Another Travel Tuesday is upon and this is one that I’m super excited about! We’re back in Jackson Hole for one of my most favorite hikes I’ve ever taken AND a chuck wagon dinner. This day was perfection, and I’m so excited to tell you all about it!
We started our morning out early and drove to Jenny Lake, where the trail begins. Now, if you are an avid hiker, and want to add a little extra jaunt around the lake to your trip, go for it! But we wanted to cut off the 2.4 miles it takes to get around the lake, so we hopped on to the shuttle. The shuttle takes about 12 minutes, and it’s a pretty ride. We even saw a bear cub running on the side of the mountain! The shuttle will cost you $15 round trip ($9 one way, $8 round trip for children and $6 one way). Cascade Canyon is a long hike as it is, so saving a few miles where you can is 100% worth it.
As soon as you reach the boat dock, you see just how high up you’re about to be. Look straight up. Yup. That’s where you’re about to go. What I like most about this hike is that there are really pretty places all the way up. You know how some hikes it’s just straight through the forest, for what feels like forever before a stunning lake or mountain views pops up out of nowhere? That’s not what Cascade Canyon is like. Yeah, you start going through a forest. Soon, you’ll cross over Cascade Canyon creek and then just about a mile in, you start hearing an insane rushing of water. Then BOOM you’re at Hidden Falls. (You have to go to the left off the main trail to see it. But it’s worth it! I promise!)
Hidden Falls is one of the most visited waterfalls in Grand Teton National Park for a reason. It is a seriously stunning waterfall! It’s super tall (I think I read online almost 200 feet) and the water falls in steps. Since we were there early (we caught the first shuttle across the lake) there wasn’t anyone else around us. So we were able to take our time exploring the beautiful waterfall.
Once we finished admiring Hidden Falls we continued on. Our next spot was Inspiration Point. This is the hardest part of the hike. It’s rocky and rugged and you have to watch your step. You’re also doing the majority of elevation gain at this point. As we climbed, we had stunning views of the Cathedral Group and Mount Teewinot towering over the canyon. These views got us through the toughest part of the hike. Because of the rockiness of this position, I highly recommend taking hiking poles along with you. They really helped us here!
Just when you feel like you can’t climb anymore, you’ll reach Inspiration Point. And you’ll just kind of stand there in complete awe. You’ll be standing on a rock outcrop that towers over Jenny Lake at an elevation of 7200 feet. You can see for miles, and you’ll feel like you’re on top of the world. Look behind you, and you’ll see that you are surrounded by mountains. It is truly a spectacular view. Which is why it’s one of the most popular hiking spots in the park. Lucky for us, we beat out the crowds, but be sure to consider leaving early if you plan on spending any amount of time at Inspiration Point!
From here, we continued on into the canyon. And I would highly recommend this! It’s a much easier hike from here on out. In fact, the elevation gain is so gradual you won’t even notice it. It feels like you’re walking down a street. (if you’re on the prettiest street in the world with no cars and just mountains! haha) This is also where you’ll want to start making some noise. Bears love it here, and chances are you’re going to see one.
The hike through the canyon is truly breathtaking. No matter where you look, you’re surrounded by mountains. There’s streams, ponds and animals and it’s quite literally the definition of picturesque. I’m telling you RIGHT NOW, you won’t find a more perfect spot in this world to sit and eat lunch. Now, every time I eat a PB&J sandwich, I’m taken right back to the most perfect lunch spot.
We walked all the way to “The Forks” where you can go right to get to Lake Solitude or left to head towards Hurricane Pass. This is where we turned around. (Still not happy about this folks… I wanted to get to Lake Solitude in the WORST way). We didn’t want to stop hiking, but had to in order to get back in time for our dinner plans.
As we headed back, we encountered our first bear. We didn’t get a picture of it, because to be honest, we were scared half to death, but we’re pretty sure it was the same bear cub that we had seen running around while we were on the shuttle. We knew that if baby was around, momma wasn’t too far away. And that freaked us out. You know how you get the feeling that someone is watching you? Yeah. That’s how we felt for a solid mile after we saw the little cub. So I don’t have a picture of the bear we saw to share with you… but I do have one of the moose we saw! So here ya go 🙂
The hike back down is so much easier than the hike up, but be careful! It can be rocky in some places, and you could easily twist your ankle.*Cough*Trevor*Cough*
We took the shuttle back and headed to our car. While the parking lot was empty when we got there that morning, it was PACKED when we were leaving. We headed back home to get ourselves ready for our evening.
Okay. I’m going to admit that I’m not usually into “touristy” things while I’m on vacation. Besides sight seeing, you’ll find me trying to do what the locals love and really learn what makes the place so special through their eyes. But my parents, they LOVE corny (and I’ll be honest, I love corny stuff every once in awhile too!), they decided we needed to do a chuck wagon dinner.
So that night, I found myself pulling on my cowboy boots and heading out to Bar T5. And oh my god you guys. We had the GREATEST time. I’m not even joking! As long as you are prepared to be silly, eat amazing food, and have fun, you’ll love this Chuckwagon Dinner Show!
We were met with warm western hospitality the second we stepped out of our car. Friendly staff members pointed us to the waiting area, then, they assigned us to a chuck wagon and off we went!
Our driver’s name was Saul and he was awesome. We rode away from Jackson into Cache Creek Canyon down a dusty dirt road. Okay. We were in that thing for less than a half hour and my butt hurt. To all those people that made the trip west in a chuckwagon… I BOW DOWN TO YOU. Anyways, we continued down the trail and met a friendly, okay not so friendly, indian or two! (I’m not going to say anymore than this. Can’t give away ALL their secrets!)
Once we got to camp we could smell dinner cooking and my stomach instantly started grumbling. They rang the dinner bell and started calling tables up. We were first so I was pumped! Dinner was freaking delicious. I wish I’d have had room to go back for seconds!
When dinner is done, the Bar T5 Band starts to play and entertain. They are wonderful and SO much fun. I even got called up on stage to be a “Yee-Haw Girl”. HAHAHA Yes. It was as amazing as it sounds.
When dinner and the show were over, we climbed back into the chuckwagons. We saw the sunset setting over the mountains and it was so insanely beautiful. It was the perfect end to a perfect day.
Overall, it was another great day in Jackson Hole. Dare I say my favorite? I think I do! Next week, we’re leaving Jackson to head to YELLOWSTONE for the day! I can’t wait to share my thoughts and pictures with you.
Until then, safe travels!