Ranger-led snowshoe hikes in Grand Teton National Park begin Monday, December 26th. The two-hour guided walks begin at the Taggart Lake Trailhead at 1:30 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday each week through mid-March dependent on conditions. Previous experience is not necessary and snowshoes are available. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 307.739.3399.
Taggart Lake area are a great way for beginners to get an introduction to winter recreation, and a way for the more experienced to delve deeper into the worlds of snow science and winter ecology. Topics covered during the hikes vary, but can include park history, winter wildlife adaptations, animal tracks, and snowpack.
The snowshoe hike experience is enhanced by the use of historic wooden snowshoes, the oldest of which dates to 1943. While the precise history of the snowshoes is unknown, some of them likely came from the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division. During and after World War II, soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division trained for combat in mountain areas and winter conditions using skis and snowshoes. Veterans of the division were in large part responsible for the growth of the snow sports industry after the war and many of them had ties to the Teton Range. The historic snowshoes are available to hike participants for a suggested donation of $5 per participant. All donations are collected by Grand Teton Association and used to maintain the snowshoes.
Skiers and snowshoers are also welcome to explore the park and John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway on their own. While winter recreationists are not restricted to established trails, visitors are required to observe the following public closures which are in place for wildlife protection during the winter:
December 1 through March 31— Static Peak, Prospectors Mountain and Mount Hunt.
December 15 through March 31— Snake River floodplain from Moran to Menor's Ferry near Moose, Buffalo Fork River floodplain within the park, Uhl Hill, and Kelly Hill.
A map of the closed areas can be found on page four of the Grand Teton Guide and at https://www.nps.gov/grte/planyourvisit/upload/GRTE-Winter-Map.pdf.