Triangle X Ranch-Plateau Loop
Access via: From Jackson Town Square, drive north on Hwy 89/191 24.6 miles, well past the Moose and Deadman’s Bar turnoff’s. Turn right (east) off the highway into the Ranch. Note: Nordic trail use is reserved only for overnight guests. For access to similar (ungroomed) trail, drive 1/2 mile north to USFS road.
Triangle X Ranch is a 4th generation historic operational dude ranch, set in the center of Grand Teton National Park, with some of the most spectacular views of the full Teton Range. Set at 6800 ft on the east side of the Jackson Hole valley at the foot of the Gros Ventre range, Triangle X’s Nordic trail is only for overnight guests.
The Ranch is open in the winter to 30 guests, and is highly recommended as a western rustic ranch winter retreat. Triangle X has its original log cabin guest houses, main lodge and dining room with views of the Snake River valley and Grand Teton and Cathedral Group - north to Mt Moran and the far north Teton Peaks and south Nez Perce, Buck Mtn, Prospector Mtn., and beyond to the southern Teton high peaks.
The Nordic trail is groomed after major snowfall by the ranch, and is smooth and wide for classic skis. Beginning at the Ranch historic museum, head north on the snow covered inner ranch road to the red wood house on the right (east). The trail begins on the slope behind the red house, and heads south, with a short initial climb out of the ranch base. Follow the trail south along the wood fence line for ½ mile. The views of the Tetons will take your breath away on a clear day.
The trail follows the contour of the side of the plateau, slightly gaining in altitude in the open sagebrush. Soon thereafter, you will enter a conifer forest, climbing gently, then the trail turns left and follows a wide open gully, now in an easterly direction. Climb to the top of the gully and the trail again flattens out as you reach the flat top of the “plateau”. The views open up here once again, 180 degrees from south to north, with the dramatic Tetons to the west. Continue east for some 200 yards before the trail curves left and heads north. Follow the trail north for approx. ½ mile in open sagebrush. Pass the Grand Teton National park wood sign (the sign is for travelers arriving from the north heading south). The trail soon enters the woods and turns left and starts a fun downhill section, winding thru the woods for 1/3 mile at just the right steepness for cross-country skis. The trail is wide enough to use a snowplow to slow down if needed.
Near the bottom of the hill, the trail splits into 2 trails. Take the trail to the left. Continue along the trail rounding the edge of the woods to the southwest, and return to the northern end of the Ranch buildings. Cross the inner ranch parking area to the trailhead.
Don’t forget to visit the Triangle X History museum, in a small log cabin in the center of the ranch, with 4 generations of photos from the early days of ranching and special guests in Jackson Hole.