This is part of our series chronicling our journey through the United States. If you have a National Parks pass this park is FREE to enjoy!
Our all time favorite, can’t stop reminiscing about it park is Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. We actually didn’t spend much time here because we had already allotted so many days to Yellowstone National Park. That was a mistake. These two parks are very close together but VERY different.
Yellowstone was magnificent. The geyser fields were otherwordly. The wildlife was everywhere. But so were the crowds. Every parking lot, every pull off, every trail had an ocean of people. Unfortunately the word we remember Yellowstone by is congested. We were much happier once we turned the truck south and headed to Grand Teton.
It’s roughly thirty miles from Yellowstone’s south entrance to Grand Teton National Park. When you first drive through the gate, the park is very unassuming. Sure there are trees but there’s also a lot of open grassland.
Buffalo and antelope thingies range happily here. There is a cabin to explore which is actually a lot of fun for anyone who has read Little House on the Prairie. No it’s not that house, but it is very similar.
As you keep going deeper into the park, the mountains kind of just appear, thrusting forth from the earth as though they were Giants rudely awakened from a nap.
Young and still rough around the edges, these peaks actually make plate tectonics come to life. You can read all about how these particular mountains were formed at the NPS History page.
There are multiple visitor centers and roadside signs around the park and even restaurants to enjoy. Our favorite was Dornan’s Pizza Pasta Company. We were able to eat really reasonably by splitting dishes. Five of us filled our bellies for under $45. May I recommend the Spinach Salad, Mount Moran pizza with a side entree of Beet and Goat Cheese Gocce?
Full bellies mean you’re ready to really start exploring. Which is good because there is a lot to see. Hiking trails and pull offs abound in this park. Wildlife is EVERYWHERE.
Of course our favorite activity was painting at the lake. The water is unbelievably crystal clear. And don’t let those kids fool you. It was COLD. It only took a minute to acclimate and then we were standing in the water, painting!
I understood why early settlers had felt compelled to stay despite the hardships. There was such…peace…in that place. We all felt it.
Until we discovered the leeches. But even then…they were fairly harmless.