The visitor center at the new Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve in Grand Teton National Park is now open. The trail system at the Preserve, which provides access to Phelps Lake and Lake Creek, opened last fall.
The Preserve, the former JY Ranch, was donated to the national park and the various buildings from the ranch have been removed. Now, eight miles of trails and the visitor center are in place, reflecting Rockefeller’s belief that “nature has the power to restore and sustain the human spirit,” according to a Grand Teton National Park news release.
The visitor center promises to be like no other. It “orients visitors and provides a series of sensory exhibits designed to make visitors more aware of nature on many levels,” according to the news release.
The visitor center will be open from May through September. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Phelps Lake is a great after-work hike, so the addition of the Preserve’s trail system is a welcome development. The Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve will offer much easier access to Phelps Lake than the trail that starts near the Whitegrass Ranch; that trailhead is only accessible via a very rutted dirt road. In addition, the old road to the JY Ranch from Moose-Wilson Road makes a great cross-country ski route. Note that the Moose-Wilson Road is closed to vehicles starting at the Granite Canyon trailhead in the winter.
I haven’t been to the visitor center yet. Please share your experiences in the comments area.