You never want for guests when you live in Teton Valley. Other than the month or so when the snow decides to melt off the mountains, and residents take a breath preparing for summer tourists, there’s no bad time to visit Teton Valley Idaho. It simply depends on what your priorities are for personal adventure and discovery.
We recently had relatives visit from South Dakota. They live in the Black Hills, so being immersed in a beautiful, awe-inspiring, environment is second nature to them. However, it doesn’t seem to matter where one is from or how many places one has traveled to; Teton Valley never ceases to impress even the seasoned voyager. The only conundrum for many, how to take it all in if time is limited, which is the typical dilemma for most vacationers.
As it turns out, seeing our beautiful valley from thousands of feet in the air is the most optimum, and efficient I may add, way to enjoy a birds-eye-view of all the nooks and crannies of our beautiful valley. No surprise there I suppose. Like an Eagle in flight, you’re zooming in on all the grandeur of this magnificent place. We simply never considered this option for our many guests over the years; we’ll never make that mistake again. I can’t take all the credit for dreaming up such an extraordinary and crowd-pleasing activity. Our good friend, Colleen Schooley, just happens to be the Director of Flight Operations and Chief Flight Instructor, at the Teton Aviation Center at the Driggs-Reed Memorial Airport, located in the heart of Driggs. After hearing her talk about what a highlight this experience was for both out-of-towners, and locals alike, we decided it was time.
Colleen is an instant cure for anyone who has any trepidation at all about flying in mountainous terrain, in a small plane no less. She is pilot extraordinaire, and every anxiety you may have drifts instantly away when you meet her. Her demeanor, experience, confidence and skills are evident from ground zero. It was an early morning flight and we were greeted in full embrace by the Teton Mountains and the legendary Idaho cloudless sky. So much to see in literally every direction, and while our guests have skied Targhee, they couldn’t have imagined how unbelievably dramatic the backside of the resort truly is. Or, just how Grand the Teton Mountains actually are when you’re soaring so close to the summit, which reaches a dramatic 13,776 feet. Or, the sheer number of mountain lakes that dot this landscape. It truly takes your breath away and an experience more of our guests at Teton Springs Lodge are savoring.
Sam & Rob were extremely active guests so the moment the plane skidded to a stop they were off to sample the valley’s mountain biking trails. First stop – Grand Targhee. This infamous powder snow resort has garnished a solid reputation for having a formidable mountain bike trail system, a network of cross-country and downhill runs designed deliberately and skillfully to guarantee all level of bikers would have multiple options to sample. The hype was real; these riders were not disappointed. The views from the summit, and the mountain blanketed in wildflowers just added to the magic.
The trails on the west side of the valley, in Horseshoe Canyon in the Big Hole Mountains, were savored on another day. From Rob and Sam’s account, the trail options and scenery from the summit were just as dynamic.
Next on the agenda – a round of golf on the Headwaters 18-hole course at Teton Springs Resort. It’s a private club, but fortunately, guests staying in one of the Lodge rooms, one- & two-bedroom deluxe suites, or, a private luxury mountain log home managed by Teton Springs Lodge, are welcome to book tee times at a special resort rate.
Headwaters was designed in a special collaboration by the legendary golf legend himself, Byron Nelson, and PGA touring pro Steve Jones. This course appropriately enjoys a wide-reaching rep as being a true test of championship golf but the multiple tee boxes allow even duffers like me enjoy a solid chance at respectability. While the serious golfers in our group, Bruce & Rob, analyzed each shot, Sam, the teen golf prodigy and myself, marveled more at the spectacular scenery and striking cumulus clouds above. An intense afternoon thunderstorm chased us to the clubhouse on the 18th, followed by a brilliant double rainbow. My partner Sam and I looked at each other and smiled. A most grand day indeed at Teton Springs, despite what the scorecard said.
We spent Rob & Sam’s final day in the valley floating the Teton River. It struck me as we stood at the Bates Bridge unloading our gear how much things have changed in Teton Valley over the last decade or so. The light breeze wafted the pleasant sound of multiple accents rising from the boat ramp as locals now share this precious resource with visitors from all over the world. The word is out for whatever activity du jour is on the menu for a beautiful summer day; fly fishing, paddle boarding, kayaking, canoeing and tubing. There are solid outfitters and sports centers in the valley to supply both the gear and the know-how.
Sam and Rob have left Idaho for home in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Like most visitors to our quaint, and quiet-side-of-the-Tetons, I can guarantee one thing. They’ll be back… Nothing could please me more.