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Journey to Wyoming’s premier snowmobiling destination: Togwotee Mountain Lodge

A couple of snowmobiling newbies hop aboard some steel horse sleds to explore the mountains of Wyoming.

By: Samuel Brockway + Save to a List

Western Wyoming bursts with beauty, wonder, and excitement in a way that I am not sure that I have experienced anywhere else. To have the world’s first national park (Yellowstone), one of the nation’s most iconic ski hills, the largest elk preserve in North America, and countless other outdoor wonders all relatively close to each other is a true trove of riches. 

In my trips to the region, I never leave without feeling that I have merely scratched the surface of the beauty of this area. On this 3-day trip, however, I was finally able to dig into the region a bit deeper. Megan, Baker, and I were fortunate enough to stay at the inviting Togwotee Mountain Lodge, which is nestled in the mountains between the Teton Range and the Wind River Range. As someone who has worked selling “quiet mountain sports” goods (guiding mountain bike tours, collecting water samples, and restoring habitat) the emphasis of Togwotee Mountain Lodge on snowmobiles proved a bit of a change of pace for me. But, it presented a new experience that I was thrilled to dive into.

Togwotee Mountain Lodge

With over 500 inches of annual snow, 600 miles of groomed trails, and 2.5 million acres of backcountry riding access, there is no doubt why people flock from far and wide to visit the “World’s Premier Snowmobile Resort.” Togwotee Mountain Lodge serves as the perfect base camp for all-day snowy adventures. The property features a maze of log cabins, warm rooms in the main lodge, saunas, a general store, a gas station, and the outstanding Grizzly Grill cooking up hearty meals adjoined by the Red Fox Saloon. It is beautifully laid out beneath Angle Mountain on the north side of U.S. Highway 26 – 9 miles west of Togwotee Pass – in the nearly 1.7 million acre Bridger-Teton National Forest. Plan for about a 50-mile drive north of Jackson to unplug and relax at this mountain destination.

Day 1

Megan, Baker, and I stayed in one of the 54 modern log cabins, which we pulled into early in the evening on our first night after a remarkable drive passing thousands of wintering elk and the blue peaks of the Tetons as the sun dipped down. We were famished after driving in from Boise, but the Grizzly Grill greeted us with an acorn squash stuffed with delicious fruits and veggies, locally caught trout tacos, beef chili, and a slice of carrot cake that had us wanting to lick our plates. The Maple Old Fashioned and local IPAs over a couple of games of cribbage at the Red Fox Saloon were perfect for washing down dinner and preparing for a big Day 2. 

After dinner, we settled into our warm and spacious cabin. The cabin had a welcoming living room space with a couch, fireplace, TV, and kitchenette. Through a short hallway with a small dining table was the bedroom with a comfortable bed, a nightstand and dresser, and a hanging TV. We enjoyed the clear night sky illuminating a fox weaving its way around the cabins before turning in for the night.

Day 2

With a full day ahead of us, we hit the ground running as early as we could muster. After a walk around the property with Baker, we made our way to the lodge for breakfast. The breakfast buffet was well stocked with eggs, bacon, biscuits, flapjacks, and other filling assortments to pair with fresh local coffee. We were full and energized for a big day of snowmobiling!

It was a short jaunt across the parking lot to get to the snowmobile rentals, where we were greeted by our jovial guide, Angie. The crew at Togwotee Rentals took one look at our ski gear and generously suggested that we rent the full snowmobiling gear kit from them. So, we wound up fully outfitted for the excursion. Combined, Megan and I have about 5 minutes of snowmobile experience, so we signed up for the “Beginner Experience Trail Ride.” Angie exhibited the patience of a saint while not only teaching us how to use the machines but also pointing out the best views to stop and take photos and videos of our adventure. 

The trails weaved through dense forests and crisscrossed the Continental Divide. We were sprinkled with pillowy-soft snow nearly our entire time on the snowmobiles. It was truly a winter wonderland with fun soft trails to whip around on. Every so often the trees would break, or the sun would peak out, revealing breathtaking views of the mountains visible in the Absaroka and Wind River Ranges. The combination of serenity and adrenaline that I felt on the snowmobile was a completely new experience. Megan and I were immediately making plans for our next snowmobiling opportunity.

We returned to the Grizzly Grill at Togwotee Mountain Lodge for lunch, and we had somehow worked up an appetite after our big breakfast. We warmed up over a flatbread and a pesto chicken sandwich while another 6 inches of powder accumulated outside. Our route after lunch took us through ravines with untouched hillsides (if only we packed in our skis!), a massive wildfire area with interesting desiccated trees, and across a gigantic marshland surrounded by mountain peaks - all while traversing back and forth across the Continental Divide. In total, we covered about 70 miles of ground on our first full day of snowmobiling! I am not sure if that is a lot, but it sure seemed like a lot given how many stops we made for me to take more photos!

After returning our snowmobiles and equipment, we got cleaned up and explored the property with Baker at sunset. The heavy snow throughout the day blanketed the buildings with a pristine white and the sled dogs excitedly acknowledged our fox friend in the distance. We returned to the Grizzly Grill for Totchos and Elk Bratwurst, then saddled up at the Red Fox Saloon for some pool and to meet some other Togwotee visitors.

Day 3

We were reluctant to acknowledge that this was our final day at Togwotee Mountain Lodge, but the sting was eased by the clear-skied sunrise shining on the Tetons in the distance. Up until leaving the cabin on our final morning, we did not realize that Grand Teton and Mount Moran had been looming in the distance the entire time. We enjoyed a quiet morning, then headed off for the short 20-minute drive to enjoy a sunny winter’s day in Grand Teton National Park – my favorite national park to photograph.

After entering the national park through the gate on North Park Road ($35 entry pass or $80 America the Beautiful annual interagency pass) we took in the iconic view from Oxbow Bend. In the winter, many of the roads in the national park are closed, but the road going north around Jackson Lake is open. We went south at Teton Park Road and followed it until it was closed at the Signal Mountain Lodge. We explored the area and took in the awe-inspiring views of the Tetons from above the frozen Jackson Lake. On our route back south on Highway 26, we took in the views from many observation points as we said goodbye to this magical place…for now.

Know Before You Go

  • Getting to Togwotee Mountain Lodge from Jackson: travel north on Cache Street, which becomes US-26, and follow it for 31.5 miles before going right at Moran Junction to stay on US-26. Togwotee Mountain Lodge will be on the left in 16.5 miles.
  • Winter Road Advisory: This is a winter-based itinerary, and though all activities listed are on maintained roads, they can still be snowy, icy, and otherwise dangerous. Be sure to have four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, proper tires, and a knowledge of winter driving.
  • Cell Phone Service: Though Togwotee Mountain Lodge has great wifi, there is little-to-no cell phone service in the greater area. Be sure to download any maps that you need ahead of time.

Follow along with more of Sam Brockway's adventures on his Instagram: @SamWBrockway

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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