Favorite spots in Glacier / Yellowstone / Grand Tetons / Jackson Hole
August 24, 2021 8:32 PM   Subscribe

What is your absolute favorite trail or thing to see in Glacier, Yellowstone or the Grand Tetons? What is your favorite restaurant or place in Jackson Hole? Especially unique (non-touristy) experiences and places would be wonderful
posted by glaucon to Travel & Transportation (5 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Jackson, assuming summer:
- Paddleboard String Lake to Leigh Lake *early* morning before the wind picks up and the String Lake boat launch parking lot fills up
- Float the Snake River from South Park to Astoria on a paddleboard or ducky
- Dinner at the Bird (first-come, first-serve, try to show up early to get seating on the back terrace)
- Snake River Grill, Trio, and Glorietta are probably the best high end restaurants in town
- Eat all the chocolate and tasty things at Atelier Ortega (go to the one on Scott Lane where they actually make everything, although their cafe Cocolove in town is good too)
- Pizza at South Cable in Teton Village
- Hike Sleeping Indian (officially "Sheep Mountain," need high suspension to get to the trailhead), if late in the summer season then also Static Peak
- Soak at Astoria Hot Springs
- Walk back and forth on the levee along the Snake River from the Emily's Pond parking lot
- Huckleberry ice cream at Moo's
- Early breakfast at Nora's in Wilson (especially huevos rancheros)
- Breakfast burritos at D.O.G. in town and breakfast bagels at Pearl Street either in Jackson or in Wilson

If winter:
- The restaurant recommendations above hold, but also (apart from skiing JHMR):
- skin up/ski down Snow King in the early afternoon, then cocktails at Stillwest across the street
- cross-country ski out and back from the Bradley-Taggart parking lot
posted by Last_wave_by at 8:56 PM on August 24, 2021 [2 favorites]

Jackson Hole Restaurants (this is from a couple years ago, mind):
http://www.thebirdinjh.com/ (dive bar burgers)
https://jackson.gunbarrel.com/ (steakhouse in the former Wyoming Museum Of Taxidermy! Food is fine but you're there for the atmosphere)
https://www.therosejh.com/about (cocktails!)
https://melvinbrewing.com/locate/thai-me-up/ (original location of the award-winning brewery)

Got as close as I'd ever like to get to a bear on Togwotee Pass.

The hike up Cascade Canyon on the backside of Jenny Lake is great, regardless of whether the ferry is running.

Yellowstone is Yellowstone, play it by ear depending on roads, crowds, etc. Slough Creek out in the Lamar Valley is a bit out of the way but has tons of wildlife -- saw a grey wolf across the creek from the campground.

My favorite place in Glacier is the hike over Piegan Pass from Going-to-the-Sun Road over to Many Glacier, but failing a reservation at the hotel, the hike up to Piegan and the view down into cataract valley is sublime. From Many Glacier, the Grinnell Glacier hike is worth the hype. Iceberg and Ptarmigan from there make another nice long day. On the West Glacier side, get food at Backslope, get beer at Bias in Kalispell.
posted by j.edwards at 9:02 PM on August 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

Glacier: I thought the most beautiful part of the park was near Polebridge, specifically Bowman Lake.
posted by Ms Vegetable at 5:02 AM on August 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

I've been to each of these places but not repeatedly or for long periods of time, so my experience isn't comprehensive. That said, my favorite memory is (echoing j.edwards) the Cascade Canyon hike - a must-do for sure.

Every part of Glacier meets or exceeds expectations, but I found the east side to be less touristed and more enjoyable overall.

There are things you have to see in Yellowstone (old faithful geyser, grand prismatic spring, etc) and they're definitely worth the time. I'll have to agree with j.edwards again, though, that the Lamar Valley was a detour that turned into the highlight for me, mostly due to the wildlife. There were certainly cars and people around but it didn't feel like a zoo in the way that parts of Yellowstone seemed to be.

Just before I visited these parks my brother taught me the basics of fly fishing and sent me off to explore with his kit. I certainly didn't turn into an expert and I didn't catch anything during my attempts, but the simple fact of having a rod and visiting some likely spots led to unexpected human connections, nicely contemplative fishing sessions, and time spent in gorgeous places where I wouldn't otherwise stop. I'm not saying you should take up fly fishing, but I do think spending an afternoon or two approaching a place through an activity like this can be an amazing ways to find unique and less-touristy experiences, regardless of your enthusiasm about fishing or whatever.
posted by exutima at 9:18 PM on August 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: WONDERFUL suggestions here - thank you all! For Lamar Valley: Are there ranger led tours? If so, is that something that needs a reservation? Ideally I’d love an early morning (dawn or pre-dawn) hike and it’d be amazing to do with someone experienced.

For driving Going to the Sun and hiking throughout the day, is there a need to have a hotel reservation to do Piegan? Or could we just stop by there and go hiking?
posted by glaucon at 10:46 AM on August 26, 2021

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