Jackson Hole Scenic Drives

Happy Travel Tuesday my loves! As you know, it’s totally my favorite day of the week because I LOVE reliving my favorite places in the world on my blog. Today, of course, is no exception because we’re back in Jackson Hole! If you’ve missed any of my Jackson Hole posts, you can find them here and here!

For our second full day in Jackson, we’re taking a break from hiking (if you read last week’s post… you’ll know why!) and heading out on a scenic drive around Grand Teton National Park. Oh man you guys. This place is SO STUNNINGLY BEAUTIFUL you just can’t even imagine. Just wait until you see these pictures!

Our morning started out lazy. We slept in a little bit and drank our coffee enjoying that crisp mountain air. Side note, I’m pretty sure that was one of my favorite things about Jackson Hole. Every morning it was SO CHILLY when we woke up. It felt like fall, and there was nothing I loved more than snuggling up in a blanket while I sat on the back porch and drank my coffee and enjoyed the view of the mountains. It was literally perfection, and every fall, I find myself trying to emulate the “JH Mornings” as we so fondly have come to call them.

We set out later that morning for our next adventure. A scenic drive around the park. Now, we are KICKING ourselves for not doing arguably the most famous of the scenic drives, the Kelly Loop. If you’re in Jackson, don’t skip out on this drive like we did. You’ll get your classic photo of the Moulton Barn with the Tetons behind it on Mormon Row. Once you do that (do it early, it’s one of the most popular drives in the park) head over to Signal Mountain. (Not what we did, but trust me on this!)

We started our morning with a drive over to Oxbow Bend, which isn’t technically a “scenic drive” but a turnout off Highway 89. It’s one of those places that when you see it, you just know Mother Nature is showing off a bit. The lake was so still, that Mount Moran was reflected perfectly in the water. It’s not a place that you need to spend a lot of time, but it’s a definite must stop photo op!

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We continued up Highway 89 to Colter Bay Village. This was pretty, but not a must see in my opinion. It was a bit out of our way, because we back tracked towards Signal Mountain after we stopped here. If I were to redo this, I would suggest stopping at Oxbow Bend and Colter Bay Village on your way up to Yellowstone. It will be right on your way, and both would be good places to stop and stretch your legs for a bit. (Bonus… Colter Bay has bathrooms!) From here we headed back towards the inner park road to Signal Mountain.

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The Signal Mountain Summit Road is a classic scenic for many reasons. Not only are there sweeping views of the Tetons, but you drive 1,000 feet up on switchbacks to the very top. It’s only a 5 mile drive up, but will take you about 20 minutes to reach the observation deck. Be warned, there’s A LOT of people on this skinny road, so if you’re in an RV or pulling a trailer, they won’t let drive it.

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After taking in the views at the top we headed back down the mountain to what was arguably our best decision of the day. We ate lunch at the Deadman’s Bar and Trapper Grill at the Signal Mountain Lodge. If you ask me, this is a 1000% MUST DO while in Jackson for one reason, and one reason alone. The Blackberry Margaritas.

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I’m not kidding you when I tell you this is hands down the best margarita I’ve had in my entire life. I sucked down 3 of them, and considered begging our waiter for the recipe before we left. This is also the home to the Signal Mountain Nachos. We read online how big these were, and were still shocked when they sat them down in front of us. They were very good. But to be honest, completely overshadowed by the margaritas! HAHA Sit outside if you can. The view is incredible!

The best part about the Signal Mountain Lodge is that it is home to some of the prettiest views in the park. Behind the lodge, is a small marina (where you can rent boats to take out onto Jackson Lake) and the views are INSANE. I’d highly recommend renting a boat to take out on the lake while you’re here! We didn’t, because we didn’t know about it until we got there, and had already had plans for the rest of the day. The rental prices are insanely good! If you’re interested, check them out here!  But, even if you’re not going to rent a boat, be sure to wander back here so you can get photos like this:

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Next, it was on to the most exciting part of our day… swimming in String Lake. I’d ALWAYS wanted to swim in a lake surrounded by mountains ever since I saw someone doing it on the Travel Channel when I was younger. The drive from Signal Mountain to String Lake takes you on another one of the more popular scenic drives in the park, Teton Park Road. In reality, this drive should take you about 15 minutes. But I promise it will take you double or triple that amount of time. Why might you ask? Because you’re going to stop a zillion times for pictures. I don’t care who you are, you’re not going to be able to resist stopping and taking pictures at half of the turnouts. It seems like each one is prettier than the last, and you can’t not stop and take a picture. Plus, you’re right up against the base of the mountains. I mean, it’s pretty much the definition of picture perfect.

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We finally reached String Lake and I was SO FREAKING PUMPED. I literally sprinted towards the water, but was stopped dead in my tracks when I got ankle deep. IT. WAS. FREEZING. Like colder than Lake Superior freezing for all my Michigan friends. But I was not about to let that stop me from swimming in that dang lake. I jumped in, and dragged Trev and my dad in with me. (My mom stayed out to take photos.) It really was one of the prettiest places we’ve ever swam. Be warned… not only is it cold, but the bottom is crazy rocky. You really need to wear shoes while you swim. I kept my Keens on!

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We seriously got SO lucky our entire trip with absolutely beautiful weather. It was sunny and warm every day, and cool each night. It only rained on us once, and it was on a day that totally didn’t even matter. But, because the weather in the Tetons is super unpredictable, I recommend making sure your daily activities are flexible, and leaving one day as a “free” day. We do this on every vacation we go on, just in case we get awful weather one day, and have to cancel our plans and move them to another day.

Next week, I’m talking about our “free” day in Jackson. It turned out to be a pretty amazing one. You won’t want to miss it!

On another note… WE FINALLY GOT OUR WEDDING VIDEOS BACK! You guys, they are freaking amazing, and we are so so so happy with them! I can’t wait to share it with you all later on. But, if you want to see it now, follow me on Instagram! There is a sneak peak on feed 🙂 @savannah_edmondson

I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!
Xx.
Savannah

 

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