What can I do and see in the Gros Ventre Mountains?
Hiking trails are endless within the Gros Ventres. A few of our suggestions:
- Goodwin Lake: This moderate hike ends at a crystal clear lake just below Jackson Peak. To get there drive out the Elk Refuge Road. Turn right towards Curtis Canyon and follow this washboardy road all the way to the trailhead. It's about 6 miles out and back.
- Sleeping Indian/Sheep Mountain: This backpacking route is remote, strenuous, and well worth it. Just up the road from Slide Lake, you'll find Grizzly Lake/Blue Miner Lake Trailhead. From the trailhead it's about 9 miles to the lake, a great place to set up camp. From the lake, take a full day to hike up the backside of Sheep Mountain and back. From the top of Sheep Mountain, the views overlooking the valley and the Tetons are spectacular.
- Granite Creek: From Granite Creek Hot Springs, a lovely trail continues up the creek. Follow it for as long as you want.
A huge network of mountain biking singletrack trails begins right at Cache Creek Trailhead. Stop by a local bike shop for rentals and a map before venturing out on these trails.
There are a handful of easily accessible campgrounds within the Gros Ventre Mountains. Try Atherton Creek Campground at Lower Slide Lake, Gros Ventre Campground (technically within Grand Teton National Park) at the beginning of Gros Ventre Road, or Granite Creek Campground located right at Granite Hot Springs.
In the winter months, snowmobilers can access a variety of terrain just outside of Kelly as well as near Granite Creek. Snowmobile out to Granite Hot Springs and break up the day with a soak in its hot pool.
A handful of guest ranches welcome visitors during the summer months to partake in ranch activities including horseback riding. They typically offer package deals that include lodging, dining, and activities.
Most obvious from across the valley, Sheep Mountain (aka Sleeping Indian) is a peak that stands on the Gros Ventre's western edge. In the summer, its colorful cliffs look like a Native American headdress. You can hike to the top of the "belly" on a multi-day backpacking excursion.
Formed by a massive landslide in 1925, Slide Lake is a spectacular site in the Gros Ventres. From Kelly, take Gros Ventre Road. Slide Lake, and its cemetery of trees, will be obvious. You can camp, fish, and follow the interpretive trail.
Granite Hot Springs
South of Jackson in the Hoback Canyon, Granite Hot Springs is a magical retreat from the hustle and bustle of town. During the summer, you can drive almost all the way to the springs. In the winter, the only way to access them is via cross-country skis, dog sled, or snowmobile.
The National Elk Refuge sits on the western border of the Gros Ventres and provides haven for wintering elk. During the summer and fall, elk call the Gros Ventre Mountains home making wildlife viewing an enjoyable passtime.
Managed by the Jackson Hole Ski and Snowboard Club, the Ski Cabin is a remote and rustic cabin that welcomes backcountry skiers every winter. It's a very long trek to access the cabin and it's necessary to have appropriate backcounty and avalanche safety skills.
Where is the Gros Ventre Mountain Range?
The Gros Ventres border Jackson on the east and south, providing the nearest playground for outdoor enthusiasts who aren't visiting Grand Teton National Park. The Gros Ventre Range encompasses so many trails and attractions, visitors often find themselves within the range without even knowing it. There are three primary access points for the Gros Ventres. North of Jackson, drive east on Gros Ventre Road through Kelly and towards Slide Lake. Just east of downtown Jackson, Cache Creek Trailhead provides access for hikers, mountain bikers, and cross country skiers. Southeast of Jackson, in Hoback Canyon, visitors can access the Gros Ventres via Granite Creek.
When are the Gros Ventres accessible?
Technically they are accessible year-round, but as the snow falls the activities change. From Kelly, visitors enjoy snowmobiling. From Cache Creek, cross country skiers take the place of hikers and bikers. And from Granite Creek, cross country skiing, snowmobiling, and dog sledding provides access to Granite Hot Springs and beyond.
Who can I call if I have more questions?
Most of the Gros Ventre Mountains fall under management of the Bridger-Teton National Forest service. Call the Jackson Ranger Station at 307-739-5500. Alternatively, find an activity guide that can show you the way: Snowmobiling, Dog Sledding, Hiking, Fishing, and Mountain Biking.