snowshoes detail picture

Vintage snowshoes, up close.

Grand Teton: Walking in a winter wonderland

Road Journals Blog—Technically they’re the same place, but under as much as 15 feet of snow the park is a very different place—and every bit as beautiful. Few places can compete with the beauty of Grand Teton National Park in the summer. One of them? Grand Teton National Park in winter.

The best way to experience it in this state is via a two-hour, ranger-led snowshoe hike. From late December until mid-March, they depart daily from the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center daily; this year they start at 1:30 p.m., but the start time can change year-to-year.

Appropriate for novice and experienced snowshoers alike, snowshoes are even provided for a $5 “donation.” To create the feeling of a historic experience, most of the snowshoes date from the 1940s and 1950s—four-foot-tall, racquet-shaped wood and rawhide lace-ups. (During the summer, they're painstakingly repaired by park staff, who soak the rawhide strips in water until they're malleable enough to be strung where needed.)

Some of the snowshoes came all the way from the famous 10th Mountain Division, a light infantry regiment of the U.S. Army activated during WWII to give troops special training in mountain skills such as snowshoeing and skiing.

With all this history on your feet, the scenery is just an added bonus.

Reservations required. Call (307) 739-3399.

Dina Mishev’s article, “An Insider’s Guide to Grand Teton National Park,” can be found in VIA’s 2011 spring edition in the Mountain West region, comprising Montana, Wyoming, and Alaska.

This blog post was first published in February 2011. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.