Typical Visit  
     
   
     
  - Teton Valley Idaho -  
     
     
     
     
  Day One  
     
     
  Arrive at Jackson Hole Airport (JAC)  
 

You will want to have a window seat for your flight into Jackson so that you can marvel at the views. I strongly suggest that you time your arrival somewhere around lunch time. There is only one gate and I will meet you at that gate. Look for the old guy with the white beard... the extremely handsome one.

 
     
  Lunch at Dornan's  
 

If you took my advice and planned your arrival around lunch time, from the airport, we will drive north a few miles to visit Dornan's for lunch. If you did not heed my advice, you will kick yourself in the butt for not doing so.

We will first go to the grocery store at Dornan's and order a fantastic deli sandwich. We will next stop at the bar and order a drink. With drink and sandwich in hand, we will then climb the stairs to the deck on the roof of the bar. This vantage offers a wonderful view of the Tetons with the Snake River in the foreground. You will most likely see rafts floating the Snake.

After lunch we will drive the Grand Teton National Park loop road heading north from Moose Junction.  The Grand Teton Range will be on our left hand side as we drive north so the car seats on the driver's side will be favored with the best views. Be on the lookout for wildlife as we embark on our first day's adventure.

     
  Antelope Flats & Mormon Row  

Antelope Flats Road is land that is inhabited by either antelope or bison (buffalo) but not usually both. Unfortunately, at times it is inhabited by neither species as they have gone elsewhere to dine. There is also an old Mormon homestead that one can also view. The Mormons settled this large valley. This homestead is an example of one of their farms.
 

Across the road from the settlement is the so-called Mormon Row and a barn that is the "most photographed barn in the world".

 
     
  Schwabacher Landing  
 
  • We will return to the Park loop road from Antelope Flats and make a right turn and head north approximately four miles to the road that descends to Schwabacher Landing.
     
  • Swabacher Landing offers some of the nicest views in the Park. If you like to take photos, you have come to one of the best spots ever. If you just like to look at things, you have come to one of the best spots ever. Did you catch the theme?
     
  • At Schwabacher Landing, I have observed varied wildlife: bison, elk, bear, moose, beaver.
 
     
  Snake River Overlook  
 

We will return to the Park loop road from Swabacher Landing where we will head north once again. Our next stop is the Snake River Overlook scenic turnout. This overlook is another of those oft photographed locations. It was popularized by photographer Ansel Adams.

 
     
  Cunningham Cabin  
 

Leaving the Snake River Overlook, we will continue our drive north where we will stop is Cunningham Cabin. This is another example of Mormon life. Not overly interesting so we will probably skip this.

 
     
  Oxbow Bend  
 

As the Park loop road turns westward, we will go through the entrance gate into Grand Teton National Park. A bit down the road from the entrance, we will come to Oxbow Bend. This is a very scenic spot which has been featured in many photos. Be on the lookout for moose in the waters of the Snake River on the left.

 
     
  Jackson Lake Lodge  

A bit further west, we will come to a junction in the road. The left turn, which we will follow a bit later, heads south and is the so-called Inner Park Road. For now we will continue to the north and on to Jackson Lake Lodge. The lodge is just about two miles north and is definitely worth seeing.

It is one of those grand old lodges that were built in the National Parks during the WPA era of the Depression. As you reach the top of the stairs, you will enter a GREAT room whose opposite wall is all window. This window frames a fantastic view of the Tetons and Jackson Lake. Trust me. This is a spot you won't want to miss.

Jackson Lake Lodge has a great restaurant, a bar and a nice souvenir shop.

There is also a nice area, Colter Bay, north of Jackson Lake Lodge that affords some nice views of the Tetons with Jackson Lake at your feet in the foreground.

 
     
  Jackson Lake Dam  
 

From Jackson Lake Lodge, we will drive south and return to the junction we passed just a bit ago. This time we will make a right hand turn. About two miles after this turn we will drive across Jackson Lake dam. Now the view out the passenger's side of the car will be favored.

This dam of the Snake River creates Jackson Lake... the largest lake in Grand Teton National Park.

 
     
  Signal Mountain Lodge  
 

Signal Mountain Lodge is located at the south end of Jackson Lake. It is located 2-3 miles south of Jackson Lake dam. This lodge is right on the lake (unlike Jackson Lake Lodge which is quite far from the lake). This vantage point also puts the lodge closer to the mountains. Mount Moran is the dominant mountain in the views from this still northern portion of the park.

Signal Mountain Lodge has a marina, great restaurant and a very nice souvenir shop.

 
     
  Remaining Park Drive  
 

The next section of the Park loop road offers some magnificent views of the individual mountains as well as the whole Teton group.  The farther south we drive the more the views become dominated by the Grand rather than Mount Moran.

The next milestone is the turn to String and Leigh Lakes. We will probably not have enough time to see them the first day. We bypass them as the hike along these two lakes is usually one that we do later in the visit.

After that turn, the next milestone is South Jenny Lake. That we will also skip. If you are up for a bit more strenuous hike, we can return here. We take the ferry across Jenny Lake, hike up to Hidden Falls & Inspiration Point and then on into Cascade Canyon... my favorite canyon in Grand Teton National Park. It is spectacular.

Be on the lookout for more wildlife as you take in the spectacular scenery. I have seen bear and elk along this stretch of road.

 
     
  Jackson  
 

After exiting Grand Teton National Park (we will come back to spend more time there), we come back to the entrance to Dornan's, hence the term Loop Road, where we will make a right hand turn and head south towards the town of Jackson. We will just drive through Jackson and then head west and drive the 35 miles to Driggs and Casa Budde West. Fear not. We will return at sometime during your visit to check out Jackson and do some shopping and dining.

 
     
  Driggs  
 

Once we arrive at Casa Budde West, we will take a quick tour, pick out bedrooms and unload the car. I usually suggest that you take an inventory of what I have on hand and make out a grocery list for whatever you want that I do not already have on hand.

 
     
  The Royal Wolf  
 

We usually go to The Royal Wolf for dinner the first night. The Wolf, as it is known, is a bar/restaurant in town. Dress is casual. Food is good and portions are quite large. They are known for their great selection of micro brews. After dinner, we will take the grocery list and shop at Brulim's... the local grocery store.

 
     
  Last Activity of the Day  
 

Crash!!!

 
     
     
     
     
  Day Two  
     
     
  Breakfast  
 

We can either eat breakfast in or go out some place in town for breakfast. We either prepare a lunch for the day's hike at Casa Budde West or pick up something at Brulim's. I usually take their great fried chicken on hikes.

 
     
  Hike  
 

The first hike of the visit is always the South Fork of Teton Canyon. The trailhead for this hike is located about eight miles from Casa Budde West. This hike is pretty flat and very beautiful. This serves two purposes: the flat hike lets you get adjusted to the altitude (6,200 plus feet) without being too much of a strain and it introduces you to some very nice scenery.

The South Fork of Teton Canyon has, in my humble opinion, the best wildflower display anywhere on either side of the mountains. The flowers can be up to your shoulders in height. Peak occurs around mid-July but can be later if the winter's snowfall was above normal like it was in the winters of 2007 and 2010. Some of the wildflowers you will see are: columbine, sticky geranium, paintbrush, fireweed and others. I have also seen bear and moose while on this hike.

 
     
  Cocktail Hour  
 

Our two favorite sayings are: "It's 5 o'clock somewhere" and "To another shitty day in paradise"

 
     
 
 
     
 

We return to Casa Budde West from our day's hiking adventure for showers and cocktails on the deck (or inside if it is too cool). In addition to solving the world's problems, we also discuss what we would like to do the next day and most importantly where we are going to eat. By the way, the house specialty is the Tanqueray & Tonic!

Perhaps you would like to take the time to look at the landscaping and flowers around Casa Budde West. By the way, Teton Valley boasts one of the nicest garden centers I have ever seen.

Wanna see some nice sunsets out front of Casa Budde West?

 
     
  Dinner  
 

We will either go out for dinner or prepare something at home. Group decision.

 
     
     
     
     
  Subsequent Days  
 

Other days are similar to Day 2. They vary based on daytime activity and dining plans.

 
     
  Daytime Activity Options  
 

Hiking options are listed here.

Sometimes if we are too tired to hike, we will plan a "down day" where we will go sight seeing (Swan Valley, Grand Targhee, Teton Valley, Bridger-Teton National Forest, etc.) take a glider ride, go white water rafting or spend the day visiting Jackson & have dinner.

Whitewater rafting merits more details. Everyone who has taken this trip has enjoyed it VERY much. It is not overly dangerous but just enough so to get your juices flowing. The views aren't bad either. We usually schedule an early afternoon trip which requires we be over in Jackson around noon. We will bring a change of clothes (they have changing rooms) and take in an early dinner in Jackson if the group is up for it. If we still have enough energy, we go up to the Park to watch wildlife.

Some folks wish to visit Yellowstone National Park sometime during their visit. Due to the distance to and from Yellowstone (100 miles one way), the very large size of the Park and the number of things to see, the visit to Yellowstone takes a 14-16 hour day to complete. You heard me correctly... 14-16 hours and you still don't cover the whole Park! A more leisurely approach would be to stay in Yellowstone for one night and make it into a two day visit of the Park. The added benefit would be seeing more of the Park. If you would want to take the two day approach you will need to schedule lodging in or just outside Yellowstone WELL in advance. You will also need to provide your own transportation.

I am usually willing to accompany you for a single day adventure into Yellowstone... I don't want to take that trip with successive sets of visitors however. Obviously, days in Yellowstone are days less spent at Casa Budde West so, in the two day case, you might want to lengthen your total visit so you can fully appreciate what Driggs and the surrounding areas have to offer.

Note: cell phone reception along the roads in Yellowstone is non-existent. You can get coverage at areas where there is lodging.

The local airport offers glider rides up into the Tetons. Although this is not inexpensive, you see the Tetons in a way that few ever do. Check this link for more information and current pricing.

Of course, you will have to stop at the Victor Emporium, eight miles south of Driggs, to have a huckleberry shake or cone and check out their selection of unique gifts!

 
     
  Dining  
 

There are a few nice dining options on the Driggs side of the mountains... Warbird's Cafe at the Driggs airport, Teton Springs in Victor, and Forage in Driggs. Dress is still casual. Click here to get a full listing of dining options on both sides of the mountains.

Jackson has many more fine dining options with my personal favorite being The Blue Lion. Dress is still casual.

We try to barbeque at least one evening at Casa Budde West. Another dine-in option is to prepare one of the dishes listed on the Recipes page or do a pot luck type (roasted chicken and 'fixins') meal with food from the grocery store. I have an ice cream maker so we could make some of our own.

 
     
  Other Activities  

For those who enjoy music, there are many opportunities to hear some great music. Grand Targhee hosts a music festival and a bluegrass festival each summer. In Victor, Music on Main presents a free concert (great for families as well as adults) each Thursday evening. The Jackson Hole Ski Resort boasts the Mangy Moose and also plays host to various classical artists at the Grand Teton Music Festival throughout the summer. In Jackson, the Snow King Ski Resort often hosts artists. There is also a new performing arts center in the town of Jackson.

There are a number of golf courses on the Driggs and Jackson side of the mountains. Bike rentals are available for those who prefer their scenery pedaled. If you would like to see a rodeo, one is held each Friday in Driggs. There is a minor league baseball team (Rookie league) in Idaho Falls.

The area has a number of world class fly fishing streams... Teton River, South Fork of the Snake River, Henry's Fork of the Snake River and the Madison River.

Driggs also has a drive-in theatre which has first-run movies just like the big city. I have never been because it starts too late.