Grand Tetons: Lots of easy hikes in this national park

By Steve Scauzillo, Staff Writer

If you enjoy hikes but aren’t the most athletic, there are a lot of easy ones in Grand Tetons National Park. We checked out the list of hikes with the friendly ranger at the Colter Bay Visitor Center.

The next day, my wife, Karen, and our 21-year-old son, Andy, were 10 minutes into a woodsy jaunt along Jackson Lake when I yelled out: “Deer!”

The doe shot me a look with her big, black eyes and then moved on.

Later, we arrived at our destination: Swan Lake. Here, a family of white swans took up residency at the far end of a blue kettle lake half-covered in green lily pods. The distant sound of the birds’ honking told us this was their home — we were only guests.

Jackson Lake is controlled by Jackson Lake Dam. So with the drought, the water levels were low. When the Congress preserved the lake as part of the park, it did so knowing that a large portion of the water belonged to the Idaho potato farmers.

Naturalists wanted to renege on the agreement but the farmers held firm. After much debate and bitter fights, the 484-square-mile park became one of the first with a dam on a river to be preserved. A compromise, indeed, that took three acts of Congress starting in 1929 and ending in 1950.

Jackson Lake Lodge is part of the history of the Grand Tetons. The view from inside the main room envelopes you like a warm bath. Your eyes travel past the floor-to-ceiling windows into the 40-mile Teton mountain range outside.

There’s a short, 1-mile hike outside the wood veranda that’s perfect for burning off the calories from breakfast at the lodge’s famous Americana restaurant, the Pioneer Grill.

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