Planning our trip to the Grand Teton National Park we wanted to find a unique adventure to try.  We had created a list of popular places in the park to explore, but also wanted to find an adventure we couldn’t just do on our own.  We looked for something special to really add to the trip.  After searching sites and considering the numerous horseback riding, photography tour, and float trip companies we found it.  Grand Teton Lodge Company (the same group that runs the Headwaters at Flagg Ranch where we camped) offered a scenic breakfast cruise to Elk Island. 

Elk Island view of Grand Teton mountain range with Jackson Lake and guide boats


We met the cruise group at the Colter Bay Marina early in the morning.  Given the chilly temperatures, I was thrilled to realize the boat was not an open ferry style as I imagined, but offered enclosed bench seating. Windows lined the sides of the boat so both sides had a view of the spectacular scenery.

On the trip out to Elk Island, the crew shared the history of Colter Bay and Jackson Lake.  Hearing stories about the pioneers that explored the region, along with facts about the mountains left us feeling closer connected to the area.

Elk Island

Before long we reached the island and the welcoming staff met us at the dock.  We followed the dirt trail stippled with elk and deer tracks which led to a picturesque campfire surrounded by log benches.  Here the staff invited us to explore the island, grab some cowboy coffee from the campfire, and help ourselves to the expansive breakfast buffet. 

I cannot say enough good things about the buffet.  The options were plentiful and the food was fresh.  Surrounded by lodge pole pines, the aroma of the hot cooked meal made for the most delicious mountain morning breakfast.  Our daughter was excited to see an old metal canoe used as a food station. It offered pastries, milk, yogurts, and fresh fruit.  Down the line they had scrambled eggs, a variety of pancake flavors, bacon, sausage, potatoes, and fresh fish.  In addition to the aforementioned coffee and milk, there were numerous other beverage options including juices, tea, and hot chocolate.  Encouraged to have multiple helpings, no one left the tables hungry. 

Once full, it was still hard to leave the picnic area.  The crisp air was refreshing against the warming sun on our backs. With the sun lighting up the face of the mountains and shimmering on the water’s surface, it offered the best view of the Grand Tetons we had seen.  It was a breathtaking.

Though we had enjoyed a full hour on the island, it felt like our visit ended too soon.  On our return trip, I agreed to sit on the open air aft deck with our daughter.    This is a popular option, so the seats fill up fast. The breeze on this back deck was refreshing and the uninterrupted views of the nature was unbeatable. 

Our family agreed it was our favorite activity in the park. If heading to the Grand Teton National Park, we highly recommend scheduling this into your visit.  It gives a unique perspective and enjoyment of the mountains and shouldn’t be missed.


Grand Teton Lodge Company – Colter Bay Marina
100 Colter Bay Marina Road, Moran, WY 83013
Phone: 307-543-2811