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Walking Vacation Yellowstone & Grand Teton: Walking America’s Wilderness ​

Activity Level: Easy / Moderate  |  Daily Mileage: 2 – 6 mi  |  Daily Walking: 2 – 4 hr
Land only
6 days from only
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Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1 - Arrive Grand Teton National Park / Jackson Lake Lodge

VBT offers a shuttle from the Wort Hotel in downtown Jackson, Wyoming and the Jackson Hole Airport (JAC) to the start of our tour at the Jackson Lake Lodge. The shuttle will depart the Wort Hotel in Jackson at 12:30 pm and stop at the Jackson Hole Airport to pick up guests at 1:00 pm. If you are arriving after this shuttle departs, or your flight is delayed, you must make your own arrangements to reach Jackson Lake Lodge. Please plan to have lunch before leaving Jackson or bring a packed lunch with you.  

Guests driving to the tour should park their cars at the airport for the week. Parking rates are approximately $10 per day and must be pre-paid at the Jackson Hole Airport.

En route to Grand Teton National Park, we stop at the famed “Mormon Row” of iconic homesteads, including the Moulton Barn, framed by the Teton Range in the background. After a safety briefing and orientation session with our Trip Leaders, we’ll have time for a short stroll and opportunity to photograph this spectacular scene. Herds of buffalo and elk are common around the old homesteads.

We continue to the Grand Teton National Park Visitor and Discovery Center in Moose, Wyoming before heading into the park. Get acquainted with the park at the Visitor Center, where you can get your National Park Passport stamped and pick up souvenirs.

Surrounded by spectacular views, we continue through the Snake River Valley to the Jackson Lake Lodge, the largest, and most famous, hotel in the park. It is best known for its cozy fieldstone fireplace and towering 60 foot-tall panoramic windows with views extending to the Teton Range. You may choose to walk from the lodge along the Christian Pond Trail or simply relax. Please note that park regulations do not allow guided walks, so our Trip Leaders will not be able to walk with us this afternoon.

Early this evening, we transfer to the Snake River for a very special Welcome Reception. Our western cookout on the river’s banks features fresh trout and charbroiled steak. Afterward, we board large rafts for a wild and scenic trip down the Snake River. Our evening float takes us approximately 10 miles down the Snake River with breathtaking panoramic views of the Teton Range all around us.

Day 2 - Walk Jenny Lake / Explore Jackson Lake area

After a breakfast at our lodge, we travel by van to Jenny Lake, the main hub in the heart of the Tetons. From here, trails range from flat walks around the lake to expeditions to the heights of the Grand Tetons. We’ll stay close to Jenny Lake, where we can enjoy incredible views of the Teton Range from the trail.

Our walk starts with a ferry across Jenny Lake to Hidden Falls. From here, the 5-mile Jenny Lake Trail follows the perimeter of the lake. Keep an eye out for wildlife in and around the lake. Please remember that due to park regulations, our Trip Leaders are not allowed to walk with us on the trail. Optional walks with National Park Service rangers may be available depending on NPS scheduling and timing. Our Trip Leaders will meet us back at the van and we’ll continue to a special location for a picnic lunch close to Jenny Lake.

After, we return to Jackson Lake Lodge where you can take in some invigorating outdoor activities. Swim in the outdoor pool, go for a stroll on one of several popular trails from the lodge, rent a canoe on Colter Bay, or enjoy a guided fishing trip on Jackson Lake. Canoe rental at Colter Bay is on a first-come, first-served basis and a regular shuttle from Jackson Lake Lodge can transfer you there. Jackson Lake fishing trips can be booked by phone through the Jackson Lake Lodge’s Colter Bay Marina at 307-543-3174 ext. 1097. Full day guided fly fishing trips on the Snake River are also available and can be booked by calling 307-690-4664. Reservations for 2014 fishing trips can be made starting in January of 2014. As the fishing trips fill early, we recommend booking as early as possible.

The evening is yours to enjoy at the lodge where several dining options are available.

Day 3 - Transfer to Lake Yellowstone Hotel / Walk Elephant Back Mountain

Wake up early this morning for a short, optional walk to Lunch Tree Hill or linger over breakfast at the lodge. We depart Jackson Lake Lodge—and Grand Teton National Park—this morning and make our way into Yellowstone.

Our transfer takes us north, across the border into Yellowstone. We’ll pause at several sites along the way, including Grant Village Visitor Center and West Thumb Geyser Basin. Both stops offer short interpretive walks and excellent photo opportunities. We arrive in time for lunch on your own at the Lake Yellowstone Hotel. 

This afternoon we gather with our Trip Leaders and make our way to the top of Elephant Back Mountain. This invigorating walk is one of the most challenging this week, but also one of the most rewarding. The trail takes us through shaded old-growth lodgepole pine forest, left untouched by the 1988 Yellowstone wildfires, to an overlook offering impressive views of Lake Yellowstone.

We’ll return to the Lake Yellowstone Hotel where we’ll have time to check in to our rooms and take a dip in Lake Yellowstone. We dine together at our hotel.

Day 4 - Walk along the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

As the sun rises over beautiful Lake Yellowstone, we enjoy breakfast at our lodge. Then we hop a shuttle to the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.

When huge volcanic eruptions occurred here around 600,000 years ago, they created a massive, lava-filled caldera. This caldera makes up much of what we now know as Yellowstone National Park. The magnificent landscape we see here today—including the impressive Grand Canyon of Yellowstone—has been sculpted over millennia.

We walk along the rim of the canyon this morning, marveling at spectacular views of the two largest waterfalls in Yellowstone—the Upper and Lower Falls of the Grand Canyon. We stop along the way for a picnic lunch.

Later, we shuttle back to our hotel on the shore of Lake Yellowstone. Enjoy time on your own this afternoon to explore or relax. Enjoy dinner on your own tonight.

Day 5 - Walk Fairy Falls Trail above Grand Prismatic Spring / Transfer to Old Faithful Inn

After breakfast, we depart the Lake Yellowstone Hotel and shuttle along the scenic Grand Loop to the Fairy Falls Trail. Our footfalls along this spectacular path trace several riverside geothermal features and lead us past tranquil ponds. The 1988 fires burned much of the area where we’ll be walking today, but this may be better for our sake as we can enjoy more magnificent views in a more open landscape.

One of the biggest rewards of our walk today is the view we’ll have of the Grand Prismatic Spring. This is the largest hot spring in the United States, most famous for its rainbow of colors caused by bacteria living at the spring’s edges: reds, yellows, greens, and blues create a vivid pool on the basin floor. We can view these amazing hot springs from far above the crowded boardwalks that skirt its shores. At trail’s end, enjoy a picnic lunch. Then we make our way to our final destination—Old Faithful.
Perhaps we’ll arrive just in time for an eruption. Perhaps we’ll take a stroll around the Geyser Basin before witnessing one of nature’s grandest spectacles. In any case, we won’t have to wait long; true to its name, Old Faithful erupts every 90 minutes or so. Later, we have time to relax at the awe-inspiring Old Faithful Inn, known for its spectacular lobby of log rafters seven stories tall and its 80-foot chimney. This afternoon, you can spend more time walking along the Geyser Basin’s paved paths and boardwalks. Remarkably, nearly 50% of the world’s geothermal features comprise this zone.

You might also join an afternoon tour of the historic inn and observe one of the resident artists usually at work in the lobby. And every 90 minutes, you can always step outside to view an Old Faithful eruption from the inn’s second-floor deck.

Tonight, we toast our discoveries of the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone during a farewell dinner at our inn.

Day 6 - Observation Point / Return home

Early this morning, you may choose to walk to the top of Observation Point, a short but moderate ascent to an impressive overlook with sweeping views of Old Faithful, the Geyser Basin, and our inn. We depart the inn by shuttle at 9:00 am, arriving at the Jackson Hole Airport (JAC) at 11:30 am. The shuttle will continue to the Wort Hotel in downtown Jackson at 12:00 pm. Please note for 2014 tours departing after Labor Day, Monday, September 1: we will have to take a detour on our way out of Yellowstone due to road construction.  We will have to depart earlier in the morning, but will still arrive at Jackson Hole Airport by 11:30 am.

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