America is blessed with many gorgeous mountain ranges, but the Tetons may be the most picturesque of all. The iconic view you most often see of the Tetons is from the east, the Jackson Hole side, home of movie stars and some very expensive real estate. What’s on the other side?
On the “other” side of the Tetons, you will find Teton Valley, Idaho, with its trout-laden Teton River. The view of the Tetons from the west is less dramatic because there are foothills in front of the big peaks, whereas in Jackson Hole, the Tetons rise straight up from the valley floor. Life is more laid-back in Teton Valley than in Jackson Hole, and costs (including at the airport!) are generally lower. But the same summer and winter sports are available, and that includes great skiing. The Grand Targhee ski resort, although located within the state of Wyoming, is accessed from the Idaho side, so fly to Driggs and experience the other side of the Tetons.
For years now, Wyoming’s Teton-area resorts have been blessed with early and abundant fluffy white stuff. Pacific storms often stall over the Tetons and dump prodigious quantities of snow, especially on the west side. Grand Targhee Resort averages 500 inches a year, and it’s a powder hound’s dream. With 95 runs from beginner to expert on over 2,500 acres, a 2,270-foot vertical drop, a terrain park, and five lifts, you’ll be good to go all day. Other winter activities include fat tire biking, tubing, Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, and cat skiing. Slopeside amenities include restaurants, shopping, and lodging, both on the mountain or in the valley. In summer, the resort becomes a bike park or you can take a scenic chair lift ride and go hiking.
Some of the world’s finest hiking and backpacking is right here. The Table Mountain Trail will get you up close and personal with Grand Teton’s west face; the strenuous 11-mile-round-trip hike comes with a 4,000-foot elevation gain and takes all day. Numerous other great hikes can be accessed at the nearby South Teton Creek Trailhead (see photos and captions for descriptions). Stop by the Teton Basin Ranger Station for more info.
There is trout fishing in the Teton River from Memorial Day to Nov. 30; its upper sections run through the flat valley floor north of Driggs. Bird watchers also flock here to see sandhill cranes and many other birds. Some fly fishermen favor a stretch called Bitch Creek, where fish average about 14 inches to 18 inches. Peaked Sports offers fishing, mountain biking, and hiking supplies and rentals, plus great advice on where to go. For golfers, Targhee Village has a beautiful nine-hole course frequented by moose, alongside the forested foothills five miles east of Driggs. The Links at Teton Peaks is a dog-friendly, 18-hole, 72-par course with mountain views. Or, get your Teton views from a nine-story hot air balloon. Teton Balloon Flights will fly you up, up, and away toward the Grand, with views of three states along the way.
If fishing is your bag, you’ll love the Teton Valley Lodge, because their mission is to help you land as many fish as possible. Accommodations range from single-room cabins to large homes with river and mountain views. Rates include excellent meals, lodging, guide service, flies, leaders, terminal tackle including custom fly patterns, free airport pickup, soft drinks, and beer. Bring your own rod, or rent from the tackle shop. Teton Valley Cabins rents cozy and affordable log cabins nestled in a cottonwood forest, set up like duplexes with a shared porch, but with private entrances, baths, and kitchenettes.
Watch the game at O'Rourkes Fine Food and Beer in Driggs, or head eight miles south to Victor, which offers several good restaurants including our favorite, the Knotty Pine Supper Club. For winter skiing or summer exploring, see how much the “other side of the Tetons” has to offer you!
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