Adventure Journal: Exploring Grand Teton on Cross Country Skis

The Foundation is happy to continue supporting grooming of Teton Park Road three times per week. Photo: Ryan Sheets.
The Foundation is happy to continue supporting grooming of Teton Park Road three times per week. Photo: Ryan Sheets.

Winter in Grand Teton National Park is a magical time. For the eighth consecutive year, the Foundation is partnering with Grand Teton to groom Teton Park Road three times a week (conditions permitting) allowing visitors unparalelled access to the 14-mile stretch of road between Bradley-Taggart and Signal Mountain. Winter travelers can go by foot, snowshoe, or ski and enjoy the splendor of winter in the Tetons. The region offers a variety of terrain choices and scenic destinations from half day trips to full day tours—there’s a little something for everyone! Here are a few of our favorite destinations.

Jenny Lake: 9 miles round trip, 200 feet of elevation gain

This full day tour will take you gliding by the Cathedral Group to one of Grand Teton’s most iconic destinations. Jenny Lake is the busiest place in the park in the summer, but if you make the effort to ski there in the winter, solitude and stunning scenery are guaranteed.

Lucas Fabian Cabins: Roughly 5 miles round trip and less than 100 feet of elevation gain brings one to the Lucas Fabian Homestead, one of Grand Teton’s most cherished, and seldom seen, historic districts. The cabins were built by homesteader Geraldine Lucas who became the second woman to climb the Grand Teton.

To reach the cabins, head north along the Teton Park Road from the Bradley-Taggart Trailhead. Continue for roughly 2 miles until you reach the Teton Glacier Turnout. Just north of this turnout, approximately 1/8 mile, is a small unmarked gate on the west side of the groomed road. Proceed around this gate and towards Cottonwood Creek where you will find a foot bridge leading you to the Lucas-Fabian Homestead.

The view from the cabins is incredible and provides an excellent lunch destination!

A frozen Jackson Lake offers wide open views of the Tetons. Photo: Latham Jenkins.
A frozen Jackson Lake offers wide open views of the Tetons. Photo: Latham Jenkins.

Park at Signal Mountain Lodge:

Signal Mountain: 10.4 miles round trip, 1,700 feet of elevation gain

Head south from the Signal Mountain Lodge parking lot along Teton Park Road. After approximately one-half mile, the Signal Mountain road will be on your left. Take this snow-covered, unplowed road trail to the summit. If you find yourself tired en route, there are fabulous views of Jackson Lake along the way that make great resting spots or final destinations. The view from the top is spectacular, offering vistas of the Teton, Gros Ventre, and Absaroka ranges.

Jackson Lake:

Once the surface of Jackson Lake has a thick layer of ice (typically late December/early January), the snow on top provides a magnificent place for winter adventure. You can ski or snowshoe as far as you want, and beautiful views of Mount Moran and other northern Teton peaks are sure to impress any park enthusiast.

Visit JH Nordic's website for more tour ideas in Grand Teton and the entire region.

Teton Park Road will be groomed into late March (conditions permitting). Always remember to bring plenty of water, snacks, warm layers, eye protection, and sunscreen, and be sure to check the weather before you go. It is essential that you know how to use your gear and make wise terrain choices while recreating in the winter. See you in the park!

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