IPA Magazine-Luxury Travel Reviews

Luton’s Teton Cabins

Luton’s Teton Cabins

 Gateway to Jackson Hole, the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone

 Lutons Teton CabinsJust a few decades ago, before Barbi dolls and video games, children in the U.S. played with simple toy sticks with notches called Lincoln Logs, building little cabins reminiscent of the birthplace of our Sixteenth President.  As a boy, I remember wondering what it must have been like to grow up in a log cabin.  And today, so gratefully, I woke up in one, and looked out my window at a stunning view of the snow-capped Grand Teton mountain range.

Now in October, near the end of the high-point of the tourist season here in Wyoming, when the outdoor temperature overnight sank to a chilly 10 degrees, there’s no worry of having to build a fire to keep warm, or read by candlelight as cabin-dwellers did a couple centuries ago.  No, there is push-button heating and all the electrical appliances and amenities you’d expect in the most comfortable lodging of your imagination.  I can throw on a pot of coffee, cook on the gas stove or in the oven, defrost something out of the freezer in the microwave, and toss the dirty dishes in the dishwasher.  Then I can stroll out on the porch and sit either in a rocking chair or Adirondack chair and gaze to my heart’s content at the fabulous tableau of high mountain country just out my front door.

I’m sitting in one of Brad Luton’s hand-crafted Deluxe Three-Room Log Cabins, one of thirteen dwellings he as his wife Joanne starting building back in 1992.  But looking around at the freshness of the surfaces (walls, floors, ceilings, exterior coatings on logs, decks, posts, etc.) I’m thinking that most people, if they were here now, would affirm they’ve stepped into cabins just built yesterday.  The place looks and feels brand spanking new, it’s so well-maintained.

I can’t imagine being in a better location, so near the entrances to the Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, just a short-journey away from the charming and upscale town of Jackson, yet facing the majestic Grand Tetons in the best part of Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  Right here there is access to horseback riding, hiking, whitewater rafting, fly fishing, and all the geo-thermal glories of Yellowstone National Park.  I’ve got to stop pinching myself to test whether or not this experience is really “real.”

My appreciation for this place swelled after looking through the Scrapbook Brad handed me shortly after we arrived here.  In just fourteen pages of a little over 30 captioned-photos, Brad and Joanne tell the story of their heritage and how this resort came to be what it is today.  It turns out the Lutons, along with just a few other helpers, built these cabins from the ground up, using lodge pole pines pulled out of the forest on horseback.  Every log required hand peeling, in what Brad considers “the single most difficult job of building a log cabin.”  From pouring concrete foundations, to building walls and trusses with logs, to adding the roof and then installing the interior features, the Lutons tireless efforts have paid off.

Today, with lush green grass surrounding the cabins, landscaping features adding interest, tables and barbecues inviting outdoor picnics and get-togethers, all spread before magnificent views of mountains, forests, meadows and streams, Luton’s cabins feel like a home or resort you never want to leave.

Much of the perfectionistic bent in the Lutons comes from both pride of ownership and deep roots in this valley.  Joanne’s Swiss grandparents, laboring in the ranching and cattle business, homesteaded nearby and gave her the acreage she and her husband Brad now own.  Brad, a fourth-generation native, has his roots in dude ranching and outfitting.  Together they form an indomitable team who’ve accomplished in just a few years what would take most folks a lifetime.

It’s taken a while to build up a clientele, but guests are now finding they have to make reservations well ahead of time to stake out a claim.  Repeat visitors are becoming more common.  “These Tetons,” Brad says, “just find a way into your heart.”  He points out that kids who first came with their parents to Yellowstone and the Jackson Hole area when they were about eight years old now find that, as adults, they want to bring their own kids back to the area.  In addition, many guests who stay for a week or more want to return year after year, making their visit here a tradition.  Some have family reunions here and make use of the lodge facility where large meetings can be held.  The resort conveniently offers laundry facilities, welcome for folks who find they love staying here for a week or longer.  During our visit, we learned guests were here from Hawaii and Australia, while Brad says they come from all over the world.  With his excellent website, word-of-mouth advertising from so many satisfied guests, and consistent repeat business, Brad is finding that it’s not necessary to invest in an expensive advertising campaign.  If anything, he invests in updating and improving his amenities, such as increasing broadband width for internet users.  Though this is a place you might visit to unplug for a few days, it turns out that guests still want to stay connected, so Brad has found a way to please even his most discriminating patrons.

From his background in outfitting and dude ranching, Brad knows the demands involved of giving guests the best possible experience for their time and money.  He’s such a believer in quality that he strongly resists any temptation to compromise his values.  He’s not about to bite off more than he can chew, because what he does in operating his Teton Cabins consumes his energy around the clock.  For that reason, although he could try to offer food service, horseback riding, and maybe some other entertainment options like family cookouts, he prefers to recommend local outfitters who concentrate full-time on what they do best.  For example for horseback riding, Brad recommends Yellowstone Outfitters “who do an exceptional job,” he says, “and our guests always come back very satisfied.”  For ten-mile scenic float trips down the Snake River, he recommends Solitude Float Trips.  Whitewhite rafting trips are booked with another outfitter where Class II and II rapids on the Snake River make for wild adventure for people of all ages and experience.  In the evening, folks can participate in Grand Teton Covered Wagon Cookouts.  A horse-drawn wagon carries guests to a beautiful location where a delicious rib-eye steak is served along with entertainment the whole family will enjoy. For most activities, guests are able to make reservations once they arrive.  An exception to that rule is for guided fly fishing which often requires making reservations a few weeks in advance.

Here’s a place you’d be proud to bring your dearest companion, your family, or your friends.  Bring along all your favorite foods and beverages and plan on staying long enough to take in all the Jackson Hole area has to offer.  You’ll return from every outing to a clean, comfortable cabin, offering every important amenity with spectacular views out your window.  Who knows?  As others have found, you might find yourself making lodging at Luton’s Teton Cabins a yearly tradition.

Luton’s Teton Cabins

24000 N. Gun Barrel Flats Rd.

P.O. Box 48

Moran, Wyoming 83013

Telephone: (307) 543-2489

Toll Free (855) 248-2489

Office Hours 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. (Mountain Time)

Website:  www.tetoncabins.com

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