Your Guide to the Best of Laurance Rockefeller Preserve

National park sign at the Laurance Rockefeller PreserveLocated within the beautiful Grand Teton National Park in Jackson, Wyoming, the Laurance Rockefeller Preserve is ideal for a peaceful afternoon amongst nature. This 1,106-acre refuge once served as a private retreat for the famous Rockefeller family and was donated to the National Park Service by Laurance S. Rockefeller in 2001. Today, the Preserve offers a one-of-a-kind experience for thousands of visitors, complete with wildflower meadows, sky-high spruce forests, and refreshing wetlands. This gorgeous area truly has something for everyone to enjoy – you just have to get out and explore it!

Things To Do at the Laurance Rockefeller Preserve

The Preserve is the perfect place to go for a day of adventure, sightseeing, and relaxation on your next getaway in Jackson Hole, and it’s a scenic walk or bike ride from the Bentwood Inn! Our inn is just six miles from the South Entrance to Grand Teton National Park, and the Preserve is just three miles further. We always encourage our guests to take the walk from the Preserve to Phelps Lake at the base of Death Canyon. This is one of the easier, most spectacular hikes in Grand Teton National Park, and always has far fewer guests than other parts of the park. There is also a large rock on the lakeshore that is famous for a providing fun jumps into the cold, snowmelt lake water. After you take the plunge, be sure to explore these attractions at Laurance Rockefeller Preserve.

Check Out the Visitor’s Center

The Laurance S. Rockefeller Visitor’s Center isn’t your average pit-stop with mediocre bathrooms and vending machines. A team of designers, photographers, sound recordists, and writers contributed to the displays inside this stunning 7,000-square-foot building, which includes a resource area, multimedia galleries, and art exhibitions. Various screens display the changing seasons in Grand Teton National Park, and a sound chamber features peaceful nature sounds that have all been recorded in the Preserve. After the visitor’s center was completed, there was a removal of all roads, horse trails, and buildings that provided accommodation for the Rockefellers in order to return the area to its original, natural state.

Bond with Nature

The Preserve also offers a nine-mile system of hiking trails, so you can enjoy some fresh mountain air and refreshing exercise. Guests can start on the Loop Trail, which includes a 3-mile trek through a wide range of ecosystems. From the Visitor’s Center, the trail winds through forests of lodgepole pine, Douglas fir, and blue spruce, and parallels Lake Creek. After 1.5 miles, the path traces the shore of Phelps Lake, offering spectacular views of the Tetons. Listen for the distinct high-pitched cries of native elk, and be sure to bring your camera!

Get to Know the Staff

Perhaps one of best things to do at Laurance Rockefeller Preserve is to get to know the people who are devoted to maintaining such a unique and beautiful area of land. The Park Rangers and the other staff, many of them volunteers, are fountains of knowledge about wildlife, geology, and the history of the park. In the Preserve, you can get some quality face-time with these individuals with a Ranger Talk tour, where your guide will share interesting facts, point out cool sights, and answer all of the questions you’ve been wanting to ask.

Stay at the Bentwood Inn

With scenic views of the local national parks and wildlife refuges, our bed and breakfast allows guests to continue to admire the natural beauty of Jackson Hole right from our rooms and suites. Once you’ve explored the Preserve, head back to the Bentwood Bistro and enjoy a delicious gourmet meal to refuel after an exciting afternoon. We can’t wait to hear all about your adventures!

For more information on the best area attractions, download our free Jackson Hole vacation guide.

Photo Credit: oskyle | Thinkstock