Springtime in Jackson Hole offers the chance to spot baby wildlife—especially in the national parks when the roads yawn open to cars.
At the end of March, Grand Teton National Park opened the 14-mile stretch of Teton Park Road from Taggart Lake trailhead to Signal Mountain Lodge to non-motorized modes of transportation (think by foot, on bikes, etc.). The park will open the majority of its roads to cars on May 1st. We have had a record snowfall in Jackson Hole and the Tetons this past winter (2016-17), and therefore not all roads will be sufficiently plowed and open until mid-May.
Hiking will be better mid- to late May as in April and early May trails may be muddy and/or snowy from the winter’s bounty of powder. However, one can certainly “hike” wearing snowshoes on the flats of the park! Taggart and Bradley lakes are popular hiking destinations and as a bonus you have the majestic Tetons smiling down on you.
Another wonderful thing to do this time of year is going on a wildlife tour with one of Jackson Hole’s experienced outfitters. As mentioned above, you will spot quite a number of animals and birds as they welcome the spring, too.
According to According Taylor Phillips of Eco Tour Adventures, migratory birds are beginning to arrive, starting with mountain bluebirds, red winged blackbirds and red tailed hawks.
“The first grizzlies have been spotted in Yellowstone and will soon emerge in Grand Teton, many with cubs in tow,” Phillips says.
Wolves, having followed big game down into the valleys have been frequently observed this winter and they will soon be moving towards den sites to rear up to nine pups, right in time for the coming flush of life, he reports.
Visitor Center Openings, Park Events
The Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center in Moose’s hours are:
• March 6 to April 30 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• May 1 to June 6 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• June 7 to mid-September from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Jenny Lake Visitor Center opens May 19th and its hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. up until June 6th.
Colter Bay Visitor Center's spring hours of operation are 8 .m. to 5 p.m. from May 12th to June 6th.
The Grouse Strut
The Grand Teton National Park Ranger-led spring Grouse Strut program will be offered on May 12th. Join the rangers for an early morning excursion to watch these remarkable birds attract a mate. Reservations are required and ride-sharing is encouraged. Please call 307-739-3399 for more information and to make reservations. Participants will meet the ranger at the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center at 5:30 a.m. Plan to be outside at least one hour, so dress warmly.
The Last Word
Springtime in the Tetons is a special time of year and one in which you will seemingly have Grand Teton National Park all to yourself.
Come grab some sunshine and see sights and wildlife you might not normally see back in your home state.