"In the Shadow of Its Greater Neighbor" Grand Teton National Park by mrclay2000
Grand Teton National Park Travel Guide: 314 reviews and 923 photos
When one approaches this lesser-traveled national park, the neighbor of Yellowstone to the south, the first impression is that given by the mighty range of mountains that gives the park its name. Nowhere else in the lower 48 states is there a range like this, with impressive dents jutting directly and deliberately skyward. Heavy forests sit at the foot of the range on the eastern side, and within this sprawling enclave is a sizable number of montane lakes that pay their rent by constantly reflecting their towering landlords on their calm surfaces.
The park enjoys a range of wildlife, but folks are often frustrated by having to journey far and wide before something actually occurs. One would think that with a topography similar to Yellowstone, that the smaller park would borrow the overload. Not exactly so. There are black and grizzly bears in the park, but your probabilities of spotting one are greater in Yellowstone. The same holds true for pronghorn, for buffalo, for coyotes, for elks and deer, and for every other mammal with the possible exception of one -- the moose.
While the mountain range is impressive in profile, the range alone cannot hold one spellbound for long. Neither can the reflecting lakes with their glacial-green waters and waveless surfaces. Even the reflections of mighty pines therein and tufted clouds above can't amaze forever. However, what Grand Teton enjoys hands down above all the rest are habitats for moose, my favorite creatures next to the bears. The Snake River winds through the park on its eastern side, speading throughout its basin an endless tangle of willows -- both manna and mantle to the moose. Having said this, the tough part is to find not only a moose, but preferably a bull, and not only a bull, but one close enough to your position as to register higher than dark blip on your radar. I have always held that an animal track or a perfect habitat forms a great expectation for the animals. Sometimes the expectation is as vibrant and as vexing as the animal itself. But sometimes, even success is not enough.
- Pros:Beautiful mountain lakes all reflect a mighty mountain range
- Cons:Too few animals, too sparse a range of vistas -- everything begins and ends with the Grand Teton range itself
- In a nutshell:A Miniature Yellowstone -- without its due proportion of wildlife
The hikes around the Jenny Lake area are the most popular in the park. Flat terrain and wooded hillsides make this a... more travel advice
Once you've committed the Teton range to your memory, it's time to see the valley from the heights of the range itself.... more travel advice
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