Jackson Lake Lodge, a Hotel Review
One of the best places to stay when you’re traveling in a national park is INSIDE the national park. The downside to the lodges inside the park, often times, is that the properties are old, run down, and quite expensive. They don’t need to be good because they’re literally the only option.
The Jackson Lake Lodge, however, is one of the best options inside the Grand Teton / Yellowstone Park pair. It’s got large, clean lodge rooms, fantastic restaurants, and it’s quiet.
How to arrive
Driving down south from Yellowstone, or north from Jackson, WY, you’ll arrive at Moran, WY. It’s a literal crossroads at the entrance to the Tetons, and smack in the middle of that is Jackson Lake Lodge.
Parking is plentiful at the lodge entrance, and you can drive right up under the porte de cochere to do your checkin. Chances are that you’ll be staying at one of the lodges on the north and south ends of the property, and there is plenty of parking in front of your door.
Main Checkin Area
Check-in is on your right when you arrive, and there’s a large staircase right in the middle that heads up to the main foyer. Here’s where you’ll find two MASSIVE fireplaces, so large that they’re able to fit 6 people inside.
Right through the window is the most impressive part of the property, the Grand Tetons. In the summer months you can sit outside and enjoy the fresh air on one of their many outside tables and benches.
We opted for dinner in the restaurant that evening. Ben went for an Elk Loin and I went for the Caprese salad. Both were presented beautifully and considering you were at the ONLY joint in town the prices were about in line with what you’d expect.
To finish up, a nice Marionberry cake with some Cinnamon ice cream.
If you’re looking for something to do, the Jackson Lake Lodge has you covered. From Bus Tours, Raft Trips, and Lake Cruises to Horseback trips and Wagon Rides, you can do about anything you’d want.
Prices weren’t too terrible, especially if you’re coming out for a couple of days. You’ve got plenty of options to keep you busy.
We prefer for the more self guided activities, and some of the best Bison sighting you could want is within a 10 minute of the park. Just check out the awesome animals (AND no Zoom!)
We were assigned room 445, a 2 Queen room at the end of the driveway. It was pretty compact, probably no bigger than 250-300 sq ft, but it was laid out efficiently. The two beds were comfortable and carried the logos of the lodge.
A ceiling fan provided some “air conditioning” and there was a “comfort zone” control for the baseboard heater in the room. If you slept in the bed closest to the window, you’re going to have a warm evening. Let the coolblooded people sleep in that bed.
Small table and chairs and dresser for clothing
And a very small kitchenette has a minifridge, sink, and coffee maker.
The bathroom was equally as small with a tiny sink, toilet and shower/tub combo.
A saving grace was the plug on the nightstand with yes, you guessed it, USB Chargers!!
You’ve got two options for breakfast (if you don’t include the coffee cart with bagels in the foyer).
First you have the proper restaurant with a buffet breakfast for $20. There’s a waffle and omelette station, plenty of hot foods, and a large fresh fruit section. Certainly nothing worth $20.
Second you have the Pioneer Grill. Around since 1955, it’s an old throwback to diner culture with no tables to speak of, only diner counters and barstools.
I wasn’t very hungry so I asked for the kids menu, just a simple two eggs, bacon, and fruit. The presentation wasn’t anything like the dinner that I had the night before.
Ben went for the “rancher’s breakfast which consisted of potatoes (which he said were fantastic), toast, some trout, and eggs any-way. Since it’s Ben, poached, of course. For $10 it was the best value in the joint, certainly better than the buffet over at the other restaurant.
Once we left the restaurant we were treated to an absolutely spectacular blue sky day, where the animals just seemed to come to life. Bears, Bison, and more!
We were there on the second night of the season and it was $248 a night. Thanks to our hotels.com reward nights, we didn’t pay a dime. We looked at going towards the end of the season in September and the price went up to $348 a night.
There aren’t a lot of options inside the park, so if you’re looking for other options you’ve got to drive 2 hours north to West Yellowstone or an hour and change to the south to Jackson, WY. The problem, of course, is that you’re driving 2 hours out of your way through a busy park just to save $100.
If it’s just the two of you, go ahead and splurge and stay in the hotel. It’ll only be a 10-15 minute drive in the morning to get to the best sights in the Tetons, and if you want to head back up north to Yellowstone it’ll afford you the option to spend all day in the park, drive south to the hotel, and then spend all day in the park again driving back north.
Make sure to use the hotels.com reward program to it’s full effect, since there’s no rewards program that’ll get you a free night here otherwise.