Shift in the weather
September is a month of change — softening light and shorter days mean fall has arrived. The smoke and heat of August have been replaced by clear skies and cooler temperatures. The first snow has fallen in the Tetons and bright colors begin to dot the hillsides. Shorter daylight hours spur hormonal changes in wildlife which trigger the start of mating season. Bull Elk have begun to “bugle” to attract females and protect their territories.
Local: Jackson bustles into fall
Town continues to be busy with visitors seeking the solace of nature during this unsettled time. The energy in Jackson has shifted as the transition to fall lures a mix of recreationists, artists and hunters. These cooler months of September and October are an ideal time to play in the mountains among the colorful foliage and heightened wildlife activity. The Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce is presenting its annual Fall Arts Festival featuring artists, food, music and more. And hunting season has begun, drawing many people to hunt the large game animals. Wearing orange becomes important while playing in the hills.
Regional: It’s hunting season in Wyoming
Hunting has always been a revenue source for the state of Wyoming. Hunters flock to Wyoming to hunt bison, elk, deer, bighorn sheep, moose, wolves, antelope and upland game birds. Basically, all animals that are not protected under the Endangered Species Act are hunted. Licenses are managed by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. The agency works with Grand Teton National Park, public lands, and private landowners to manage the various hunt areas. Wildlife population, gender numbers, and habitat health are all factors that determine the season’s harvest numbers. Learn more about the 2020 hunting season »
“Walk away quietly in any direction and taste the freedom of the mountaineer. Camp out among the grasses and gentians of glacial meadows, in craggy garden nooks full of nature’s darlings. Climb the mountains and get their good tidings, Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. As age comes on, one source of enjoyment after another is closed, but nature’s sources never fail.”
— John Muir
What’s in the Woods (field notes)
9/4 (Munger Mountain) ripe serviceberries, fireweed seeds, yampah seeds
9/6 (Boulder, WY) sunny and warm, northern harrier
9/7 Winter storm arrives east of Continental Divide, big wind and some snow in Jackson
9/12 (Wilson, WY) bull moose sparing, elk bugling
9/13 Smoke and haze in the valley
9/14 (Highway 22) red tail hawk on osprey nest
9/17 (Jackson, WY) hummingbirds leaving the valley for warmer climates
9/25 (Highway 22 near Puzzleface Ranch) bald eagle sitting on power pole, great blue heron flying over Snake River
9/25 (Uhl Hill/Grand Teton Park) young garter snake, mormon crickets, bison, elk, ferruginous hawk
9/26 Fresh snow on the mountains
9/27 (Willow Creek) amazing fall colors, small herd of mule deer, hunters, blooming Indian Paintbrush
9/30 (Grand Teton Park) bull elk bugling, black bear, herd of mule deer, moose
Tips & Tour Suggestions
At this time of year, it is wonderful to play in the Aspen forest or float along the river and enjoy the beautiful Cottonwoods. Some of my favorite fall walks are in the Willow Creek area south of Jackson or Munger Mountain south of Wilson. Teton Valley, Idaho has Aspen groves throughout the Big Hole Mountains with fun mountain biking trails, too. The Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve in Grand Teton Park offers a nice spot to park and enjoy a walk in the fall foliage.
An evening drive along the Moose-Wilson Road is always beautiful and offers many great spot to listen to the Elk bugle. Pulling up toward Death Canyon Trailhead gets you off the main road enough for a quieter place to listen.
Be safe and prepared by carrying bear spray and wearing orange while playing in the mountains.