Greetings from Grand Teton National Park

Our first visit to Grand Teton national park was in summer. We visited again in Fall, hoping for a different experience. We stayed at Signal Mountain Lodge, our cabin just a short walk to Jackson Lake with a backdrop of Teton Range. While the gorgeous mountains, lakes, and the Snake river were definitely a highlight, what surprised us most during this visit was the variety of birds we spotted - maybe we just didn’t notice them during our last visit, as we were not birders then.

One morning, we went on the Snake River float, enjoying scenic vistas of Teton Range, Fall colors, and the flowing river, which had felled a few trees, that our guide had to maneuver our float around. We spotted several Bald Eagles, Double-crested Cormorant, Red-tailed Hawk, Black-billed Magpie, Northern Flicker, and Raven feasting on fish leftover by Bald Eagle. We didn’t see any Osprey, but a fellow visitor pointed us one, another time, on Moose-Wilson road.

We visited Heron Pond another day, aiming to blend birding with hiking. Several Dark-eyed Junco welcomed us as we started the hike. Later we saw a flock of Canada Geese, couple of them diving for fish among water lilies. The entire hike was through thick wooded forest around the lily-covered pond, with part of the Teton Range as the backdrop. On our way back, we spotted and photographed birds such as Yellow-rumped Warbler and Plumbeous Vireo. We were excitedly watching Brown Creeper gliding up a tree, when we turned and spotted a Mama Black Bear and cub. Needless to say, we were scared, immediately stopped taking photographs, and slowly started walking away, our heart racing. Mama Bear, after giving us a look, thankfully concluded we were not a threat to her cub, and they both went back to snacking on berries. It was our first such encounter, and that too when we were by ourselves. We were happy to spot them, but happier Mama Bear ignored us.

One drizzly morning, we decided to just drive around the park to catch scenic vistas. When we reached Willow Flats however, the rain had stopped so we decided to go on a walk. The cloudy day with leaves turning yellow, blooming wildflowers, and Teton Range views, made it a picturesque stroll. We were pleasantly surprised to see so many perching birds, including Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Pine Siskin, American Robin, Wilson’s Warbler, and White-crowned Sparrow.

A birding highlight was nesting of Barn Swallows, many of which we saw restlessly zigzagging across Jackson Lake. We saw little ones, huddling together in a nest, eagerly awaiting their parent’s visit to feed them, at which point they would all call loudly, hoping to be the one chosen to be fed. The next day around lunch, we found the nest empty, so assumed the little ones had fledged, as we saw them perched on a tree nearby, fluttering their wings. The next morning, they were back in the nest. Maybe they like the safety of the nest at night, and venture out during the day? We also saw a parent feeding a little one, while both were in flight.

In the Jenny Lake area, we experienced a nice hiking challenge. We reached Hidden Falls on a relatively easy hike, after a ferry ride across the lake. We then continued further to reach Inspiration Point, climbing up and negotiating rocky stretches. The spectacular views at the top confirmed it was aptly named, and that it was well worth the hike. It was nice to go on this hike, different from the Taggard Lake one we went on during our last visit.

Other highlights of our visit included seeing homesteads on Mormon Row, a glimpse of life in the past, in homes on grasslands with the idyllic backdrop of Teton Range. One evening, we drove up Signal Mountain, spotting Elk along the way, and from the summit saw Bison herd at a distance, while the setting sun painted an orange glow on the valley below, and an Elk bugled. The next day, we drove some distance to view Bison at scale, and at close quarters, spotting calves staying near their parent, and two bulls crashing their horns in fight. At the Jackson Lake Dam, we observed American White Pelican, American Wigeon, and Common Merganser swimming happily in the gushing water released from the dam. We also viewed our majestic Milky Way near this dam, in the dark night sky. Other sights to behold were the sunset-lit Teton Range at Jackson Lake Lodge, and reflection of peaks at Schaubacher Landing. The simple luxury of watching birds such as Yellow Warbler, Barn Swallows, and Mountain Chickadee, right from our cabin porch, was also delightful.

Our revisit to Grand Tetons national park rewarded us with another unique experience. We enjoyed the varied and spectacular views of Teton Range - tinted orangish at sunrise, outlined with dark ridges at dusk, showcasing glaciers, snow, and rugged texture on sunny days, ominous looking with dark rain clouds, rendering glimpse of hope when the sun peeks after rains stop, and showing us nature’s power when completely hidden by clouds. It was exciting to spot Mama Bear and cub, Elk, and Pronghorn. A variety of birds also enriched our overall nature experience, some of them wintering with us back home. Moose eluded us, even though we tried to spot them many times, at Oxbow Bend, Moose-Wilson road, and even near a campground outside the park. Maybe a sight saved for our next visit?


Grand Teton National Park

This spectacular destination preserves a dramatic stretch of the Teton Range bordering the Snake River. One of the unusual features of these distinctive mountains is the absence of foothills, meaning that there are no smaller mountains blocking the view. The park also features glacier-carved lakes, a historic district of weathered buildings made by 19th century Mormon homesteaders, and an abundance of wildlife large and small, including nearly 1,000 bison that roam the grassy fields in herds.

State(s): Wyoming

Established: 1929

“Our national parks are a treasure, to be enjoyed in the present, and preserved and protected for generations to come!”

National parks represent the best of America. Why do you care about protecting and preserving them? Tell us why parks matter to you!

{{ active ? "Cancel" : "Begin"}}

Success! Thanks for sharing your story with us.

You’ll be notified by email when your story is approved and added to the collection on the My Park Story homepage.

In the meantime, you can share your own story page with your family and friends — and help us spread the word about these priceless memories and priceless places!

Here’s your unique story page link:

{{ storyUrl }}

* indicates Required fields

Click to choose a file to upload

Submitting your story means that you agree to our Terms of Service

More Stories

  • Greetings from Grand Teton National Park

    In 2001 I worked at Grand Teton NP as a night auditor. That left me free to enjoy the daily activities and meet people. One of my coworkers had worked at Yellowstone the year before so we spent a day at Yellowstone. Since the parks are so close, I hope…

  • Greetings from Grand Teton National Park

    I'm seventeen years old and have had the privilege of visiting numerous Nation Parks in my lifetime. This summer, I had the blessing of visiting Grand Teton NP. I remember hiking while listening to '80s music, and the cool breeze blew my heavy hair off my neck. I was standing…

  • Greetings from Grand Teton National Park

    When I say that there were no words to describe The Grand Tetons, I mean it. Oh, I could give you 15 – 20 describing words, but none of them alone, or all of them together could do justice to the beauty. Even a picture can only scratch the surface.…


Preserve Our Parks

Make a tax-deductible gift today to provide a brighter future for our national parks and the millions of Americans who enjoy them.

Donate Now