As much as I enjoyed our time in Yellowstone National Park exploring the Mammoth Hot Springs, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, and Old Faithful and the Geyser Basins, I was thrilled to finally spend time in Grand Teton National Park.
We arrived in the park around dinner time, entering from the north after our final day in Yellowstone National Park. There was very little traffic in our direction — it seemed like everyone was heading from Grand Teton into Yellowstone.
It didn’t take long for me to understand that’s what most people do — fly into Jackson, drive through Grand Teton National Park and maybe take some pictures along the loop road of the mountains on their way to Yellowstone. Some people do enter the park from Yellowstone, making a half-day or day-trip of the loop road and its highlights.
I’m thankful we made this park an intentional, several-day stop on our road trip because it ended up being my favorite part of our adventure.
When we were planning our trip, I wasn’t sure where we would stay because all of the national parks had limited amenities due to COVID-19. Thankfully the private cabins at Colter Bay on the north side of the park had re-opened even though the lodges, restaurants, visitor centers, etc. had not and we were able to book a private space for a few nights.
It was a little overcast when we arrived but we could still make out Mount Moran and the northern end of the Teton range. There are easily accessible boat ramps, kayak rentals, and hiking trails along the lakeshore, offering a variety of means for exploring the area.
We decided to explore on foot via the Lakeshore trail before it started to get dark. This easy and relatively flat 2-mile roundtrip loop trail was perfect for a leisurely, early evening hike.
Although we couldn’t access all of the amenities of this area, we did stop by the Ranch House at Colter Bay down by the marina a couple times in the mornings for coffee and muffins to go at breakfast and once at dinner for a delicious pepperoni pizza to go. Maybe I was just tired of eating turkey sandwiches from our cooler, but everything we had to eat was great!
Our last night a storm blew through and afterward Brian really wanted to walk down to the water for sunset. I’m usually ready to wind down after dinner, especially after a long day. Getting ready to head out for a new activity at dusk was the last thing I wanted to do. After some cajoling I finally agreed, and we walked through the woods to the lakeshore to watch the sun set behind the Tetons.
I was glad he talked me into it — what a sight. If you have the opportunity to catch the Tetons at night, don’t pass up the opportunity.
Colter Bay was a perfect place to crash during our visit — we weren’t that far away from the areas we wanted to explore, and we WERE far away from the busier areas closer to Jackson where many tourists end up staying.
If you’re looking for some place more peaceful and quiet and literal steps from nature, I’d definitely recommend staying in Colter Bay.