Grand Teton National Park, Moran, WY – Get Directions
Ideally Located Budget Cabins with Great Food
Jackson Lake makes an ideal base for families exploring Grand Teton National Park. Families will appreciate Jackson Lake Lodge’s proximity to Jenny Lake, Colter Bay, and Signal Mountain. After a late night ranger program, I found it much nicer to just pop over to Jackson Lake Lodge rather than having to drive 90 minutes back to Jackson Hole.
Built in 1955 by John D. Rockefeller, the lodge was designed in the modernist International style and is now a National Historic Landmark. I find modernist architecture rather stark, however the views of the Teton ranges from the glass walls of the expansive second floor lobby are truly magnificent.
The 1950’s era cabins that flank the main lodge were designed to be clean, convenient budget lodging for travelers out exploring the park. Although they have never been significantly remodeled, they are well-maintained and very tidy. Our cabin had new carpeting and 2 queen beds with crisp linens and was very comfortable for my daughter and me. Built in the style of a roadside motel, the parking lot was just steps from our cabin door- very convenient for retrieving luggage. Thankfully, the cabins are equipped with heavy curtains that effectively blocked out both the ambient morning light, as well as headlights from our neighbors cars.
Bathrooms are clean and basic and are supplied with bars of soap. Shampoo and body wash pumps are located on the shower walls, although they were empty during our visit. I recommend bringing shampoo, conditioner, and body wash.
The Pioneer Grille, the casual dining room in the main lodge, is so much fun! It remains as it was built- an authentic 1950’s soda fountain and diner, with one long bar which winds throughout the entire restaurant. We sat next to families from all over the world, as we enjoyed delicious offerings such as the breakfast biscuits with thyme gravy (don’t miss them!). As with the other restaurants in Grand Teton NP, I was impressed with the chef’s emphasis on fresh, healthy foods that are local whenever possible. Previous National Park dining experiences have always left something to be desired, but the food Grand Teton NP really surprised me.
The Mural Room- the lodge’s fine dining restaurant- also looked promising, although we didn’t have a chance to try it. The views over the mountain ranges would make for a memorable dining experience.
HIKING AND ACTIVITIES
My favorite day in Grand Teton was spent hiking around Jenny Lake, a 30 minute drive from the Jackson Lake Lodge. It is a clear, cold mountain lake ringed by an easy 5 mile hiking path. Hikers can either walk from the parking lot around the lake, or take a $10 water taxi ride to the other side. From there, trails lead to Hidden Falls (0.5 miles) and Inspiration Point (1 mile). We chose the taxi route, and then ascended the gorgeous trail to Hidden Falls, which were magnificent with the recent snow melt.
Jackson Lake Lodge offers many of the park’s family activities such as the pool and horseback riding. I am not sure if the pool is heated, but the resort staff told me that the water was about 50 degrees when we visited in June. Definitely too cold for swimming! However, I expect the water would be perfect after a long hike on a hot day.
Although my daughter was too young to participate, the stables at Jackson Lake Lodge looked really fun. Kids need to be at least 8 years old to go out on trail rides, although younger children can do short pony rides around the corrals. The stables offer one hour rides to Christian Pond and Colter Village as well as 2 hour rides further afield.
I highly recommend attending any of the excellent ranger talks or campfire programs. They are fascinating for the whole family, and the rangers do a great job of engaging kids. We attended both a Gros Ventre talk about the park’s carnivores and a Colter Bay campfire program about the relationship between bears and wolves. Both were excellent, and I only regret that we didn’t attend more ranger events.
*Although my visit to Jackson Lake Lodge was complimentary, my reviews are my own opinion and were not influenced by hotel staff.