The great American outdoors

Dhiram Shah | Updated on January 08, 2018

Go as you like: At Grand Teton National Park, you can go trekking, rafting, horse riding, camping, paragliding hiking or fishing

Retreat haven: The all-suite Amangani resort is perched in a corner of 700-ft high butte and offers sweeping views of the Teton range and the Snake river

A trek through one of the more memorable national parks of the US

There are airport landings, and then there are those that are in the league of extraordinary landings. For me, Jackson Hole was the latter. Surrounded by snow-capped mountains, vast plains, and the bright blue sky, it instantly reminded me of the airport in Leh. Located in the western state of Wyoming, Jackson Hole is a quaint resort town of just 9,500 people. I was here to experience a destination that has been on the top of the list for photographers, wildlife enthusiasts and birdwatchers alike — the Grand Teton National Park.

My private wildlife tour began at seven in the morning; it was mid-September and the harsh Wyoming winter was just about to kick in. The park is a short ride from Jackson Hole and our first stop was a small viewing platform on the side of the road. Spread out before my eyes was the great American outdoors — a living, breathing painting in which I was surrounded by pine trees; in which I could see the meandering Snake river; in which the Teton peaks gently overlooked the plains while cutting a fine figure against the clear horizon.

Millions of acres of protected forest and public land form a ring around the 300,000 acres of the Grand Teton — thus helping it be an oasis for wildlife. Armed with a scope and the trained eyes we were able to spot herds of elks, a wolf, bisons, coyotes and the bald eagle (quick fact — it is the national bird and animal of the US).

Finding the right spots for wildlife-watching is equally satisfying. The park is also home to the black and the grizzly bears, but despite our best efforts, all we could spot were pug marks. It always makes sense to leave something for the next time.

Next up were the Jackson reservoir and Jenny Lake, both of which made for a pretty sight. Their icy waters were a calm, unperturbed mirror for the Teton range. I then hiked to Inspiration Point, a lofty perch that offered more of Jackson and Jenny.

The Grand Teton National Park has something for everyone, though the active traveller clearly stands to gain. You can go trekking, rafting, horse riding, camping, paragliding hiking, fishing and more. Winters have their own share of activities; some of the favourites include dog sledding and ice tubing.

Located 30 minutes from the Grand Teton National Park is the Amangani. The all-suite resort is perched in a corner of a 700-ft high butte that offers sweeping views of the Teton range and Snake river. Inspired by the location, the interiors are minimalistic. The Oklahoma sandstone, redwood beams, faux-hide artefacts and wooden furniture — all of them point to the American West.

The cosy suites come with all possible creature comforts remote”-controlled fireplace, heated floors, soaking tub and a private terrace. There is also a massive sandstone terrace and a heated swimming pool with jacuzzis where you can sip champagne while watching the sun wrap up for the day.

If you so wish, the resort will organise a tour of Yellowstone National Park. Suites at the Amangani start at $1,200 plus taxes per night.

Dhiram Shah is the Mumbai-based editor of

Published on January 01, 2018

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