Families, Wildflowers, and Llamas in the Grand Tetons, Wyoming
- View the breathtaking scenery of the Jedediah Smith Wilderness in the Teton Range
- Enjoy the companionship of trekking llamas
- Experience wilderness camping with a day pack
- Trailhead shuttle
- All backcountry meals
- Local guides
|Dates||Jul 29–Aug 2, 2013|
|Difficulty||3 (out of 5)|
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Let a four-legged friend do your heavy lifting in the lesser visited west side of the Teton National Park on this family-friendly outing. With the llamas carrying most of the load, all the effort needed is for moving up the trail with little more than a day pack. And the llamas are in no hurry so it’s a pace conducive to taking in the scenery.
We will visit the heart of the spectacular Jedediah Smith Wilderness, where a glacial basin that's dotted by the Green Lakes complex lies just below the Teton Range. In a short day’s walk that reveals a splendid view of the Tetons, we arrive at the Granite Basin Lakes. We will camp at each of these mountain paradises, and fill our days with hikes, peaks, flowers, fishing, photography or just restoring ourselves at arm’s length from the Wyoming-Idaho skies.
This is a trip that promises all the elements of a classic Rocky Mountain adventure and is destined to be a treasured memory.
You may arrive anytime prior to the trip departure Monday to enjoy some of what the Jackson area offers in terms of the parks, fishing, rafting, museums, and shopping.
We will meet informally the evening of Sunday, July 28th to get acquainted. We may arrange for a speaker to inform us of local conservation issues.
Day 1: On Monday, July 29th, at a time to be announced, we will be picked up by our shuttle service to be driven over Teton Pass and into the foothills to our trailhead. Some time will be spent becoming familiar with the llamas and finishing up the packing. We have seven miles and 2,000 feet of gain. We start at an elevation of 7,000 feet and camp is near 9,000 feet.
Day 2: It's a layover day, so we get to play! We’ll benefit from a wealth of suggestions for hikes and peaks from our llama wrangler/guides.
Day 3: We will make a short move to the Granite Basin Lakes, which will provide us with one of the best views back toward the Tetons. There should be time for short explorations or just some relaxation.
Day 4: It’s recess again! We will strike out for one more freely adventurous day.
Day 5: All too soon, we are packing up and lingering as we head down the trail to our shuttle and back to Jackson to celebrate five glorious days in the wilderness.
You should plan your return airline reservations no sooner than the day after we get back to Jackson.
Jackson, Wyoming, is serviced by Jackson Hole Airport. Airport shuttles are available at fixed rates. Alltrans will be providing us with our trailhead shuttle.
Accommodations and Food
We are camping in the wilderness. With the llamas, a backpack is not necessary; however, please bring a lightweight backpacking tent, lightweight sleeping bag, and personal gear. The llama is taking 25-30 pounds of your load, including food and group gear.
Meals and their preparation will be backpacking style. The leader and assistant are skilled and experienced at preparing satisfying, flavorful meals that appeal to vegetarians and omnivores. It is customary to have participants rotate through the kitchen chores.
Everyone will need to be able to accommodate the seven miles and 2,000-foot gain. Day hikes will depend upon the abilities and mood of the group members. We will do what we can to accommodate folks on the day hikes.
Equipment and Clothing
Bring what you would on a backpack. An itemized list will be sent by the leader.
- Jedediah Smith Wilderness and Winegar Hole Wilderness Map USFS
- Granite Basin, WY USGS 1:24 Topographic Map
- Morgan, Dale Lowell, Jedediah Smith and the Opening of the West.
- Craighead Jr., Frank C., A Naturalist's Guide to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks.
The Jedediah Smith Wilderness was dedicated in 1984 and consists of 123,451 acres abutting the high country of Teton National Park and extending from Teton Pass to Yellowstone National Park. Jedediah Smith Wilderness -- along with the national parks, Caribou-Targhee National Forest, Bridger-Teton National Forest, Shoshone National Forest -- is an important component of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, which is 31,000 square miles of largely intact ecosystems. It is one of the few places where all the major predators -- grizzly bear, black bear, mountain lion, wolverine and wolves -- can be found in the lower 48 states, and where herds of elk and bison can freely roam. However, there are limits to this stretch of land. The modern world chafes against its boundaries and there are public outcries when bears, wolves, and bison spill out into agricultural lands or into the mountain suburbs. Management of the large predators and the bison is a fountain of contentious confrontations. The region has been subjected to industrialization in the form of natural gas fields to the extent that the machinery operating the wells has produced air pollution and ozone levels high enough to pose potential risks to human health. The gas fields have had an effect on the migratory routes of mule deer and antelope. And there is the derivative of carbon-based energy, increased greenhouse gases, and contributions to the anthropogenic element of climate change, which is expressed regionally by pine beetle infestations destroying food sources that are important to grizzlies. We’ll find time to talk about Sierra Club’s campaigns and maybe hear how our fellow trip members have been involved with issues at home.