Future Dates to be announced
A Gay Travel Adventure in the American West
It’s like a gay summer camp! Stay in comfortable condos in the Rockies, nestled in gorgeous Grand Teton National Park on this gay multi-sport tour. Enjoy kayaking, horseback riding, rock climbing, rafting, hiking, swimming, and stargazing.
The outlaw Butch Cassidy holed up here in the shadow of the Grand Teton, and some of his loot may still be hidden nearby. We’ll live more stylishly, in deluxe condos with lots of living space, as our gay and lesbian group explores America’s grandest mountain range from a variety of angles. During this adventure week, choose any four activities on five days: rafting (whitewater and flatwater); horseback riding; canoeing; rock climbing; and kayaking. The rest of the time, make your own gay Wyoming adventures as you hike on mountain trails, bike beside a mountain stream, swim in a sparkling lake, fish, or enjoy a day trip to nearby Yellowstone, or take to the skies in a hot-air balloon or with a para-gliding buddy. Or go look for that buried treasure.
Day 1: Arrival
Rising over a mile from the valley, the Grand Teton is widely considered our country’s most majestic peak, nicknamed “The American Matterhorn”. If you’re flying into Jackson, Wyoming, ask for a window seat and you’ll have dramatic views as your plane touches down in the flat valley alongside the Teton range. Early arrivals may want to drive into Grand Teton National Park for sightseeing and perhaps a swim in Jenny Lake. Our trip officially starts at 6:00 pm with a reception and orientation, followed by a buffet dinner.
Day 2: Canoeing
One of the Teton’s newest geological features is Slide Lake, formed early in the 1900s when a huge mass of one mountain dropped off and slid into the valley below, damming up the river. A short drive through the ranchlands takes us to the shore of Slide Lake. Though only half an hour from the Park, Slide Lake is unknown to most tourists. We may feel all alone, as we put in our canoes. We’ll canoe to one end of this long and narrow lake and look at the rockslide which created it. Lunch is at a nearby overlook with a picturesque view of the lake in the foreground, the mountains in the distance.
After lunch we’ll paddle to the other end. Beavers and bald eagles are common sights in this secluded area. We’ll stop for a short hike into the hills, to stretch our legs. Mountain wildflowers are abundant here, as they are wherever we go in the Tetons: the vivid scarlet of Indian Paintbrush; the blues and violets of Harebells and Gentians. After dinner this evening, it’s hard to resist a stroll under the star-lit sky before turning in for the night.
Day 3: Horseback Riding and Other Activities
Today is a day to experience the Grand Tetons from a atop a horse.Right from Teton Village, where we make our home for the week, spectacular trails lead up into the lower slopes of the Teton range. Today we’ll let the horse do most of the work, as we make our way through the aspens and across a mountain stream to a secluded rest spot. We’ve scheduled a four-hour ride today, with several stops. A two-hour ride is available for those who prefer it, and this can be arranged at the orientation upon arrival. After your horseback ride you will have time for an afternoon hike along the peaceful tree-lined banks of String Lake. On a hot day, the water offers a quick way to cool off against a scenic mountain backdrop.
If you’re not taking the horseback ride today, this is a good day to take the tram to the 10,450-foot summit of Rendezvous Peak, where you can follow the Cody Peak trail with breathtaking views of the valley below. Find a secluded spot and just watch silently as the life of the Tetons moves by. You may spot a red fox in stealthy pursuit of a furry pika, or an eagle diving thousands of feet to snare a chubby marmot.
Guided nature tours are also available here. You’ll be amazed how much more you see with a bit of coaching. Those ready to call it a day can ride the tram back to the base. Others have the option of a longer, but exhilarating hike down, watching for moose and other wildlife as they descend in the late afternoon.
And for those who want some air time: You can still fit in a tandem paraglider ride, with an instructor who will keep you aloft while you simply enjoy the views.
Or you can opt to rise before dawn for a balloon ride. (Advance reservations are required – your guide can provide contact information.) You’ll head to the balloon launching location, where the hot-air balloon and crew await you. As the sun rises from the other side of the rugged peaks the balloons also rise. Moments later you’re aloft! In your balloon, waft along whichever direction the wind takes you, with Idaho on one side, Wyoming on the other. After touching down, celebrate with a champagne breakfast.
For dinner tonight we suggest a group excursion to the local hangout known as Bubba’s, where you can have a full and tasty dinner for under $15. Barbecued meats are the specialty at Bubba’s, but they have vegetarian options as well. In addition to its wealth of outdoor activities, Jackson Hole is known as an arts center. Music festivals and theaters provide a wide assortment of evening entertainment options. Or you can just go outside and gaze at the Milky Way.
Day 4: Whitewater Kayaking
Another day, another activity in the majestic Tetons, but today we do it in a skirt … a kayak spray skirt. After getting outfitted in our kayaking gear, we’ll head to Flat Creek this morning for an introduction to white-water kayaking. Our experienced guides will explain how our kayaks operate, how to paddle, how to roll and escape in the water and, what we really want to know, how our skirts work.
With some stretching and struggling, we connect them to the kayak to protect us from water spray in the rapids. After a quick bite to eat, we’ll return to the kayaks, then “eddy-out” into the Snake River for several miles of cruising on the quieter, more flat-water portions of this mighty river. You’ll encounter small grade I and II rapids, with stretches of smooth water in between, and by the end of the take out, you’ll be eager to learn an eskimo roll.
The guides are close-by to assist and to further explain technique. Clients raved about this optional activity in past years and we have now scheduled a day for it, making it one of the four activities from which you can choose.
Upon our return, if we have time, we may head over to the Alpine Slide at Snow King Mountain. An alpine slide is a fiberglass luge that slides down a polished metal track on the ski slope. You grab a sled and fly down in a seated position through the twists and turns of the course, controlling your speed with a handbrake. Then you can ride the chairlift up and go again. It’ll bring out the kid in you!
Day 5: Rock Climbing
Our introductory rock-climbing day begins with hands-on lessons by experienced local climbers. (Our past instructors have included one of America’s top alpinists, and a former Olympic skier.) We start by taking a boat across Jenny Lake at the base of the mountains.
As the Grand Teton and Teewinot peaks loom overhead, we’ll learn how to tie dependable knots. We’ll practice the art of belaying — how to protect another climber if he or she should slip. And we’ll learn to get the most advantage as we climb, from small holds and cracks in the rock. Then come the adrenaline parts: Climbing up a vertical cliff, using only the skills we’ve just learned; and rappelling back down on a rope, using a device known as a “Figure-8” that lets you control your rate of descent.
Safety is always a paramount concern. Whether you’re climbing up or rappelling down, your instructor or partner will always be ready to catch you on the backup rope. Was it fun? Rock climbing gets even more enjoyable as you gain confidence in yourself, and in the safety systems that protect you.
Day 6: Choices, Choices
Today is open: No activities have been scheduled, but there’s plenty for you to do.
Mountain biking is high on our recommended list. The beautiful Cache Creek trail, lined with wildflowers, takes you along a secluded stream. Those with less biking experience may prefer a flatter, paved route, along the valley floor and through the Elk Refuge.
Likewise, there are 250 miles of hiking trails to appeal to both less- and more-energetic hikers. An easy circuit takes you around the sparkling waters of Jenny Lake, where you can swim in the reflected glory of the Tetons, and on to the towering Hidden Falls. Those looking for an all-day hike will enjoy the largely flat and scenic trail to Hermitage Point; moose and trumpeter swans are commonly spotted along here, and you’ll be rewarded with grand views of the Tetons in Jackson Lake. A more ambitious hike goes to Lake of the Crags, an often-steep trail to what is considered one of the most beautiful spots in the Tetons.
Grand Teton National Park is full of wildlife. Don’t be surprised to see a moose in the trail, or a bald eagle in a riverside cottonwood tree, as you hike or bike today.
A day trip to Yellowstone may appeal to you, if you haven’t been there before. Just 60 miles away, Yellowstone offers entirely different scenery: Bison, elk and bears are often spotted; and you won’t want to miss the geyser basin. For those who have the time, however, our advice is to set aside several days after the trip for a visit to the first spot in the world designated as a National Park.
Many other activities are also available in Jackson Hole. The Snake River, flowing through the center of the valley, is famous for its cutthroat trout. Our guide will help people with similar interests to hook up, and will suggest places to go for each activity.
In the evening, Jackson offers not only a wide selection of restaurants but also community theaters, rodeo two nights a week each summer, and many cultural and music festivals.
Day 7: Whitewater and Scenic Rafting
Jackson Hole offers all types of water sports, from the calm waters of String Lake to the varied sections of the Snake River. Our rafting day gives us a taste of both. We begin just south of Jackson, on a flatwater section of the Snake. The raft takes us past scenery that would never be seen by drivers, or even by most hikers. Bald eagles have repopulated this stretch of river, and we can expect to see a few today, perched in the cottonwoods. Don’t be surprised if we also spot a moose amongst the trees. Feeling hot? Hop in the water and you’ll cool off in no time.
Then comes the white water: Churning class-III and IV rapids carry you past forests and cliffs. The raft trip ends with a picnic lunch before we return to Jackson. Even the most avid hikers will only have begun to explore the nearly endless and varied hiking trails of the Tetons. But there are still unexplored sides of Jackson Hole. Today, some of us will probably want to visit the National Museum of Wildlife Art, featuring more than 1200 works by over 100 artists. For those seeking one last adventure: Ride the chairlift to the top of Snow King Mountain, right on the border of town, and wind your way back down the trails on a mountain bike. Jackson Hole is best known for its outdoors activities, but several restaurants are establishing their reputations as well. Tonight we’ll celebrate a great week with dinner at one of Jackson Hole’s top restaurants.
Day 8: Departure
Our trip officially ends after breakfast, but if you’ve got early connections, you can rise and depart as early as you need to.
An experience as intense as this creates strong bonds, and it’s sad to say goodbye to new friends. But if the past is any guide, we’ll see each other again on future adventures. And if you’ve got a few extra days, Yellowstone is nearby. Our pre-trip newsletter makes it easy to plan a trip there with others in the group.
For travelers wishing to spend more time exploring the American West, consider coming early to join HE Travel’s Hiking Tour in Glacier National Park!
Known as the Switzerland of North America, Glacier National Park is one of America’s most photogenic places! From hiking the jagged trails to whitewater rafting, your hunger for adventure will be satisfied daily. Join us for an intimate encounter with the land, sky, ice and wide-open spaces on this beautiful multi-sport gay Montana adventure!
When you travel “Back-to-Back” on two or more of our tours, you are eligible for a discount! Contact Us if you are interested in reserving Butch Cassidy (Wyoming) plus Glacier National Park (Montana).
Price includes: Condo accommodations with living room and full kitchen, in shared 2, 3 or 4-bedroom units; A single supplement is available which entitles you to your own bedroom in a shared condo, with shared bathroom; Welcome reception; Any four of these five activities: whitewater kayaking down a mountain river; lake kayaking on a lake in the Tetons; rafting; climbing; and horseback riding. (No prior experience required for any of these.) Breakfast or breakfast supplies every day; Lunch with each of four selected activities; Four dinners; Transportation to included activities; Services of full-time trip coordinator and guide. HE Travel provides complimentary Medical & Evacuation Insurance for every US Resident on our group tours who does not have other coverage.
Not included: Transportation to Jackson, Wyoming; Transfer between Jackson Airport and our lodging; 3-4 lunches; 3 dinners; Activities on two free days such as ballooning, hiking, biking, swimming, or a trip to Yellowstone; Gratuities for guides; Personal expenses such as phone, fax and beverages not included with meals.
Optional Tour Choices:
TBA Single Supplement (for solo travelers who wish to enjoy a private bedroom and bathroom)
TBA All five offered activities
“This trip was everything I hoped for and more! Good people, gorgeous scenery, and very enjoyable activities made it a terrific week! There was a perfect balance of activities and time off. I can’t wait for my next Alyson Adventures [now HE Travel] trip!”— Mitchell Sendrowitz, New York, NY
“The most fun I’ve ever packed into a week. Better than summer camp ever was!”— Steve David, New York, NY
Most of our trips draw more single travelers than couples. When couples do join us, it’s usually because they’re looking forward to interacting with a gay group; if they wanted a holiday by themselves, they wouldn’t have signed up to travel with us. Furthermore, the activities included with our trips serve as natural ice-breakers. Within a day, you’ll be traveling with friends. You don’t need to pay the single supplement if you’re traveling alone. We’ll be happy to match you with a roommate. Pay the single supplement only if you want a bedroom to yourself. For selected trips, including cruises, we will charge half the single supplement if you request a roommate but we can’t match you with someone.
This tour starts and ends in Jackson, Wyoming. Jackson is served by three major airlines (or their subsidiaries): American, United, and Delta, and the competition helps keep prices reasonable. Still, to get the dates you want, we recommend that you reserve as early as possible, particularly if you hope to use frequent flyer points. A cab from the Jackson airport can often be $50 with tip. Often you’ll be able to share with others arriving at about the same time. Our pre-trip newsletter facilitates such matches. Many travelers, however, find it less expensive to fly into another nearby airport, rent a car, and drive to Jackson. Idaho Falls, Idaho is about a 2-hour drive; Salt Lake City about 5 hours. In both cases, the drive to Jackson Hole is scenic and varied, and will be part of your adventure. Bus service from Salt Lake City to Jackson is available from Mountain States Express ( 800-652-9510; in WY: 307-733-1719).
Our accommodations are comfortable 2-, 3-, and 4-bedroom condos in Teton Village, right at the base of the mountains. Each condo is shared by several people, and condos may be co-ed. If you request a single room, you’ll have your own bedroom in a shared condo, with either private or shared bathroom facilities. We find this arrangement far more comfortable than hotel rooms, as you’ll have a living room and kitchen. Restaurants and shops are just a few minutes walk away.
Our wide choice of activities ensures that anyone looking for an active vacation will have a week to remember.
Pretty limited — until we get there! One benefit of traveling with a gay and lesbian group is that if you’ve still got the energy to dance all night after our day’s activities, there will be someone you can ask to accompany you.
It depends. We stay next to the mountains at Teton Village because it is quieter, much prettier than town, and allows you to go hiking from your door. However, Teton Village has more limited services than Jackson township, which is about 20 minutes away, and about $20 each way by taxi, if you go on your own. We provide transportation for all included activities and meals and will spend an evening or two in town. But you will appreciate having your own transport if you enjoy shopping quite a bit, want to check out all the galleries in town, or wish to tour the park or travel to Yellowstone on a free day. We offer a discount to those bringing their own cars, who won’t need us to supply transportation to meals and activities. Please ask about it when you call to confirm your participation in the trip.
Jackson is the name of the major Wyoming town associated with, and close to, Grand Teton National Park. (Though not quite the closest: The tiny town of Moose, Wyoming, is right at the park entrance.)
Jackson Hole is the geographic name for this entire valley, nestled between the Teton range to the west, Gros Ventre mountains to the east, and Snow King to the south. (“Hole” was a term used by settlers for a low area surrounded by mountains.) Jackson Hole is also the name used for the ski resort at Teton Village, just outside Jackson.
You can do them all for a modest extra fee.
That’s because hiking is free. Hiking trails are abundant, and we find it’s best to let everyone enjoy hiking on their own schedule and pace. You’ll have one or two open days (depending on whether you take four activities, or all five) with nothing scheduled. That’s a good time for an all-day hike. Also, the horseback ride ends by mid-afternoon, so the remainder of that day is available for hiking or other activities.
The Tetons have some great mountain biking trails. However, because individual abilities vary so much, it’s unrealistic to expect a group to stay together, or even to enjoy the same trail. Experienced mountain bikers will want to take off on some exhilarating rides such as Cache Creek; beginners would find this trail rough going, but can enjoy others, such as Antelope Flats. If mountain biking appeals to you, we suggest that on one of your open days, you rent a mountain bike in Teton Village or Jackson, at a cost of $25 to $40 a day, and enjoy this activity with others who are at a similar skill level.
Breakfast is generally in the form of breakfast supplies in the condo. We supply cold cereal, eggs and bacon, yogurt, fruit, orange juice, coffee, tea, milk, and other items to give you a good selection. One day we may all head out to a local institution known as Bubba’s, famous for its hearty breakfasts. Opening night, we’ll have a tasty buffet reception as you get a chance to meet the rest of the group. Three more dinners are included, with our last dinner at one of Jackson Hole’s top restaurants. Vegetarians are always provided for as part of our planning, not as an afterthought. That leaves just three evenings on which dinner is not included. Often a couple of people in a condo offer to cook a meal for their unit, or even for the whole group. Once or twice, you’ll probably want to get away with just one or two new friends for a quieter evening.