July is a bustling month in Jackson Hole. Our valley pulses with activities, visitors, and thriving wildlife. Trails are open offering endless options. Hike, climb, bike, fish, float, gaze at the mountains.
As a great friend says, “these are the eight weeks we train for…” We work hard and play hard. Early morning is the best time to visit the town square. It’s good to avoid driving between 5-6 PM when roads get congested. Saturday mornings are spent at the farmer’s market on the town square and Dornan’s in Moose is always worth a visit. The property is perfectly situated with the Tetons as the backdrop while you enjoy a meal or a glass of wine.
Flowers are thriving and the occasional showers have made this a banner year. Beautiful flowers mean beautiful bugs. Start early since flying insects don’t get buzzing until mid-morning. The dew has to dry on their wings. It seems to be around 10 AM when bugs become more visible. Flowers are peaking around 9000 feet so choose tours that share that elevation and you will be pleasantly surrounded by beautiful, vibrant color.
Early morning wildlife drives are always rewarding. We see deer, elk, moose, bison, pronghorn and the occasional bear cub and great grey owl. The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem supports species diversity and driving gives you the chance to visit mixed habitats to potentially see much more.
We drive and explore Grand Teton Park. We start near Teton Village, drive north into the park on the Moose-Wilson Road where moose, elk and deer are often seen. As berries mature it’s also a great place to look for bears. We then drive on the inner park road where pronghorn and elk might be spotted. The drive north will take you to Oxbow Bend where American White Pelicans, other water fowl and otters can be found. It offers great photo opportunities with the reflection of Mt. Moran on the slow moving water. Then we drive back south down the highway to Antelope Flats. After turning left, we drive by Mormon Row and visit perfect bison and pronghorn habitat on our way back to town.
When you enter the park, you will get a map so it will help you navigate. Get up at dawn so on the road by 6:30 AM. If you would like a great guide and interpretation, let us know.
Days will noticeably shorten by mid-August so now is the time to enjoy peak summer. Temperatures have been perfect in the mid-seventies and low eighties. It’s an ideal time to be in Jackson Hole. Have fun and I’ll see you on the trail!
What’s in the woods
7/2/14- Grand Teton Park- bull and cow elk, pronghorn, bison, moose on Moose-Wilson Road, Oxbow- otter, American white pelican, scaup, geese
7/5- Snake River- two mature bald eagles
7/6-Jim Creek- silky phacelia, balsamroot, larkspur, shooting star, woodland star, mules ear, buckwheat, moss campion,
7/13- old pass road- osha, monkshood, stinging nettle, geranium, lupine, sunflower, cow parsnip, dusky flycatcher
7/15- pm thunderstorm with hail
7/20- Victor, ID- mature bald eagle fishing at Connie’s pond
7/24- Ski Lake- flowers gorgeous- scarlet gilia, sunflower, osha, buckwheat, penstemen, indian paintbrush / white- crowned sparrows, juncos / still patches of snow on northern aspects above lake
7/27- Hoback Peak- lupine, indian paintbrush, penstemon, scarlet gilia, sunflower, flax, columbine, herd of cow elk
7/28- Shadow Mountain- bison, gentian, red-tail hawk, mountain bluebird
7/29- grey, overcast with rain in forecast
7/30- Jackson Peak- fields of osha, Indian paintbrush, groundsel, elephant head
Hiking between 8500 and 9000 feet is amazing right now. Ski Lake in the southern Tetons is an easier hike and the trailhead is off Highway 22 above the town of Wilson. You can hike to the lake in 2.5 miles, gaining 1000 feet in elevation or after the first mile on the trail; you can continue towards Phillips Pass and hike on the crest trail. Surprise Lake and Amphitheater Lake is a great day hike in Grand Teton Park. Go early since you do hike up sunny switchbacks. You can’t beat exploring right now with all the beauty. Have fun, carry bear spray, and be prepared for afternoon showers