Grand Tetons

NPS photo snowy Tetons:

2007 misty clouds and tetons: Cathedral group big NPS photo:

landstat Grand Teton park 280 pixls: tetons geology image archive Winona:

Tetons NPS photo:

WY_TetonRange copyright EJ Peiker: sagebrush in foreground; a long row of snow capped mountains

sunlight streaming through clouds teton range Sept 2011: photo mostly of clouds with a mountain range in the distance and little light on a lake in the mid distance

The photos above (4th is a landstat image from NASA, a larger copy of which is at: NASA aerial photo of Teton Range, 1st, 3rd, 6th courtesy of NPS), 7th © E J Peiker http://www.ejphoto.com/grand_teton_page.htm used with permission, 8th is my own,

give you an idea of why the Tetons are so majestic and awe-inspiring.
And why the word magnificent is used so much to describe them.

Sailboat photo below © E J Peiker http://www.ejphoto.com/grand_teton_page.htm

Note the size of a sailboat’s sails (with sunset color)
and Jeep on the road in relation to the peaks in Grand Teton National Park:

e j peiker photo sailing at sunset on Jackson Lake.: Jeep and tetons:

Unlike most mountain ranges, which have foothills, the 40 mile long, 7 to 9 mile wide Grand Teton range is fronted by vast expanses of land then the mountains abruptly rise 3,000 to more than 7,000 feet above the 6,500 to 6,800 feet elevation plain. They are rugged and craggy with some snow and over a dozen glaciers and perennial ice fields on top year ’round. There are eight peaks over 12,000 feet in elevation. The highest peaks are: Grand Teton (13,770 feet), Mount Owen (12,928 feet), Middle Teton (12,804 feet) and Mount Moran, at the center of the photo below, (12,605 or 12,594 feet, depending on the source).

paddler and pink sunrise grand tetons:

For a close-to-home comparison, De Anza College sits at 274 feet elevation.
Montebello Ridge above us is at 1,800 to 2,400 feet.
Castle Rock Ridge above Saratoga runs at about 2,800 to 2,500 feet
with Summit Rock and Castle Rock at 3,076 and 3,214 feet above sea level.

The edge of the Tetons are dotted with lakes: intimate-easy-to-swim-across-sized like average six to ten feet deep String Lake,

swimminginStringLake400pixel: a group of people in swimsuits and wetsuit standing in a mountain lake, reacting to a joke

mid-sized lakes like Jenny Lake, (2 miles by 1 1/4 mile, 226 feet deep), or massive lakes like Jackson Lake, almost 14 miles long, 445 feet deep. Along the base of the range there are 7 moranial lakes. Among the peaks and canyons there are over 100 alpine and backcountry lakes and a dozen glaciers to keep some of them quite cold.

This swimmer braved Lake Solitude at 9,000 feet with some snow still along the shoreline:

photo by Peter Ye Ethan Wilkie jumps into lake solitude: man jumps from granite rock into lake

Below, a photo of a visitor center raised relief map. Jackson lake is the biggest one, with Jenny Lake and Leigh Lake to the upper left of it. At the bottom are Two Ocean and Emma Matilda lakes.

all ofJackson Lake raised relief map:

Almost all the lakes do not allow motorboats.
Jet skis and submersibles are not allowed on/in any park waters.
Underwater diving/ snorkling are allowed only in Jackson and Jenny lakes, within existing limitations on swimming.
Limitations on swimming/wading include not within 150 feet of the downstream face of Jackson Lake dam, not within marinas, boat mooring areas or in the vicinity of the Jenny Lake ferry boat concession.
Floating any river or stream within the park on an air mattress, float tube, inner tube or similar individual flotation device is prohibited.
Windsurf boards are only allowed on Jackson lake and they and all other boats, canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddle boards must have a boat permit which you can obtain at any visitor center.
(Always check current regulations as this website can’t be kept completely up to date as well as park service websites.)

rocks packed together

Both Grand Teton National park and Yellowstone National Park are in Wyoming, and people usually visit both as a part of this trip. Driving directions and options for flying are at Grand Tetons trip transportation.

simple map

These notes are from the 2021 trip:
We will still wear masks when / where required, and washing our hands regularly has always been a good idea. The college has not told us it will require vaccinations, but people already planning to go, as of July, have been fully vaccinated and are saying they only want fully vaccinated people in their carpools.

Carpools are arranged by individual students, not by the club or the college.

People are considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19 two weeks after they have received the second dose in a 2-dose series (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna), or two weeks after they have received a single-dose vaccine (Johnson and Johnson (J&J)/Janssen).

The 2021 De Anza Outdoor Club trip to Grand Teton National Park was (any or all days, your choice), August 16 – Sept. 1, 2021 +/-

As of July 31, the 2021 trip is full and closed to any more signups. We will put details about the 2022 trip here closer to the date, which will likely be mid-August to early September.

Participants can stay for a shorter, longer or much longer trip. Often people go to Yellowstone National Park, just north of Grand Teton, as well. Some couples/groups have visited many states/parks on the way to or from the trip.

Baby bears seen on the 2018 trip.

Pictures from the 2017 trip are at: Total Solar Eclipse in Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton trip 2014 video by Jennifer Chiou

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uXiHRYdgo7Q

The club has gone in August/September 2000, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and June 2003.

Trip logistics are the choice of each person on the trip, including:

How long you stay (a long weekend, a couple of weeks)
or often in the past, people have made the drive home into some variation of
an eight-or-nine-national-parks-plus-Las Vegas-or-Seattle-in-five-or-six-or-seven-days-road trip.

Where you stay, – It can be difficult to coordinate timing of activities if we don’t all stay in the same area, so we’ve all stayed at Colter Bay for at least part of the time, if not most of the time, on previous trips.

Colter Bay campground,

The “Outdoor Club” does not get campsites (or any overnight accommodations),
students on the trip get them and share them as they want to.

(Campsite reservations become available six months before the trip.
See: getting a campsite)

Colter Bay cabin,


or you might choose other hotels and hotel suites, some with a fabulous view, fireplace, fridge, etc,

How you get to the Tetons, (fly all the way, or get a cheap ticket to fly part way and then rent a car and drive the last 6 hours, drive by yourself or in a small or huge carpool) Grand Tetons trip transportation

simple map

Meals, on your own and/or a few meals, or some years, most meals, taken as a small or large group at a restaurant or as a cookout / picnic.

We have set aside time almost every year to go to Lunch Tree Hill for sunset dinner and stargazing after. Some nights there will be no moon out for quite awhile after sunset.

dinner on Lunch Tree Hill Sept. 2010: mountain sunset and people watching, preparing dinner

Check out the sunset photos at Lunch Tree Hill.
lunch tree hill sunset 2005 mt moran:

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We recommend some things to do in advance
(some of them should be done well in advance)

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To sign up for this trip,
you must first read the sample trip agreement.

At that page are more details of how to find us to sign up.

water rippling

Trip activities include:

(people can join us for just one planned activity, or if they have the time, everything we do)

    We will have three, four, or … official kayaking or canoeing mornings/days suitable for beginners. If it turns out we can’t transport the kayaks your trip fee will not cover rentals for that many days. (Weather could cancel some kayaking as we do not risk kayaking during thunderstorms.) Kayaking will probably start with a brief outing on Colter Bay, just down the road from the campsites/cabins. This is flat water with little current and is a good way for people with no kayaking experience (such as our usually May and October Monterey trip) to get a first experience.

    We also plan sunrise kayaking on Oxbow Bend and on another day, a five mile stretch of the Snake River from Jackson Lake Dam / Cattleman’s Bridge could come next.
    See Grand Tetons trip kayaking.

    We plan to do a short to quite long (your choice of distance, with or without a Ranger Naturalist), hike into Cascade Canyon. Cascade Canyon, Grand Teton National Park Your trip fee includes one ride on the hiker shuttle boat across Jenny Lake for the all day Cascade Canyon hike on a day picked by the group. ($18 per adult in 2020). (The boat shuttle takes four miles off the round trip hike, allowing people to hike farther into the mountains.) Day to be chosen once we are in the park.
    People can choose other hikes, with or without a Ranger Naturalist, to the many canyons and lakes.

    People usually do some or a lot of sightseeing. We know the best places to look for elk early in the morning and where a pair of bald eagles usually nest (and when we bring people to these locations we make certain they don’t disturb the animals).

    People usually have meals (picnic, cookout or restaurant) together.

Stargazing is so much better than in the city and the Milky Way is in full view on the mostly uncloudy nights. Or we occasionally enjoy a full blast thunder/lightning storm (or maybe a little snow).

    We often get a wilderness permit for an optional kayaking overnight camp, usually limited to 12 people by the size of the permit and the number of kayaks we might be able to bring. If we can’t transport the kayaks your trip fee will not be enough to cover this long of a rental. (And again, weather could cancel any kayaking as we do not risk kayaking during thunderstorms.)

Below, a photo of Jenny Lake, Leigh Lake and part of Jackson Lake. Our overnight wilderness campsite is usually on the left hand side of the lake in the middle, Leigh Lake.

NPS photo Jenny Leigh and part of Jackson lake:

(Looking at visitor stats for the last decade we find that only slightly over 1% of the total recreation visits to Grand teton National Park involved back country camping.)

    Many people on the trip work towards getting their park Young Naturalist or Junior Ranger certification and go to Ranger programs together.

young naturalist badge smaller: young naturalist pledge:

or earn a Junior Blue Goose Ranger badge at the National Elk Refuge (Forest Service) Visitor Center in town.

a cloth badge that says Junior Blue Goose ranger, National Elk Refuge, Jackson, Wyoming

    We have previously taken a short excursion on a sailboat

    Signal Mountain Lodge sailboat photo used with permission:

    and in 2005 on a deck boat on Jackson Lake. In the picture below the girls jumped off the deck boat into Jackson Lake and swam, and encouraged the guys to join them (but they didn’t).

    in the foreground, the deck of a boat, in the middle girls treading water and calling out, in the background Mount Moran

    If we do this year it will be subject to availability, date and time to be decided when we know who/when is going and what budget they have.

strip of a photo of mountains with some snow

    A previous trip participant wrote me a thankyou email:

    “Thank you for the entire Teton trip. I have never done so many activities in such a short amount of time in my life.”

nps photo moose cow 2 calves running after: nps photo of a moose cow with 2 calves running after her

Even on a short trip you can expect to see elk and bison, (often moose) especially if you are out early. Fall trips have more chances to see animals than in the summer. The moose calves will be about 2 1/2 months old, the elk calves about 3 to 3 1/2 months old and the cows (mothers) will not be hiding them as much.

canoeists see moose on island: young male moose browsing 2004:

It will be the start of elk mating season and the bulls will be bugling and gathering harems.

early morning small elk herd 2007 tetons:

If you are lucky and spend enough time in the park you may see Bald Eagles, otters, beavers, grizzlies and see or at least hear coyotes and wolves. More details about flora and fauna are below.

moose and mom 6:

Was that a wolf or a coyote? An elk or a moose?

nps drawing bears: drawing of a black bear and a grizzly for comparison Rocky Mountain mammal size comparisons NPS photo Yellowstone wildlife montage Robert Hynes 180 pxls:

Rocky Mountain mammal size comparisons has photos and comparisons of beavers, squirrels, pika, marmot, elk, moose, bison, fox, coyote, wolf, golden-mantled ground squirrel, chipmunk, Red Squirrel (also known as) Chickaree, Unita Ground squirrels, bobcat, lynx, mountain lion (cougar), pine marten, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, pronghorn, grizzly and black bears, tundra swan, trumpeter swan, adult and juvenile Bald Eagles.

water rippling

De Anza owns ten tandem (two-person) kayaks. These are not the kind of kayaks with spray skirts that your legs are stuck in, they are more like small canoes. The total number of people who can sign up for this trip and expect to kayak regularly is 20 unless we take turns or rent extra boats.

Some could bring their own craft. (The club would like students who will bring their own craft to sign up with us and do proper Risk Management paperwork even though they are not using De Anza owned kayaks. There are how-to pictures at: loading a kayak on a car.)

If all goes as planned, the kayaks/paddles/lifejackets/drybags will be transported to the park. (2020 canoe or kayak rentals: $55 to $85+ for 24 hours, or as much as $40 an hour. If we kayak on and off for only a week we save $100 to $200 or more per boat.)

Our typical day

with an early morning kayak starts by getting up early enough to really see lots of animals. By the afternoon moose and elk are usually napping somewhere cool and hidden. Getting up early can be 5 a.m. or even earlier if we want to see the sunrise. We eat a little (juice, power bar, fruit), get coffee into people who can’t function without it and try be on the road quickly, getting to

NPS photo oxbow bend: 100 pxls oxbow sunrise 2008:

2005 oxbow bend pink sunrise kayaking into mist.: two kayaks with a pink sunrise and mist

Oxbow Bend and launching shortly after, often paddling into the mist. We spend so much time out watching ducks, birds and animals we usually miss the last of breakfast seatings at the fancy buffet at Jackson Lake Lodge (until 9:30) and end up eating at the Colter Bay Ranch House, or missing breakfast altogether. Then we finally get a shower and sometimes a nap to make up for lack of sleep the night before, or we start on mid-day activities.

If you want to go kayaking or canoeing with us on this trip you MUST read Grand Tetons kayaking . The page has lots of pictures of the animals we have seen.

Mid-day

GRTE ranger hike NPS photo: it’s Ranger walks, museums, hikes (we will skip the early morning kayaking on the day of the all day Cascade Canyon hike Cascade Canyon, Grand Teton National Park), other driving and/or kayak tours.

For your safety hiking, the Rangers warn “… Always carry bear spray and know how to use it… solo hiking and off trail hiking is not recommended, a considerable number of rescues involve solo parties that were unable to self rescue and remained alone in the wilderness, sometimes with life-threatening injuries, until rescuers could locate them.” Your safety in grizzly bear territory

Trip cost includes part of the cost of the bear spray, which is required for everyone to carry. Each trip member is required to attend a ranger program on safe bear spray use and watch an online video and read about bear spray before they go hiking, biking, kayaking or even walking away from developed areas. The ranger programs are offered every day at at least one Grand Teton National Park visitor center. (The material to read is at: https://www.nps.gov/yell/learn/nature/bearreact.htm and https://www.nps.gov/yell/learn/nature/bearspray.htm and the Yellowstone bear spray video is linked to at that page.) In a dozen years of club trips no one has had to use (spray) any bear spray.

We usually plan to bring trail snacks/picnic food rather than take the time to go to restaurants for lunch, but the burgers at the take-out window at Jackson Lake Lodge sometimes call to people.

Each year people have planned time to make a half day or longer caravan trip around the main park loop road for general sightseeing, again, sometimes with a quite early start to be able to see more animals. Pictures and info about visitor centers, Cunningham Cabin, Menor’s Ferry, Chapel of the Transfiguration, Cascade Canyon, Signal Mountain summit road, Colter Bay Indian Arts Museum, and Morman Row are at: Grand Tetons sightseeing

The group does an all day hike up Cascade Canyon, the date of which will be chosen when we know who is coming and when.

GRTE floattrip NPS photo: Horseback by GTL company: NPS photo horseback ride:

Parts of previous groups have done activities that are not an official club “event,” including:

gone bike riding (and yes all trip participants, of any age, must wear a helmet even though bike riding would not be an official club “event,”

driven a four-wheel drive road (which we named “we’re gonna bottom out road”), or horseback riding,

Horseback riding: In the fall the corral at Colter Bay sometimes closes before we are there, Jackson Lake Lodge is often open longer and you can take a horseback trail ride: 307 (543-3100) from their website in 2019:

Short Ride (Approx. 1 hr) $48 adult

Standard Ride (Approx. 2 hrs) $78.00/adult

Riders must weight no more than 225 pounds and must wear closed toed shoes (long pants recommended). No backpacks, video cameras or binoculars allowed by most outfitters. Recommend you apply sunscreen and insect repellent PRIOR to the ride. Suggest you carefully read all their rules in advance.

OutdoorClubgroupphoto2011raft 150 pixels: white water rafters, some with their paddlesOn the 2011/2012 trips there were enough people who wanted to go white-water rafting that they reserved their own raft from a guide company and did not have to share with strangers. See also: Grand Tetons whitewater rafting. (2021 approx. $92 to $167 with a meal included, one place quotes for a private boat 4 – 8 passengers $700.)

Experienced surfers could bring their surfboard, when we go in early summer, there are sections of the Snake River (from West Table to Sheep Gulch, especially Taco Hole and Lunch Counter, or search for King’s Wave just north of Astoria) you can surf in place on a rapid for as long as your legs hold out (or until a raft needs to go through or someone else wants to take a turn). Some really are only for experienced surfers, (some of whom will tell you they thought they were going to drown the first time they tried it in early season), and the wash out below the rapids can have serious rapids/large boulders as well. Much of the surf potential depends on how much water the Bureau of Reclamation releases from Jackson Lake Dam, and the best ‘season’ for this surfing is early summer, sometimes into July. You know without asking this is not a college-sponsored event.

photo by Alanna Klassen Willie Nelson concert: Willie Nelson on outdoor stageIn 2010 some of the group went to an outdoor concert with Willie Nelson.

Most years, free concerts are offered every Sunday at 5 p.m. at Teton Village.
http://concertsoncommons.com/

Alex and Alanna at climbing gym: girls belays guy nearing top of climbing wall photo by Alex Mitchell, Alanna Klassen climbing: girl on climbing wall photo by Peter ye climbing gym: walls at a climbing gym the climbing gym in town was a tempting place to spend a rainy day and we hope one can reopen.

In the meanwhile Phil Baux Park, at 10 E Snow King and S Cache, Jackson, Wyoming (at the base of Snow King Mountain) has artificial climbing boulders, (is one of them still the world’s largest artificial boulder?), open to the public for free (except when booked by a group) with built-in hand/foot holds.The main adult sized is 30 feet long at the base and 40 feet wide at the 12 foot high top. Another is kid sized. The park foam footprint was made of preconsumer recycled material. You know without asking that climbing is not a college-sponsored event.

girl climbing on boulder

Jackson Wyoming skateboard park: one skateboarder at a parkmain bay Jackson Hole skate park: two skaters in skate park14,000 square feet Teton Co./Jackson skatepark, with four grind bays of varying difficulty (hey, bring a helmet/knee and elbow pads and wrist protection) is off Gregory. Take High School Road on the left off Highways 89/191 as they come into town from the south, then turn right on Gregory and between where Berger and Martin come in from the right, make a left on more of a driveway than a road to the skatepark. Print yourself a Google map of 1374 Gregory Ln, Jackson. Hours 8 a.m. to dark when we were last there. (Grand Teton National Park only allows skateboards, roller blades, skates in a few areas like developed campgrounds and the bike pathway.)

Grand Tetons biking has rules, advice and suggested routes in and out of the park for mountain and road bikes.
It includes warnings and statistics about cyclist (or trail runners) encounters with grizzly bears.

Get your fishing license at the Wyoming State Information Center as you drive through Jackson Hole, Wyoming on the way to the park.

Most meals on these trips have been picnic or cookouts, but on each trip most people have eaten out at least a breakfast, and sometimes a dinner together.

We sometimes end the day with a dinner picnic at a pond we know of to watch a beaver family that comes out in the evening, or a fancy or simple restaurant dinner, or burgers or cook-out at the picnic area at the beach down the road from the cabins / campground most of us stay at, or a sunset dinner at Lunch Tree Hill or …

Restaurants in Grand Teton National Park are non-smoking, many others in Wyoming and Montana allow smoking.

There are dozens of restaurants in the town of Jackson. They vary from burgers, Chinese, Mexican, sushi, pasta, Italian, steakhouse to four-stars with “an award-winning wine list”. Most lean towards family or casual atmosphere.

But plan for adequate time to get to Jackson for dinner . . .
The drive from Colter Bay to the edge of Jackson is about 42 miles.
A climbing school warns its customers:
“It is very important that you arrive on time, so please allow enough time for travel from wherever you are staying. Speed limits in the Park are low to protect wildlife and visitors, and rangers ticket offenders regularly. We want your entire experience here to be positive, so please do not speed.”

Here are more sunsets:

moonset over the tetons 2007 as steady as I could get it:

NPS photo below of a fiery Teton sunset on Jackson Lake by Jackie Skaggs, who said the 1976 sunset lasted almost 30 minutes at this intensity.

photofieryTetonsunset teton range by Jackie Skaggs, NPS: fiery sunset on the teton range as reflected in jackson lake by Jackie Skaggs, NPS, 1976

For the 2021 trip (mountain daylight time) civil twilight will begin at about 5:48 to 6:08 each morning, with sunrise from 6:28 to 6:45.
Sunset will be between 8:01 and 8:37. Moonrise and set is different each day.

There will be no moon on August 8, 2021 and a full moon on Aug. 22, 2021.

There will be quite a few nights when the moon rises hours after sunset, giving us a dark sky for great stargazing.

(For many people on this trip it is the first time they have seen the Milky Way.)

man sitting on low hill, night sky with many stars

Stargazing is much better than at home. As Jack Turner said in The Abstract Wild,

“At night the stars shine like crystal rivets in the blue-black sky”.

big dipper over the Tetons photo by Enrique Aguirre: mountains with lots of stars above, including the big dipper

photo above with the Big Dipper by Enrique Aguirre used with his permission. http://www.enriqueaguirre.com

More potential, optional activities that are not all official club events:

Yellowstone National Park, with Old Faithful Geyser, is just north of Grand Teton National Park.

Teton Yellowstone location on Wyoming map: Small map showing Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks in the northwest corner of Wyoming. Map courtesy of NPS.NASAYellowstoneTetons130 pixels: aerial view from NASA of yellowstone and grand teton parksNPSphotoraisedreliefmapYell130 pixels: NPS photo of a map of yellowstoneYELLview130 pixels: park service aerial view of part of yellowstone national park with partial cloud cover

Since your trip can start and end when people traveling together mutually want it to, you could add in an overnight visit in Yellowstone. Info about the hotels and cabins in Yellowstone is at:
http://www.ynp-lodges.com/ Campgrounds usually do not all fill during the fall season.

Most previous trip members have at least done a one or two day sightseeing drive into Yellowstone. The south border of Yellowstone is only 8 miles from the north border of Grand Teton. It’s 56 miles from Colter Bay to Old Faithful.

Old Faithful erupts on the average every 60 to 110 minutes, for 1 1/2 to 5 minutes, with an average height of 130 feet. See https://www.nps.gov/yell/learn/nature/oldfaithfulgeyserfaq.htm for an app of the next eruption prediction. “The famous geyser currently erupts around 17 times a day and can be predicted with a 90 percent confidence rate within a 10 minute variation.” Our favorite memory of an Old Faithful eruption was at night with light from a full moon and lightning from a thunderstorm in the background.

Stay on boardwalks and designated trails. Do not touch any thermal features and keep foreign objects out of springs. It can be windy so cinch your hats and secure your items.

Please note that “swimming or soaking in hot springs is prohibited. More than 20 people have died from burns suffered after they entered or fell into Yellowstone’s hot springs.”

I put lots of links to Yellowstone info at Yellowstone , including a link to a mini-video of an elk redoing the paint job on a Cadillac that you should watch.

NPS photo of an elk ramming a car:

In summer many Grand Teton elk migrate into Yellowstone, the biggest free-ranging herds of bison are in Yellowstone and the most wolves.

As of January 2020, there are at least 94 wolves in Yellowstone park. Eight packs were noted.

A 2017 Wyoming Game and Fish Department wolf report listed the minimum number of wolves “known to be present on Dec. 31, 2017”, in packs that reside in part or in whole in Grand Teton National Park, including 7 in the Huckleberry Pack (the purple almost circle on the map below to the right of the Teton Range), 5 in Lower Gros Ventre (the light blue colored blob below that), 11 in Pinnacle Peak ( the blue one below the Lower Gros Ventre wolf pack), 8 in Pacific Creek and 8 in Togwotee. 2017 Yellowstone wolf pack minimum size pack totals were 97 and the Wind River Reservation total minimum number of wolves was 12.

238 wolves, in 40 wolf packs, with 19 breeding pairs were known to be in Wyoming. In the map below you can see the wolf packs locations in Grand Teton and Yellowstone parks, as well as adjacent National Forest and private lands in 2017:

map of most of Wyoming with locations of wolf packs

2019 ( 42 wolves counted in the park in 2019) wolf pack territories in Grand Teton:

map of wolf pack territories

Many years of these wolf pack territories charts, as well as details about wolves, (including why wolves howl and how far away you can hear them) are at:
Wolf pack territories in Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks and wolf watching tips

October 2017 “the bison population in Yellowstone National Park measured around 4,800 head, down from the estimated 5,500 bison present in Yellowstone around this time in 2016.” A July 2012 report said “almost between 2000-4000 bison live in Yellowstone National Park, and almost 1000 bison reside in Grand Teton National Park.”

1,000 bison were counted in the Teton winter range in 2007, 840 in the winter range 2012, 484 in the winter range 2019.

Yellowstone 2009 late winter estimate of 96-98 wolves, 3,000 bison, 6,000+ elk. August 2012 saw a Yellowstone bison estimation of 4,230 including 600 calves born that year. In 2004, 719 bison in the Jackson herd, over 4,000 in Yellowstone.

Parts of Yellowstone can be a bit more crowded than Grand Teton. A NPS photo of a crowd dispersing at Old Faithful: NPS photo crowd dispersing at Old Faithful:

Yellowstone safety basics really worth reading:

https://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/safety.htm

Don’t be one of the people who puts their fingers in the boiling pools in Yellowstone
to see if the water really is that hot.

Every year people are badly burned when they fall into thermal features in Yellowstone. Most of this is due to not staying on the boardwalks, (including intentionally walking out on thermal features, which can get you a $1,000 fine) or playing/running on the board walks. A park news release said: “Yellowstone park visitors are reminded that for their own safety it is important to stay on boardwalks and designated trails while viewing all thermal features in the park. Scalding water underlies thin, breakable crusts; many geyser eruptions are unpredictable, and many thermal features are near or above boiling temperatures. Boardwalks and trails help protect park visitors and prevent damage to delicate formations.”

read details at:

fatal, near fatal or close call incidents/accidents in camping, backpacking, climbing and mountaineering

Please don’t be tempted to swim in hot springs. Thermal waters can harbor organisms that can cause fatal meningitis or Legionnaire’s.

NPS photo teton crest backpack: GRTEtcmeadow NPS photo:

 
Backpacking will not be an official part of this trip, but you could get a permit for a backpack adventure if you plan ahead and bring appropriate gear. A few details about permits, etc. are at Grand Tetons backpacking.

NPS photo adamteewinotgrand by Kfinch: a man sits on top of a peak, looking in the direction of other peaks in the TetonsTempted to climb a peak or two? Mountain climbing is not an official part of the trip, but here are a couple of links:

 
Commercial Climbing Guides

Exum Mountain Guides (307) 733-2297 http://www.exumguides.com/

Jackson Hole Mountain Guides (307) 733-4979 http://www.jhmg.com/

Each of the local climbing guide companies will require that you do a lesson or two with them before any peak bagging to prove that you are capable. They also give advice, for example about the Grand Teton climb:

Mountain climbingTetons NPS photo: two climbers with helmets sit on a peak, photo courtesy of the national park service“Climbers should be in good physical condition before attempting this climb. We recommend scheduling some days of hiking in the Tetons to acclimate to the altitude. You may take the schools and make the climb on consecutive days, or even better, insert a day after the schools to rest and hydrate.”

“Altitude: the high elevations in the Tetons have stopped otherwise fit people who didn’t take the time to acclimate. We strongly encourage our participants, especially those coming from sea level, to arrive a few days early in Jackson…To help one’s body adjust to the thinner and drier air, first of all HYDRATE. Exertion at altitude demands hydration. Drinking enough water markedly improves athletic performance and helps to prevent altitude mountain sickness. Before and during your climb, aim for 4-5 quarts of fluid a day…In the days before your Grand Teton ascent, assist the acclimation process by going to some higher elevations, above 9000 feet, and get some moderate exercise…Some people simply acclimatize more slowly; they often find that allotting a few extra days to acclimate is helpful for performance.”

The advice above for climbs to 10,000 or even 13,000 plus feet also applies to our stay. We are mostly staying at 6,800 feet elevation. On hikes we can go much higher (up to 9,000 feet in Cascade Canyon). You will probably feel out of breath at first and may even get a headache and lose appetite. You can get more sunburned. Read At altitude for advice. It includes why your tent mate might seem to stop breathing.

 

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Art gallery tours

There are 35+ galleries in town that you can visit on your own or during our fall trips we can attend parts of the Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival. Go to: http://www.jacksonholechamber.com/fall_arts_festival/

for details, including (September 4-15, 2019) historic ranch tours, cowboy jubilee concert, at least one galleries walk and the Taste of the Tetons sampling from valley chefs, restaurants and caterers, (and a juried art fair as well), in the town square as well as a Western Design Conference exhibition and sale of handcrafted works.

The galleries walk(s), has various studios offering not only displays but also demonstrations. The gallery walks are free and have much more to see (including oil and watercolor paintings, prints, glass vessels, outdoor sculptures, furniture, pottery, quilting, jewelry, rugs) than the local (fee) museum our group was disappointed with on the 2007 trip.

May 25 – Sept. 27, 2021 American Indian Guest Artist Summer Schedule
The NPS said; “Each summer, Grand Teton National Park hosts American Indian Artists at the Colter Bay Visitor Center to share their traditional and contemporary art with park visitors. Participating artists demonstrate and share the cultural traditions of their tribes through art forms such as painting, weaving, pottery, beadwork, and musical instruments.

Visitors are invited to learn more about American Indian cultures and view demonstrations daily, during summer operations. This annual summer program is available during open hours of the Colter Bay Visitor Center, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Artists also offer their finished items for purchase.”

https://www.nps.gov/grte/planyourvisit/american-indian-guest-artist-program-at-colter-bay.htm

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The Jackson Center for the Arts (dancer’s workshops, recitals, theatre company, art exhibits, touring ballet/bands/choir/dancers/guitarists/pianists/blues/blues rock/funk/jazz/western swing/bluegrass/cowboy balladeer/hootennany/puppeteer) is at 265 S Cache, 2 blocks south of the town square. http://www.jhcenterforthearts.org/

OffSquare Theatre Company (Wyoming’s only year round professional theater company): http://www.offsquare.org

In Pinedale, Wyoming: http://museumofthemountainman.com

In Jackson: http://www.jacksonholehistory.org

In Dubois: http://www.bighorn.org

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Teton Mountain Bike Festival Sept. 3 – 6, 2021 http://www.tetonbikefest.org
 
Jackson Hole Rodeo 2020 “Jackson Hole Rodeo starts at 8 pm.

Rodeos are Wednesdays and Saturdays from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day excluding fair week (July 19-26), with additional rodeos every Friday in July and August. $21 to $40, team roping, barrel racing, bullriding, calf roping, bareback riding, saddle bronc riding. http://jhrodeo.com/
 
Old Bill’s Fun Run (fundraiser for local charities, including the Red Cross, Fire/EMS, Grand Teton Park Foundation and the Murie Center) is held the second Saturday in September. http://www.cfjacksonhole.org/old-bills-fun-run/ People from our trip volunteered at it for four years.

 
Jackson Hole, Wyoming has a description of the main streets and how to find the Albertson’s, Ace hardware, Teton County library, St John’s Medical Center, skate park, city parks with sand volleyball and/or tennis courts, artificial climbing boulders and more.

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Where will we stay overnight or camp?

Where people stay is up to each person. It can be difficult to coordinate timing of activities if we don’t all stay in the same area, so we’ve all stayed at Colter Bay for at least part of the time on previous trips. Cabins and campsites are available at Colter Bay within walking distance of each other and walking distance to a restaurant, small store, the lakeshore, visitor center, art museum, laundromat/showers.

Colter Bay cabins: bearoutsidecabinatColterbay66 pixels: If you will be staying in a Colter Bay cabin, go directly to Colter Bay cabins, Grand Teton National Park for details about the cabins and the logistics of sharing one.

If you want to get a better room, or even a suite with fabulous view, fireplace, fridge, etc, read more at: Grand Tetons hotels, cabins, lodging.

For our fall trips, no reservations for campsites are needed unless you want a motorhome hookup site. We know the best campsites to ask for at Colter Bay.

At Colter Bay there is a picnic area with tables, firepits and restrooms at the lakeside swim beach just down the road from the cabins and campground, hang a right at the Visitor Center parking lot and drive to the end of that spur road. If we have a big group, it is much nicer to get multiple picnic tables at the swim beach than trying to cram many people in one six-person sized campsite. And the veiw is much better than at the campsites.

Look for the black and white aerial photo at: Colter Bay, Grand Teton National Park to find the picnic area, cabins, Visitor Center, grocery, campground, where you can find free WyFi, etc.

Many years we get an overnight backcountry permit and kayak in to a remote lake. If you want to go on the kayak overnight you should read String Lake to Leigh Lake, Grand Teton National park wel before you sign up for the trip.

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Flora and Fauna

Fall trips (mid-September)

Mount Moran and aspen: The first aspen will be turning yellow, enough for some great pictures, with other shrubs and trees turning yellow, gold, red or orange. The peak fall color will be later than when we are there, but most of us can’t miss the first week of classes. (The amount and timing of fall colors depends on the weather. In 2009 there never really was much color.) Last of or the start of the crop of lots of kinds of ripe berries for birds and animals, and still many wildflowers.

more fall wildflowers tetons roadside:
aster Cascade Canyon: leaves red pink yellow:
gold aspen leaves and clouds: Mountain Ash berries:

like a floating pink mist on water: close up of Lady's Thumb Knotweed: The Lady’s thumb knotweed (an aquatic plant) will be blooming on the edges of some waterways giving the impression, in the early morning low angled light, of a pink mist floating on the water.

NPS photo small herd of bison: a small herd of bison including a calf Probable sightings of bison, a shaggy, dark brown cow-like mammal, (10 to 12 foot long, 5-6 feet at the shoulder), (larger herds in Yellowstone: summer 2008 estimate of 3,000 in Yellowstone, summer 2009 3,300, winter 2009 2,900);

baby bison butts head with adult

elk (5 feet tall, 9 feet long), (more than 1,254 elk counted in the park in the summer in 2019)

moose (7 feet tall, 9 feet long with 5 feet wide antlers, eat 40 pounds of plants a day).

photo below of a dining moose courtesy of http://rickkonrad.com/

Rick Konrad photo female moose among lily pads: Rick Konrad photo of female moose among lily pads

We will mostly see moose wherever they find food. Your first moose sighting could be while hiking, out paddling, or even in a hotel parking lot (when these people got too close) or at a gas station:

2005 two moose in parking lot.: mom and calf moose in parking lot moose at Tetons gas station:

In 1992 estimates had the moose population in excess of 3,500 but the total shrank to around 1,700 by 2003, due perhaps the poor nutrition and predation. A NPS report said, in 2014, “The Wyoming Game and Fish Department makes an annual winter estimate of herd size based on the number of moose counted in aerial surveys. The count for 2014 totaled 241 moose (50 within Grand Teton), producing a Jackson herd estimate of 450 animals. Ratios were estimated at 33 calves and 96 bulls per 100 cows.

On warm days moose will seek relief from the heat, at least deeply shady moist spaces. They can’t tolerate temperatures warmer than 55 to 60 degrees and head into the water to cool down when the temps reach 75 to 80 degrees.

If you have never seen elk or moose before, a size comparison is at Rocky Mountain mammal size comparisons.

Hawk migrations going through (with some Cooper’s, Sharpshinned and Marsh Hawks as well as a few kestrels, merlins or peregrin falcons). Possible sightings of Canada geese “v”s by mid September, great blue herons, osprey (sometimes hover 30-100 feet above water before diving for a fish, then arranges the fish with it’s head pointed forward to reduce resistance while flying; 12 breeding pairs counted in the park in 2019),

trumpeter swans and nest. photo by Richard Lake: NPS photo swan landing: a Trumpeter swam with outspread wings landing on a waterway trumpeter swans (8′ wingspan; mate for life) , American white pelicans (their huge yellow beak and throat pouch distinguish them from swans), peregrine falcons (dive at up to 200 mph and strike prey in mid-air), Bald Eagles, deer, beavers and muskrats.

(12 breeding pairs of Bald Eagles counted in Grand Teton National park in 2019) NPS photos of adult and juvenile Bald Eagles:

Bald eagle about to take flightjuvenile Bald Eagle sitting on a branch

The juvenile Bald Eagle above will not get white head feathers until it is about 4 years old.
When the Bald Eagle was taken off the Endangered Species List on June 28, 2007, there were 12 nests in Grand Teton, 18 on private land in Teton County, six in Bridger-Teton National Forest and one in Bureau of Land Management territory. Most were close to the Snake River. As of 2012 there were 16 nesting bald eagle territories “but not all nests are active and fledge young each year. All territories are monitored for activity by the NPS. Known territories are located along the shorelines of the Snake River, Jackson Lake, and adjacent riparian areas. The park establishes, and enforces a 0.5 mile seasonal area closure from February 15 to August 15 around bald eagle nests to minimize human disturbance. . .”

 

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Grand Teton National Park birds has photos and details about the most common ones we can hope to see
including Bald Eagle, Red-winged Blackbird, Canada Geese, Clark’s Nutcracker, Golden Eagle, Great Blue Heron. Great Gray Owl, Harlequin duck, Loon, Magpie, Merganser, Northern Flicker (woodpecker), Osprey, Ouzel, Pelican, Peregrine Falcon, Ptarmigan, Raven, Sandhill Cranes, Steller’s Jays, Trumpeter Swan , Western Meadowlark, and Western Tanager, with links to calls / songs from most of them to listen to.

and you can Download photos of over a hundred birds of Grand Teton National Park
https://www.audubon.org/climate/national-parks/grand-teton-national-park

hawk flying

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NPS photo otter: We saw 4 to 7 northern river otters while out kayaking in 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2009. One source says they are able to stay underwater for up to eight minutes, another says 2-3 minutes while swimming at 6 miles per hour. Fast humans who can do a 100 meter freestyle in 1 minute are swimming at 3 miles per hour.

From a distance it can be hard to tell which small animal you see swimming. But each swims differently. River otters undulate through the water. When a beaver swims, only his head shows above the water, not his tail; muskrats show both their head and part of their back. Another source says that muskrats usually swim with their thin tails “snaking in the water behind them or arched out of the water; you never see a beaver’s tail as it swims.” Adult muskrats are the size of a football, their body about a foot long, beavers four times as big. Otters are 3 to 4 feet long, minks half that size.

Beavers use their tails as rudders as they swim, to slap the water when they want to warn other beavers they see something dangerous (like you, perhaps) and to help them stand up to reach for and chew branches. Beavers can identify by the sound which member of their family is slapping their tail, and sometime do not react when a young beaver is slapping warnings more often than an adult.

beaver standing upright

We might see coyotes and will probably hear them if we are out in the morning or evening. On the 2006 trip we heard wolves early one morning, and a few trip particpants have seen wolves in Yellowstone. Coyotes sing in more of a yip, wolves have the deeper howl.

NPS photo gray wolf:

Gray wolves were re-introduced into Yellowstone Park in 1995/6 and spread. In 1997 the first wolves were spotted in Grand Teton. In 1999 the first litter of wolf pups in Grand Teton in over 70 years was born.

A total of eight wolf packs were believed to have used parts of the Teton Valley in 2006. In 2007 four wolf packs had territories that overlapped parts of Grand Teton Park. (Estimates) The Buffalo pack (9 adults, 6 pups) and Huckleberry pack (7 adults, 2 pups) denned in the park. The Teton pack had 3 adults and 5 pups, the Pacific Creek pack had 9 adults and 4 pups. Yellowstone estimated 171 in 2007, 124 in 2008, and 96 to 98 in 2009. In 2008 Grand Teton had 6 packs with 45-50 wolves.

In 2010 five packs likely denned in the Jackson Hole area, including Phantom Springs (9 wolves) and Pacific Creek (12-14) packs in northern Grand Teton National Park and Buffalo (14), Antelope (4) and Pinnacle Peaks (4). A park resource page listed a minimum of 59 wolves in 6 packs in the Jackson Hole area and also listed the further south Phantom Springs pack (9).

A 2011 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Wyoming annual report had more details about Yellowstone packs, but listed 38 known wolf packs in Wyoming with 230 wolves and had a map/listings as of December 2011 with Snake River (7), Huckleberry (6), Pacific Creek (12), Phantom Springs (13), Lower Gros Ventre (3 wolves) packs within Grand Teton park.

A 2012 newpaper report quoted Grand Teton park as saying there were “six packs made up of about 50 wolves.”

A 2014 map from a Grand Teton National Park webpage showed home ranges of 6 wolfpacks, all of which were both in the park and in surrounding areas. From the north, going south, they were Snake River, Huckleberry, Phantom Springs, Lower Slide, Lower Gros Ventre and Pinnacle.

map of wolf pack territories in Grand Teton National Park 2014

The report with the map said, in part: “At the end of 2014, at least 333 wolves in 44 packs (25 breeding pairs) inhabited Wyoming, including Yellowstone National Park . . . Six wolf packs had home ranges that overlapped portions of GRTE (Grand Teton) in 2014. Three of these packs were counted as breeding pairs at year‐end. Within GRTE, the wolf population reached a peak in 2009 – when 76 wolves in 7 packs were documented. Total numbers have declined since then, but the number of packs has remained stable.”

You don’t need to be afraid if you are lucky enough to hear wolves howling or see wolves. In Rocky Mountain Natural History, by Daniel Mathews, we read: “wolves don’t hurt people. I’m not saying never ever not even once, but it’s so rare, we could have fun listing housepets and house hold objects that pose more danger. Um, pit bulls, bobby pins…”

In areas where wolves dominate instead of coyotes, Pronghorn (antelope) fawns are three times more likely to survive, because the wolves favor larger prey.

NPS photo pronghorn: Pronghorn (can run 30 mph for 15 miles with spurts up to 70 mph, from the Smithsonian “communicate with each other visually by raising the mane on the back of the neck into a stiff brush and erecting the white hairs on their rump”) are often seen on our trips. 356 in the summer counted in the park in 2019.

The park service notes that “A pronghorn buck (male) is easily distinguished from a doe (female) by his black cheek patch.”

pronghorn buck NPS photo

A 2013 newspaper article said there were about 18 mountain lions and an equal number of cubs in the Jackson area.

sign watch for migrating wildlife:

Bears may start digging their winter dens that they will occupy from November +/- (females with cubs earlier than males) until (males) March or (females) April. Bears (black and grizzly) out-of-dens sightings, (with lots of snow), in Grand Teton and Yellowstone have been early to late March (15, 2013 / 8, 2019 / 7, 12 & 22, 2020) to early April (7 & 8, 2019).) They will still be foraging for food to put on their needed fat layer to make it through the over half-year winter. From the Smithsonian “Grizzly bears are omnivorous, consuming everything from mosses, fungi, herbs, grasses, fruits, berries, small vertebrates, insects, birds, and fish—especially salmon during their spawning run.” They will be trying to eat 20,000 calories a day; picture yourself eating 35 Big Macs.

Grizzlies are seen more frequently in the Tetons than in previous years, and not just up in the high mountains, but occasionally down in the flatlands where we camp or cabin overnight and do most of our sightseeing and kayaking. The odds are will not see any, but you must read your safety in grizzly bear territory. One trip member saw a mom and three young grizzlies on the 2007 trip. Two of us watched a sow for quite awhile on the 2010 trip.

From a 2007 Grand Teton National Park press release:

“Despite the fact that visitors to neighboring Yellowstone National Park have typically had many opportunities to see grizzly bears, the visible presence of grizzlies in Grand Teton National Park has not been as common until recently. Researchers have increasingly radio-collared and tracked grizzly bears in the park since the 1990s. Although some local residents, and park visitors believe there are few if any grizzlies in Jackson Hole, current research indicates that grizzlies can be found anywhere in Grand Teton.”

In 2007 there were 571 grizzlies (estimate) and in 2010, 602 grizzlies (estimate) in the greater Grand Teton / Yellowstone area, about 10 to 15% collared. A Wyoming Game and Fish department report said in Wyoming in 1982 there were 102 and 469 in 2010. A video online at the Grand Teton park page in 2019 said there are 100 black bears and 70 griz in the park.

A 2012 park video said there are usually around 100 black bears and 70 grizzlies in the park.

NPS photo Griz and cubs cross road:

“In May 2006, a ten-year-old female grizzly bear emerged from her winter den somewhere in the Bridger-Teton Wilderness with three newborn cubs in tow. This bear family living in the heart of Grand Teton National Park has become a highlight attraction for park visitors and local residents alike. Glimpses of the young family bring out cameras, smiles, and exclamations of delight. The female and her offspring serve as one of the most visible examples of grizzly bear recovery efforts that have been underway for several decades throughout the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. These bears are also a vivid reminder of the need for park managers, staff, and visitors to be continually vigilant in ensuring conservation of these grizzlies and other park wildlife…”

 

bull elk with raised head and wide open mouth
Elk bugling, a low bellow/grunt followed by a higher-note-than-the-first-soprano-Outdoor-Club-faculty-advisor-can-reach whistle that carries a long distance, could be starting or could be at its peak.

(The high notes waver around a G three octaves above middle C, and down to a grunt resembling the G an octave and a half below middle C.)

The largest bulls bugle to amass harems of up to 60 cows and the younger ones try to. (From the Smithsonian: Elk “herds can include 200 or more animals. Males and females usually congregate in separate herds until the breeding season, in late September or early October. Then adult males use a variety of ostentatious behaviors to distinguish themselves and compete for access to reproducing females. They use their elaborate six-tined antlers, which may measure nearly 2 m in length along the main shaft, to clash with one another, they call loudly, and they spray urine.”

The Yellowstone Park website said “Bulls bugle to announce their availability and fitness to cows and challenge other bulls. When answered, bulls move towards one another and sometimes engage in battle for access to the cows. They crash their antlers together, push each other intensely, and wrestle for dominance. While loud and extremely strenuous, fights rarely cause serious injury. The weaker bull ultimately gives up and wanders off.”

In A Field Guide to Mammal Tracks, Olaus Murie described an elk bugle, or as he called it “Wapiti music: … It rises with a glide to a high-pitched silvery note, then glides down again, to end in some guttural grunts.”

In his memoir Teewinot: Climbing and Contemplating the Teton Range, Jack Turner, Exum guide and corporate president writes: “The sound the bull elk makes during the rut is, everyone agrees, difficult to describe. The word bugling leaves too much to the imagination, but attempts to be more specific usually end up being humorous. The early English hunters were particularly eloquent and fanciful. Sir Price said: ‘It is a decided whistle, not unlike a soft note on a clarinet, ending with a very mild sort of grunt at the finish–a most difficult sound to describe, but one which I am happy to say we became very familiar with before the hunt was over. It is the most gentle musical sound that emanates from any animal I ever met with.’

“Not to be outdone, Baillie Grohman said: ‘It is very hard to imitate, or describe. It is neither a whistle or a bellow. Not unlike some tones produced by an Aeolian harp, it might also be compared to the higher notes produced by the flageolet, and of course it is entirely different from the red deer’s call.’

“Olaus Murie’s description in The Elk of North America is, in the best tradition of American pragmatism, more prosaic, but it rings true: ‘The call begins on a low note, glides upward until it reaches high, clear, buglelike notes, which are prolonged, then drops quickly to a grunt, followed by a series of grunts. The call may be very roughly represented thus: A-a-a-a-ai-e-eeeeeeeee-eough! e-uh! e uh!’”

Hear elk bugling.

Please note it is against park regulations to imitate an elk bugle or wolf/coyote howl
or use any artificial or natural audio attractants (including rattling antlers)
to attract or disturb wildlife.

A report from 2014 said the Jackson herd numbered 11,423 elk

Elk graze near the streets of Mammoth and the Albright Visitor Center in Yellowstone. An Oct. 2007 report said that ten cars in Yellowstone had been gored that fall by rutting bull elk who “are prone to take their frustration and hormones out on anything that stands in the way of their cows.” Another report said a bull elk charged a big yellow dump truck. A ranger who works in the fall at keeping people away from the elk said “We try to create as safe of an environment as we can, but we can’t make the park risk free. But every time you get off your sofa, you have an elevated risk.”

photos below of bison, moose and elk courtesy of NPS

NPS photo bison on ridge: NPS two bull moose sparring 220 pxls: NPS two elk sparring 220 pxls:

elk and calf

To see elk in the spring, summer or fall, don’t head for the National Elk Refuge, at the edge of the town of Jackson. You may have seen pictures of 10,000 plus (one year the estimate was 17,000) animals who are only fed there in the winter from around December to March. (2007-8 winter had roughly 8,000 elk at the refuge of a total of 12,370 in the Jackson elk herd.)

row of buses depicting distance to stay away from animals
For your safety while wildlife viewing, enjoy viewing them a safe distance away (25 yards at least for most wildlife, and 100 yards for bears, moose, elk, bison and wolves).

How far away is 100 yards? Picture the length of a football field without the end zones.

25 yards? picture four car lengths or six kayak lengths, or the width of the De Anza College swimming pool.

woman looking through binoculars

You will really want your own binoculars.

and a telephoto lens / tripod for your camera.

The club advisor brings a few pairs of waterproof binoculars, but not enough for each person in a large group. Used pool lane line floats were used to make flotation so the binoculars will not be lost to the bottom of the lake if they fall overboard while out paddling. Below, a pair of binoculars with the floatation clipped on, and not clipped on.
binoculars and flotation

With binoculars you can see the river otters up closer when we are out paddling:

otters at Oxbow Bend and Mount Moran:

 
nps drawing bears: drawing of a black bear and a grizzly for comparisonWas that a black bear or a grizzly, a coyote or a wolf or a fox we just saw?

NPS photo Yellowstone wildlife montage Robert Hynes 560 pxls: Rocky Mountain mammal size comparisons has photos and comparisons of beavers, squirrels, pika, marmot, elk, moose, bison, fox, coyote, wolf, golden-mantled ground squirrel, chipmunk, Red Squirrel (also known as) Chickaree, Unita Ground squirrels, bobcat, lynx, mountain lion (cougar), pine marten, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, pronghorn, grizzly and black bears, tundra swan, trumpeter swan, adult and juvenile Bald Eagles.

 

Flora and Fauna

Summer trips (late June)

Tetons and river: See the description for fall above, with these notes:

The trees and shrubs will be leafed out in their new bright green or dark green. Mid June is the fullest flush of wildflower bloom. June is birthing time for many animals.

Most of the migrating birds will have moved back into the park and will be building nests, sitting on eggs or hatching eggs. (some nesting started as early as March.) As we remind people on our ocean kayak trips, keep the noise down. Any unnecessary expenditure of energy can harm a feeding or nesting bird or animal. Nesting birds may fly away from the nest exposing unprotected eggs and hatchlings to the sun’s heat or predators.

mom duck and ducklings: There will be some kinds of baby ducks and they really do swim behind mom in a line and even try to climb up on her back for a ride.

trumpeter swan and cygnet in the foreground, more of the family in the backgroundTrumpeter swans will have cygnets.

The adult Canada Geese we saw flying in “V”s in fall will still be molting and will be flightless.

Photos of over a hundred birds of Grand teton National park can be seen at:
https://www.audubon.org/climate/national-parks/grand-teton-national-park

By early August most of the bird nesting activity is over. By mid August the Unita ground squirrels go back into their winter burrows for hibernation.

The large hoofed mammals, such as elk, deer, moose, bison and pronghorns, give birth in June and by early July will be letting their babies out of hiding a little more, but they will still be very protective and dangerous. These mammals will have shed their heavy winter coats.

2 moose calves crossing a stream

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What kind of weather should we plan for?

http://www.mountainweather.com/JACKSON.htm

We usually have some sunny days warm enough to swim in the lakes. It will probably rain part of the trip and we could even a have a light dusting of snow. In 2007 and 2014 we had a couple of huge thunderstorms. It can be cold at night. Grand Tetons Weather has the details.

During a thunderstorm, don’t take a shower or use a sink, including washing dishes. Don’t talk on a land line phone. Don’t use your I pod. Please read Thunderstorm and lightning safety

moose silhouetted by water: nps photo mountain bluebird: mountain bluebird just outside a cavity nest entrance in a tree

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GEAR TO BRING:

You’ll need warm weather gear, including your swim suit, and cold weather gear, especially for early morning paddling and any overnight camping.

Grand Tetons trip equipment has details and advice based on previous trips. It includes this advice: “. . . if you fly to an out of state trip, wear your hiking boots on the flight to save on weight in your luggage AND to be sure your well-broken in, comfy boots actually get to your adventure,”

and a long list of links to info to put on your on your smart-enough-phone to be able to access info more easily, including lightning strikes in the last 24 hours, the app for when Old Faithful in Yellowstone will next erupt, drawing of the Teton range peaks with the names of the peaks, from various locations.

You will really want your own binoculars.

No drones. Use of drones is illegal in National Parks. Animals get aggressive when people fly drones around/over them, endangering everyone in the vicinity. Do not approach people using a drone, but please try to get the vehicle license number (and if possible make, model and color) / campsite number and description of anyone using a drone and report them to Rangers. If you have cell phone coverage, call park dispatch. The phone number for dispatch is usually in the park newspaper you receive when you enter the park. (When people fly drones around forest fires, the helicopters with firefighters and tankers with sprays to put out the fire can’t fly!)

lake, moose, dark sky

TOTAL COST???

Since different people will have different budgets: drive or fly; some may camp, some may get a hotel room / suite, (most usually get a cheap cabin), the trip cost will vary.

Think you can’t afford this trip? Think again, and read Grand Tetons trip cost , it has examples of

The cheap trip,

The not-so cheap trip,

The slightly more costly trip, but less driving time,

also known as the I-can’t-get-much-time-off-work trip,

and The expensive trip.

bullwinkle at Idaho border: photo by Wendy Sato

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photos below by Quang-Tuan Luong/terragalleria.com
, all rights reserved.

Teton range QTL: Dusk Tetons Range QTL:

terragalleria peaks and light pink sunset: terragalleria Schwabacher landing:

aspen sunflowers and lupine terragalleria: terragalleria tetons Cascade creek afternoon storm:

rugged peaks by last light terragalleria: terragalleria mtn scenery tetons:

More details, info:

Grand Tetons trip transportation has flight info, driving distances and guesses at gas cost, previous trip examples, AND trip notes with where to find some mega-cheaper gas stations and ways to keep from driving the slow route through towns we need to go through by not taking the obvious freeway exit.

St John’s Medical Center hospital in Jackson (24 hour emergency room) is at 625 E. Broadway at Redmond.

tour

In an emergency in the park, call 911 as usual. But your cell phone might get to park dispatch/Teton Interagency Dispatch Center faster if you dial
1 (307) 739-3301 (please confirm this number when you get there).

In a not quite emergency, there is a medical clinic on the grounds of Jackson Lake Lodge, near the gas station, ten miles from Colter Bay, open 7 days a week in the summer, usually 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (307-543-2514, 307-733-8002 after hours). No appointment needed. See the map at: Jackson Lake Lodge vicinity

Extend your trip into Canada?, please consult logistics.

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Grand Tetons September 2004 has pictures from that trip, including two bull moose head-to-head.

Christian Pond mom and calf moose:

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Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park photos

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The Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce site is at:

http://www.jacksonholechamber.com/chamber/index.php

Another big site of info is at:
http://www.jacksonholenet.com/

and yet another is at:
http://www.jacksonholewy.net/

Be careful when you request info from these as some require that you give them your email address and they will give it out to lots of their advertisers.

The Jackson Hole News and Guide (newspaper site) is:

https://www.jhnewsandguide.com/

We found Wyoming public radio with the usual Morning Edition, All Things Considered, BBC Newshour, Fresh Air and late evening classical music or jazz at 90.3 (Jackson) and 91.3 (Dubois).

NPS photobullmoosealumcrk:

Black and white aerial photo/maps are at:

Colter Bay, Grand Teton National Park

Jackson Lake Lodge vicinity

Moose, Wyoming

Signal Mountain, Wyoming

NPS photo Grand teton trail thick with wildflowers:

The Grand Teton National park brochures https://www.nps.gov/grte/planyourvisit/brochures.htm

common plants brochure

https://www.nps.gov/grte/planyourvisit/upload/Plants17-access.pdf

mammal finding guide

https://www.nps.gov/grte/planyourvisit/upload/mammals12-access.pdf

bird finding guide

https://www.nps.gov/grte/planyourvisit/upload/bird_guide-2017-access.pdf

photos below used with permission from Ron Niebrugge: http://www.wildnatureimages.com/

Grand teton sunrise by Ron Niebrugge: bright clouds behind the top of the Grand Teton peak, used with permission from the photographer, Ron Niebrugge grand teton with bright cloud by Ron Niebrugge: snowy grand teton peak a with bright cloud in the lower foreground, used with permission from the photographer, Ron Niebrugge Teton range at sunset by Ron Niebrugge: At the top of this picture, bright clouds, below that, Teton peaks, below that, forest and in the foreground, water. used with permission from the photographer, Ron Niebrugge Grand Teton sunset by Ron Niebrugge: In the foreground, sagebrush, then a row of aspen, at the top clouds behind the teton range, photo used with permission from the photographer, Ron Niebrugge

My page of: Grand Tetons recommended reading

includes links to on-line bird and mammal field guides and The Journals of Lewis and Clark

Clark: “…bison were so numerous and loud that the men had difficulty sleeping.”

Worth reading: the wildife section at: http://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/resourceandissues.htm

LIVE WEBCAMS:

A map of Grand Teton and Yellowstone webcams with links is at:
http://www.jacksonholenet.com/webcams/

Also try: https://www.seejh.com/

One of these should have a live shot of Old Faithful geyser (in Yellowstone).

Old Faithfull erupts on an average of every 79 minutes, with a huge jet of hot water up to 204 ° F and up to 180 feet high.

The app for when Old Faithful in Yellowstone will next erupt
https://www.nps.gov/yell/learn/nature/oldfaithfulgeyserfaq.htm

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2 moose swimming in a large lake

The trip is open only to De Anza students/staff. Answers to most questions about how the club works are at: Outdoor Club Basic Info The main rules common to most of our trips, including who is eligible to go, are at: Outdoor Club trip rules.

For details about club events and on how to find us to pay for a membership, sign up for events or volunteer, go to:

Outdoor Club Coming Attractions

stars, including part of the Milky Way

We can expect sunny days and rain, or possibly even a little overnight snow. Interesting weather does not cancel club events. Club activity areas, and all park restrooms or other buildings are non-smoking. Even though there is smoking allowed in Wyoming restaurants, all National Park restaurants, etc. are non-smoking. No alcohol or drug use is allowed before or during club activities. This is not just a rule written to make the College happy, it is a trip rule.

The trip will only be an official club event while we are kayaking (or canoeing), and possibly a hike or some other sightseeing or a group meal at a restaurant.

How you get to Grand Teton National Park, where you stay overnight, most meals, most sightseeing, any bike riding, whitewater rafting or horseback riding, going to a movie in town, etc. will not be official club business.

The faculty advisor must be along for all kayak/canoe use, and all safety recommendations by the advisor, park and De Anza rules must be followed.

Grand Tetons trip pages index has brief descriptions of most of the pages about this trip.

Pika sitting on a rock cascade canyon 200 pixels: little round Pika sitting on a rock.

Photo below by Fred Hanselmann http://www.hanselmannphotography.com/Pictures_of_the_tetons.html)

Fred Hanselmann photoTeton Dawn: