Winter Season Activities Get Underway
Contact: Public Affairs Office, 307.739.3393
The 2014 winter season begins Sunday, December 15 in Grand Teton National Park and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway. This year, as a cost saving measure, the Craig Thomas Discovery & Visitor Center will be closed until April 7, 2014. A phone line (307.739.3399) will be staffed Monday through Friday for park information. 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, offering interactive displays and dioramas 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. Visit http://www.fs.fed.us/jhgyvc/ for more information.
Ranger-led snowshoe hikes begin Friday, December 27 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:
Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are popular winter activities. Most trails are skier tracked, not groomed. The Teton Park Road becomes a designated trail in winter, open to non-mechanized use only. This road gets intermittently groomed for cross-country and skate skiing from the Taggart Lake parking area to Signal Mountain, but plowing of park roads and other access areas take priority and often preempt grooming operations, which begin only after sufficient snow (at least 2 feet) accumulates on the roadbed. For grooming 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. For protection of wildlife, however, park visitors are required to observe closure areas from December through March. To obtain trail maps, closure locations, or winter information, go to http://www.nps.gov/grte/planyourvisit/maps.htm. Winter closure areas include:
Backcountry users and mountaineers planning to stay overnight in the backcountry must get a camping permit before their trip. Winter backcountry permits can be obtained in person at the front desk of the park's HQ building in Moose between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on Monday through Friday. During weekends and holidays, persons wishing to get a backcountry permit must call 307.739.3301.The backcountry permits office phone (307.739.3309) will be staffed Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. On weekends and holidays, this line will not be staffed and only voice messages will be accepted. Permits are not required for day users.
To obtain weather forecasts and backcountry avalanche hazard information, visit www.jhavalanche.org, 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 is open to visitors who wish to walk, snowshoe or ski with their leashed pet. Dogs are restricted to the Teton Park Road, 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.
Mutt Mitt stations are in place at the TPR trailheads to dispense plastic bags for pet waste; trash receptacles are also available for disposal of used bags. Pet owners are required to clean up their pet's waste and properly dispose of the bags in the receptacles provided. Some pet owners have left used bags along the side of the road, and when these bags become buried in snow, they cause problems for rotary snow plows during the spring road opening. If pet owners do not comply with the rules and regulations—especially with regard to pet waste disposal and leash rules—it is possible that pets will be prohibited from the TPR in the future.
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 regulations and approved BAT machines at http://www.nps.gov/yell/parkmgmt/current_batlist.htm. 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, go to http://www.nps.gov/grte/planyourvisit/upload/snowmobile.pdf.
For complete information about winter activities in Grand Teton National Park or the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway, go to http://www.nps.gov/grte/parknews/upload/Winter_Guide_14.pdf. In general this winter, visitors can obtain information about Grand Teton and the JDR Parkway in the following ways: