This past weekend, my fiancé and I decided to explore Granite Hot Springs, a part of Jackson Hole that we had never been to before. Since Granite Hot Springs is only accessible in the winter by cross country skiing, dog sledding, or snowmobiling, we chose to call our friends at Togwotee Snowmobile Tours and take one of their guided day trips.
We drove over to the Togwotee Snowmobile Tours office in Jackson, where we were greeted by the friendly staff who helped us fill out our paperwork and get suited up in our full snowmobiling suits, boots, and helmets. When our entire tour group was suited up, off we went with the six snowmobiles in tow, on a short but scenic drive down to the Granite Springs trailhead. During the drive we saw deer and beautiful half frozen rivers.
The Ride Out to Granite Hot Springs
When we arrived at the trailhead, our guide Ben gave us a quick safety talk and explained how the snowmobiles worked. Everyone in our group had some experience on a snowmobile, so it was pretty quick and within 15 minutes of arriving at the trailhead, we were all zooming up the trail toward Granite Hot Springs.
It was a beautiful day with very few people out on the trail, so it felt like we had the trail to ourselves. The scenery and views were amazing as we snowmobiled along Granite Creek with the mountains nearby.
The trail to the hot springs is about 10 miles long. On the way there, we passed a group on a dogsled ride as well as a couple of cross country skiers and snowmobilers but, for the most part, we had the trail all to ourselves!
Soaking in The Hot Springs and Visiting Granite Falls
When we arrived at the hot springs our guide Ben said we could swim for as long as we liked. The pool itself was built in 1933 by the Civilian Conservation Corps and collects the crystal clear water from the adjacent hot springs. After changing out of our snow gear, the water felt so good to swim and relax in. It was so nice to be sitting back in the incredibly warm hot springs surrounded by snow-covered trees and cliff topped mountains.This was such a rejuvenating experience, that our group spent close to an hour hanging out in the hot springs.
After everyone was finished lounging and had changed back into their snowmobiling attire, we took a short ride to the amazing Granite Falls. Ben told us that these were the waterfalls where a scene for “A River Runs Through It” was filmed. Granite Falls, is unmistakably the waterfall that the two brothers go over in the stolen boat in the movie. They are very picturesque especially in the wintertime with the snow and ice in the middle of the falls.
By this time, we had all worked up a good appetite, so Ben led the group another couple of miles to a food cart in the middle of a beautiful valley. We ate hamburgers and hot dogs as he told us a little more about the area and shared some exciting stories about other trips he had guided and all the different people he’s met along the way.
Exploring Wide-Open Fresh Powder on A Snowmobile
Everyone was super eager to get back out on the snowmobiles, so we quickly got back on the trails. Our guide then lead us for several miles to an open field where we could do some “off-trail” snowmobiling to get the full experience of the snowmobile’s capabilities. It was a lot of fun just going wherever you pleased and exploring a pretty wide-open area. Some of the group decided to see how fast they could go, while others went and found some untouched powder to churn up for the first time.
While the sleds we rode on were plenty powerful, the guide had one of the “powder” sleds that is offered for an additional charge. One push of the throttle on the “powder” snowmobile definitely gives you a sense of the difference. This option would be highly recommended for an experienced snowmobiler that wants more power.
As the day started to wind down, we went exploring for wildlife and got some more snowmobiling in on the trails. The scenery was breathtaking with the sun poking out between clouds and snow covering everything. We eventually made our way back to the trailhead, loaded up the snowmobiles and got into the van to head home. The ride home was filled with the group sharing photos and reminiscing about the events of the day.
We certainly all had a great time. This was the perfect trip because it offered a little bit of everything: snowmobiling, relaxing, sightseeing, and group camaraderie. I would definitely recommend this snowmobiling trip to families and small groups. It’s a great way to spend a day off from skiing and also a good way to figure out if you want to go on an even longer snowmobile trip. The day was broken up perfectly, which kept everyone engaged and happy. Our total trip, from arriving at the shop to leaving at the end of the day, took about 6 and half hours.
What a wonderful experience! Thank you to the Togwotee Snowmobile Tours staff and our guide Ben. We could not have had a better day.
This blog post was written by Nate, a Jackson Hole vacation expert and member of the Jackson Hole Central Reservations team.