Grand Teton National Park… quite grand indeed

grand teton van life
Vaniel looking all majestic.

Within one week in Grand Teton National Park, we hiked 40 miles and biked 18 miles (or 26 miles if you’re an overachiever like Colin). We didn’t see everything, but we sure gave it our best. This blog will focus on our hikes because I’m not half as talented with a camera when I’m on a bike. I can hardly ride one-handed without losing control so you can understand my struggle

We jumped right into the Grand Teton NP and were rewarded handsomely in return. Our first hike hit up three picturesque lakes: Surprise Lake, Amphitheater Lake, and, our favorite, Delta Lake. To really get our blood pumping, as if the elevation gain wasn’t enough, within our first two miles (of ten), we saw a black bear. Then, of course, the lakes. First, we hiked to Surprise and Amphitheater Lakes and then we made a detour to see Delta Lake. Our detour was a little off the beaten path and I wouldn’t recommend it (stay on the trail, kids!) but the end view was stunning.

Next up was Death Canyon; over 8 miles and a bit of a beast. Speaking of beasts, our highlight of this hike was seeing a mama and baby moose! Well, we didn’t so much as “see” them as “almost run into them”. Colin and I were chatting away and I remember thinking, “I hear something. I should look up.” No sooner do we turn the corner and I look up to find my face is less than two feet from this ginormous mama moose face. I take a loud, sharp inhale/exclamation and gracefully backwards hop my ass outta there. Colin followed suit after I scared the beegeezus out of him. Then, I took a picture. As you do.

Death Canyon Grand Teton

Then, we decided to really go for it. Eight and ten miles is child’s play; give us a challenge. We had been considering the Paintbrush Canyon/Cascade Canyon loop since we arrived in the Tetons. It’s over twenty miles and a bit of a doozy, but it sounded epic. We debated doing it in one day but we’re not that crazy. Well… not this time; we did hike the Enchantments in one day but we’ll save that story for another time. SO! We secured our overnight permits and were on our way. There were threats of an overnight storm but we lucked out and it never came. We must have been on a lucky streak because we also got to watch a pine marten nomming away on a huckleberry bush and we were told this was a rare sighting. 

Grand Teton National Park backpacking
Our camp for the night.

Needless to say, all the activity wore us out but we were thrilled to be there with good weather and somewhat clear skies. There were a few times where the effects of wildfire were clearly visible, but overall, I’d say we were lucky.

Bonus story: We found this magnificent campsite by helping out a great kid named Steve whose buddy’s car was leaking oil and going nowhere anytime soon. We drove him to their camping spot so he could collect all their camping supplies. After we dropped him off into town, we turned around and went right back to that same site to enjoy it for ourselves. 🙂 

Grand Teton National Park Van life dispersed camping
Vaniel and the view.
grand tetons dispersed camping
Not a bad place to spend the night.

Author: Lisa

Over one year in van life and loving it. Hiker, rock climber, novice mountain biker, and professional napper. Official “documenter” of our time with Vaniel. Favorite podcast: Stuff You Should Know.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Aunt Barb says:

    How fun!!! Looks beautiful!!! Be safe!!! Smooch!!!

    1. Lisa says:

      Thanks, Aunt Barb! We’re having a blast! 🙂

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