The Wildflower Inn
Summer Activities
 

The following ideas are just a sampling of the information our guests receive upon arrival.  Please enjoy

We are happy to help you to plan your activities....some guests choose to book activities on arrival, others wish to make a commitment in advance.   We have indicated which ones we feel need to be booked in advance.

We recommend a minimum of three to five days to see Jackson Hole, Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. (However, our guests who visit for 7-10 days have by far the best vacation.) We will begin with our favorites and then follow with additional activities if you are able to stay longer. 

 
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Beginning the middle of May through the end of September (and sometimes into October) the following activities are available. We'll be glad to fill in the details, but here are a few things to consider during your stay. We recommend a minimum of three to five days to see Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park.  (However, our guests who visit for 7-10 days have by far the best vacation.)  We will begin with our favorites and then follow with additional activities if you are able to stay longer. 

Everyone has heard about Yellowstone and it is wonderful....but 97% of our guests will agree with us, Grand Teton National Park is even better!  However, you can easily visit Yellowstone while staying at the Wildflower Inn.  The entrance to Grand Teton National Park is only 5 minutes from the Inn and the entrance to Yellowstone National Park is located about 60 minutes to the north.  We have long, lovely summer days (daylight is from about 5 am to 10 pm), so we encourage you to rise early and depart with the lovely picnic breakfast we pack for you.  You will be so glad that you did!  You will see more animals, fewer people and really enjoy your day so much more.  We have great information on the sights we find most enjoyable.

Ready for some fun and new adventures? We have daypacks, trekking poles, raingear and a few cruising bikes for your use. If you have never hiked with trekking poles, your knees are in for a real treat!  The following information will help you to really enjoy Jackson Hole and we are constantly adding to this page.

The Moose-Wilson Road is a beautiful drive and a short-cut to the newest entrance of Grand Teton National Park. (located just 5 minutes from the Wildflower.)  This is the closest and best place to view wildlife. Early morning and late evening are the best times, but keep your eyes open whenever you drive this road. Moose, elk, deer, bear, antelope, porcupine, have all been sighted here many times.  

Turn left out of the Wildflower Inn and drive north on the highway past the Jackson Hole Ski Resort, (5 minutes away) continue until you come to a sign which says "Moose 8 miles". There is a kiosk where you may purchase your pass to enter the park.  This pass is good for 7 days for both Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks.  

The road then becomes a narrow gravel drive for 3 miles, when it becomes a narrow paved road. This beautiful drive goes through the former Rockefeller Ranch. You will see beautiful buckrail fences with gorgeous aspen groves and wildflowers (also a few pot holes..remember, this is a country road!) You will pass over a beautiful cascading stream…but don't stop on the bridge to look; there is a turn out just over the bridge.

Just a bit further, you will see a sign for the Laurence Rockefeller Preserve.  Located down a short drive to the east, this beautiful area has limited access, so we recommend visiting early in the day. Lawrence Rockefeller donated this gorgeous land to the National Park System shortly before his death. He wished to have a quiet corner of the park where visitors could appreciate the area as he had for so many years.  You can spend ½ day in this area easily; take a lunch and picnic near the waterfall by the Center or take a lovely walk to Phelps Lake. Lawrence built and designed an incredible building where you can read, meditate, reflect and even picnic on the porches.  The rangers are wonderful.

As you pass the sign to the Rockefeller Preserve, look for black bears along the left side of the road eating berries in the fall and for moose in the ponds on the right side of the road all year long. Elk are often sighted up on the hillsides hidden in the aspens on your left. A quick drive up the Death Canyon Road is well worth the detour for a beautiful view of the canyon and the mountains.….no need to go beyond the paved portion.  Great elk habitat and a wonderful spot in the fall to listen to the elk bugle.

Further along the road is an overlook on the right. This is worth a stop and short walk, especially in the early morning and evening hours.  Keep an eye out for wildlife lumbering up the steep bank nearby!  

Just before you approach the stop sign at the end of the Moose-Wilson Road, look to the right.  You will see a country road leading to The Murie Center.  This is a real find for anyone interested in seeing how people lived in Jackson Hole during the early days and to learn more about the very important work of Olas and Mardi Murie and the Wilderness Conservation Movement that was their life's work. 

The road will next come out at Moose, which is the traditional entrance to Grand Teton National Park. The Visitor Center is just to your right as you exit the Moose-Wilson Road and the main entrance to the park is to your left. 

Across the Snake River Bridge to the right is Dornan's. (Market, deli, bar, Patagonia outlet, bike and canoe rental available here plus an unbelievable wine store...really!).   Many of the scenic raft companies depart from the parking lot located just across the highway from the Visitor's Center but before crossing the bridge.  

The "inner loop" road of Grand Teton Park begins when you pass through the gates to the left....a wonderful drive at the base of the Teton range.  Stop at every turn out, explore every nook and cranny, take a picnic, enjoy reading by a babbling creek.  Make it yours.  Explore, relax, hike, bike, sit on a rock and dangle your feet into sparkling clean water.  Continue up to Jackson Lake Lodge or perhaps Colter Bay and then swing back to Moran Junction, explore the Oxbow Bend and then progress back down the "outer loop" road to Dornan's. 

Ride the boat across Jenny Lake and hike to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point. Cascade Canyon is beyond this point and the trail levels out and is spectacular with the Teton Mountains towering above you as you wander along a peaceful path. There will be a lot of people in the first section, but the crowds will soon thin out. This is a perfect hike for everyone from 4-84. A picnic lunch by the falls would be perfect, and you can see many climbing classes along the way. If you like, hike back to the parking lot around the south end of Jenny Lake and keep an eye out for moose. This hike could take an hour or all day.  (This is the most popular hike in the park but also one of the most beautiful.  Let us pack you a "breakfast to go" and start off early...it will be a special experience.)

Another favorite hike is to Taggart and Bradley Lakes. This is an easy 4 miles or less (if you only go to Taggart Lake, my favorite) hike. This hike goes uphill for a short while by a lovely stream where it flattens out to the lakes where you pass through an area where a forest fire occurred about 20 years ago. Here you experience the beautiful regrowth of nature, a million new trees and wildflowers surround you. When you come to Taggart Lake you will be at the base of the mountains with a pristine lake in front of you. The big rock is a favorite picnic site, but the trail to the left will take you to a secluded bridge, perfect for dangling your legs over. To hike to Bradley Lake follow the well-marked signs to the right or return on the same trail to your car. If you choose to hike to the left, you will also return to your car by a more secluded and a bit longer trail.  This hike is best early in the morning or later in the day, it can be hot…it is also great in a slight drizzle, as there is little undergrowth.

A very short and enjoyable hike (or in this case, walk) is from the north end of String Lake to Leigh Lake. This is about 1 mile long and very flat. You will see many waterfowl and everyone likes this beautiful walk. String Lake is very shallow and you can swim and wade in it if you like cold water. Very cold water. This is also a great place to canoe and the portage to Leigh Lake is very short.

Phelps Lake Overlook is a short hike that some of our guests will even do before breakfast. The trail head is located on the Moose-Wilson Road (see above). Turn left on the Moose- Wilson Road where the sign says "White Grass Ranger Station" or "Death Canyon". Follow the road to the parking area and trail signs. This is a 2-mile round trip hike.  An easier way to see Phelps Lake is via the Rockefeller Preserve, discussed above.

A drive from the Wildflower, to the entrance of the park and then up the inner park loop to Jackson Lake Lodge is a favorite. (So are the milkshakes at the old time cafeteria in the lodge.) Just beyond Jackson Lake Lodge is Colter Bay where there is an outstanding Indian Museum. Small but very first class. Children and adults like this. You may make a loop home by returning via the outer loop road turning south at Moran Junction (where bison herds are sometimes seen), south by the airport, through Jackson and home again.

The world class National Museum of Wildlife Art is located between the airport and the town of Jackson, across from the National Elk Refuge.  This is a must if only to see the building. The artwork is superb and the view terrific. This is a great place to have lunch too. The elk have left the refuge during the summer months for the cooler mountains and will return in late fall for winter-feeding.

The historic Town of Jackson is a great place to spend a day and/or an evening. The galleries and shops are fun and interesting. Jackson is becoming one of the world centers for western art and many of the galleries have sister galleries in the southwest.  For wildlife photography see Images of Nature, Tom Mangelson is world famous for his art.  A wonderful gift shop is A Touch of Class, located across the street from the historic Wort Hotel and of course, one of my favorites is a Belle Cose...you will understand when you see it!  

A very special experience is EcoTour Adventures, an all inclusive experience with a focus on the wildlife, biology, flora and fauna of the area with a very enthusiastic guide/owner, Taylor Phillips.  Our guests have both appreciated his knowledge and enthusiasm for both Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks but also his commitment to the environment.  We strongly recommend this program and all guides have received rave reviews from our guests.     Book in advance

Take a wildlife safari with a first class program: Wildlife Expeditions. Guests who have been to Africa on safari say that this program is equally good. We recommend the whole day but both early morning or evening trips are offered and also excellent. Book this near the beginning of your trip to enjoy all of the new information on the area. Everyone comes home very happy with the experience.  (This is special....book in advance.)

Our guests love the scenic float trips down the Snake River through Grand Teton National Park; however, the scenic trip in the evening with Barker-Ewing Scenic Float Company is a special favorite. This is very peaceful after a busy day and you have a better chance to see wildlife.  Dress warmly, it cools down once the sun sets. (You will not even get a drop of water on you....) New this year is a wonderful combination with the Wildlife Expeditions...a combo early morning trip...we will pack you a picnic breakfast to go.   (Book in advance if you will only be in the area for a few days.)    307-733-1800

For whitewater excitement our guests love going with the excellent guides at Sands or Barker-Ewing Whitewater Companies. These whitewater trips go down the Snake River Canyon and are fun, exciting but not scary.  Don't miss it even if you are a little timid. You'll get out of the raft and want to go again. I promise. Take dry clothes and shoes. Those with a real sense of excitement should sit in the front and/or take one of the small boats that offer more adventure. "You paddle" trips are fantastic also.  (We have extra towels for your use.)

Both of theses companies offer an additional, special opportunity.  Imagine eating breakfast, lunch or dinner along the banks of the Snake River, enjoying the unsurpassed scenery and a enjoying a beautiful river trip!

The Teton Raptor Center has become a guest favorite.  Located in nearby Wilson in the historic Hardeman Barn, you can visit with naturalists and volunteers who work with and rehabilitate local raptors.  There is even a resident Great Horned Owl. 

The Rodeo is at 8 P.M. every Wednesday and Saturday night. This is a real rodeo with real cowboys. Great fun. Located in Jackson on Snow King Avenue.

The Stagecoach Bar in Wilson is the hot spot on Sunday nights with a band that has played every Sunday night for 40 years. The Cowboy Bar, Rancher, and Silver Dollar Bar are the local watering holes. The Mangy Moose in Teton Village has live entertainment as a rule.

Grand Teton National Park has some great free naturalist programs. These are well worth doing and you can pick up a schedule at any of the entrances. For a very special hiking experience, try The Hole Hiking Experience.  A variety of hiking options are offered; our favorite is an evening sunset hike complete with wine and appetizers!!

Our guests who choose to spend a week to ten days are by far the happiest and most relaxed.  Here is a list of further activities we suggest.

Additional Hikes

  • Located five minutes from the Wildflower Inn, is the trailhead for Granite Canyon, which leads to the top of the tram at Teton Village. 11 miles one way, ride the tram down. About 6 hours.
  • Amphitheater and Surprise Lakes. 9.2 miles round trip. One of the most popular hikes in the area, see how the climbers approach the Grand Teton. great views.
  • Goodwin Lake. Reach via the elk refuge. 6 Miles round trip. Few people, very pretty. Semi rough road to approach.
  • Ski Lake. 3 miles round trip. Reach via Phillips Canyon on Teton Pass. Great wildflowers.

Other Summertime Activities

The Exum Mountain Guides is located in Grand Teton National Park ( Ken is a guide) so feel free to ask for information. Wouldn't you love to climb the Grand Teton? A basic school is great for any hiker, as is a snow school where you will learn safety skills for snow travel. You will need to book this in advance.  There is also a rock gym in town.

Golfing is offered at two courses, the Jackson Hole Golf and Tennis has spectacular views and is where most of the locals play (10-15 minutes from the Inn) and the Teton Pines Country Club which is about 2 minutes away! Of course, both also have great Tennis also!

The Grand Teton Music Festival is superb. Located in Teton Village and only five minutes from the Inn. During the week there is usually chamber music, with the symphony playing on Friday and Saturday nights. Musicians from all over the world come every summer to play and study.

The Alpine Slide and Alpine Miniature Golf are located at the Snow King Ski Hill located in Jackson. Lots of fun for all ages.

For early morning runs, talk to Ken for routes to take.

Horseback Riding....Mill Iron Ranch is a great outfitter and the views are spectacular. A two-hour ride is great, and our guests also love the dinner ride. Incredible steaks and stories.  These are real cowboys! Their children are state champions in rodeo. (Book in advance if your are in the area only a few days.)  Our guests have also enjoyed the ride at Jackson Lake Lodge when they are not able to get into Mill Iron Ranch.

There are several playhouses located in Jackson, with some great melodramas. The Bar J Chuckwagon just south of us on the Village Road is very good. Not at all touristy, well, maybe a little. Great chuckwagon type food and great western music. Our guests are always very pleasantly surprised at the quality of this performance.  

We have 6 movie theaters in Jackson. Very nice for that occasional rainy afternoon.

Don't forget swimming...Granite Hot Springs is located about an hour south of here and is a beautiful area. String Lake is fun..but cold!

Jackson is a premiere fly-fishing spot and yes, we do have fish in the pond! But for the hottest places to fish, see Westbank Anglers located almost across the street from us for information. They provide professional guide service, equipment and licenses.  A very favorite guide has been Jean Bruun...both expert and beginning clients have loved her expertise in all areas.   First rate.  Highly recommended.  You may contact her directly at 303 204 8267 or 307 733 5173   She is married to another famous angler, Paul Bruun, who writes a column for the local newspaper.  

If you choose to visit Yellowstone for the day, we will pack you a picnic breakfast and send you off at dawn to take advantage of a quiet drive, wildlife viewing and a chance to "beat the crowds". We have many suggestions for an enjoyable day to highlight the best that Yellowstone has to offer. We also strongly recommend the all day tour with EcoTours Adventures (see above).  Our guests are returning to the Inn excited and much more refreshed than when touring Yellowstone on their own.  A treat, book in advance.

This is really only a short list of things to see and do in the summer and fall months; we have many other suggestions that will delight you. And don't forget the Wildflower Inn for relaxing. We have hammocks, horseshoes, decks, books, games and views to enjoy.

Fall, A Very Special Time in Jackson Hole

Jackson in the fall is terrific. The days are normally warm with cool, crisp nights. The trees begin to turn colors around the middle of September, the animals are beginning their trek to winter feeding grounds, the bears are looking to hibernate, the elk are bugling and the geese are heading south. There is activity everywhere as winter begins her approach. This is a great time of year to visit Jackson Hole as the crowds diminish and the animals become even more apparent.

We highly recommend drives through Grand Teton Park in the evening, float trips down the Snake River and hikes on any of the trails. Do check with us regarding hikes outside of the park because this is also hunting season. Don't forget your camera, the colors and the light this time of year are exceptional.

The Fall Arts Festival begins around September 15th each year and the galleries all have special showing and events. This is becoming a very famous event, drawing people and artists from all over the U.S. The Arts in the Parks contest leads off this month long event where artist submit paintings of the National Parks, Monuments, and Historical Sites for large cash prizes. 

October has become what September used to be. The weather is still nice as a rule, but snow storms can occur toward the end on the month. Wait until you see all of this beautiful scenery with a fresh dusting of snow! Our guests during this period gladly trade the bustle of summer for a chance to experience the area as it might have been years ago. This is the premiere time of year to visit Yellowstone. You have the opportunity to really experience the magic of the parks with few people. Both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks close October 31, not to reopen until mid-December. While we do have guests during November, you must realize that this is very much "off-off season". Many of the restaurants close, the snow begins to fall and ski season will not begin until the first weekend of December.

Spring

When it warms up to 50 degrees and the locals wear shorts!!

The National Parks do not reopen until May 1 for motorized vehicles. 

As the snow melts in Jackson Hole, the grass turns green, the aspens quiver with shimmering new leaves, and the wildflowers begin to emerge. The first wildflowers are tiny little surprises on the ground, with new ones appearing daily. The animals begin their trek back up to higher grounds with newborn babies tagging along. This is a terrific time to see wildlife and to have the Jackson-Grand Teton and Yellowstone Parks really to yourselves. Like our October visitors, our May and June guests have the opportunity to experience the parks as few people later in the summer will.  

May is a beautiful month with the parks reopening to all traffic. This is a great time to see Yellowstone Park ...bring warm clothes as the snow will stay on the ground longer at that higher elevation. Yellowstone Park is as big as some states, so look through some of our guide books to research the parts you really want to see. We will pack you a picnic breakfast to get an early start...this is also when you will see more animals. Be sure to walk around the geyser basin at Old Faithful, every geyser is unique and very interesting. You might even consider a short day at Old Faithful, driving north and exiting out of the West Entrance, down through Idaho and back to the Wildflower over Teton Pass. This is a fun day and not too long. Our guests appreciate the lack of crowds during this period.

A very exciting event occurs from mid-May to mid-June in Yellowstone. The wolves and grizzlies congregate in the Lamar and Hayden Valley along with the elk herds and their newly born young. They are easily visible, especially with the help of a wildlife biologist. Ask for more details. This would be well worth a special trip.

Beginning the end of May, all summer activities will resume and summer will begin with "Old West Days". This is a fun filled weekend over Memorial Day Weekend. The parade is a real old time, country event. Very all American.

 
   
 
 

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