National Park Road Trip 2011: The Lodges of Grand Teton National Park, Part II
Editor's note: In part two of their look at lodging options in Grand Teton National Park, David and Kay Scott checked out Jackson Lake Lodge and Jenny Lake Lodge.
Greetings from Jackson Lake Lodge in Grand Teton National Park. On our last night in the park we drove to Colter Bay Marina to take the Elk Island dinner cruise. There were enough customers for two boats and we all enjoyed a dinner of trout and steak plus all the fixin’s. It takes about a half hour to get to the island where the concessionaire maintains about a dozen picnic tables and a large grill. It was a fun trip in which we got to meet a number of other travelers.
The cruise departs at 5:30 p.m. and arrives back at Colter Bay around 8 p.m. Upon our return we watched from back of the hotel as a grizzly sow and her two cubs romped in the distance. (Their antics were caught on video by Levi Thorn, the director of sales and marketing for the Grand Teton Lodge Co.)
We leave this morning to return north to Yellowstone for four nights following four nights in Grand Teton.
Our last report covered four of Grand Teton National Park’s seven lodging facilities, including Flagg Ranch, Signal Mountain Lodge, Triangle X Ranch, and Dornan’s Spur Ranch Log Cabins. The latter is the only one of these facilities that remains privately owned. This report will discuss the remaining three lodges, all of which are managed by the Grand Teton Lodge Company (GTLC).
GTLC operates three very different lodging facilities in Grand Teton. One is small, upscale, and quite expensive; another is large with a combination of comfortable cottages and hotel rooms, and the third is a combination of rustic cabins and tent cabins. The three properties span a wide range in terms of size, comfort, amenities, and cost.
Colter Bay Village in the park’s northern section has historic rustic cabins and tent cabins near a marina and large commercial complex. The tent cabins at $52 per night represent the least expensive lodging in the park.
Tents have electricity and cots, but guests must bring their own sheets, blankets, pillows, and cooking gear.
Colter Bay also has 166 rustic cabins, most of which have been moved here from area dude ranches. All but two small dorm units each have a private bathroom and are within walking distance of the commercial area that includes restaurants, a market, gift shops, Laundromat, and a National Park Service visitor center. One-room cabins range in cost from $120 to $165 per night.
Jackson Lake Lodge was designed by Gilbert Stanley Underwood and constructed in the early 1950s. Underwood also designed Yosemite’s Ahwahnee. The lodge includes nearly 350 cottages plus a hotel with 37 third-floor rooms. The hotel is highlighted by a large lobby with huge windows that provide breathtaking views of the Teton Range. People often sit in the lobby for long periods taking in the mountain views to the west.
Cottage rooms at Jackson Lake Lodge are quite nice, although it would be difficult to tell this from the exteriors that are pretty plain. Cottages are spread along parallel roads a short distance from the hotel.
The majority of cottage and hotel rooms do not have a mountain view and rent for $229 per night. Rooms in three cottage buildings and about half the hotel rooms do offer excellent mountain views and cost an extra $90 per night.
The concessionaire completely refurbished all of its cottage and hotel rooms for the opening of the 2009 season. The refurbishment included new carpeting, new drapes, new soft goods, and reupholstering and refinishing all of the furniture. All of the rooms are quite nice.
Jenny Lake Lodge is a small complex of 37 rustic cabins in a quiet area of the park. Most cabins are constructed as duplex units although a few are free-standing. The lodge is located about 20 miles north of the town of Jackson.
The cabins are upscale and rent for $630 per night (double occupancy) including breakfast and a gourmet dinner. The price of a room includes use of a bicycle and horseback riding on a first-come-first-serve basis.
These are well-maintained cabins, especially the interiors that include handmade quilts.
We are returning to Yellowstone National Park for two nights at Old Faithful Inn and two nights at Lake Yellowstone Hotel. Our plan is to include the three Old Faithful lodges in our next report, although it may or may not include videos depending on the Internet access that is available.
Yes, there is more lodging in the Old Faithful area than Old Faithful Inn. A second report several days later will cover Grant Village and two lodges in the Lake Yellowstone area. This will complete our coverage for the nine lodging facilities in Yellowstone National Park.