Day Two: National Parks
DAY TWO. This continues my series on a perfect Jackson vacation. Today was all about National Parks. Teddy Roosevelt has always been my favorite President because he created the first National Parks. Grand Teton and Yellowstone are special places. They are so pristine, unique, and well cared-for. I feel lucky to live so close to a place that people come from all over the world to see.
We woke up to this beautiful view of Sleeping Indian and the Elk Refuge. This is the best lodging view in Jackson, in my opinion.
We drove to String Lake. This requires entry to Grand Teton National Park, and you might as well also pay for Yellowstone Park at the same gate. Entry to both parks for 7 days is $50. String Lake is a favorite of my family’s. It is busier now than it was when I was little, but is still very enjoyable, especially if you plan it right. The parking lot can get full in the afternoon, so do String Lake first thing in the morning. It’s most fun with a kayak, canoe, or paddle board.
We were not aware that permits are needed for kayaks, canoes, and paddle boards until we were already at the shore with our kayak, so we decided to take our chances without a permit. Later I learned that the purpose of a permit is so that the park rangers can check for these stowaways (see left).
Permits are $10 per boat and may be purchased at the visitors centers in Moose, Jenny Lake (cash only) or Colter Bay.
In the kayak, we almost tipped over as soon as we started rowing. I saw a lady on the shore laughing at us. For the rest of the boating trip I was very careful to keep my weight in the center. We had a blow up kayak, which was great because it’s way easier to transport than a canoe or paddleboards. Jackson has lots a rental places for watercraft.
I love kayaking to the lily pads! String Lake is the only place I see lily pads like this. And the water is crystal clear.
After boating, we took a hike around the lake. It was 3.8 miles with less than 900 feet of elevation gain. Perfect hike for a pregnant lady and a husband who doesn’t like hiking. Here’s a map of our hike. On the map, look for the String Lake Trailhead and you’ll see the green loop around String Lake.
With kayaking and hiking, we spent about 3 1/2 hours at String Lake, then made our way to Cody through the beautiful Yellowstone Park. The route from the South Entrance to the East Entrance has great views of Yellowstone Lake and the remains of the 1988 fires.
I just love just driving through Yellowstone. Our favorite game in Yellowstone is to write down all the states, then cross them off as we find the license plates. This time we found every state except Mississippi and South Carolina. I don’t know how the Hawaii plates got here!
We were able to get to Cody in plenty of time to shower, have dinner, and go to the Rodeo. Cost was $20 per adult. Cody has a rodeo every night during the summer, which is amazing to me. We love rodeos, and although we found this one to not quite have the talent I’m used to seeing in our hometown of Spanish Fork, we realize that most rodeos are one week per year, while Cody manages to pull it off every night for the whole summer. My favorite was when one of the horses came bucking out of the gate, then after a couple seconds just decided it was done and stood still before the time was up. It was still really fun, especially when all the kids in the stands were invited to chase after a calf . We stayed at A Wyoming Inn, which was a good value, considering Cody is about as expensive as Jackson.
Stay tuned for Day 3! Jed and Jessica