Grand Teton National Park gearing up for winter activities

Winter activities in Grand Teton National Park begin on Dec. 15.

From Staff Reports

Grand Teton National Park staffers and concessioners are gearing up for winter activities, including snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling as the winter season is set to begin Dec. 15.

Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are popular winter activities in the park, but rely on user to establish most trails, which typically are not groomed.

During the witner season, the Teton Park Road is a designated trail, open to non-motorized use only, according to a statement released by the park’s public affairs office. The Teton Park Road is groomed intermittently for cross-country and skate skiing from the Taggart Lake parking area to Signal Mountain.

But park officials say that plowing of park roads and other access areas take priority and will often preempt grooming operations. In addition, grooming will only begin after at least two feet of snow accumulates on the Teton Park Road.  Snowshoers are advised to walk adjacent to the groomed ski trail, as snowshoe treads ruin the grooved track set for skiers’ use.

Snowmobilers may use the frozen surface of Jackson Lake for the purposes of ice fishing only. A Wyoming fishing license and appropriate fishing gear must be in possession.

On Jackson Lake, snowmobiles must meet National Park Service air and sound emissions requirements for best available technology. Before operating a snowmobile in Grand Teton, review the regulations and approved machines online, or stop by the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center in Moose, Wyo.

Snowmobiles may also use the Grassy Lake Road in the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway for recreation. The BAT machine requirement does not apply to snowmobile use on the Grassy Lake Road between Headwaters Lodge & Cabins at Flagg Ranch and Caribou-Targhee National Forest.

Mountaineers and others planning to stay overnight in the backcountry must get a non-fee permit before their trip at the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center. Permits are not required for day use. For weather forecasts and avalanche hazard information, stop at the Discovery Center, visit the backcountry website, or call the avalanche hotline at 307-733-2664.

Ranger-led snowshoe hikes begin Wednesday, Dec. 26 at the Discovery Center. This 2-hour activity is offered every day at 1:30 p.m., and previous experience is not necessary. Snowshoes are available for a rental fee of $5 for adults and $2 for children, 8 years or older. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 307-739-3399.

Skiers and snowshoers are not restricted to established trails. But all visitors are required to observe closure areas from Dec. 15 to April 1. For trail maps, closure locations, or winter information, go to the park’s website or visit the Discovery Center.

Winter wildlife closure areas include: Snake River floodplain from Moran to Menor’s Ferry near Moose; Buffalo Fork River floodplain within the park; Kelly Hill and Uhl Hill; Static Peak and Prospectors Mountain; Mount Hunt areas.

Leashed pets are allowed on the park’s plowed roads and turnouts, the unplowed Moose-Wilson Road, and the Grassy Lake Road. Pets are not allowed in the backcountry, which includes all other park areas beyond the plowed roadways.

Dogs are restricted to the Teton Park Road winter trail, and must be restrained at all times on a leash no longer than 6-feet. Owners are required to clean up after pets. Dog sleds are not allowed on the Teton Park Road or on Grassy Lake Road in the JDR Parkway.

A single-day pass is available to winter visitors at the Moose, Moran and Granite Canyon entrance stations. This winter-season permit allows a one-day entry into Grand Teton at a cost of $5 per vehicle. The single-day pass is valid only in Grand Teton and cannot be used for entry into Yellowstone. Winter visitors may choose to purchase one of the following other options for entry:

  • $25 Seven-day pass valid for single vehicle entry into Grand Teton and Yellowstone.
  • $50 Grand Teton/Yellowstone annual pass valid for one-year entry into both parks.
  • $80 Interagency annual pass valid for one year entry to all federal land fee areas.

The Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center is open year-round and winter hours run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The center will be closed on Dec. 25.

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