Tackling the Tetons
TTrail riders would be hardpressed to find more spectacular scenery than Wyoming’s Teton Mountain Range, especially in mid-September. This range rises gracefully 7,200 vertical feet from a lush valley floor to a height of 13,770 feet above sea level. Covered in white lace mantillas, graceful mountains admire their reflection in mirrored lakes below.
One hundred million years ago, slow-moving glaciers sculpted large moraines and formed lakes. Wind and water erosion added finishing touches to this sublime masterpiece.
Five distinct natural communities exist in this area: alpine; forest; sagebrush flats; wet meadows; and lakes and ponds. Each region has its own unique plant and animal life.
Our Horse Camp
We arrived in the nearby town of Jackson and made the Teton Fairgrounds our temporary home, since there are no equestrian campgrounds in Grand Teton National Park. Here, our horses had stalls, and we had electricity and a convenient camp.
Fairground policy allows you to exercise your horses in the large arena as long as you stay with them. A word of caution: When we turned out our Missouri Fox Trotter geldings, Nate and Cowboy, they spied an obscure open gate and charged out of the arena, heading for a night on the town.
Fortunately, they stopped to munch alfalfa in the parking lot, and we were able to squash their foray.
Grand Teton National Park offers trail riders spectacular scenery, especially in midSeptember. Discover the park’s top trails with our from-the-saddle report.
On a crisp September morning, we trailered our horses to the String Lake trailhead. To get there from the fair- grounds, we drove north on Highway 191 and into Grand Teton National Park, roughly 22 miles. We turned left on Teton Park Rd. past Jenny Lake, then turned left at North Jenny Lake Junction.
The parking lot at the String Lake Trailhead is divided into three sections. The first two parking lots are small, but the spacious third lot easily accommodates horse trailers and even has hitching rails.
Tangled ribbons of sunlight crossed our path as we began our journey to Inspiration Point and Cascade Canyon. The air held a little nip to remind us that winter wasn’t far behind.
We were surprised by the number of hikers and backpackers. The Grand Tetons attract people from all over the world. Thanks to our equine goodwill ambassadors, we met people from New Zealand, India, France, and Germany.
From the trailhead, we rode by a bridge and crossed a crystal-clear stream. After about three miles along Jenny Lake, we came to the trail that led to Inspiration Point, a high bluff that extends out into Jenny Lake.
Inspiration Point is well-named! Its visual beauty is enhanced by the wind whispering across the lake, fragrant pines, and clean, fresh air. Here, you know you’re in a special place.
We then backtracked a short distance and headed up Cascade Canyon, also well-
Trail riders would be hard-pressed to find more spectacular scenery than Wyoming’s Teton Mountain Range, especially in mid-September. Here, Kent Krone on Cowboy and Charlene Krone on Nate cross the stream below String Lake on the way to Inspiration Point and Cascade Canyon. Inset: The entrance to Grand Teton National Park.