Venturing out of Grand Teton National Park is something we do fairly often. It’s not only that there are so many pretty areas to explore but those areas are so different than the Tetons. Take Dubois for example. Dubois is a small town east from us with pretty places to stop and view along the drive, such as small lakes, petroglyphs and waterfalls. Once in town, the geology changes to layered red rock.
We checked out this area because we had never been and to hike a quick trail to Lake Louise. It was 9 miles down a dirt road to get to the trailhead and once again, the geology changed again. This time to white and brown layered mountains. The trail starts of in sage brush and took us to a small forest. Past the forest, the trail opens up and follows a stream. The dirt trails ends and up through the rugged, rocky uphill slope to the lake. The trail ends up high, looking down at the pretty and calm lake.
Another cool hike on the way to Dubois is Jade Lake. This hike is right outside the park in the Bridger-Teton National Forest which has many beautiful hikes, though, the trails are not as well maintained as in the park. We have hiked Jade Lake before and one sees three lakes along the way. From the trailhead is Brooks Lake and halfway through the hike is upper and lower Jade Lake. No one else was on the trail making it even more peaceful. Wildflowers, open meadows, alpine lakes, rustic mountains and babbling creeks, what’s not to like?
A new hike for us outside the Tetons and before Jade Lake was Lost Lake. The trail is short and sweet, though, we did manage to pass the closed road sign and miss the trail. Once we realized we passed the sign, we backtracked and followed the old dirt road. The path opens up to a beautiful alpine lake and the lake colors are so unreal, it’s amazing! We walked around part of the lake and hung out in our hammock. All the while wondering once again why it took us so long to get a hammock and why we have never been to this lake pretty before.
The other area we like to explore is Yellowstone but away from the crowds. We have done 5 hikes in Yellowstone, with 3 being from this year. Our favorite new Yellowstone hike is Terraced Falls, which is in the backcountry. Meaning, no crowds. The hike itself is fairy effortless and at under 5 miles round trip, it’s an easy trail to like. The trail follows a steam for most of the way and little trails verve off the main trail to view the many pretty waterfalls. The big two waterfalls are at the end and made us wish we brought the hammock to chill and listen to the falls. Be careful if you do this hike because there are no handrails so watch your step on the cliff.
A hike right inside Yellowstone just past the south entrance is Snake River Hot Springs. The beginning of this hike is fun because we had to cross the Snake River, which we knew ahead of time. Chaco sandals on our feet and hiking boots in hand, we crossed the cold river. We dried off our feet and put our hiking boots and continued on. The trail is mostly in the forest and we saw many patches of monkshood, a very poisonous flower that we recognized from a previous hike two years ago. Staying clear of the monkshood, we hiked on to cross a small bridge and to the left was the hot springs. This area is really cool because the hot springs is a stream and it is on one side while on the other side is the cold Snake River. Where the two meet is where the water is a perfect temperature.
Most of the hikes we have done this year are either ones we have done before that we love or from the employee scavenger hunt. One scavenger hunt challenge was finding our own hiking adventure that must be within 60 miles of the park and greater than 10 miles. Jennifer found that hike and it was Firehole Falls in south Yellowstone. Starting at Biscuit Basin, we followed the wooden boardwalk past a few thermal features and one geyser that we saw go off twice. If one hasn’t seen the thermal features here, they are pretty amazing. The layering of the rock combined with the unique color of the water is like no other. Past the short boardwalk, the official trail begins. The trail first took us to Mystic Falls, a 70 foot cascading waterfall that just stood out among the forest. Past the waterfall and through the quiet forest we went until we found Firehole Falls, a small and delicate waterfall at the base of a campsite. The campsite had no bear box but a food pole instead, where the food was hung up high out of the reach of bears. The neat part of this hike was not only the variety of views but the new forest growth from a fire in 1988.
We are wrapping up our time here at Grand Teton as the season is almost over. There will be one or two more blog posts about our time here so stay turned! And as always, Happy Trails!
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