“We came here for the winters, and stayed here for the summers!” is a phrase we hear often in the Tetons. Most visitors to the Teton Valley area are drawn here by deep snow and rugged terrain in the winter, or to visit Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, and to enjoy hiking, biking, and river access in the summer.
From amazing powder days in the winter to absolutely gorgeous alpine trails in the summer, the two busy seasons here are definitely a treat. But what about the in-between seasons? The deep powder days of February are behind us, the trails up high in the mountains aren’t melted out yet.
The good news: we love spring in Teton Valley! Nordic skiing, fatbiking, bird watching, snowshoeing, sunshine, backcountry skiing up high, and longer days – we are so thankful for this time of year. Sure, there may be some mud involved (it isn’t called “mud season” without a reason!), and there’s always that late-spring freeze that gets our unprepared veggie starts, but we encourage everyone to embrace spring in all its snow-squall, unpredictable-weather, sunny-one-minute-and-hailing-the-next splendor.
Here are some of our favorite springtime activities in the Tetons:
1. Perfect Crust Conditions
The time change in March and the still-cold nighttime temperatures through May mean we’re more likely to catch the ‘freeze’ part of the melt-freeze cycles in the early mornings – perfect for crust cruising on a fatbike or nordic skis!
Snowshoeing is definitely still a fun option this time of year, and you can get to some great views. Be prepared to encounter patches of dirt and mud, especially on south-facing slopes. We recommend heading out in the morning before the top layer of snow melts in the warmer afternoon temperatures. Remember to dress in layers and bring a camera!
3. Bird Watching
Many migratory birds return to the area (sandhill cranes are a favorite!) – this is a great time of year to watch birds by the Teton River – definitely bring a camera and binoculars.
Photo by Mathew Schwartz
4. River Floating
Floating the Snake River is beautiful in the spring, and can be cold. Make sure to bring plenty of extra layers, gloves, and a warm drink. Check out Teton Valley Lodge – www.tetonvalleylodge.com – for river information and guided fishing trips!
5. Backcountry Skiing
At higher elevations, backcountry skiing can be fantastic in the spring. Be sure to check the avalanche report and always have a partner, knowledge, proper tools, and a plan. Know before you go. Visit www.jhavalanche.org for avalanche forecasts and regional information.
6. Volunteer & Community Involvement
Volunteer with a local nonprofit and get involved in the Teton Valley community! Check out https://cftetonvalley.org/volunteer-opportunities/ for a current list of volunteer activities in our area.
7. House Projects
You know that house project you’ve been putting off for a while? (We’re looking at you, painting and deep cleaning!) A couple of rainy days in a row make for a great time to get things done.
Here are a few extra tips for enjoying spring activities in the Tetons:
- Plan biking, snowshoeing, or nordic skiing early in the day when the crust is still frozen.
- Dress in layers, and always bring a waterproof rain shell. Mornings may be cold (think teens), and afternoons may be substantially warmer (sometimes into the mid-high 50s and low 60s). Rain showers and wind might pop up at any moment.
If you decide to go mountain biking this spring, please help keep our trails in great shape – wait until singletrack has dried out thoroughly to avoid damaging trails. Check out Teton Valley Trails and Pathways and Mountain Bike the Tetons for up-to-date trail status info.
Always keep a change of footwear and an extra towel or two in your vehicle (especially if you have dogs!).
Bring a camera and enjoy your adventures!
We say embrace the spring season – summer will be here before we know it.
– Joanne & Natalie