Drive 6 miles south from Tetonia to Driggs (the “urban center” of the Teton Valley, between Tetonia on the north and Victor on the south), hang a left (east) at the only signal in town, and follow the road up the mountainside to it’s end at Grand Targhee Ski Resort (in Wyoming). The center of this small ski area is located just under 8,000 feet, on the west side of the Teton Range.
With summer season over (the hiker/biker lift had just closed three days ago) and winter season still many weeks away, the resort was very quiet, all the shops and restaurants closed, the lifts hanging idle. The only sounds came from a couple of construction workers on the roof of the lodge, hammering down new shingles. We wandered through the buildings until we found an administration office, where a couple of friendly staffers gave us a hiking map and advice (including the usual “bears in the area” cautions).
“Quaker Ridge” trail through the aspen trees.
“Rick’s Basin” trail, looking east.
We had the mountain to ourselves – and whatever wildlife watched our progress well hidden from our prying eyes. :) We took our hiking GPS – it’s been a LONG time since it got a workout – and our elevation stayed within a few hundred feet of 8.000. We were relieved to find we have acclimated to the elevation since our first hike in Yellowstone over the Labor Day weekend, when I thought I might need a lung transplant.
I was surprised to see so little fall color at this altitude. Though the ground cover was red and gold, very few of the aspen leaves showed any sign that summer is waning. I wonder how different this will look in a couple more weeks?
Coming back down into the Teton Valley, we turned south on Stateline Road, the boundary between Wyoming and Idaho, to visit a 9-hole golf course at the base of the mountains. A bench overlooking the driving range was the perfect place for our picnic lunch, sitting in short sleeves in full sun.
We’ve thoroughly enjoyed our stay in the Teton Valley. Odel played a round of golf at The Links at Teton Peaks and we had a delicious burger at North End Bar and Grill, a short walk from our RV park.
I drove some of the “back roads” of the Teton Valley (anything off of Hwy 33 seems to be a back road, since blacktop ends almost immediately) and scratched the surface of Driggs (found more titles in a series of books I enjoy at Dark Horse Books). We didn’t make it to Pendl’s Bakery and Cafe or the Warbirds Cafe, both recommended.
Our short visit showed me that there is much more to explore, and when we leave this morning, the Teton Valley will be on the list of places to return one day for a longer stay. But now? On to Grand Teton National Park!