The Loop Of A Lifetime: The Greater Yellowstone Region
Old Faithful, The Jackson Town Square, The Grand Teton, Mesa Falls, Teton Valley, and an abundance of wildlife along the way. You want to try and see it all when you visit the Teton and Yellowstone regions and whether you are here for a weekend or a week there’s never enough time to do it right. Trust us we know it’s tough. Even if you call the area home seasons come and go, each one ending with you not getting to all the adventures you had planned. The reality is that people spend a lifetime exploring this pristine area and still don’t see it all. That is part of the beauty of the area. It’s vast, rugged, and still untouched in many places. Despite that you can still make the most of the time you have here and see plenty of the natural wonder along the way. Here is how.
If you want to see it all and do so effectively then this loop has you covered. Pick any starting point and plan according to the time you have available. This loop could be hustled through in a weekend or over the course of summer if you really felt like deep-diving into the region. We are going to go through this loop by starting in Jackson, WY, and going clockwise through Teton Valley, Island Park, Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, and back to our starting point.
Leg 1: Jackson Hole – Teton Valley
Things To Do:
- Milkshakes at the Victor Emporium – You can’t go wrong here but their huckleberry shake is tough to beat.
- The Wind Cave Hike – This hike up Darby Canyon is a 6.3-mile round trip and ends with you face to face with one of the more spectacular sites around. Bring a headlamp or flashlight so you can explore this massive cave.
- Teton Canyon/ Table Mountain Hike – A Teton Valley classic that ends with arguably the best view of the Grand Teton and the neighboring peaks. Depending on the route you take this is between an 8 and 14-mile loop. One thing to keep in mind is that regardless of the route you choose the elevation is the same; we recommend taking the Huckleberry route.
- Float the Teton River – A lazy river with plenty of put-in and take-out options this river is a great place to see native birds, moose, and other wildlife. Hit up the Teton River Supply to get the gear and insider scoop. Fish much? Worldcast Anglers can hook it up with the gear and the guides for top-notch fishing throughout the area.
- Grand Targhee Resort – We will keep this one short because obviously, we are a little biased but this place has it all. A world-class trail system, good food, slopeside lodging, and activities for the whole family.
- Want more to do? Check out what the area has to offer here.
Places To Stay:
- Grand Targhee Resort – With great deals and a variety of lodging options the Ghee is hard to beat.
- Teton Teepee Lodge– Located in Alta, WY this ski lodge was built in the early 70s and is truly one of a kind. Family-owned and operated this lodge has been a haven for ski bums and travelers ever since it opened its doors.
- Teton Canyon Campground – A perfect spot for campers of all types regardless of your vehicle.
Leg 2: Teton Valley – Yellowstone
Things To Do:
- Mesa Falls – Located between Ashton, ID, and Island Park, ID this waterfall is the perfect place to stop and break up your drive to Yellowstone. Over 100 feet high and 200 feet wide this not-so-average waterfall is one of the last unaltered falls in the area.
- St. Anthony Sand Dunes – Eastern Idaho’s version of the beach! If you are a motorhead then the dunes are With miles and miles of open terrain, this place is a dirt biker’s paradise.
- Mammoth Hot Springs – With some of the world’s most incredible hot springs and geysers Mammoth is a must. You can even camp and soak in the nearby Boiling River.
- The Lamar Valley – If you want to see wildlife and big game Lamar Valley is the place. Home to some of the biggest plains in Yellowstone, this area is an extremely popular grazing area for large herds of bison and elk.
- Upper and Lower Yellowstone Falls – These waterfalls are the start of Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon. The upper falls are over 100 feet in height with the lower falls being over 300 feet in height.
- Old Faithful Geyser – The world’s most consistent and famous geyser. Need I say more.
- Steamboat Geyser – With eruptions shooting water more than 300 feet high this geyser is the tallest active geyser in the world.
Places To Stay:
- Lake Yellowstone Hotel – The flagship lodging in the national park this beautiful lodge is located on the shores of Lake Yellowstone.
- Mammoth Hot Springs Campground – Deluxe car camping just outside of the town of Mammoth. If you stay here you’ll definitely want to take a swim in the Boiling River.
- Complete list of campgrounds in Yellowstone National Park
Leg 3: Yellowstone – Jackson Hole
Things To DO:
- Jackson Lake – The eastern shores offer up some of the best views of the Teton range and that alone is worth a stop. If you can get out on the lake via canoe, kayak, or boat, do it. When you can swim through the reflections of the Tetons it’s a pretty special place.
- Jenny Lake – While dwarfed by Jackson Lake in size this place has no shortage of things to do. Rent a kayak or canoe and explore. Take the shuttle boat across the lake to access classic hikes like Inspiration Point or Hidden Falls. Soaking up the sunshine and views on the shore is also a pretty good option.
- Garnett Canyon – If you’re going to climb the Grand Teton this is where you start your ascent. However, just because you’re not doing the big one doesn’t mean there isn’t something for you. Climbing up to the upper saddle is quite the accomplishment but this trail also is great for day hikes with amazing views of the valley floor.
- National Museum Of Wildlife Art – This museum is home to world-class art that represents the area’s wildlife, history, and culture.
- Jackson Town Square – Home to the famous antler arches the Town Square is the center of all things Jackson. Grab a bite to eat, take a stroll, people watch, or window shop. At this point in your journey, you might just be craving a hearty meal and a cold beer in which case you’ll have plenty of options.
- Snow King Mountain – Rope courses, bouldering park, the Cowboy Coaster, alpine side, hiking and biking trails, mini-golf, and more, Jackson’s town has it all.
- Jackson Hole Mountain Resort – Also known as the Village JHMR is an iconic place in its own right. Better known for world-class skiing like Corbet’s Couloir the resort also bolsters a variety of summer activities. Riding the Bridger Gondola and climbing their Via Ferrata are just a few of the unique options offered at the resort.
Places To Stay:
- Jackson Lake Lodge – A National Historic Landmark with views of Jackson Lake and the Teton Range. That kind of says it all.
- The Wort Hotel – Open since 1941 the Wort has a classic vibe and is a staple of downtown Jackson Hole. You’ll be within walking distance from the Town Square and Million Dollar Cowboy Bar.
- Complete list of campgrounds in Grand Teton National Park