Spotlight: Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
Yellowstone's sister to the south
What You’ll Find
The Tetons are among the most stunning mountain ranges in the world. The glacially-carved peaks rise from 6,450 feet in Jackson Hole valley to the mountain peak of Grand Teton at an elevation of 13,770 feet. The picturesque valley is home to abundant wildlife including moose, elk, black and grizzly bears, bison and antelope. Below the range sit numerous mountain lakes and the magnificent Snake River.
Grand Teton National Park is located to the south and adjacent to Yellowstone National Park, in the northwest corner of Wyoming near the town of Jackson.
There is no better way to experience the park than to stay overnight! Campgrounds are located at Gros Ventre, Jenny Lake, Colter Bay, Signal Mountain and Lizard Creek. For those of you who don’t plan to bring a sleeping bag, you’ll find lodging at Jenny Lake, Signal Mountain, Jackson Lake and Colter Bay. Authorized park concessioners operate these lodges and campgrounds and accept advanced reservations. In addition, the town of Jackson has a variety of lodging choices including campgrounds, hotels, and luxury accommodations only a short distance from park boundaries.
Make Sure You
Bring your biking gear and roll along the recently completed multi-use pathway through the park. This 20-mile pathway links the town of Jackson to Jenny Lake, offering a wind-in-your-hair way to experience the park. Enjoy the beauty of the mountain range and valley while you bike, walk or rollerblade along the path. Bike rentals are available in the park, at Dornan’s in Moose, or in the towns of Jackson or Teton Village.
Hike to Inspiration Point from the Jenny Lake Trailhead either by taking the Jenny Lake boat shuttle to the base of Cascade Canyon or by following the Jenny Lake Trail around the lake. Enjoy wildlife, beautiful views of waterfalls and the mountain range. Here is a map of the Jenny Lake Trailhead.
Take a scenic drive north of Moran Junction towards the John D. Rockefeller Parkway. Stop at the Oxbow Bend of the Snake River to view moose, waterfowl and otters at play. Grab a fishing rod and try your hand at catching fish or launch a boat for a scenic trip down the river. Outfitters offer a variety of scenic boat trips.
The town of Jackson Hole is ten miles south of the park entrance. Stop at the Jackson Hole and Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center to orient yourself, and then find everything you need in town–from grocery stores to fine art. Outdoor gear is widely available so if you forget something, you can find a replacement.
Rent a paddle board and practice your skills on String Lake, a shallow and relatively warm lake located between Leigh and Jenny Lakes. This lake is the ideal place to spend a hot summer day. You’ll find great swimming, boulders to climb, picnic tables and restrooms. Take the North Jenny Lake exit off of Teton Park Road and park in one of the lots near the Leigh Lake trailhead.
Learn to climb. The Teton mountain range offers some of the most varied and accessible climbing in the country from valley bouldering to high peaks of snow, ice and rock. Sign up for a course through one of the authorized guide services or stop by the Jenny Lake Ranger Station for directions to a place that matches your skill level. See our article on High Altitude Sickness to detect the warning signs and take action if symptoms occur.
Stay awhile! You won’t run out of fun things to do. Plan to spend at least a week exploring the wonders of both Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park and the surrounding Bridger-Teton National Forest. In the fall, the National Elk Refuge is home to thousands of elk and provides an extraordinary wildlife viewing opportunity.