Teton Village is at the bottom of the mountain, and has lots of shops and fun things to do, like horseback riding, tours, mountain bike trails, and their giant tram that takes you to the summit. We decided to take the tram to the top of the mountain and hike around up there.
The tram takes about 12 minutes to arrive at the top of Rendezvous. They say you'll see animals on the mountain as you ride up from time to time, but we didn't. (I was actually pretty happy about that, since the plan was the HIKE around the area we were viewing.) When you finally get to the top, you're rewarded with stunning 360 degree views.
We decided that we'd give the Rock Springs Loop Trail a try, a 5 mile hike that eventually connected to the Summit Trail and led us to a gondola that would take us back down the mountain.
Our first little stop was at a snow patch. Nothing like playing in the snow in August! We may have had a little too much fun...
Once we'd had our fill of snow, we made our way back to the main trail and continued on down the mountain. It was at this point that we stopped seeing many other people. Seems like most people go to the snow and turn back around to head to the top (taking the tram back down the mountain). As we continued, the grade got even more steep and rocky. The views were beautiful though!
At one point, we completely lost the trail. It was like it just stopped. Thankfully, we could see a trail sign across the way, so we made our own path across a gorge and hopped back on it. The trail weaved us down about 1,000 feet through dense wooded areas, beautiful meadows, and down rocky cliffs.
We finally reached the Summit Trail, which we followed back up about 500 feet to the gondola. The summit trail was actually an access road, so I'm really glad we didn't decide to take that one the entire way. While the views were nice, there wasn't much else to it. It WAS the most exhausting part of the hike though - there was an enormous hill leading back to the gondola which almost killed us. Mom took to making her own switchbacks on the trial - she's so smart. :)
It was definitely a beautiful hike, but was not easy. The information center called it moderate with some difficult sections, which I'd believe. If you do this loop, make sure you bring your bear spray. There was about an hour period where we didn't see anyone else (so there wasn't regular 'traffic' keeping animals away), and saw several recent signs of bears while we made our way through the deep woods. Thankfully, we didn't run into one, but we were glad to have the bear spray just in case!
Check out the rest of our trip here:
Hiking Jenny Lake and Colter Bay
Yellowstone National Park
Float Trip down the Snake River