Visitors to Grand Teton National Park this summer will notice that the Jenny Lake Renewal Project is well underway. The project, an $18 million public-private partnership between the National Park Service and Grand Teton National Park Foundation, will enhance the visitor experience in the area with improved trail conditions, restrooms, wayfinding, foot access to the lake, and interpretive information. This summer’s construction will impact visitors in significant ways including limited parking, a temporary visitor center, trail re-routes and closures, and obvious construction.
Summer 2016 marks the third of four major construction seasons for the Jenny Lake Renewal Project. Most of the construction during the past two seasons was limited to trail work in the backcountry areas around Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point. While that work will continue this year, construction work in the developed area around the visitor center, general store, restrooms, and boat dock will get underway this summer.
Visitors will notice limited parking in the South Jenny Lake parking area as approximately 20 percent of the lot’s 300 spaces will be unavailable due to construction staging. To avoid peak visitation and frustration, visitors are encouraged to arrive early, before 9:00 a.m., or plan to visit late in the day, after 4:00 p.m. There will be extremely limited bus, RV, and trailer parking. Buses and RVs are encouraged to unload and pick up passengers and park elsewhere. Parking will be permitted along the South Jenny Lake access road and the Teton Park Road. Vehicles should be parked so they are out of the travel lane while minimizing disturbance to roadside vegetation. Motorists should slow down and be cognizant of pedestrians while traveling this portion of the Teton Park Road.
There will be no access to the base of Hidden Falls this summer as trail crews will restore damaged areas and create a more sustainable viewing area and access trail. Most other trails on the west shore of Jenny Lake will remain open, including Inspiration Point and Cascade Canyon. Many of the trails in the vicinity of the Jenny Lake Visitor Center will be closed all summer.
All South Jenny Lake visitor services will remain open throughout the season, though access routes may be altered. Visitors should follow posted signs and maps to these areas and obey all closures. These open facilities include: Jenny Lake Boating, Jenny Lake General Store, Exum Mountain Guides, Jenny Lake Campground, Jenny Lake Ranger Station, and the multi-use pathway.
Visitors to South Jenny Lake will also notice that the visitor center and restrooms are located in temporary facilities. Interpretive rangers, information, and a Grand Teton Association bookstore will be available in a temporary visitor center beginning Friday, May 20. Vault and portable toilets, but no flush toilets, are available.
Rangers encourage prospective visitors to the Jenny Lake area to plan ahead, pack their patience, and be safe. Rangers are also happy to recommend other lakeshore hikes in the park that have equally dramatic scenery and fewer disruptions to those who may be interested. More trip planning information specific to the Jenny Lake Renewal Project can be found at go.nps.gov/jennylake.
The Jenny Lake Renewal Project is made possible largely by the philanthropy of Grand Teton National Park Foundation through its fundraising campaign for Jenny Lake, Inspiring Journeys. The project is a major part of Grand Teton’s year-long celebration of the National Park Service Centennial. Though visitors may experience some temporary inconveniences this year and next, the project will establish an inviting and sustainable trail system and visitor experience for the next 100 years. To learn more about Inspiring Journeys or to donate, visit www.gtnpf.org or call 307-732-0629.