Escape the Crowds in Teton Valley

1. Where to Stay

The tents at Linn Canyon Ranch require no setup.Photo: Courtesy of Linn Canyon Ranch

Escape to the Teton Springs Lodge & Spa (from $165) in the charming, one-stoplight town of Victor (population 1,928). The 52 one- and two-bedroom suites here are spacious and offer access to the resort’s golf, tennis, and state-of-the-art health club, but book one of the deluxe cabins for added perks like full-size kitchens, bicycles, and outdoor hot tubs.

Experience the best of summer on a top-notch ski hill at Grand Targhee Resort (from $99), home of the annual Targhee Music Festival (July 13–15). Choose a room in one of four slope-side lodges, each with its own style, like the Sioux Lodge’s contemporary western décor, or reserve the newest option, the Tower Residence, a private villa with a full kitchen and working fireplace that accommodates six people and overlooks the resort’s main plaza.

Sleep comfortably under the stars at Linn Canyon Ranch (from $99), a full-service camping property where tents come with carpeted floors, king or queen beds, and home-cooked breakfasts every morning. For a slightly homier experience, book the new cabin (from $185) that sleeps four and features a wraparound porch and private bath. Run by a family descended from the original Jackson Hole settlers, the ranch offers a number of equestrian activities like the popular sunset dinner rides ($90 for adults), which include live music and a bonfire.

2. Where to Eat

Forage highlights some of the best ingredients found in the region.Photo: Courtesy of Forage

Get a taste of Idaho at Forage, which sources meats, cheeses, and vegetables from area ranches and farms like Lava Lake Lamb. The small, eclectic menu features seasonal dishes like watermelon-and-cucumber salad ($8) and lamb meatloaf with mint chimichurri ($17), but slow-cooked bison short ribs with parsnips, arugula, and red peppers is the regulars’ favorite when it’s available.

Snack on small plates at the Sage Wine Café, like locally grown baked potatoes with all the usual toppings, including fresh chives from the herb garden. Save room for cold, local beers afterward at Grand Teton Brewing Company, where brewmasters craft seasonal releases using prized Idaho hops. Head to the pub and taste pints (from $5) of signature releases like amber-colored Teton Ale and bold-flavored Bitch Creek, both of which have won several national awards.

Have meat any way you like it at the Knotty Pine Supper Club, where the specialty is house-cured, hickory-smoked Kansas City–style baby back pork ribs, but you can also feast on double bison burgers and pasta served with buffalo-and-elk sausage. After dinner, dance to live music; depending on the night, the band could be playing bluegrass, hip-hop, or reggae.

3. What to Do

Headwaters Golf Course was designed to complement the area's natural terrain.Photo: Neeta Lind, via Flickr

Cast for world-class rainbow trout in the Henry’s Fork River. Whether you’re a beginner or experienced angler, the Orvis-endorsed Three Rivers’ Ranch can outfit you with everything you need for fly fishing. Book one of the fishing guides (prices vary based on customization) for their decades of expertise in the local waters, which will pay off in the size of the catch you take home.

Tee up at the Headwaters Golf Course (from $75 for eighteen holes, including cart), where the thin mountain air can add ten yards or more to your drives. Designed by golf legend Byron Nelson and U.S. Open champion Steve Jones, Headwaters offers a picturesque setting for improving your swing thanks to views of the Caribou-Targhee National Forest. Be sure to call the golf shop (208-787-3636) in advance to book a tee time.

Head to the top of Fred’s Mountain for one-of-a-kind views of Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana, as well as the Teton Range. Make your way to the Grand Targhee Resort, rent a bike from on-site Teton Mountain Outfitters ($45 for three hours), and then take the chairlift ($10 plus $20 day pass) to the 9,862-foot summit before pedaling down the area’s first downhill mountain biking trail. There are no guides here, so take the intermediate trail if you’re less experienced with this type of biking.

4. Insider’s Tip

The peak of Teton Pass is a prime spot for viewing summer thunderstorms.Photo: coralmoore, via Flickr

Teton Valley, set at the eastern edge of a vast high plain just west of the Teton Mountains, is home to some of the most dramatic thunderstorms you’ll ever see. In the summer, they typically happen several times a week, usually in the late afternoon or early evening. Locals head for 8,432-foot Teton Pass, a twenty-minute drive from Victor, to take in the views from the safety of their car.

5. Oddball Day

Teton Aviation Center offers scenic flights above the mountains.Photo: George A. Kounis

Fuel up for a day of aerial adventures with breakfast at Scratch, in Victor, where everything from pancakes to pico de gallo is made by hand. Next, make the twenty-minute drive to Driggs to Broulim’s Fresh Foods, the meeting point for an hour-long hot-air-balloon flight over Teton Valley ($250 per person). You’ll glide over Swan Valley, the Teton River, and Targhee National Forest from the basket of a nine-story balloon. Back in Driggs, test your spicy-food threshold at Teton Thai, where you can customize the heat of dishes like Crying Tiger (wine-soaked beef with sweet and tangy tamarind dipping sauce; $10) on a one-to-five scale. Afterward, drive to the Teton Aviation Center, where you can choose between returning to the sky on a scenic, 60-minute glider ride over the valley ($250; no experience required) or take in the free display of more than a dozen vintage warplanes, which have been restored to mint condition. Drive back to Victor for one of the famous huckleberry milkshakes at the Victor Emporium before an outdoor movie (9:30 p.m. showtimes; $7) and dinner from the fifties-era concession stand at the Spud Drive In.

6. Links

The Teton Valley Chamber of Commerce offers the most complete area guide, with information on hotels, restaurants, and activities.

Check the Teton Valley Foundation to see what cultural events they’re planning during your trip.

Refer to Visit Idaho to search for lodging, activities, and events by town.

Escape the Crowds in Teton Valley