Adventure Journal: Off the beaten path with photographer Lisa Erdberg

4 Lazy F_Lisa Erdberg
4 Lazy F Ranch Photo by Lisa Erdberg

Grand Teton National Park’s dramatic landscape and unique history inspires photographers from around the world to visit and capture the park’s incredible scenery. Lisa Erdberg, San Francisco based photographer, shares her connection to Grand Teton and some of her favorite places to take photos when she is in the valley.

I visited Grand Teton National Park for the first time in 1990, fell in love with it, and have returned every year since then. There is something magical about the mountains that enable me to regain much-needed perspective and recalibrate my equilibrium. Along with its natural resources, I love Grand Teton’s cultural resources—especially the old ranches and homesteads. These historic structures allow me to imagine what life in Jackson Hole was like in the early decades of the 20th century, and they inspire an appreciation of the strength and courage it took to settle this land.

Lucas Fabian 2_Lisa Erdberg
Lucas Fabian Homestead Photo by Lisa Erdberg

My favorite is the Lucas-Fabian homestead which is located near the Taggart Lake trailhead. My husband and I discovered this property many years ago, thanks to the curiosity of some friends who regularly bike along the park road. The setting is idyllic and the porch of the main house is a perfect spot for a post-hike picnic. The property has benefitted from volunteer preservation efforts, and there are now informative panels explaining the property’s history. If you happen to be there at dawn, you’re likely to awaken a herd of elk in the meadow—a beautifully surreal sight in the morning mist.

Bar BC_Lisa Erdberg
Bar BC Ranch Photo by Lisa Erdberg

Another one of my favorite properties is Bar BC Ranch located off the old RKO Road. This was one of the largest and most successful dude ranches in Jackson Hole, and many of the original structures are still there in various states of disrepair. We’ve spent hours at Bar BC, wandering among the ruins of the buildings—you can close your eyes and see the corral full of horses, the dudes eating and drinking, guests riding and fishing along the banks of the Snake River, and everyone living their fantasies in this pristine setting.

4 Lazy F 2_Lisa Erdberg
4 Lazy F Ranch Photo by Lisa Erdberg

I knew I was on to something extraordinary when I discovered 4 Lazy F Ranch a few years ago! The entrance gate frames a spectacular view of the Tetons, and the barn is every bit as photogenic as the Moulton Barn, just not nearly as famous. Located near park headquarters in Moose, the property was originally called Sun Star Ranch. It was an “invitation only” dude ranch until 1950 when ownership transferred to a younger family member who changed the name to 4 Lazy F and opened the ranch to paying guests. The property remained an active dude ranch until the mid-1990s, and has been managed by the park service since 2006. With its extraordinary views of both the Tetons and the Snake River, 4 Lazy F is a very special place.

Want to see more of Lisa’s incredible photographs? Visit her website Thank you, Lisa, for sharing your beautiful photographs and insights into some of Grand Teton’s unique historic structures!

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