Even the best photos won’t prepare you for the awe-inspiring sight of the Teton Range, with its soaring jagged peaks dominated by the 14,000-foot-high Grand Teton for which the national park was named. Not only does it include these majestic mountains but glaciers, forests, lakes, rivers, and abundant wildlife like bald eagles, elk, moose, wolves, black bears, and grizzly bears. While Yellowstone National Park seems to steal the spotlight, this is a place you won’t want to miss, and it’s easy to explore both as they’re just seven miles apart.
This Grand Teton National Park Travel Guide will help you make the most of the time you have while revealing everything from where to stay in the park to the best time to visit Grand Teton and beyond.
Where to Stay
If you want to stay inside the national park you’ll have many options, but be advised that advanced reservations are essential. There are seven campgrounds within the park’s boundaries, including Colter Bay and Gros Ventre, the two largest and most popular. If you don’t want to rough it, you’ll find lodging options in all areas of the park, including these:
- Jenny Lake: Jenny Lake Lodge
- Colter Bay: Colter Bay Cabins
- Flagg Ranch: Headwaters Lodge & Cabins at Flagg Ranch
- Jackson Lake: Signal Mountain Lodge
- Moose: Triangle X Ranch
Is There Drinking Water in Grand Teton National Park?
There are water bottle-filling stations in nearly all of the park’s visitor centers and the water is safe to drink from the tap. That said, there are no water filling stations at the trailheads so if you can’t carry enough to keep you hydrated while hiking, you need to bring a filtration system to purify water from the streams. Your LARQ Bottle Filtered will come in very handy when used with your non-toxic UV LARQ PureVis Cap to ensure there are no unwanted micro-organisms or any potentially harmful substances in your drinking water.
Note that there have been reports of poor quality drinking water throughout the Jackson Hole area, so if you aren’t staying inside of the park, you might want to use your LARQ Bottle Filtered and LARQ PureVis Cap there as well.
Top Things to Do in Grand Teton National Park
Grand Teton offers more than 250 miles of trails for hiking with everything from short walks and epic day hikes to backcountry excursions. If you stop at a visitor center, you can talk to a ranger about the best hiking trails according to your preferences and other requirements. These hikes in Grand Teton are just a few of the outstanding options.
A gentle hike along the lakeshore of Colter Bay, this 2.2-mile-long loop trail provides exceptional views of the Tetons overlooking Jackson Lake starting directly behind the visitor center in Colter Bay village.
Grand View Point Trail
The Grand View Point Trail is an easy 1.75 miles that leads to one of the most impressive views in the Tetons, making it well worth the effort.
Jenny Lake Loop Trail
This trail provides iconic sights of the park’s most popular lake, Cascade Canyon, and the Cathedral Group. While it’s a long trek at 7.1 miles in length, as it’s mostly flat, it’s relatively easy to complete.
Inspiration Point & Hidden Falls
An easy to moderate two-mile hike, many consider the Inspiration Point & Hidden Falls trek to be the most essential for first-timers to Grand Teton National Park. You’ll ride the Jenny Lake boat shuttle across the lake and then hike to Inspiration Point, making the .5-mile detour to 100-foot-high Hidden Falls along the way.
One of the top hikes for those seeking a longer challenge, Cascade Canyon will bring you deep into the park, traveling 9.4 miles round-trip from Inspiration Point to the Forks of Cascade Canyon. You don’t have to hike the entire trail, however. Hiking two miles past Inspiration Point provides some of the most breathtaking views of the canyon with the sawtooth peaks of the Tetons and Cascade Canyon Creek in the backdrop.
For an even bigger adventure, the strenuous Lake Solitude Hike is a popular backpacking route that begins by following the trail to the Forks of Cascade Canyon. Traveling 14.4 miles round-trip, it offers views of the mountain peaks and alpine lakes.
One of the most memorable things to do in Grand Teton National Park is to view the Tetons from a different perspective by rafting down the Snake River. Not only will you be able to take in the beautiful scenery, but you’ll likely enjoy abundant wildlife views that may include bald eagles, beavers, elk, moose, and bison. Multiple outfitters offer excursions that will bring you along this designated Wild & Scenic River, including Grand Teton Lodge Company.
Wyoming is world-renowned for its fishing and some of the very best can be enjoyed right in the park. You will need a Wyoming fishing license which can be purchased in the park at Colter Bay Marina, Flagg Ranch, or Signal Mountain Lodge. Licenses are also available for purchase online. The most popular spot for anglers is the Snake River, known for the native Snake River cutthroat trout which can only be found here and in a few of the river’s tributaries.
Jackson Lake is where you’ll want to go for massive lake trout. It’s home to the state record fish which tipped the scales at a whopping 50 pounds. Jenny Lake is an ideal place to fish with spectacular views. It’s not known for the biggest catches but you’ll have the opportunity to catch multiple species while being immersed in breathtaking scenery.
Take in the Most Legendary View
Any Grand Teton travel guide worth its salt will tell you that if there’s one thing you must do, it’s to take in the park’s most legendary view. Enjoyed from the Snake River Overlook, it doesn’t even require a hike. It’s famous thanks to Ansel Adams who capture the iconic photo of the Snake River with the Tetons in the background in 1942.
If you aren’t up for a hike, a scenic drive on the Park Road which runs for 20 miles south-north from Moose to Jackson Lake Junction along the base of the Tetons, is one of the most magnificent you’ll ever take, complete with mountain, forest, canyon, and wildlife views.
The Moose-Wilson Road connects the towns of Moose and Wilson, winding for 20 miles through forest and marsh habitats. It’s also home to a variety of wildlife while providing access to Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve as well as the Granite and Death Canyon Trailheads.
Mormon Row Historic District features a homesteader settlement that was established back in 1890. Located in one of the park’s undeveloped areas, it includes some of its most iconic images: the John Moulton Bar and the T.A. Moulton Barn. The weathered structures boast a dramatic backdrop of the Tetons, providing another one of the best photo ops in the park while providing insight into the over two dozen original homesteads that were constructed here during the late 19th century.
Best Time to Visit Grand Teton National Park
The best time to visit Grand Teton National Park is from mid-June through late September when temperatures will be pleasant while skies are bright blue and nights are clear and cool. Typically from around mid-June on, the hiking trails will all be open with the exception of those at very high elevations where they can be covered with snow well into July. If you come in June or the second half of September, you can enjoy the trails and the views without the biggest crowds of the year. Early autumn can be a fabulous time to come with the aspens showcasing their brilliant gold colors. Be aware that snow can start blowing in as early as October, shutting down most roads and facilities.
What to Pack
- A mix of clothing that can be layered (hiking pants, jeans, long-sleeved and short-sleeved shirts)
- Fleece jacket/sweatshirt
- Rain jacket with a hood
- Hiking shoes
- Water shoes for going into lakes and rivers
- A sun hat/cap, sunglasses, and sunscreen
- Daypack for hiking
- Mosquito repellant
- Bear spray for backcountry hiking
- LARQ Bottle Filtered and LARQ PureVis™ Cap
Assuming a visit during the park’s main travel season, summer through early fall, you’ll want to pack clothing for mostly warm weather while preparing for frequent afternoon thunderstorms. A fleece jacket for cold mornings and evenings is a must, as is sun and hydration protection with the average high temperature in July and August hovering around 80 to 81 degrees Fahrenheit. Nights can dip down to around 40 degrees.