Grand Teton National Park Foundation

Adventure Journal: Ranger-led Snowshoe Hike

Tuesday, January 30th, 2018
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Whether you are on a family visit or just a curious local from town, a ranger-led snowshoe hike is a fantastic way to explore winter in Grand Teton National Park.

Your adventure begins immediately after driving through the park entrance—some days you will be immersed in sweeping views of the Teton range and others you will be greeted by howling winds and blowing snow. When you arrive at Taggart Lake trailhead, a ranger will be waiting to outfit you in a pair of antique, wooden snowshoes. These frames are at least a half-century old and have been rewoven for you to use on your excursion.

From there, a park naturalist will lead you on your walking tour and share stories of how bears, wolves, and many other animals adapt to survive in Grand Teton’s harsh winter. Wolverines, for instance, do not hibernate and are well adapted to winter with extremely dense fur, large snowshoe-like paws that allow them to stay on top of deep snow, and crampon-like claws that enable them to climb over steep cliffs and snow covered peaks.

Park naturalist Katie Tozier shows the pelt of a wolverine to the group, showcasing its ability to stay warm in Grand Teton’s harsh temperatures.

Pikas, the smallest member of the rabbit family, thrive in cold, snowy alpine environments but are physiologically incapable of dealing with prolonged warm weather. Because of their sensitivity to rising temperatures, these critters are an excellent species for evaluating biological impacts of environmental change.

A ranger-led snowshoe hike is a thought provoking activity that provides a behind-the-scenes look into Grand Teton National Park’s winter ecology. If you want to experience Grand Teton’s wild beauty while feeling safe in the hands of a park ranger, this activity should be on the top of your winter to do list.

Weather conditions in Jackson can be drastically different than the park, so be sure to come prepared. Bring a small backpack with additional layers, gloves, snacks, and water to make sure you are ready for anything. You will travel roughly 1.5 miles or less on your hike, but you’ll be outside for two hours or more.

Reservations are required! For more information, please visit here or call 307-739-3399 for more details.