Floating Down the Snake River and Hiking Taggart Lake, GTNP


Miles Driven Today: 40   Miles Driven Total: 3579

We were up before the sun this morning, well 6am, because we had booked to go on a float trip down the Snake River.  A float trip is a journey by inflatable raft, the sort that you go whitewater rafting in.  The difference is that you are travelling a flowing river but not down rapids or in rough conditions.  The purpose of the trip was to enjoy the solitude of the river but also to enjoy the scenery and any wildlife that might be up and about.  We’d booked the trip through the hotel – they run them themselves with specialist staff.

There were 7 other people on the boat – a family party – very nice they were.  We were taken by van upriver and then off we went.  We had to wear lifejackets but no other specialist equipment because we were not expected to get at all wet.  We didn’t!

We saw a coyote on the way, which was a first for us.  A bit like a grey fox, a little bigger.  He was sneaking through the long grass in a meadow.  We also saw quite a few pronghorn deer this morning.

The river was lovely.  Gently steaming in the morning air, running quite fast.  Not deep at all and with a very stony, rocky bottom.  Our guide/rafter was excellent and he had eyes like a hawk.  He pointed so much stuff out to us that we wouldn’t have noticed otherwise.  Of course the scenery was amazing.  Mesmerising really.  Wildlife viewed from the river was mostly birds.  We must have seen at least 8 bald eagles along the riverbank.  Plus an osprey, banded kingfishers and strange red headed ducks.  It was a lovely trip.  Lasted a good 2 hours on the river.  At the end they drove us back to the hotel.  Most enjoyable and would recommend it.

After a bit of a snack, Bob and I headed out south in the park, our first visit a trip up to the summit of Signal Mountain.  Lovely little side road up to the summit which winds through really pretty woods.  The views at the top over Grand Teton valley and the lakes and mountains were stupendous.  We have noticed that Americans don’t tend to put a lot of barriers up along roads.  Some of the drops are staggering and they’d never be left unguarded in the UK.  I attach a pic to show our car parked at the top of the summit with the drop just in front.  Not a time to get the gears wrong!

Our next stop was to hike a trail that went around Taggart Lake.  This is about a 4.5 mile loop.  You reach the lake in around 1.8 miles and could then just reverse, or you can go on around which adds another 2.4 miles to the hike.  The woods were lovely and we travelled beside a small river which we crossed on wooden plank bridges several times.  There were cascades and a small waterfall.  The 1.8 mile start was supposed to be flattish but it was uphill quite a lot of the way – puff puff – and it was hot today, about 24C.  When we got to the lake we were glad to sit and rest there for a while.  It was a beautiful lake with a great view of the mountains and glaciers beyond.

We decided to go on and do the 2.4 mile loop back.  The trail out to the lake had been quite busy, we’d seen other hikers and there were a few people at the lake.  However, we soon found that the 2.4 loop was the road less travelled.  We didn’t see another soul all the way and the trail was again steeply uphill for about a mile and also very narrow and obviously little used.  This made us a bit nervous about bears.  We had our bear spray with us of course but the advice is to be noisy so as not to “surprise a bear”.  So, we sang at the tops of our voices all the way.  What a cacophony it was.  No wonder we didn’t see a bear or another hiker.  We did songs from the shows including Cabaret, Les Mis and Evita.  We did hymns.  We did walking songs e.g “I love to go a wandering….”  It’s quite extra tiring walking and singing loudly.  And it makes you thirstier and puffier.  I was glad to see the car park in the distance when we emerged from the forested hill trail.

Back to the hotel by about 4 for showers, a rest and an early dinner.  Nice dinner in the Trapper’s Grill again.  Bob had chilli and a salad.  I had trout tacos.  Both very nice.

Tomorrow morning we move to Jackson for three nights, just south of the park entrance.  We’ll still be spending time in GTNP but staying on Marriott points again.  Hoping to track down some moose!


  1. just fyi, pronghorn are not in the deer family. They’re a separate species, and are just “pronghorn”. Moose, deer and elk are in the deer family.

  2. I have heard that there aren’t guard rails on some of the mountain roads for snow removal purposes. The mountains get buried under several feet of snow in the winter.

    Just got back from a trip to the Tetons a couple weeks ago. We loved Schwabacher’s Landing at sunrise (and saw a moose there). The hike from String Lake to Leigh Lake had some amazing reflections earlier in the morning. Very peaceful.