Since ancient times when early man was on snowshoes, the crystal clarity in the air, crunch of snow underfoot and the profound silence of the deep forest gives way to tranquility of the soul. Whether you are a beginner or a veteran, the allure is always there and the grandeur of the Grand Tetons beckon.
In the Jackson Hole area of Wyoming, you can venture out on your own on many routes or take any number of tours. This overview will suggest locations and activities, and for details on specifics be sure to check online. Helpful links are included.
GRAND TARGHEE RESORT
This resort in Alta maintains a dedicated system of Nordic trails and single-track snowshoe trails through Ricks Basin and Quakie Ridge. A map of the snowshoe trails is available for reference. Snowshoe rentals are available for $20 at the Activity Center or Ski School and can be picked up at the Nature Center, which is next to the ski school cabin. A Winter Trails Pass can also be purchased for $15. Unfortunately, no pups are allowed on the winter trails.
If you’re interested in a guided experience, two-hour guided tours are given seven days a week, going from the Nature Center. Guided tours have a $35 fee, which includes the Trail Pass. Visit the Grand Targhee Resort website for more info. Sign up at the Activity Center or call 800.Targhee (827.4433) to reserve space on the guided tour.
For an insider’s perspective, continue reading: Snowshoeing and Birding at Grand Targhee, Wyoming
TURPIN MEADOW RANCH
Nestled in a scenic valley off highway 26/287 are the rustic lodge and cabins of Turpin Meadow Ranch. The location is about ten miles down Buffalo Valley Road. Located 45 miles north of Jackson, the Turpin Meadow Ranch Touring Center grooms over 15 km of trail. These trails include terrain suitable for beginner thru advanced cross-country skiers, as well as snowshoers. Trail passes are available for $15.
While along the trail, nearly 5 million acres of protected lands will surround you. The ranch was one of the original 36 dude ranches that became popular back in the 20’s. This is a true back-country experience that will suck stress from your psyche. If you would like a guided snowshoe tour, Turpin Meadow offers a 2.5 guided tour from the ranch for $49/adult or $29/youth, which include snowshoe rentals. Visit the Turpin Meadow Ranch website or call 800.743.2496 for information and reservations at the ranch.
For an insider’s perspective, continue reading: Turpin Meadow Ranch: Snowshoeing in Grand Teton’s Wild Country
GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK
You will find an amazing abundance of wildlife in the pristine silence of this magnificent setting. Wildlife tracks are everywhere, including wolf, and the distinctive hop pattern of weasels. When weasels hop, their back feet go into the same places their front paws went, making a recognizable track. And if you want to see moose in the park in winter, the best places are on the south and east-facing slopes where they feed on bushes. A variety of snowshoe opportunities are available in Grand Teton. The National Park Service offers a map for the trails described below.
Moose-Wilson Road provides access to several trailheads in the summer. Part of Moose-Wilson Road is closed in the winter, however, and becomes a great snowshoeing trail. The trail is an easy 5.8 miles round trip with 500 ft elevation gain. To access the Moose-Wilson Road snowshoe trail, you can drive 3 miles south from Moose to Death Canyon Road and park on your right. Or you can drive north from from Teton Village to Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, enter the park, go one mile and park at Granite Canyon Trailhead.
If you park near Death Canyon Road, you can access Phelps Lake Overlook, which typically starts from Death Canyon Trailhead. In the winter, you can still snowshoe up Death Canyon Road, past the trailhead, to the overlook. This is a moderate 5.2-mile round-trip, with total altitude gain of 730 feet. As an alternative to the Overlook, you can snowshoe south from the parking area at Death Canyon Road to view Phelps Lake from the south. This route is also a moderate route of 4 miles and 300 feet of elevation gain.
If you park near Granite Canyon Trailhead, you can snowshoe north on Moose-Wilson Road to access a trail that takes you to the same southern view of Phelps Lake.
Teton Park Road
Teton Park Road is open for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing during winter since no vehicles are allowed from Taggart Lake Trailhead (south access) to the Signal Mountain Lodge (north access). The road is machine groomed for 14 miles for both classic and skate skiing, with one lane for walking and snowshoeing. You can bring your pup up the trail too.
From the South Trailhead at Teton Park Road (Taggart Lake), parking is 3 miles northwest of Moose on the Teton Park Road. The easy Jenny Lake Trail runs 8 miles round-trip climbing 200 feet, returning via the Teton Park road Trail. The Taggart Lake out-and-back trail is a moderate to difficult 3-mile round-trip gaining 400 feet, while the Taggart Lake-Beaver Creek Loop runs 4 miles, gaining 500 feet. Both trails involve steep hills.
The North Trailhead (Signal Mountain) is 3 miles south of Jackson Lake Junction on Teton Park Road and parking is at Signal Mountain Lodge. That summit road is a 12-mile moderate to difficult route, gaining 900 feet.
Colter Bay Trailhead is southeast of the Colter Bay Visitor Center, which is 30 miles north of Moose. Park here. From the Colter Bay trailhead, you can access Swan Lake-Heron Pond Loop. This loop is an easy 3-mile round- trip trail that climbs 300 feet.
In addition to the tours offered at Grand Targhee Resort and Turpin Meadow Ranch, several tour outfitters operate snowshoe and winter tours. These custom opportunities can include meals, snowshoeing and sleigh rides, dinner in a heated tepee, even dogsledding. Check out the two companies below for a brief sampling.
Hole Hiking Experience
The Hole Hiking Experience offers many options featuring the best in wildlife viewing. These are driving tours in Grand Teton National Park with a naturalist guide. People of all abilities will enjoy the 4-hour Snowshoe Sampler & Wildlife Tour and see the habitats of eagles, bighorn sheep, elk, foxes, coyote, moose and more.
Fancy a sleigh ride? Try the Snowshoe & Elk Refuge Sleigh Ride, 7 hours, including lunch and equipment rental. The Snowshoe & Dog Sled Tour is an all-day activity with lunch, equipment, water, snacks and fanny packs. For more info, visit www.holehike.com, visit on Facebook, or call 307.690.4453.
Jackson Hole Vintage Adventures
Jackson Hole Vintage Adventures offers a range of snowshoe outings into the cottonwood forest on vintage snowshoes, the original wooden models. Views of the Snake River and the Tetons towering overhead are unforgettable. Appetizers around a roaring fire? How about an adventure including a Tepee lunch or dinner? On the Vintage wildlife tour you’ll follow the tracks of the animals and sometimes see the critters in their natural habitat. Call 307.732.2628, visit on Facebook, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.