Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Winter Season Activities & Operations Get Underway in Grand Tetons

The winter season officially begins Monday, December 15 in Grand Teton National Park and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway (JDR Parkway). New this winter in the JDR Parkway is the availability of overnight lodging, dining, and saloon. These services will be provided by Headwaters Lodge & Cabins at Flagg Ranch from December 18 through March 2, 2015. In addition, the Craig Thomas Discovery & Visitor Center will be closed through March 1, 2015. In the absence of a winter visitor center, park staff will be available to answer questions and provide park information by phone at 307.739.3399, Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

An alternative for winter visitor information about the greater Jackson Hole area—including Grand Teton and the JDR Parkway—is the Jackson Hole and Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center on North Cache Street in Jackson, Wyoming. This interagency visitor center is open 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and offers educational and interactive displays that highlight the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and its many features. Wintering elk can be observed on the nearby National Elk Refuge from a wildlife observation deck equipped with spotting scopes. Click here for more information.

Ranger-led snowshoe hikes begin Saturday, December 2 7 from Taggart Lake trailhead on the Teton Park Road, three miles north of the park's Moose HQ campus. The snowshoe tours take place at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday each week. The two-hour guided walks offer an opportunity to learn about snow science and winter ecology. Previous experience is not necessary, and snowshoes are available for a rental fee of $5 for adults and $2 for children, 8 years or older. Reservations are required and can be made at 307.739.3399.

A Single Day Pass is available to winter visitors at the Moose, Moran and Granite Canyon entrance stations. This winter-season permit allows a one-day entry into Grand Teton at a cost of $5 per vehicle. The single day pass is valid only in Grand Teton and cannot be used for entry into Yellowstone. Winter visitors may choose to purchase one of the following other options for entry:

$25 Seven-day Pass valid for single vehicle entry into Grand Teton and Yellowstone
$50 Grand Teton/Yellowstone Annual Pass valid for one year entry into both parks
$80 Interagency Annual Pass valid for one year entry to all federal land management fee areas

Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are popular winter activities. Most winter trails are skier tracked, but not groomed. The Teton Park Road becomes a backcountry trail in winter and is open to non-mechanized use only. In past winters, grooming operations on the Teton Park Road have been intermittent due to budget and personnel limitations. During winter 2015, however, this winter trail will be machine groomed from Taggart Lake parking area to Signal Mountain for cross-country and skate skiing twice a week thanks to generous support from the Grand Teton National Park Foundation. Grooming will take place each Friday, and whenever weather and staffing allows on Mondays. For trail condition updates, phone 307.739.3682. Important reminder: Snowshoers should walk adjacent to the groomed ski trail, as snowshoe treads ruin the grooved track set for skier use.

Skiers and snowshoers are not restricted to established trails. However for protection of wildlife, park visitors are required to observe the following public closures during winter:

Closed December 1 to April 1—Static Peak, Prospectors Mountain and Mount Hunt (see the park's cross-country ski brochure for area descriptions).

Closed December 15 to April 1— Snake River floodplain from Moran to Menor's Ferry near Moose, Buffalo Fork River floodplain within the park, Kelly Hill and Uhl Hill.

To obtain maps and closure locations, click here.

Backcountry users and mountaineers planning to stay overnight in the park must get a camping permit before their trip. Permits are not required for day users. Winter camping permits can be obtained in person at the front desk of the park's HQ building in Moose Monday—Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. During weekends and holidays, persons wishing to get a permit must call 307.739.3301. A general permit info line (307.739.3309) will be staffed Monday—Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. This line will not be staffed on weekends or holidays, and only voice messages will be accepted.

To obtain weather forecasts and backcountry avalanche hazard information, click here, or phone the avalanche hotline at 307.733.2664.

Leashed pets are allowed on the park's plowed roads and turnouts, the unplowed Moose-Wilson Road, and the Grassy Lake Road. Pets are not allowed in the backcountry, which includes all other park areas beyond the plowed roadways.The unplowed Teton Park Road (TPR) is open to visitors who wish to walk, snowshoe or ski with their leashed pet. Dogs are restricted to the TPR, and must be restrained at all times on a leash no longer than 6-feet in length. Dogs must also be leashed while in the parking areas at Taggart Lake or Signal Mountain. Please keep dogs off the groomed ski tracks as a courtesy to other trail users.

Dog sleds are not allowed on the Teton Park Road or on Grassy Lake Road in the JDR Parkway.

Snowmobilers may use the frozen surface of Jackson Lake for the purposes of ice fishing only. A Wyoming State fishing license and appropriate fishing gear must be in possession. On Jackson Lake, snowmobiles must meet National Park Service requirements for Best Available Technology (BAT). Before operating a snowmobile, review approved BAT machines here.

Snowmobiles may also use the Grassy Lake Road in the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway. The BAT machine requirement does not apply to snowmobile access on Grassy Lake Road between Headwaters Lodge & Cabins at Flagg Ranch and the Caribou-Targhee National Forest. For more information on snowmobiling, click here. New this year, Flagg Ranch Company will have a limited number of snowmobiles to rent for use on the Grassy Lake Road.

For complete information about winter activities in Grand Teton National Park or the JDR Parkway click here. Visitors can also obtain information on the park's website or through the information line at 307.739.3399, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday.



Jeff
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikingintheSmokys.com

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