Continuing the trend set last summer and fall, Grand Teton National Park is reporting that the Teton Park Road, now open to walking, bicycling and rollerblading, is flooded with visitors.
“That’s what everybody wants right now,” said Denise Germann, park public affairs officer. “They just want to get outdoors during this pandemic, and what a great opportunity to bike on those roads at the base of those iconic peaks.”
With that in mind, the park is implementing several changes to manage the crowds.
“We are seeing increased visitors using the Teton Park Road this spring,” Germann said. “It may be a sign of what is to come this summer. Last weekend was one of the busiest we’ve seen in years.”
The 14-mile section of road from Taggart Lake Trailhead to Signal Mountain Lodge opened at the beginning of April to car-less travel and opens to public motor vehicle traffic May 1.
To accommodate the extra traffic, the park increased parking access between the Taggart Lake Trailhead and nearby Cottonwood Picnic Area during peak use. The park is also posting a staffed mobile information trailer and additional portable restrooms. The information trailer, available every day, is manned by park staff and supported by donations from the Grand Teton National Park Foundation.
“There will also be increased signage to encourage speed reduction for everyone’s safety,” Germann said.
The park offers a few tips to avoid the crowds and have a fun, safe visit to Teton Park Road.
One suggestion is to start from the north end of the Teton Park Road, parking in the Signal Mountain Parking lot and riding/walking south.
“It is less busy, and offers ample parking, restroom facilities, water filling station and self-pay fuel pumps at Signal Mountain Lodge,” the park said in a news release. “Please respect the Signal Mountain Lodge area as most facilities are not open to the public at this time.”
Another option for cyclists wishing to avoid the parking issues at Taggart Lake Trailhead, is to park at the more expansive parking lots at the Moose, Wyo., visitor center and ride the few extra miles from there.
“That parking area has been plowed out, but the visitor center does not open until May 1,” Germann said.
Germann said the side road up to Signal Mountain Lookout is under a wildlife closure.
Visitors are also reminded that:
• Masks are required when physical distancing cannot be maintained.
• Water is not available at the trailhead or along the road. Be self-sufficient with water, snacks and bicycle/skate repairs.
• Pack it in, pack it out. There are limited trash receptacles at both ends of the road. Do not put trash in the portable toilets.
• Vault toilets are available at Taggart Lake Trailhead and Cottonwood Picnic Area, with portable toilets located along the road between Cottonwood and North Jenny Lake Junction, and restroom facilities at Signal Mountain Lodge.
• Dogs are permitted on the Teton Park Road. Dog owners are required to use a leash no longer than 6 feet in length and are required to clean up after their dogs. Waste disposal bag stations are located at each end of the road and bags should be deposited into appropriate trash receptacles and not left along the road.
• The Teton Park Road may have snow and ice on some sections and be alert for park vehicles that periodically travel the road for administrative purpose.