At Backcountry Journeys we are in the business of providing not just world-class photography-based tours, but at the same time, amazing vacations that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.
Utilizing unmatched attention to detail we meticulously research, and tirelessly scout, every visually stunning destination we visit in order to ensure you get the best possible experience from the moment you arrive.
These efforts don’t stop at just finding those little known picturesque viewpoints where you might bask in a glorious Teton sunrise, or capture the perfect burst of the Aurora Borealis in the dead of the Alaskan night near some remote outpost cabin.
We also meticulously research, and tirelessly “scout” the places we’ll eat! (on Lodge-Based Tours) Which we view as essential to a successful trip, don’t you?
Before reading on, you should know that our tours come in different forms. Some are wilderness based, camping trips, while many are lodge-based, where we’ll stay at comfy lodges and dine at fancy restaurants.
We’ll most certainly be eating well on the wilderness based tours, and perhaps we’ll discuss that in a future post, but this post is not about that.
While on our lodge-based trips we’ll be sure to visit some of the local fine dining options of which we just cannot get enough!
Places like The Million Dollar Cowboy Steakhouse in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, which we are sure to visit on the final evening of all our Grand Teton trips.
Their menu focuses on a carefully curated selection of meats from the best local and regional farms.
This place is a steakhouse. An iconic institution. And it’s a consensus “must-do” while in Jackson Hole.
Located below the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, the Steakhouse maintains the same western vibe and cowboy roots.
The Chef’s signature is the “John Wayne & Friends” – which is the butcher cut of the night. It’s served with fried Brussel Sprouts with Lamb Pancetta Vinaigrette, loaded country smashed potatoes with a béarnaise. Cuts are huge, ranging from a 40 oz. dry-aged porterhouse to a 45 oz. bone-in New York to a 46 to 64 oz. cowboy/tomahawk steak.
This might be Russ’s favorite restaurant. Ever. It’s a reason -in and of itself – that he guides these trips!
Kidding. Let’s move on…
Pike’s Landing is a Fairbanks restaurant landmark featuring mouth-watering specialties prepared by some of Alaska’s best chefs. It’s menu features traditional Alaska fish and seafood specialties in a pretty sweet atmosphere.
This is an authentically Alaskan seafood place, right on the Chena River. They offer great local beers, seafood and steaks. Its a higher end locals haunt, so feel free to feel pretty cool while you’re there. The interior features taxidermied heads on the wall (which is still cool in Alaska!), and the deck overlooking the river adds to the ambiance, which is so good you might forget you’re there for food.
No, you won’t.
Russ’s pro tip for Pike’s Landing?
The “Hammertime!” Which is basically a bowl filled with king crab and various other seafood. You’ll be provided with a bib and hammer for this one. Please Hammer, don’t hurt ‘em..
After shooting (with your cameras) polar bears, you’re probably feeling a strong urge to head towards the high desert of Utah, so, naturally, you register immediately for the next tour at Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks.
Here, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by Oscar’s, in Springdale, Utah, which sits just outside of Zion National Park.
Twenty-one years ago the owners of Oscar’s Cafe purchased the walk-up and order restaurant because they enjoyed outdoor settings while dining. Over time they developed Oscar’s into a Springdale staple with an outdoor setting like few others.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner, whatever meal your watch (or iPhone) says it’s time for, Oscar’s has you covered. Mexican and American foods. Massive portions and great service. Don’t forget the location and the patio.
It really is a must-stop while in, or near, Zion. Maybe even more than just the one stop.
Have you ever seen a bear dance? You might one day if you travel with Backcountry Journeys, be it in Alaska, Glacier National Park, or maybe at the Smoky Mountains.
If you do join us on a Great Smoky Mountains In Autumn Tour, we can’t go as far as saying you’ll definitely see bears, but we can guarantee that you’ll at least lodge at a Dancing Bear.
The Dancing Bear Lodge, in Townsend Tennessee, that is!
And while we’re there we’ll visit the Dancing Bear Appalachian Bistro, where they know great food begins with fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
This place has a bit of it all, and is vegetarian and vegan friendly as well. That being said, try the cast iron beef tenderloin. Quite delicious!
This place is Appalachian-inspired, and steeped in tradition. Says Russ: “This is fine dining in the Smokies at it’s finest.”
And that’s as good a quote as I’ve ever used to end a blog post with a quote.
Oh the places we’ll go….To EAT!
Kenton Krueger has spent the past several years guiding guiding backpackers, hikers and photographers into the wild places of the American West such as Havasu Falls, Grand Canyon and Yellowstone National Parks as well as in the Grand Staircase Escalante in southern Utah. In addition to backpacking and camping, his adventures include rock climbing, exploring the slot canyons of southern Utah, mountain biking, and bagging 14ers in Colorado’s San Juan Mountain Mountain Range. Kenton is a trail runner, former pilot, newspaper photographer and writer. Kenton looks forward to utilizing his years of guiding experience, combined with his passion and experience behind the lens to provide memorable and unforgettable experiences at the wild places we will visit together.
Don’t Miss the Next Session of BCJ “Live”
Backyard Bird Photography: Simple Techniques for Wildlife Close to Home
with Russell Graves
Tuesday, March 9th, 2021 at 11 am (Mountain)