Grand Teton National Park Guide

(This post is part 6/6- make sure to read the others. While you’re reading, click anything blue and you will see I attached links and additional images for more information!)

Well, we hit the end of our trip with the last stop being at Grand Teton National Park. We were so excited to finally get here after spending all day in the car (10 hours) from Bryce National Park. Continue reading to see how we felt and how we filled the last few days of our honeymoon.

*All times included time spent taking pictures/enjoying the views.

* We visited towards the end of June

Day 1- Thursday

As I mentioned above, we spent a large portion of the day in the car traveling from Bryce National Park. Although a long day in the car wasn’t ideal, the scenery the entire time was beautiful! A lot of the campgrounds at Grand Teton National Park are first come first serve which scared us a little, but we were luckily arriving on a Thursday night and were told we would most likely be fine. When we were about 2 hours out, I called the Signal Mountain Campground and they informed me that there were three hook up spots left- when we arrived we found one! The campground has electric hook up only. Dump station and water station available at all times, laundry, post office, general store, restaurants, bar, tours, water views, and is $55 a night (may be cheaper for tent but I am not sure). We were going to stay at another first come first serve campground with no hookup but the forecast predicted temperatures in the 20’s overnight and we knew we would need to run our heat which is why we chose Signal Mountain. After we got all checked in, we went to the Signal Mountain Lodge Restaurant for dinner. Our food was SO GOOD and we had views of the water/mountains the entire time. Definitely check this place out even if you are not staying there. We ended up doing laundry after dinner as it would hold us over for the next few days. Our wash was $3 for a small load and $5 for a large load, the dryers were $1.

Day 2- Friday

Greg and I woke up without alarms again today! It felt so good to sleep in… until 9:15. We woke up and got ready for our exciting day on the water through the Grand Teton Lodge Company. Before our trip, we had a few minutes to spare so we checked out the Jackson Lake Lodge which was amazing- they have gift shops, cafes, and great views of the mountains while you sit by the fireplaces.

Grand Teton Lodge Company – Lunch, Wild and Scenic River Raft Trip

We knew we needed some sort of adventure on our trip so we booked a lunch raft trip (Click HERE for more information). We departed from the Jackson Lake Lodge at 11:30 and around 12 we arrived at a private (well 9 of us private) outdoor lunch area right on the water. They offered burgers, veggie burgers, hot dogs, potato salad, pasta salad, coleslaw, cookies, tea, hot chocolate, coffee, lemonade, and water. We were accompanied by a nice fire because of how cold it was. After we ate, we all got in the raft and enjoyed a 10-mile scenic view down the snake. Our guide was great and pointed out the names of the mountains and the various wildlife like bald eagles, osprey, moose, geese, ducks, racoons, etc. over the 2 hours we were rafting down the river. We had a great time and would definitely do this again if we were to visit. It even snowed for about 20 minutes which was funny because it was the first day of “summer.” The cost of the trip was $90 a person- food/drink included.

After our lunch trip we decided to check out the visitor center to stamp our passport and add to our patch collection. As we were walking out, we noticed a sign that showed a free ranger led hike that was going to start in 15 minutes, perfect timing! The hike was for the Swan Lake Heron Pond Hike.

Swan Lake Heron Pond Hike

Distance- 3.8 miles

Time- 3 hours – longer time due to frequent stops filled with education from the ranger

After completing a ranger led hike, Greg and I would recommend you complete it at least once. You learn more about the park and they point out which wildlife you would be seeing along the way. We were led by Ranger Jim who was so great.

We finished right around dinner time and headed to the Ranch House which is located next to the visitor center. We both enjoyed our meals and the pricing was not bad. Our total was $47 for 2 soup/salad buffets, 2 beers, and an appetizer.

Day 3- Saturday

Today was such a fun and different day. I read online about a 42-mile scenic drive around Grand Teton that was recommended so that is what we decided to do.

42 Mile Scenic Drive

Distance- 42 miles (can be longer if you decide to go to all of the lookouts)

Time- As long or as short as you would like

This drive took us 6 hours because we took our time at each of the viewpoints we visited. We also stopped at Taggart Lake Loop and completed their 3.8-mile hike. The following is what you will see if you complete this drive from North to South and then back up:

  1. Colter Bay Visitor Center: Enjoy the all new American Indian arts exhibit or meet a guest artist. Take a short stroll on one of the trails along Jackson Lake. Ask a ranger about what to see and do in the park or join a ranger-led activity.
  2. Jackson Lake Dam: One mile west of Jackson Lake Junction, Jackson Lake Dam raises the level of Jackson Lake a maximum of 39 feet. Enjoy the views of Mt. Moran.
  3. Signal Mountain Summit Road: This 5-mile drive turns east 1 mile south of Signal Mountain Lodge. This windy road climbs almost 1,000 feet above the valley floor to the summit. Two overlooks provide panoramic views of the Teton Range and Jackson Lake.
  4. North Jenny Lake Scenic Drive: Turn west at North Jenny Lake Junction onto a 4-mile, one- way scenic drive.
  5. South Jenny Lake/Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point: Hike around Jenny Lake and up to Hidden Falls. Enjoy the shuttle boat or scenic cruise (fee charged).

Taggart Lake Loop

Distance- 3.8 miles

Time- 2 hours

We enjoyed this hike very much, although we were a little on edge the entire time because we did not have any bear spray. The loop on this hike has many different views and is good for all skill levels.

  • Menors Ferry & Chapel of the Transfiguration: Turn east ½ mile north of Moose. Stroll through Menors Ferry Historic District to explore homestead and pioneer life in Jackson Hole. Visit the Chapel of Transfiguration where the altar window frames the tallest Teton peaks.
  • Craig Thomas Discovery & Visitor Center: Watch the film and explore the interactive natural and cultural history exhibit.
  • Mormon Row Historic District, Antelope Flats/Gros Centre Loop: Mormon Row is 1.5 miles east of the highway. Tour iconic historic barns and homesteads. Look for pronghorn, deer, moose, bald eagles, and bison.
  • Snake River Overlook: Stop at this turnout for spectacular views of the Teton Range. Ansel Adams took his icon photo of the Snake River and Teton Range from this site.
  • Cunningham Cabin Historic Site: Take a self-guided walk through the oldest historic building remaining in the park. Look for badgers and coyotes hunting in the nearby meadow.
  • Oxbow Bend Turnout: Located 1 mile east of Jackson Lake Junction, a meander of the Snake River attracts wildlife. Mount Moran provides a backdrop for a classic photo opportunity.
  • Willow Flats Overlook: Stop at the turnout 6 miles south of Colter Bay for a view of extensive wetlands and meadows.

OTHER PARK INFORMATION

SHUTTLE SYSTEM– We did not use the shuttles here and believe you can only use it if you are staying at a lodge… not sure on how accurate that information is.

VISITOR CENTER- Definitely make a stop here, the rangers can provide you with any information or questions you may have, you can buy souvenirs at the gift shop, grab free maps (we lived off of using ours), and get a stamp for your National Park Passport! We added to our National Park patch collection here.  

SERVICE- We had limited service and WiFi at our campground and some while driving through. 

FOOD- We packed a lot of snacks for our hikes including trail mix, crackers, etc. Having the RV available after each hike was very convenient for meals as well. There are many restaurants located in the park, just ask around for recommendations.

LAUNDRY– There was a laundry facility at our campground.

WEATHER– It was cold! It snowed on the first day of summer here which was crazy to see coming from Florida. Definitely look up the average temperatures before you visit and plan accordingly.    

TRAILS- If you are limited on time, plan out your top trails and do them first; you might be surprised that you have extra time in the day that allows for more adventures.

FIREWOOD- You are not allowed to gather branches for firewood, it must be purchased.

GAS- There were gas stations inside the park and were much cheaper than ones outside the park, fill up whenever you can.

OUR NUMBER 1 RECOMMENDATION– Book something other than a hike!

OUR NUMBER 1 RECOMMENDED HIKE- Taggart Lake Hike

After the scenic drive, we drove to spend the afternoon in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. We ate Liberty Burger for lunch and enjoyed our meals and a milkshake for dessert! We had to wait about 15 minutes after arriving because it was a busy spot for lunch.

Before the trip even started, Greg and I knew we didn’t want to spend our last night in Wyoming as we had to drop the RV off in Salt Lake by 11:00am the next morning. In order for this to happen, we would have had to wake up by 4:00am and get on the road. We decided to look for free places to park for the night closer to Salt Lake. Online we found Cabelas, Bass Pro Shop, REI, etc… any outdoor shop will let you park in their parking lot for free! We ended up finding a Cabelas in Idaho but after arriving, we realized we were only 2 hours away from the Cabelas in Salt Lake. We decided to make the drive so we could sleep in even longer tomorrow. Our last night consisted of packing up and watching Netflix.

We woke up and headed to the Salt Lake City Cruise America location- the return process took about an hour but was relatively easy. From there, we got an Uber and headed to the airport which meant our honeymoon was officially over.

Greg and I had the time of our lives and we are still so happy we decided to do this trip. We were already planning our next route in as we waited at the airport. Our only regret was not taking the next day off of work. Our flight landed at 11:00pm and by the time we got home and in bed it was 12:30am. Work the next day was TERRIBLE.

So, how do you think we did on our miles? Do you think we hit our goal?

Unfortunately, we did not hit our goal of 100 miles but we came so close….. 96 miles!! 96 miles by foot on our honeymoon is amazing and we would do it again tomorrow if we could!

Let us know what you enjoyed most while reading through our posts. Is there anything we didn’t cover that you would like to hear about? Let us know! As always, feel free to reach out if you need help planning a trip or have any further questions!

Bryce Canyon National Park Guide

(This post is part 5/6- make sure to read the others. While you’re reading, click anything blue and you will see I attached links and additional images for more information!)

Our second to last stop on our honeymoon was to Bryce Canyon National Park.

*All times included time spent taking pictures/enjoying the views.

* We visited in the middle of June

Day 1- Tuesday

We left Zion National Park at 8:00am (if you remember, RVs can only travel through the tunnel from 8am to 8pm) and arrived at Bryce National Park around 10:30. The drive was very easy and scenic as you pass through the Red Canyons on your way. Because we could not check into our campground until 12:00pm, we hopped on the shuttle and headed towards the visitor center to pick up our maps and get more information on the park. From the visitor center we headed to complete our first hike, the Wall Street/Queens Garden Loop (with an accidental trip on the Navajo Loop).

Navajo Loop

Distance- .5 miles

Time- 15 minutes

Shuttle- Stop 6 (Sunset Point)

The Navajo loop is longer than what we completed but it was closed at the bridges, we accidently ended up on this loop and went .25 miles down until we saw the “closed” signs and back. The views were incredible though so if you have an extra 15 minutes, hike down.

Wall Street/Queens Garden Loop

Distance- 3.4 miles

Time- 2.5 hours

Shuttle- Stop 6 (Sunset Point)

This loop is recommended to be completed in a clockwise direction because there are steep switchbacks or declines down wall street if you complete it counter clockwise. Greg and I realized we would rather go down a steep decline than up an incline and completed it counter clockwise. Either direction is fine and people were going both ways. This loop has great views of the hoodoos and walls- make sure to look up and around! In order to complete a full loop, we completed part of the Rim Trail from Sunrise Point to Sunset Point (where we started). If you want to complete just this part of the hike without the loop I listed above, you can.  

Rim Trail (Sunrise Point to Sunset Point)

Distance- .5 miles

Time- 15 minutes

Shuttle- Stop 8 (Sunrise Point)

The Rim Trail is a total of 11 miles but you have the option of getting off at various shuttle stops and completing short parts. We found this to be the best option as an 11 mile straight hike was not for us. We still got great views of the canyon and hoodoos!

We took a mid-day break from hiking and went to lunch at Ruby’s Canyon Diner. Unfortunately, we were very unpleased with our meals and did not return. We ordered the 15 inch pizza to share/have leftovers for $25.00 only to realize the 7 inch pizza was $6.50… we could have ordered 4 of the 7 inch pizzas for the price of one. We asked to modify our orders to our preference and it was not respected. I ended up ordering a chicken sandwich because of how the pizza looked and after two bites, I threw it out. I am not writing this to warn everyone not to go there, but this was just our opinion. Feel free to try it out! I am sure if you visit you may have a different experience. After lunch we checked into our campground, Ruby’s Inn and Campground. Ruby’s Inn had full hook up, laundry, general store, and a shuttle stop. After checking in, we took a two hour nap before our last planned hike for the day which was another section of the Rim Trail, Bryce Point to Inspiration Point.

Rim Trail (Bryce Point to Inspiration Point)

Distance- 1.6 miles

Time- 1 hour

Shuttle- Stop 3 (Bryce Point)

Once again, this trail is a section of the 11-mile Rim Trail. We hiked from Bryce Point to Inspiration Point because it was mostly downhill. If you complete it the other way, you will have more of an uphill hike. We took advantage of the lookout points and snapped many pictures- our favorite was the Upper Inspiration Point lookout, to the left of that is the Amphitheater. Everything looks fake and we said we felt like we were on a movie set.

After the hike, we hopped back on the shuttle to get our RV- RV’s are only allowed to park at most places after 8pm. We asked for recommendations on where to see the sunset and ironically were told Upper Inspiration Point. The sunset here was very pretty but we enjoyed turning around and looking over the canyon with the color change. We definitely recommended you hike up here to see the sunset, you will not be disappointed.

Our night ended with us being so tired, we once again did not want to cook dinner. We were told the Cowboy Buffet and Steakhouse was good so we decided to eat there. We both got the buffet for $22.00 (each) and I would say it was worth it- you were able to choose from: chicken, pork, rice, pasta, soup, salad, and dessert.

Day 2- Wednesday

After so many days packed with hiking, our bodies were getting tired. We found ourselves picking shorter hikes rather than longer ones but that was okay, we deserved to relax on this trip too. Well… a little since we were still very determined to hit 100 miles! How do you think we are doing so far? Do you think we will hit our goal? Day two at Bryce Canyon was only filled with two hikes, the Tower Bridge in the morning and the Mossy Cave Trail at night to look at the stars (one of the shuttle drivers recommended it).

Tower Bridge

Distance- 3.2 miles

Time- 2 hours

Shuttle- Stop 8 (Sunrise Point)

The Tower Bridge hike is a part of the Fairyland Loop. If you plan on doing this loop, do not complete the Tower Bridge on a separate day! The Fairyland Loop is a total of 8 miles which is why we decided to just complete the one section. This hike is listed as easy but was far from that. First, you hike 1.6 miles down into the canyon and then when you are tired and hot, you have to hike 1.6 miles out- we were exhausted but took many rest periods and drank lots of water!

Before going out for our evening hike to Mossy Cave, we went to the Ebenezer’s Barn and Grill for a country concert- you have the option of eating dinner at the buffet but it was a little too expensive as neither one of us was super hungry ($30-40 depending on what you want as your main meal). The concert was great so if you have time, check it out! It’s $10 if you are not eating dinner and just want to attend the concert.

Mossy Cave Trail

Distance- .8 miles (total out and back)

Time- 30 minutes

Shuttle- No shuttle stop, this trail is outside the park, about a 10 minute drive

Okay, so here is the thing… this hike was only .8 miles but we didn’t complete it for a few reasons. As we were walking in everything was fine, a couple was leaving and said we were the only ones there and to have fun because we would be all alone. As soon as it got dark, all I could think about was the movie Wrong Turn (if you haven’t seen it, google it, and you’ll know why I was scared)- yes, I know I am a baby. Greg also warned me of the animal life we may run into including mountain lions and coyotes, I wasn’t too concerned about them until we saw a really big snake and I thought “Oh, the animals must all come out at night,” which made me even more scared. Greg agreed to forego the rest of the hike after about .3 miles in and on our way back all we could smell was a skunk- now my fear of being sprayed by a skunk on my honeymoon set in! Overall, this hike looked like it would have been great so we recommend completing it in the daytime or nighttime if you aren’t scared like I was. Let me know if you go at night and how the stars are!

OTHER PARK INFORMATION

SHUTTLE SYSTEM– There is a free shuttle here at Bryce National Park. It takes about 45 minutes to complete the entire loop or you can look for crossover points to shorten your trip. The bus drivers were all great and can help with anything you need.

VISITOR CENTER- Definitely make a stop here, the rangers can provide you with any information or questions you may have, you can buy souvenirs at the gift shop, grab free maps (we lived off of using ours), and get a stamp for your National Park Passport! We added to our National Park patch collection here.  

SERVICE- We had service and WiFi at our campground which was nice for a change, we were immediately able to send pictures to our family. 

FOOD- We packed a lot of snacks for our hikes including trail mix, crackers, etc. Having the RV available after each hike was very convenient for meals as well. There are many restaurants, cafes, and stores in the town of Bryce City and the staff can provide recommendations if you are craving something specific. Our reviews of the restaurants we ate at are above.

LAUNDRY– There was a laundry facility at our campground but we did not need it or know how much it costs.

WEATHER– It was hot! Luckily, there were some shaded parts during our hikes but definitely bring lots of water.   

TRAILS- If you are limited on time, plan out your top trails and do them first; you might be surprised that you have extra time in the day that allows for more adventures.

FIREWOOD- You are not allowed to gather branches for firewood, it must be purchased.

OUR NUMBER 1 RECOMMENDATION- Attend a local event- concert, rodeo, etc.

OUR NUMBER 1 RECOMMENDED HIKE- Views from in the canyon: Wall Street/Queens Garden, Views from on top of the canyon: Bryce Point to Inspiration Point.