About the Teton Valley Lodge
Our family has been going to the lodge since 1975. My parents enjoyed flyfishing throughout the West, but they settled on TVL as the most special destination of all.
Started by Alma Kunz in 1919, the lodge has a colorful history as the first fishing lodge west of the Mississippi, attracting fishermen from the East Coast and then eventually from across the country. In the 1970s, young guides Randy Berry and John Pehrson were able to take over the operation from Alma… and now it’s Randy’s sons Matt and Brian who are in charge.
The Teton Valley is a stunning area on the western side of the Grand Tetons. There are two small towns, Driggs and Victor. The more posh town of Jackson is on the eastern side of the Tetons, about an hour away (over the dramatic Teton Pass.)
Airports in Jackson and Idaho Falls are an hour from the lodge. You can arrange for airport pick up (an extra fee.) I suggest the Jackson airport for a more spectacular welcome to the Wild West. While staying at the TVL, there isn’t much need for a car since the days are packed with fishing. Dinner typically is served around 8 to 8:30 pm. I fly on Delta from Oakland to Salt Lake City to Jackson (or Idaho Falls.) You can also fly United to Denver to Jackson… a bit longer in travel time.
Meals at the Lodge
Breakfast lunch and dinner are included. The food is great and plentiful. There’s a free keg of a terrific local microbrew beer in the dining hall. Wine is available for purchase.
The setting is the spring-fed slow moving Teton River. Potato fields surround the lodge. Across the river are wetlands that are part of the migratory path for the majestic sandhill cranes. Cabins are very cozy and clustered around the main dining hall.
The lodge can set you up with fishing licenses and (rental) fly rods. A small tackle shop carries items for sale or rent…. fishing stuff as well sunglasses, jackets, hats, etc. While fishing, your guide will set up your fishing lines with the appropriate flies to “match the hatch”. Be sure to bring a good hat, sunscreen, sunglasses (preferably polarized to reduce glare on the water.) Sneakers or Teva sandals are fine for the boat. It can rain or snow in July, although typically the weather is very comfortable. The elevation at the lodge is about 6,000 feet.
TVL has a cast of characters who are seasoned guides. You will spend the day with the guide on a stretch of either the South Fork of the Snake River, Teton River, or Henry’s Fork. These are beautiful areas with diverse habitat and incredible scenery. You might see moose, bald eagles, osprey, or river otters. You’ll be fishing for several types of trout: rainbow, brown, and native cutthroat. Generally, it’s all catch and release, but you can keep a few fish for breakfast. So many variables influence how active the fish are feeding. Some days require a lot of patience. Other days, your arm will be sore from pulling in so many trout. Your guides will provide ongoing coaching about your cast and timing. When it all syncs up, fly fishing is an elegant and graceful sport in the timeless event of man versus nature. (Bearing in mind, that nature always bats last.)
If you enjoy hiking, from Teton Valley, there’s a great trail to the Wind Caves. Just a few miles with a climb, but a great reward. The main cave has a river flowing from deep within. From Jackson, the Grand Teton National Park is right there. I recommend taking the water taxi across Jenny Lake and hiking up into Cascade Canyon which runs in between the Teton peaks. One of the most beautiful trails I know.
If you have time to poke around Jackson, it has a historical feel with some fun shops. The National Museum of Wildlife Art is just a few minutes from town. Well worth it. There’s an amazing indoor community pool with a kids’ water slide. In Teton Valley, there’s the Teton History Museum, full of interesting oddities that reflect the challenging daily life of early trappers, explorers, and farmers.
Huntsman Springs = a new development in Driggs created by Jon Huntsman, Sr., a super enthusiast about the Teton Valley. You know of Jon Huntsman, Jr. who was a more maverick Republican presidential candidate in 2012 (and also served as governor of Utah and Ambassador to China.) Golf isn’t my game, but the development has an award-winning course.
Yellowstone National Park is about two hours from Jackson (about three hours from TVL.) I spend a week on my own (off the grid) in Yellowstone each year… and can provide tons of info about visiting the park… a great, great national treasure.