An Awesome Adventure in Grand Teton National Park (VIDEO)

So when we set about planning our great summer road-tripping adventure this year, we decided to finally make it to one of the few parts of this beautiful country of ours that we’d never visited. Lots of research was done. Plans were made. Plans were changed. Plans were set. Tickets bought. Car rented. Bags packed. And off we went. And it was a phenomenal few weeks.

Our plan involved flying from Austin to Denver, renting a car, and pointing it north. Not with any specific itinerary, really. We’d just drive across the vast expanses of Wyoming, Montana and South Dakota and see what sorts of people we could meet and what kinds of adventures we could get ourselves into. We knew we wanted to hit the big spots: the Tetons, Yellowstone, Glacier, Devil’s Tower and Mount Rushmore. Which we did! And man, oh man do we have some tall tales to share.

Getting to the Grand Tetons

tetons wide 1But first on the list was a visit to the Grand Tetons and Grand Teton National Park. Not only because from a driving standpoint it just made sense, but more so because it’s one of those places we’ve really, really, really always wanted to see. More than Yellowstone even. There’s just something about the place. When you look at photos of those majestic, jagged peaks rising into the sky you get a sense that they can’t be real. It’s magical looking. Just too beautiful to really exist.

It was a gorgeous summer day when we drove up through central Wyoming on highway 287 and got our first view of those majestic peaks (and confirmation that yes, they are indeed real) at a little roadside park a few miles west of Moran junction. And from there the views just got better and better, and we of course grew more excited with every passing mile.

11-2The Heart Six Ranch is really a terrific place. We found it after doing a little searching online and it looked like one of those picture-postcard type spots that seemed to fit in really well with the beautiful surroundings. It’s also just a few miles west of Moran junction off highway 287, tucked back in a little valley on the Buffalo River with (as you can tell) awe-inspiring views of the Tetons. We were a bit concerned at first that it might be a little too far from town (Jackson is a 40 minute drive), but that actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Jackson’s a beautiful place to be sure – and the drive to town is one of the most beautiful drives you’ll ever take – but when we visited, the town was simply freaking overrun with people. And you know us. As we’ve said many, many times we don’t do well in those situations. We made one visit (on the night of the rodeo) and the traffic and crowds damned near drove us half-crazy, to the extent we had absolutely no desire to go back. So yeah, we cherished our time on the ranch. Few people. Gorgeous views. Peace and quiet. If you’re lookin’ for a place to “get away from it all”… well, the Heart Six fills the bill in terrific fashion.

jackson rodeoThat said, the Jackson Hole Rodeo was a very cool time. Being from the Texas Panhandle we’ve both been to our fair share of rodeos and we really enjoyed it. We’ve read some criticism about it written by people – “rodeo snobs” we’d guess you’d call them – complaining that the Jackson Hole rodeo is a “tourist” rodeo, whatever that means. And while it may not be up there with the聽 bigger, more well known rodeos, it’s still the real deal and a heckuva lot of fun to watch. Plus it’s a staple in Jackson Hole, having been up and running there for more than a hundred years. Only complaint we had was that the night we were there it was one of the coldest summer nights anybody could remember. So we’d definitely recommend you check it out – you just might want to take an extra jacket just in case. And again, the fact that the Heart Six will take you to and from the rodeo, feed you an awesome meal, and get you in for free makes it all the more worthwhile.

grand tetonsGrand Teton National Park is just incredible. Stunning. We found ourselves on more than one occasion just sitting and staring in silence at those beautiful peaks for long periods on end. And it’s not just the mountains themselves that make the place magical. There’s also an abundance of amazing wildlife at just about every turn. Wild buffalo roam freely throughout the valley, the fishing is simply outstanding, and we hadn’t even been in the park half an hour before we had our first-ever run in with a moose (check out the photos below). Bear, elk, wolves, eagles, coyotes, mountain lions… the list of animals that call the area home is practically endless. And the best part is you’re pretty much guaranteed to see some spectacular wildlife while you’re there (without competing for a view with throngs of other camera-happy tourists, like you would in Yellowstone). In fact, we visited Yellowstone following our visit to the Tetons and to us there was absolutely no comparison. The Tetons were a far, far, FAR better overall experience. (More about that in our next blog – but suffice it to say Yellowstone was one giant, frustrating disappointment.)

Get Yourself to the Tetons

So, yeah. The whole experience in and around the Tetons (the crowds in Jackson being the exception) was every bit as awesome as we hoped it would be. Understandably most people who visit this part of Wyoming will head to Yellowstone, which is just a short jog to the north. And even though we didn’t enjoy Yellowstone all that well, it’s still one of those places you have to visit. But if you come to this area and don’t take a day or two to visit the beautiful Tetons you’re really, really missing out on something wonderful.

As always, feel free to drop us a line if you’d like to know more. Also, be sure to check out our photo gallery below to see more of what we experienced during our visit. And certainly leave a comment and tell us what you thought about your trip to the Tetons!

Cheers gang,

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  1. Loved the video!!! My husband is jealous of that fish!

  2. I work at Heart Six and completely agree with them (well I’d better;). The fish are big. the trails amazing and the fun none stop. Plus, I really like this website!!!

  3. You captured one of our favorite parks perfectly and Heart Six ranch seems pretty amazing!

  4. Looking into the Heart Six Ranch to see if it is something we could do while visiting that area, especially since we have officially decided to skip Yellowstone. 馃槈

    • We absolutely LOVED Heart Six! We’re hoping to go back again one day soon! Highly recommend them. Really cool experience in an absolutely beautiful place! Let us know if you go. We’d love to hear about it!

  5. We are looking to head to the grand Tetons and Glacier early summer. What time did you visit these parks? We have been reading a lot of conflicting information for the Late June early July timeframe. We are a family of four traveling in a large motorhome from New Jersey so we would be arriving after the kids are done with school around June 24th or so. We would be grateful for any guidance.

    • Hello Bill and thanks for the comment! Our trip was right around that time – June 28th I think. We LOVED our time in Grand Teton National Park and in Glacier. Just some SPECTACULAR scenery at every turn. We stayed at Heart Six Guest Ranch when we were in the Tetons area and we camped at Many Glacier when we were in the park there. Thoroughly enjoyed both experiences. I believe they had just opened the Going to the Sun Road right before we got there so you might be checking on that right up to when you go. On our particular trip, the crowds weren’t bad and the weather was almost perfect. We didn’t even have our campsite reserved and lucked into a great one! Although I’m definitely not recommending that! Our experience on that same trip in Yellowstone that time of year however, was not even close to the same experience. The park was packed and the traffic jams were frankly unbearable. That was OUR experience. And I’m sure many people have had different experiences. So with that being said, we hope you guys have a FANTASTIC time and we’d love to hear all about it! Let us know if you have any other questions! Thanks again for the comment!

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