To begin our road trip around the Northwest of the USA we flew from London Heathrow to Denver and then picked up our rental car and drove a couple of hours to Laramie. This was just a stop to break up the journey overnight before continuing on a 6 hour journey the following day to make our towards Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons. Our route started through mile upon mile of barren landscapes and cute little western style towns. We stopped off in one of the picnic areas for our lunch and then continued up through scenery that eventually started to get more interesting until the point where we climbed over a pass and were suddenly surrounded by greenery with views over Grand Teton National Park.
In the park we bought an annual National Park pass as we would be visiting a few on the road trip and some bear spray for our hiking. We purchased these at Jenny Lake visitors centre and the staff there were able to talk us through how to use the spray as it was something none of us had ever needed to carry with us before. The centre was also a great place to get our bearings for the Tetons and to find out some information about things to do whilst we were there.
Once finished here we continued out of the park towards Jackson Hole where our apartment was located. We managed to drag ourselves out to the Mangy Moose for some dinner before hitting the hay.
The next morning we had decided upon a hike to Hermitage Point towards the north end of the park. On our way there we passed a herd of bison on the side of the road which was our first wildlife of the trip and these animals are so cool.
We continued on to Colter Bay Village where there was another visitor centre and parking at the trailhead of our hike. The start took us along the banks of Jackson until a fork in the path where we took the right hand option towards Heron Pond. As we descended towards the pond we came across a trio of mule deer all making their way between the trees. We stood and watched them for a little while before continuing on. At the pond we saw a beaver swimming around it’s lodge although unfortunately it was only a glimpse so none of us managed to get a picture. From here we were also able to see some amazing views across towards the mountains.
From here we wound along the path through the thick woodland where I was convinced a bear would come barrelling out of the undergrowth at any second but none ever appeared. The far end of the track opened up to a pebble beach at Hermitage Point with the most spectacular views over Jackson Lake towards the Teton range. We sat here for our lunch and only saw 1 other couple the whole time we were there. This was truly the most beautiful spot and I could have sat there for hours.
For the return journey we took the trail across the other side of the headland and then over towards Swan Lake. We saw a couple more mule deer on this path and were treated to more jaw dropping scenery that just kept on giving at every turn. It wasn’t long after the lake that we made it back to the visitor centre and the shop for some well earned snacks.
The Hermitage Point Trail was a 10.8mile route through dense woodland that gave way to stunning views almost every time the vegetation broke. Although we didn’t require it we were all very grateful for our can of bear spray because the setting was perfect to just stumble across one. The trail itself was not difficult as it was relatively flat but was tiring possibly due to the length, the number of tree roots we tripped over and being on high alert all the time. On the furthest reaches of the hike we only saw one other couple, there were more on the shorter loop between Heron Pond and Swan Lake but even then it was still relatively quiet, this was possibly helped by going in the off season but it really was everything we wanted when setting out to explore the Teton region.
Which is your favourite hike in Grand Teton National Park? Have you ever had to use bear spray before?