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Archive for category Fly Fishing The Tetons
Teton Springs Lodge & Spa and South Fork Lodge Both Share a Unique Place in Yellowstone-Teton Country!
We’ve all watched, clutching our tissues, news stories about siblings separated at birth finally being reunited, sometimes decades later. Well, at the risk of sounding too hokey, Teton Springs Lodge & Spa in the heart of Victor’s Teton Springs Resort community has also found its true sister, South Fork Lodge. And, here she was all along, practically in the neighborhood, and what a beauty she is. But that’s only the beginning of this story.
In recent months, Teton Springs Lodge joined an international luxury travel company called Natural Retreats. South Fork Lodge has enjoyed Natural Retreats status for a number of years, and when Teton Springs joined this family, it too became part of a collection of stunning destinations of coastal, countryside and wilderness locations around the globe. Natural Retreat’s primary mission is to provide guests with adventures in the world’s most pristine and spectacular settings, and paramount to their vision is to provide unparalleled guest service driven by a unique and personal concierge service. These folks leave nothing to chance when individuals, families or groups are planning a vacation to one of their properties located in the most beautiful places on this continent, or to some exotic destination in the United Kingdom, Ireland or Canary Islands.
Yes, Natural Retreats certainly has a knack for picking the winners! The splendor and variety of outdoor recreation unique to the Yellowstone-Teton region has drawn visitors to Teton Springs Lodge & Spa since 2007, when it became the only full-service, year-round resort in eastern Idaho. With the Byron Nelson designed Headwaters Golf Club as its anchor, the Lodge quickly gained a reputation for its quality accommodations, on-site activities, access to the area’s best recreation, proximity to two of the nation’s most revered national parks, full service Spa & Salon and an uncompromised commitment to their guests. Therefore, it didn’t take long for Teton Springs Lodge to become the jewel of Idaho and why U.S. News & World Report has named Teton Springs Lodge the “Best Hotel in Idaho” for the past three years.
Like all “sisters,” The South Fork Lodge and Teton Springs Lodge & Spa definitely share the same DNA on many fronts. One is location, location, location. South Fork Lodge, a scenic 25 minute drive away in Swan Valley, Idaho, sits perched on the bank of one of America’s most esteemed rivers, the South Fork of the Snake. Just the location itself, “Swan Valley,” instantly conjures up an idyllic image, and the setting for the South Fork Lodge is truly right out of a movie set. It’s a place where guests can literally dangle their feet in the river while savoring their morning coffee (which is Starbucks by the way.) Or, take in panoramic views of the South Fork while feasting on Chef Tony’s home cooked breakfast and dinner in the lovely Riverside Bar & Grill, where every seat has a million dollar view.
Undoubtedly each of these destinations shares a value for unspoiled settings. At Teton Springs one of the main attractions is the Headwaters Course, considered by many in the golf industry to be one of the best classically designed golf courses in the most stellar of Northern Rockies settings. The Teton and Big Hole Mountains and the Caribou-Targhee National Forest envelop the resort and the distractions can be an issue; there’s so much beauty to take in around every bend. At Teton Springs, it’s not simply a round of golf; it’s a virtual date with Mother Nature. However, for many visitors it’s also the opportunity for discovery and adventure, a chance to be actively engaged with the outdoors in the purest sense. Fly fishing is one way to be so engaged.
A day of fly fishing on the area’s rivers has always been a priority for many visiting Teton Springs, and now they’ll have the industry’s most experienced South Fork guides to lead the charge. South Fork Outfitters enjoy private access to a 65 mile stretch of the South Fork, armed with 34 guides on staff, each with impeccable training and many with time honored experience guiding on this massive waterway. In fact, a few of these guides have been rowing and spotting fish for so long that between the top tier guides, there is a staggering 80 years of pulling the oars on the South Fork between them. I know from fishing myself for many years that experience is paramount to success on the South Fork; I almost feel a little sorry for people fishing without these guys.
In addition to your fishing gear, be sure to pack the binoculars. Distractions on this guided trip also include some of the best bird watching in the Lower 48 as the South Fork is home to over 120 species of birds, including raptors. This corridor is also where mountain goats, black bears and even mountain lions roam, although I’ve never had the pleasure, but moose, deer and elk are often spotted dining on the banks.
If you’re splitting your stay between Teton Springs and the South Fork Lodge, choosing the right lodging for you could present a dilemma; there are simply too many choices. Both resorts can legitimately lay claim to offering the most comfortable yet luxurious accommodations in the entire region. Options include a suite in the Lodge or a 3, 4 or 5 bedroom custom luxury mountain log home on the Headwaters Golf Course at Teton Springs. Choices at South Fork include a rustic Fishermen’s Cabin, a deluxe suite overflowing with amenities, lovely Lodge rooms and even a 4 bedroom home. All sport unobstructed views of the South Fork, this wild and scenic river ranked as one of the best dry fisheries in the entire country.
Or, and this hands down would be my choice. After a day of landing the big browns and rainbows, opt for literally sleeping on the bank of the South Fork in a roomy tent on a comfy cot, where the only sound you’ll hear after a day of landing the big browns and rainbows is the river flowing by. Relax & swap lies while the staff prepares a delicious meal. Fish, eat, sleep – wake and do it all over again, with the Overnight Camp program.
Teton Springs Lodge & Spa & South Fork Lodge – truly a family affair!
For the ultimate rod-bending days on the river and other world-class activities, call Teton Springs Lodge @877.787.8757 and South Fork Lodge Natural Retreats Reservations and Concierge @ 434.202.4590 firstname.lastname@example.org.
I was excited when invited along with staff at Teton Springs Lodge & Spa to take a Wildlife Safari with Brushbuck Guide Services. This Jackson Hole based company has been guiding our guests through Teton National Park and Yellowstone for years, and always to rave reviews. It’s not difficult to understand why our guests, from both this country and those from across the pond, are fanatical about seeing wildlife in their natural habitat. It’s a thrill and not something most folks have easy access to in their own backyard. However, it’s easy to get a tad snobby about wildlife viewing when you live and play in Teton Valley. It’s practically a national past time here, and boy, do we love our critters. The thrill of seeing beautiful creatures stirs something in our imagination like nothing else can.
Teton Springs Resort sits adjacent to the Caribou-Targhee National Forest and the furry forest inhabitants tend to drift onto our Headwaters Golf Course with some regularity. It’s not at all unusual to be teeing off on the 9th hole and have to hold up play while the resident moose strolls through. It’s a delay of game no one ever complains about. Both Bald Eagles and Golden Eagles are also playing companions, and I never tire of watching them perched on one of the cabins lining the golf course, or soaking up the sun on a fairway rock.
So our guests have their own version of a wildlife safari right here at Teton Springs. However, to almost guarantee you’ll get to see abundant wildlife in the most staggering of settings, the Brushbuck Wildlife Safari is highly recommended. With the Teton Mountains as your backdrop on this particular tour, you’ll often find yourself mesmerized by the peaks when you should be looking for moose, bear and wolves. The largest Peak, the Grand Teton, reaches into the sky over a mile high and you’re in its shadow for this entire excursion.
Yes, there are plenty of ooh’s and ahh’s on this tour bus starting with your first step into Brushbuck’s van. It’s deluxe, comfortable, well equipped with spotting scopes, binoculars, raingear and a terrific variety of snacks and drinks. And, the van is definitely custom built for wildlife viewing with its expanse of windows and easy on and off access when it’s time to hop off to check out the animals.
Two Naturalists, Duane & Patrick, were our Brushbuck hosts and what extraordinary wildlife guides they are. Both were gracious, accommodating and boy did they ever know their stuff. While capturing wildlife in their natural surroundings is the top priority on this trip, you’re also treated to an extensive lesson on the entire Yellowstone-Teton ecosystem. They enrich the tour by giving us a history of the area, its rich western culture filled with trappers, explorers and early Mormon settlers, the geology, every bird, bug and mammal that coexists here, what they eat, and how they survive this challenging winter climate. It’s all on the information menu
provided by the guides. Each question asked by a one of our group was answered eloquently by either Duane or Patrick; you simply couldn’t stump these guys. My head was spinning, in a good way.
The tour starts on Spring Gulch, a back road I’ve travelled a thousand times, a turn one makes right before you hit the main drag and hustle and bustle of Jackson Hole Wyoming. The van stopped quickly and our guides swiftly went into operation wildlife viewing mode, quickly pulling out powerful spotting scopes that made the animals come to life right before our eyes. On the hillside were the biggest elk I have ever seen, with racks swaddled in velvet. Guess I simply never looked up before when driving this back way to the Jackson Hole Airport and other off-the-beaten-path Wyoming destinations.
Next stop was the Gros Ventre River which flows into the mighty Snake River. We were looking for a bear feeding on a carcass that was spotted earlier that week by our guides. The bear had apparently moved on to greener pastures but the most spectacular Bald Eagle accommodated us with his presence on the river bank. He even hung around for pictures.
We drove deeper into the main attraction, Grand Teton National Park, home to a whopping 61 specifies of mammals, big and small. We watched a herd of buffalo make their way across the sage brush, a huge Pronghorn Antelope standing majestically on the horizon, more elk, white tailed deer, mule deer and a fox taking his leisure early evening stroll. We made a stop to check out a massive beaver lodge and one its inhabitants even popped out to say hello.
As dusk was settling in, I was afraid I wouldn’t fulfill my top priority of the trip, and that was seeing a grizzly bear up close and personal. The later it got, I was resigned and not a bit disappointed; it has been a glorious tour. As we drove along the Jenny and Jackson Lake Loop Road, multiple cars were stopped and that only means one thing in this area, WILDLIFE ALERT! Sure enough, a bear cub was in a tree a few hundred yards away and with our spotting scopes we were able to watch as the cub figured out how to safely reach ground. It was exciting, and a tad daunting, knowing mom was close by. It was also a tad eerie as the sound of the cub crying ferociously was the only sound filling the night sky.
We left without seeing momma bear but Duane and Patrick were not about to give up quite yet; we simply loaded up and parked about an eighth of a mile up the road. We were barely out of the van and mom showed her face. With the spotting scope drawing her in, the sight of her gave goose bumps to everyone on our tour. She was huge, fabulous, gorgeous and wild, and within minutes, she was out of our sight and as it turns out, too close for comfort. In an instant, there was a look on our guides’ faces that said, "back in the van now," which we all gladly complied with. This grizzly mom was virtually within steps of us, apparently curious about us too. It was the highlight of the trip and now almost dark. I didn’t get to see my most favorite mammal, the moose, but it was time to call it a day.
As Duane & Patrick dropped me off, I told them I’d be back with friends and family. I think next time I’ll take the early morning tour that Brushbuck offers, when the light is truly magnificent and the animals are just beginning to stir. I drove slowly over Teton Pass on my way home to Victor, knowing that deer and elk also travel this road at night, and lo and behold, near the top of the pass a monster Bull Moose was casually strolling in the drainage ditch. I swear he returned my gaze as I crept by ever so slowly.
Ah, my checklist was complete; it was truly a great day – thanks Brushbuck!
THOUGHTS DRIFT FROM FISHING LINES TO POWDER LINES THERE’S SNOW IN THE TETON MOUNTAINS!
O.K. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Yes it’s true that we’re having the second official snowfall of the season. Just last week the mountains, at least the peaks, were blanketed in the white stuff we so covet. Same thing is happening this week, but now we see the snow line drop closer and closer to the valley floor. It’s enough to really get the ski and snowboard juices flowing!
But hey, not so fast! Given the moisture we’ve enjoyed this month, the golf courses are green and lush, probably in the best shape of the season frankly. I played the Headwaters Golf Course at Teton Springs Resort this week.
Stay and Play Golf Packages
It was later in the day when there wasn’t a whisper of wind and the late September light was breathtaking on the course and the surrounding mountains. Gosh, it’s tough to beat the fall season for the cool, crisp days and the way the air and sun caress your face. Teton Springs Lodge & Spa offers a “Stay & Play” Golf Package and it’s circling back for a repeat performance beginning October 1. This gives everyone who loves the game a chance to play this remarkable course while lapping up the luxury a room in the lodge so graciously provides.
That’s the beauty of Teton Valley. We know warm days will be back so let the snow pile high on the mountains while we sneak in the last month or so of doing all the pre winter things we love. There’s fewer and fewer drift boats flying by on the highway for sure, but guaranteed there’s still plenty of browns and rainbows to net on the local rivers. The solitude that comes with dropping a line in the Teton River or South Fork is reason enough to fly fish this time of year. You practically have the best open water and riffles all to yourself.
Biking Around the Most Beautiful Scenery
Biking is another terrific way to breeze thru autumn in Teton Valley. Guests at Teton Springs Lodge & Spa head over to Fitzgerald’s in downtown Victor for a fabulous cup of java (some say the best coffee in town!), rent the cool road or mountain bike and head out to any number of Teton Valley destinations. The staff at Fitzgerald’s are the local experts and work hard to make every cycling experience your best. A hotel group just did the “Rails to Trails” tour from Tetonia to Ashton, with the help of Fitzgerald’s crew and came back with amazing tales. This is a gorgeous trek over old railroad bridges and restored rail trestles thru Teton and Freemont County’s most spectacular countryside. Kudos to Idaho Parks & Rec for this one. Can you imagine this same ride now that the leaves are changing colors?!
Grant Teton Brewing – The 208
One thing this bike group packed plenty of for their two day trek to Ashton (why rush?!) was the latest and greatest signature brew produced right here in Teton Valley at Grand Teton Brewing. It’s aptly called “208,” which of course is Idaho’s area code. Wish I could take credit for that marketing genius; it’s easy to remember the name of this “born and raised in Idaho” session ale (as their promotion goes), but this brew is also memorable for its crisp taste which is extremely pleasing to the palate. This beer is definitely 100% pure, just like the state that gave it birth.
The Stillwaters Spa & Salon at Teton Springs continues to tempt us with special “shoulder season” offers. They’ll extend your massage from 60 to 90 minutes while also decreasing the price. They’re also highlighting lots of great new products so time for a bit of indulgence.
And while you’re scooping up the off-season specials, be sure to buy that ski pass at the pre-season deals. Dreams at a discount. That’s what you get this time of year. Gosh, I love Fall!