Tag Archive for: Summer

Stays here during late August and September doesn’t quite get the attention it deserves. Most people plan to visit at the peak of summer but there are so many reasons to experience our Ranch as things transition into autumn.

1. Perfect Weather

This time of year the weather is very pleasant. The afternoons are warm, averaging in the mid 70’s and then cooling off into crisp mornings. Due to our elevation, you can expect the mornings to be around the low 40’s to high 30’s depending on the week you’re visiting. Pack for layering and you’ll be set.

2. Exciting Fall Fishing

This is the best time of year to catch the largest brown trout of the season. Water temperatures drop this time of year into the optimal range for trout fishing. They also start the urge to pack on the pounds for the upcoming winter which means they want bigger food and are more aggressive, willing to get out of their lairs to chase down tasty looking flies. September is basically the only time of year that every river within Yellowstone is fishable.

3. Less Crowds at National Parks

Tourism to the Parks typically tapers off in September so it’s a great time to visit if you want to avoid the crowds.

4. Active Wildlife

Wildlife behavior changes in autumn as they begin their winter preparation rituals. Animals that typically linger in high elevation during summer trade the protection of trees for lower grasslands to escape the oncoming snow. Hundreds of bison will head to Lamar Valley, Mammoth Hot Springs, and Old Faithful areas during this time.

Visitors might see some elk in the mountain forests but this time of year they’ll be lower — and you’ll get to hear them, too! Elk begin their mating season during this time and you’ll hear them bugling, a sound alternately deep and high-pitched, as they vie for female attention. Remember to give all the critters their space.

Bears are more active as they forage for food in preparation for their long winter hibernation – don’t forget to store your food safely! Bring binoculars with you as you explore the area. In addition to bear, elk, and bison you may well see pronghorn, bighorn sheep, deer, moose, eagles, and more.

5. Fall Scenery

Many people come at the start or peak of summer but fall has it’s own beauty here when the scenery transforms itself. This place feels magical as you watch the leaves and grasses change to lovely shades of yellows and oranges. Horseback riding through this vast land while witnessing the landscape changing colors daily will leave you with memories you’ll never forget.

If you’ve never visited in fall, you’re in for a treat. Give us a call if you have any questions. We’re happy to assist you with your trip planning.

A trip to our ranch might be the perfect opportunity to expose your child to fly-fishing. We’ve got Orvis equipment available to rent and the Buffalo Fork River is right outside your cabin door.

Now, getting your child hooked on fly fishing might be a challenge. Tom Rosenbauer, a fly-fishing guide and author who produces a podcast for Orvis, has 10 tips he’s either tried or gotten from other guides on how to introduce kids to fly-fishing. You can hear Tom talk about these tips on his podcast. The list starts at the 21-minute mark.

1. Go fishing

Start with a simple rod and reel setup. This is an easy introduction that lets your child experience the basic principles of fishing without getting into the technical aspects of fly-fishing.

2. Start with the prey

Kids love catching critters like frogs, turtles and snakes. Show them crickets, beetles and other bugs that serve as the prey. Then you can explain to them how those insects are used to create flies, which are used to catch fish.

3. Take the kids to fly tying demonstrations

Many kids get into fly tying long before they do fishing. It’s like a craft project to them. They like the colored elements and the chance to be creative.

4. Pick the right time and place

The first experience needs to happen when the fishing is good and it’s easy. You want them to experience some early success.

5. Go after sunfish or panfish

The first fly-fishing trip should be fishing in shallow water for sunfish or panfish. These fish are generally easy to see, which lets your child watch how they react when going after a fly.

6. Scout the fishing site

Fish at the spot you’re thinking of taking your child to make sure the fish are biting.

7. Find riffled water

If you’re fishing in a stream for trout, find a section where there is pool with shallow to moderately deep water that moves at a moderate pace. Tie on small streamer or wet fly and have them cast across the current and follow the fly on the tip of the rod.

8. Skip the boat

Bank fishing is better than boat fishing, especially for a beginner. There are too many obstacles in casting and line handling in a boat. Fishing on a bank gives a novice angler the opportunity to take their time and learn.

9. Shorter is better

Keep the kids engaged. This means fishing trips shouldn’t be all-day affairs. Limit the outings to an hour or two at the most.

10. Provisions

Make sure to bring snacks and drinks. Kids need nourishment to keep them going.

It’s An Adventure

Any chance to get your kids outside is a win and Tim’s tips might just what your child needs to peak in an interest in what could be a life-long hobby. We’ll do what we can to help when you’re at the ranch.

The ranch is a great place to take your child on their first fly-fishing trip. The Buffalo Fork River is right outside your cabin door and provides an expansive space to spend as long as you want casting into the lazy flow of the water.

But before that fishing trip, wherever it might be, spend some time teaching your child how to cast. Giving them a few tips and time to practice this critical element of the sport will help them enjoy their time on the water.

Our experienced guides have got a few pointers on what to focus on during those sessions.

Hands On

Any lesson includes a bit of explanation and demonstration. But don’t spend too much time telling or showing. Let your little one get their hands on a rod as soon as possible. You might want to assist on the first few casts, but as soon as you can, step away and let them get the feel of the rod and line.

Shorter is Better

The deficiencies in your casting stroke are magnified the longer the line is out. Let your child build confidence by limiting the amount of line they’re going to cast. Start with 15 to 20 feet of line and let them build a consistent and comfortable cast before increasing the line length.

Go Light

This seems obvious but go with a lighter weight line than you would use. You don’t want to tire your child out too soon or risk an injury. Start with something like a 7- or 8-foot 3- or 4-weight line.

Fun First

While you are giving your child a fishing lesson, let’s remember to keep it fun and light. You’re just helping your child to get the line in front of them. Don’t get too tied up in how they accomplish that task. Take it too seriously and you might ruin your child’s interest in the sport.

Watch the Trees

Pick a spot on the water where you’ve got plenty of clearance from trees that might interfere with wayward casts.

Knotted Up

Depending on your child’s age, ability and temperament, let them try to untangle that first knot. If your child is amenable, offer a few tips. But don’t let them get too frustrated before you step in to solve the problem.

Fish On

You might want to finish the lesson by casting yourself to get a fish on the hook and then let your child reel it in. This lets them get the experience of how a fish feels on the hook and let’s be honest, catching is always more fun than casting.

Emails, meetings, grocery lists, the kids’ sports schedules, whatever consumes your daily thoughts quickly disappears the minute you settle into your saddle and head out on a guided horseback ride at the ranch.

The beauty and vastness of the Bridger-Teton National Forest will command your attention. You’ll ride through Alpine meadows, see a variety of wildlife and have the Grand Tetons as your constant companion.

The tranquility of a horseback ride is why it’s been used for years as a therapy tool. It’s helped people become more assertive, improve problem-solving skills and lower their stress.

While therapy isn’t the focus of our rides, you will definitely get some unintended benefits. Here are just a few.


Your worries and distractions will disappear once you settle into the saddle and head out into the wilderness. Riding requires complete focus and being in the moment.

If your mind wanders, your horse is going to follow that lead. So, let go of everything and join your horse in your singular goal – enjoying the ride.

Get Strong

You might not realize it, but the more you ride the stronger you’ll get, both physically and mentally. Riding requires keeping your core engaged. Your abs, lower back and obliques benefit from this focus as these muscles will grow stronger the more you ride.

The ride will also help improve your balance and coordination as you keep yourself centered in the saddle.

Emotional Stability

The beautiful part of a horseback ride is the interaction between you and your steed. A horse is capable of sensing your emotions and reacting. Exhibiting fear or anger will not give you the best experience.

Remaining calm and in control will put the horse at ease and let both of you get the most from the ride.


Your horse has a mind of its own and at some point during the ride will likely make a decision you find disagreeable. Patience rather than anger or frustration is the preferred response. By taking the time to redirect your horse, you’ll avoid a negative response and maintain the sense of team between both of you.

Luckily, the herd at the ranch is a seasoned and mild-mannered bunch. They know the terrain almost as well as our guides and we’ll match you with a horse that best fits your riding style.


Riding is so much like life. Nobody is perfect and no ride is perfect. Being able to forgive your horse for any missteps will help you put the daily frustrations in perspective. This is especially easy when you ride at the ranch with the beauty of the Grand Tetons always there to mesmerize.


The trust between you and your horse is unspoken but understood. You’ll quickly come to trust Spoon, Roosevelt and the other horses in our herd who will put you at ease and take you on a great summer adventure.

I Did It

Those final steps back to the ranch will leave you with a feeling of accomplishment whether it’s your first ride or 100th.

Summer is still a few months away, but it’s not too early to start planning your fishing adventure and this year we’re adding to your options with two venues you’ll want to tick off your bucket list – the Firehole River in Yellowstone National Park and Wind River.

These additional locations are part of our larger strategy to provide a full-range of fishing destinations that appeal to anyone interested in fly-fishing – the beginner to the seasoned veteran.

“We’ve got such beautiful rivers, streams and lakes around the ranch that we want to continually update our fishing offerings to appeal to a broad ranger of anglers,” said Ron Stiffler, manager at the ranch. “You couple these pristine waters with the experience of our guides and you’re going to get an unforgettable adventure.”

Tried and True

The North Fork of the Buffalo Fork River remains the stalwart in our river portfolio. Located just steps from our cabins, the river serves as the perfect place to hold our casting and fishing classes for beginners or anyone who wants to brush up on their skills.

The river, along with Pacific, Spread and Blackrock Creeks, is also part of our full or half day Walk and Wade guided fishing trips.


Jay Allen, the renowned fishing guide who oversees our fishing program, is especially excited to explore the Firehole River within Yellowstone National Park. The river is known for its nymph fishing and is one of the first to open with the spring melt.

He’s also eyeing other locations within the park as the season progresses and the fish move.

Wind River

The mountain range in this area soars to 13,000 feet, creating a breathtaking backdrop to the rivers and streams that teem with trout. The west side of the range is a popular destination to fish for cutthroat, brook, rainbow and golden trout.

But Jay will be taking our guests to the less visited east side that is situated in the Wind River Reservation. We are the only guides with access to this section of the river and you’ll be able to try your hand at landing a cutthroat or brown in this rarely fished area.


The spring snow melt clears the path for cutthroat heading to the high country to spawn in the collection of lakes. By August, they start making their way back down, creating a small window of opportunity for backcountry fishing trips.

The first 15 days in September are the best to make the journey into the wilderness where anglers will practically have the river to themselves to fish.

Turpin Experience

The unique destinations we’ve selected for this summer should be a big draw. We’ll make it even more enticing by providing all of the fishing gear you’ll need, making packing that much easier. We do that because our guides know the constantly changing conditions that help them pick out the best spots and flies on any given day.

Better yet, you’ll return each day to the ranch where you can relax in your well-appointed cabin and enjoy a meal prepared from local ingredients.

It happens every day, yet it never gets old. We’re talking about the nightly wrangle. It’s a big hit at the ranch as the herd races from the corral, pass the lodge, across the bridge and into Turpin Meadow.

Guests and visitors love watching this, often calling out to their favorite horse. It starts off with soft hoof beats that build into thunderous rumble as the ground trembles beneath your feet. Enjoy these photos captured by Emily Bulla, who works at the lodge. Even to our ranch staff, the evening wrangle is a must-see event. Come experience and feel the excitement for yourself!


One of the great vantage points to view the Grand Teton range is the observation area atop Signal Mountain, which is just a 30-minute drive from the ranch. Even better about this sight-seeing adventure is that you can experience in one of two ways or perhaps both.

The drive to the top is five miles long, climbs 1,000 feet and features multiple switchbacks. Or you could opt to hike the 3.5 miles to the Jackson Point Overlook, which provides a slightly different viewing experience.

Regardless of your choice, you’ll find yourself staring at the grandeur of the Grand Teton Mountain Range, Jackson Lake and the Snake River.


Whether hiking or driving to the top, you’ll need to drive from the ranch. Just head west through the town of Moran before turning onto Teton Park Road. You’ll enjoy sweeping views of Jackson Lake before you reach the Signal Mountain Lodge. This the point where if you’re hiking, you’ll stop, grab your gear and head out.

If you intend to drive to the top of Signal Mountain, you’ll continue on until you hit the junction of Signal Mountain Road. Enjoy a leisure pace as you wind your way up the mountain.

Once you’ve reached the observation area, you’ll be given a look of the entire 40-mile long Grand Teton range.


Again, you’ll park at the Signal Mountain Lodge/Campground area. The trailhead is south of the entrance and near the employee housing quarters. Follow the trail and it will lead you across Teton Park Road and into the forest.

The first part of this hike is under a canopy of conifers. You’ll quickly come across a small lake. It’s not uncommon to see moose in this area. At about seven-tenths of a mile into the hike you’ll reach a fork. It doesn’t matter which direction you go because the entire trail is a loop that will bring you back to the same spot.

A local tip: if you go the right, which is the Lake Trail, the return trip on the Ridge Trail loop will give you amazing views of the Grand Tetons during the descent.

About 2.2 miles from the initial junction, you’ll reach the turnoff for the Jackson Lake Overlook. Follow this slightly steeper section for a little more than a mile and you’ll reach your destination. Even though the summit does not climb to the top of the mountain, the view won’t disappoint!

Local History

Visitors might assume the overlook is named after the lake below, but actually it’s in remembrance of William Henry Jackson. He was part of the 1871 Hayden Geological Survey expedition and took the first photos of the Grand Tetons from the west side of the range.

The mountain itself was named in the aftermath of a suspicious death. In 1890, one of the owners of the Merymere Lodge (today known as the Signal Mountain Lodge) went missing during a hunting trip. Search parties were organized, and a fire was started at the top of the mountain to aid in the search for Robert Ray Hamilton, the great-grandson of Alexander Hamilton. His body was found a week later in the Snake River. Speculation was that his business partner, John Dudley Sargent, played a role in Hamilton’s death.

Photo credit: Thomas Kriese

Twenty-eight rugged miles north of the ranch you enter the Thorofare. This is one of the most remote areas of the lower 48 and the beginning of the Upper Yellowstone River watershed. Here, the mountains explode skyward on either side of the river as it flows toward Yellowstone Lake.

This land was once known as the best cutthroat trout fishery in the world. Today, it is the epicenter of an epic battle that will ultimately determine the fate of one of the purest strains of trout.

“Words cannot describe the beauty of this place and what it takes to get there,” said Jay Allen, a renowned fishing guide who has returned to the ranch. “But to make the journey and soak in the history and import of what is happening with this fishery is like no experience you’ve ever had.”

What Once Was

The Thorofare is the cutthroat trout’s highway as the fish travel from Yellowstone Lake upriver to spawn. Forty years ago, the Thorofare teemed with anglers who made the journey to see for themselves what it was like to cast their fly rods into the river and do battle with a native cutthroat trout.

Sometime in the mid-1980s lake trout were introduced to Yellowstone Lake. These ravenous fish, which can grow up to 40 pounds, decimated the cutthroat trout population with its insatiable appetite. The population of lake trout swelled from 130,000 in 1998 to 800,000 by 2012.

How the Wildfires of 1988 Affected Fish Populations

It wasn’t long after the introduction of the lake trout that Yellowstone National Park experienced a summer of wildfires that grew to historic proportions. The first fire began on June 14 with subsequent fires sparking into September.

The fires consumed 500,000 acres outside the park and another 740,000 inside the park. The debris left behind in the Thorofare washed into the Yellowstone River creating silt that badly disrupted the spawning ground of the cutthroat.

The growing population of trout lake and aftermath of the wildfires devasted the spawning rates of the cutthroat. Biologists counted more than 70,000 fish passing through Clear Creek on the way to spawn in 1978, which was the peak. That number was reduced to less than 600 by the mid-2000s.

Bringing Cutthroat Trout Back

For more than a decade now, biologists and fishing enthusiasts have been working to bring back the cutthroat. For years, commercial fisherman from the Great Lakes area have been hired to spend the summer catching and killing more than 300,000 lake trout each year.

The effort is starting to show results as the cutthroat are returning to the native spawning grounds.

See for Yourself

The healthier runs of the native have also meant a return of the fishery for anglers willing to make the trek to this hallowed ground. It’s not uncommon for many who are fly fishing to catch and release the natives to help the recovery effort.

We are lucky enough to be one of the few outfitters that have a permit to fish in the Thorofare. This is our most exclusive offering due to the rugged journey. Our third and final trip to the area has a few slots open. Allen, who oversees the fly-fishing program at the ranch, will be the lead guide for this rare adventure. If this is something you’d be interested in, we strongly encourage you to call as soon as possible to reserve your spot on this historic trip.

The Return – Trailer
KGB Productions
Watch Here


Our overnight pack trips offer guests an immersive experience in the Teton Wilderness, where the American frontier is on fully display. You’ll explore remote areas within the Continental Divide and Absaroka Mountain Range, take in breathtaking views and sleep under a canopy of stars that appear close enough to touch.

The entire experience is led by our experienced guides who prepare your meals and act as docents as they explain the rich tapestry of the land. Consider it roughing it, the Turpin way.

This year we’ve revamped our back-country trips, giving you a greater variety of options when it comes to the duration of the trek. We’ve also included meals during your days at the ranch.

The only downside to this summer’s adventure is the availability. Each year the ranch is given a limited number of permit days to be used at Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks. These days account for all activities within those boundaries, so we encourage guests to plan early.


Trip Bookends

Each pack trip includes two nights of lodging at the ranch – the night before you head out and the night you return. Your stay at the ranch includes a three-course dinner and breakfast buffet in the lodge. All you need to bring during the wilderness stay is clothing and personal items. We’ll take care of the rest. A good camera is highly recommended.

Greater Selection of Nights in the Wilderness

Once you leave the ranch, you’ll travel to your base camp, which we move every 16 days to give guests variety. This will be home base for the duration of your wilderness stay.

This year guests will be able to choose between four-, five-, six- and seven-day overnight pack trips. Remember, two of those nights are at the ranch, so you’ll be in the wilderness for two, three, four or five nights.

You’ll be matched with a ranch horse for the trip as our guides and wranglers handle the heavy lifting, set up, and break down.

Unforgettable Experiences

These trips leave guests with a greater appreciation for the splendor that is the wilderness of the Continental Divide. You’ll spend your days exploring by horse or foot with day trips to either Grand Teton or Yellowstone National Park. You get to experience the landscape in an unhurried and uninterrupted way. Time will slowly slip away, letting you live in the moment of what you’re seeing and experiencing.

We’re in our annual transition at the ranch from winter to summer as we put away the cold-weather gear and ramp up for the warmer activities our guests love. But we’re not the only ones making changes based on the season.

Each spring marks the start of the summer migration for elk, mule deer, pronghorn, bison and other members of the ungulate species in Wyoming. These creatures are leaving their winter feeding grounds for the more lush habitat found at higher elevations.

The journey can be up to 150 miles, traversing public and private lands across steep mountain passes.

The Wyoming Migration Initiative overseen by the University of Wyoming has undertaken multiple research projects to learn more about migration patterns to enhance conservation of travel corridors.

Red Desert Herd

Wildlife biologist Hall Sawyer discovered the longest recorded mule deer migration when his research tracked a herd from the Red Desert to the high mountain slopes of the Hoback Basin, which is about two hours southeast of the ranch.

This 150-mile trek requires the deer to cross several highways, swim across lake and river crossings and get over, under or around more than 100 fences.

Elk of Yellowstone

The elk you see during a summer visit to Yellowstone National Park are not year-round residents. Instead, they are members of six to eight populations that come to the park each summer from winter locales in Wyoming, Idaho and Montana.

They are part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and their abundance help sustain a varied group of carnivores, scavengers and pump tens of millions of dollars into gateway communities.

Migration Patterns

Years of research by the Wyoming Migration Initiative has amassed reams of data. But that information didn’t do much to tell a complete story of the travels.

That changed when the University of Wyoming and cartographers from the University of Oregon collaborated to use that data to recreate rich tales of the miles traveled.

“Wildlife Migrations: Atlas of Wyoming’s Ungulates” is a collection of maps, charts photos and other visual data to tell the story of the seasonal movements of mule and whitetail deer, pronghorn, elk, bison moose, bighorn sheep and mountain goats.

Know the Story

Whether your fly-fishing, horseback riding, hiking or just hanging out at the ranch, there’s a good chance you’re going to see ungulates in the wild. You’ll have a better understanding of what it took for these animals to reach their summer destination and how they survive. It’s another reason why a visit to the ranch is special.