String Lake to Inspiration Point

Most guidebooks will have you park in the South Jenny Lake parking lot and walk three miles around the lake to the beginning of trail leading to Inspiration Point. Alternatively, they will point out the option of taking a boat from the Jenny Lake Boat dock.  Not me.

Instead you should drive to String Lake. You can reach it by heading ten miles north of the Moose Entrance to Grand Teton National Park.  Turn left at the signed North Jenny Lake Junction.  It is another one and a half miles to the String Lake parking lot access road on the right.  There are three lots, park in the first one. If it is full, you can go to one of the others, get out of the car, head for the lake and turn left on the trail until you reach the first lot.

From the first parking lot head south, following the short trail that skirts the eastern edge of the lake. Within a couple of hundred yards you will see a bridge on your right cross it, or perhaps stop in the middle and marvel at the view.

After the bridge the trail bears west and south. It passes through area burnt from a forest fire in 1999, incredible views of the Tetons looming over the hills, and a fast moving stream on your left. When you reach an intersection after about one third of a mile, bear left, rather than breaking right to continue around String Lake. The path will take you about 1.5 miles to Jenny Lake and then head west along the lake shore for a short stretch to the western edge of Jenny Lake where the boat ramp is located  (hopefully you arrived at a different time than the boat). [Read more…]

Hike to Phelps Lake

An Idyllic hike that combines rushing rivers, wooden bridges, and a beautiful lake with a mountain backdrop can be had by parking at the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve Center and following the Lake Creek Trail to Phelps Lake. Along the way you will cross three bridges, hike gentle switchbacks up and down forested hills, and arrive at a large lake with a tempting bench to sit on. This can all be accomplished within slightly less than a three mile roundtrip.

If you just want to soak in the view, you can forsake the trip and relax on one of the many benches strategically placed along the streams and enjoy the sounds and the view. For those who want to extend the journey, once you reach Phelps Lake, follow the trail to the left (I have not yet travelled to the right). After walking approximately three quarters of a mile you will reach a rocky promontory that juts into the water. It is a great spot to relax and eat a sandwich.  I have been known to wade into the cold waters of the lake from that spot, but be aware it is slippery.  Water shoes definitely help. [Read more…]

String Lake to Hidden Falls – Hiking Grand Teton National Park

If you like mountains, rushing streams, a gorgeous lake, and a waterfall to boot, then this 4 mile round trip hike is for you.   Perhaps long stretches of shade, open terrain recovering from a forest fire and minor elevation gain would interest you as well. 

The trip starts in the String Lake parking lot. 

String Lake

String Lake

You can shorten the distance if you park in the first area on your left.  Lengthen it slightly and park in the last lot, but then you have the advantage of quick access to the bathroom facilities.  Either way, leave the parking area and head to String Lake where you turn left.  Eventually, you will cross a scenic wooden footpath bridge.  Follow the path and continue straight, instead of turning right at the intersection with the String Lake loop trail.  [Read more…]

String Lake – Hiking Grand Teton National Park

It probably was once a river channel connecting Jenny Lake to the South and Leigh Lake to the North. Now, String Lake is nothing short of a spectacular narrow body of sparkling water ringed on its Western and South Western sides by majestic mountains that seemingly stretch from the shore to the clouds.  On its eastern shore are numerous small beaches, some immediately adjacent to the parking lot and others to the North that provide some semblance of privacy.

The trail that rings the lake is easy, especially the stretch from the parking lot north to the bridge that crosses a mild set of rapids to the Western side (about a fifteen minute walk).  The shaded walk keeps you in close contact with the water on the left and the woods on the right.  Should you want to go further, after crossing the bridge follow the trail for another couple of hundred yards until you reach a branch heading South (to your left).  It will lead you back to your starting point in another hour after first circling the lake.

String Lake is not just for viewing. It is also for swimming as well.  [Read more…]

Jackson Hole – Great Harvest Bread Company

Ok.  I can’t believe I am recommending a franchise.  I can’t believe I am recommending that you go all the way to Jackson Hole and then frequent an eatery that you might have back home.  However, this ain’t just your ordinary Great Harvest Bread Company store (and the ordinary ones are pretty darned good too!).  This bakery is special – at least it is to me and everybody I have brought in there.  It is quite different than the franchise that is located where I live.  The owners appear to have taken special care to put their own distinctive twist on the brand.

It starts with the free samples.  They offer you gigantic portions of several different types of bread, swathed in butter or jelly that, except for your guilt, would be enough to eat along with their Snake River Roaster coffee sold by the cup.  However, even though they serve fine looking breakfasts that is not what brings me in.  Even the tempting smells emanating from the freshly baked loaves of bread would not necessarily warrant a stop there an almost command performance.

For me, it is their sandwiches and desserts.  Specifically, it is one of each.  Usually I am a roast beef or corned beef sandwich guy.  However, once I ventured out of my comfort zone when I saw the description of their Cowboy Cobb.  It included:

  • Fresh avocado
  • Smoked turkey breast
  • Crispy bacon
  • Blue cheese spread

When I opened it up forty minutes later up at the Oxbow (see a future post on this incredible wildlife viewing location), I thought I had died and gone to heaven.  I was so impressed that between bites I called my wife in Maryland and told her I had found Nirvana.  [Read more…]

Jackson Hole – Creekside Market and Deli

This little gem is a great place to stop for a surprisingly inexpensive sandwich to take along on your outdoor adventure.  The turkey club is especially good, but alternatively you have your choice of:

  • 13 meats
  • 8 cheeses
  • 12 breads
  • 19 fixings

or 9 other specialty sandwiches.  Along with all this you get the benefit of a small grocery ( a clean bathroom for those in need) and personal assistance.

It is located at 545 N. Cache Rd. ( the main road heading north out of town).  As you are leaving town, you will see a long low strip center on your left.  The Deli is located in the middle of the structure.

Jackson Hole – Dornan’s

If you want the best Bloody Mary for the best price in the world, Dornan’s is the place to go.  If you want world class views of the Tetons while savoring incredibly tasty pizzas, calzones, and salads washed down by local beers, Dornan’s is the place to go.  If you want to rent bikes to ride into Grand Teton National Park or just pick up a few grocery items before you enter the Park, Dornan’s is the place to go.  If you…. well you get the idea – Dornan’s is the place to go! [Read more…]

Wilson – Hungry Jack’s General Store

If you are heading west towards Teton pass, you will enter the town of Wilson just before the road begins its ascent over the mountains.  The town is small and unassuming, but contains a gem that should not be missed – Hungry Jack’s General Store.  It will be on your right (north side of the road), just to the left of the Post Office.  If ever you wanted to step into culture of the past fused with the products of the present this is it.  Hungry Jack’s is a general store where you can pick up basic grocery items, clothing, DVDs, etc. in an eclectic menagerie that harkens to the working West.

I usually enter thinking of one or two things that I need, and leave with having not found them but being drawn to purchasing several other items that catch my passing fancy.  It is a store that you feel good about making a purchase in.  It has a family run atmosphere that shakes you free from the corporate retail culture that we have all become used to navigating.  When you leave with a pair of work gloves with Jackson Hole insignia, Carhartt jeans or some other item you feel you are also leaving with a piece of this wonderful valley.

Jackson Hole Trip Itineraries

I am providing a chart with short descriptions below in order to assist you with planning your trip to Jackson Hole during the summer.  It is best used for planning a three or five day trip.  I have grouped my suggestions in a manner that makes sense based on the geography of the valley (assuming you are staying near Teton Village or the Aspens) and in order to give a broad overview of what the valley has to offer.  [Read more…]

Local Jackson Hole Authors

1) Saddles to Sushi– The author, Mike Bressler, is an unheralded author outside of the valley whose outdoorsmen look belies his prodigious talent.  I met him for the first time at a writer’s group in the Art’s Center in Jackson Hole (I doubt he remembers me now).  I was captivated as he read a short story about Clyde Thornhill, the subject of the story and the protagonist in Saddles to Sushi, which is an anthology of Clyde’s life. 

Recently, while browsing through the Valley Book Store I was pleased to run across a copy of his book and purchased it immediately.  As I read it I wondered if I was learning about Clyde, Mike or both.  Nevertheless, it never ceases to be entertaining and irreverent but somehow also relevant.

In the  process of exploring Clyde’s relationships with; Susie, his feminist liberal lover; Alice,  his Republican lover; or Lill, his redneck lover – you will become immersed in one man’s perspective of the subtle sub culture in Jackson Hole.  Each of the approximately 65 short stores will leave you in stitches, but scratching your head from the folksy wisdom of a man on the prowl.  The stories center one man’s eternal search for black lace,  simple pleasures and biscuits and gravy in the morning, and .  The backdrop is an often hilarious overview of Jackson Hole’s restaraunts, art galleries, and political lumineries.