Summertime can be a bit overwhelming in the Tetons these days, with traffic and parking delays, but the blue skies, sunshine, wildflowers, and warm temperatures are a joyous treat. These long summer days offer endless recreational opportunities for locals and visitors alike. The mountains continue to deliver their majestic beauty, fields of wildflowers, and diverse wildlife to watch and enjoy. The Snake River winds through the valley offering cool relief for us and our pets when the temperatures rise. And the valley floor remains green and lush. Looks like warm temperatures will continue with monsoonal moisture likely to arrive during the peak of summer. Always keep an eye on the weather and be prepared for inclement weather in the mountains.
Snake River Wildlife Crossing Project
There is a lot of chit chat around town about the bridge and wildlife crossing construction on both sides of the Snake River bridge. The bike paths have been re-routed to accommodate new double-wide cattle guards and soon fencing will be installed to funnel wildlife under the roadway. Underpasses are being carved out on both sides of the river to offer safe passage to the deer, moose, fox, and other wildlife that frequent this wildlife-vehicle collision hotspot. Remember to slow down and be aware when highways intersect waterways.
Impacts of human noise on wildlife
The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem encompasses over 22 million acres and is a sanctuary for the largest concentration of wildlife in the Lower 48 states. Bison, grizzly bears, wolverines, lynx, elk, and moose live in harmony with nature in this vast region. A recent study by the Bridger-Teton National Forest shows the impacts of human noise on wildlife. Making noise allows animals to move away to avoid sudden surprises that are stressful and potentially dangerous. But, as you might imagine, loud continuous human-caused sounds can be a detriment, disrupting critical feeding and mating routines. Boomboxes? Not so good. It’s important for us to realize our impact on the natural world.
“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we will find it not.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson
- Make sure to prepare for all your adventures with plenty of water and layers. Hypothermia is a threat during the heat of summer if we don’t plan for higher elevations and quick weather changes.
- Bison may seem large and docile but they run fast and gore visitors each summer. Give wildlife space. All animals 25 yards and extend distance to 100 yards for bears or wolves.
- Know how to use your bear spray and check the expiration date.
- Berries will mature in early August. Many are edible and huckleberries are a favorite. Make sure to ID properly. (https://www.uwyo.edu/barnbackyard/_files/documents/magazine/2017/fall/edibleandnonberries1017.pdf)
- Snake River flows have increased with more water is being released from the Jackson Lake Dam. August and September and great months to fish as long as the temperatures don’t get too high. (https://buckrail.com/game-and-fish-urges-anglers-not-to-catch-and-release-in-high-temps/)
- Beautiful flowers mean beautiful bugs so a good time to have bug spray or hike in long, loose layers.
During the heat of August, head higher in the mountains for cooler temperatures and spend time near alpine lakes and rivers. Hit the trail in the morning and head to your favorite watering holes to swim in the afternoon. For hikes, Teton Pass offers numerous options. The ridge walk toward Mt. Elly at the top of the pass offers great views, flowers, cooler temperatures, and an afternoon breeze. String Lake is a fun place to swim in Grand Teton Park, but parking can be tough during the height of summer. Floating on the Snake River is ideal on a hot afternoon. Enjoy!
Learn and discover with a naturalist
Join The Hole Hiking Experience on the trail. Visit our website for tour information: www.holehike.com