our time at Grand Teton was unexpectedly cut short, so I certainly would like to go finish what we planned. Judging from your list, there is even more we must do. Sound like you are smitten with the place, as was I. Maybe we will get another chance.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Was this where you were when your daughter got sick? I remember that post. I do hope you and Grammi get a chance to go back to GTNP. And you are right; I was smitten. It reminds me of how I feel when we visit Michigan. I just like being there. It fits me. We visited Gulf State Park twice, and while I enjoyed it, we probably won’t go back again. There are just too many other places we haven’t been yet. Hope you have a great week and safe travels!

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  6. It sounds like you had a wonderful time at Grand Teton, exceeding your expectations! That photo of the low water with the docks completely exposed is crazy. I keep hearing about the water problems and draught, but it does not mean as much if you have not seen the effect.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You put it exactly right. Grand Teton exceeded my expectations. I was told four days there was enough, but we could have easily enjoyed more time there – especially if we had brought our bikes. The Colter Bay marina was surprising. Hopefully, it will get back to what it was. Seeing it in person sure does make a difference in comprehending the extent and the impact of the water shortage.

      Liked by 2 people

    • You are welcome. My bucket list is ever growing. Even if I only get to a fraction on the list, it will still be great. Enjoy your day, and thank you for your kind comment!

      Like

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