Grand Teton National Park is one of my favorite places on earth. It’s home to insanely beautiful mountain peaks (including the Grand Teton itself sitting at 14,000 feet), abundant wildlife, world-class hiking terrain, and picturesque landscapes everywhere you turn.
I have visited Grand Teton National Park at least 6 times since moving to the US in 2015, including during all the different seasons. During our 2017 trip to all the national parks, my husband and I ranked Grand Teton #1 in the country based on a variety of criteria (scenery, trails, facilities, photogenic, crowds/transport).
Want to experience it for yourself? Keep reading for an in-depth guide on Grand Teton National Park and find out why it should be at the top of your bucket list!
Quick Facts about Grand Teton National Park
Location: Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Native Lands: Shoshone, Bannock, Blackfoot, Crow, Flathead, Gros Ventre, Nez Perce
Size: 310,000 acres / 1254 sq km
Annual Visitors: 3.4 million in 2019
Established: 1929 as a National Park
Visitor Centers: Craig Thomas Discovery & Visitor Center, Jenny Lake Visitor Center, Colter Bay Visitor Center (all visitor centers closed during winter)
Entrance Fee: $35 per vehicle; $70 annual pass (or $80 for America the Beautiful Pass)
Official Park Map
The Ultimate Guide to Exploring Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming
Grand Teton National Park is located just minutes outside of Jackson at the southern end, and stretches 45-miles north to the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway, connecting it to Yellowstone National Park. There is nothing quite like Grand Teton, with its majestic mountain vistas, abundant wildlife, picturesque hikes and seemingly endless sights to see.
The park is best explored in 5 or more days, though the highlights can be discovered within 1-2 days. Each season brings a new feel to Grand Teton. Winter results in gorgeous snow covered peaks and temperatures as low as -60 degrees Fahrenheit, fall is the perfect time to witness the foliage changing colors and the wildlife preparing for winter, spring brings new life and lush meadows, and summer is the best time for hiking and exploring in the backcountry.
Best View in Grand Teton National Park
Not surprisingly, the Grand Teton (13,770 feet) is the most famous view in the park. This iconic peak is situated in the Teton Region and cannot be missed when driving though the park.
In my opinion, the Teton Range can be best observed from viewpoints such as Snake River Overlook, Schwabacher Landing, and Glacier View Turnout.
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Must-Do “Easy” Grand Teton Activities
Drive the main park road
Many sights of Grand Teton can be experienced by driving the scenic road through the park. There are numerous pull-offs and lookouts to stop at for views of the Teton Mountain Range, wildlife and foliage. Jenny Lake is a popular spot for a walk or boat ride, all of which can be inquired about at the Jenny Lake Visitor Center.
Explore Mormon Row
Another “easy” adventure in the park is exploring the famous Mormon Row area. Found down Antelope Flats Road, the Moulton Barns are two of the remaining historic barns on Mormon Row. The barns are situated perfectly in front of the Teton Mountain Range, making for an ideal photo opportunity.
Take A Guided Tour
There are some really incredible options for guided tours in Grand Teton and it can be overwhelming to decide which one so here are our favorites. For water based exploring take this scenic float tour or to combine hiking with a boat trip take this Full day tour with boat ride. If you are looking for wildlife spotting this wildlife safari has options at dawn or at dusk for optimal chances to see the animals, this safari tour is also a fantastic option. For those who visit in winter there are still great ways to explore the park, this Wildlife Tour with Sleigh Ride and the National Elk Refuge Day Trip are lovely cosy winter options.
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FYI national park lovers – I put together a checklist of all the parks, so you can mark each off as you visit them! It’s free to download via my travel resource library! Click the image below.
For the Adventurous Grand Teton Explorer
Grand Teton National Park has more than 200 miles of trails, with many options for getting into the backcountry. Cascade Canyon to Lake Solitude is a very beautiful full day-hike worth exploring. Rated strenuous, the trail covers 15.3 miles and has an elevation gain of 2350 feet. Lake Solitude is the perfect spot for a refreshing dip before hiking back to Jenny Lake.
Tip – the Cascade Canyon Trail can also be added to the Paintbrush Canyon Trail, creating an epic 18.1 mile loop hike. This can be broken up by camping at one of the designated park backcountry sites (permits required).
Another adventurous hike in Grand Teton National Park is Delta Lake (pictured above). It’s technically an unmaintained trail, though rangers do not discourage visitors hiking it. Be sure to research the trail before undertaking this 9-mile hike and be prepared to potentially bush-whack in sections.
RELATED: A Beginners Guide to Hiking
Top Photo Spots in Grand Teton National Park
Sunrise is undoubtedly the best time of day to take photos in Grand Teton National Park, though late afternoon and sunset can provide some interesting light.
Picturesque spots to consider are Schwabacher Landing, Snake River Overlook, Moulton Barns, and the Blacktail Ponds area. Another spot that has become popular over the years is Togwotee Pass. As you drive over the pass you will get some amazing views of the Teton Range and people like to take car/van photo here. Please be safe when photographing roads! Use our guide to taking the best travel photos so you don’t waste an opportunity.
One of the most amazing things we’ve done in the area is to take a scenic flight over Grand Teton National Park. The pilot took us all around the mountain range and up to Yellowstone which was such a memorable experience. Unfortunately the company we used no longer operates, but you can still book this tour with another operator to enjoy the same experience. For those early risers there is a sunrise hot air balloon ride from Jackson Hole that provides champagne to toast the morning while cruising over Grand Teton and Snake River, which sounds pretty perfect!
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Where to Stay near Grand Teton
- Jackson Lake Lodge: rustic lodge with picturesque Grand Teton views. Lodge rooms, suites and cottages available.
- Jenny Lake Lodge: log cabins near Jenny Lake. Peaceful while being close to the action.
- Colter Bay Village: has log cabins, tent cabins, campsites and RV parking. Walking distance to Jackson lake.
- Headwaters Lodge & Cabins: modern lodge cabins situated between Grand Teton and Yellowstone. Campsite for tents and RV also available.
- Seven campgrounds spread across the park. Reserve through recreation.gov (options to tent camp or stay in a camper van/RV)
- Nearby dispersed camping can be found through freecampsites.net, Campendium, and iOverlander
- Book your campground on The Dyrt and use my promo code Renee90 for a free 90-day trial.
Outside the Park
- Springhill Suites by Marriott: modern luxury in the heart of Jackson.
- Mountain Modern Hotel: a rustic/modern fusion hotel, close to the action in Jackson.
- Antler Inn: rustic, more affordable option whilst still being nice. Located in central Jackson.
Private Vacation Rentals
- To rent cabins in the area you are more likely to find better options in Teton Village, like this bright and spacious condo with access to a pool and jacuzzi.
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Other Places to Explore near Grand Teton
Grand Teton National Park is located in the northwest corner of Wyoming and is close to many other great outdoor hubs. Some of these include:
- National Elk Refuge
- Bridger-Teton National Forest
- Yellowstone National Park
- Wind River Range
- Bighorn National Forest
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Grand Teton National Park Fun Facts
- Grand Teton National Park was established in 1929 and the Jackson Hole National Monument was created in 1943. The two units were combined in 1950 to become present day Grand Teton National Park.
- The Teton Mountain Range was originally called “Teewinot” by the native Shoshone people, meaning “many pinnacles”. The park received its present name from French trappers in the early 19th century, who decided on “les trois tetons” (meaning “the three teats”).
- The highest peak in the Teton Mountain Range is Grand Teton, at 13,770 feet above sea level. Many other peaks in the park are over 12,000 feet in height.
- There are 12 small glaciers in the park’s peaks, with the more well-known ones being Schoolroom Glacier, Triple Glacier, Falling Ice Glacier, and Skillet Glacier.
- Grand Teton National Park is the only national park in the United States that has a commercial airport. It was built in the 1930s and was later added to Grand Teton when Jackson Hole was absorbed by the NPS.
- Mammals found within Grand Teton include grizzly bears, black bears, gray wolves, coyotes, cougars, river otters, martens, elk, bison, pronghorn, and moose.
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What a incredibly helpful post! Our goal this year is to travel to more of the national parks, since we will continue to limit our international travel, and we will definitely reference this before our trip to Grand Teton. We also really enjoyed your post ranking all of the national parks – we used that to help prioritize our bucket list too 🙂 Xx Sara
Hi Renne do you happen to have a 2-3 day itinerary mapped out for this park by chance?
My wife and I were married six months ago in Grand Teton National Park (Schwabacher’s Landing). There is a road that you have featured in your pictures of Grand Teton, the one with a long stretch of road in the foreground and Teton peak in the background. I have been trying to find out for over a year what road this is and cannot find the answer. Is there anyway you can help me find out what this road is?
Congrats! The road is near Togwotee Pass and Togwotee Lodge. Safe travels!
Hi, Renee! My husband & I are at GTNP now and have been trying to find that photo spot with the van! Could you tell me where that was taken?
Hey Hilary! It’s up near the Togwotee Lodge, Togwotee Pass. Stay safe when taking photos near/on the road 🙂
Hi, I just came from Grand Teton I spend lots of hours trying to find that road with the van on Google, I came to realized it’s probably from the east entrance highway 287/26 from Dubios to Jackson and still couldn’t find it after driving that road! I read many comments, why do fellow hikers hesitate to share locations I never understand.
Hey! If you had of commented or emailed I would have happily told you the location. It’s not included in this blog post because it’s quite a ways out of the national park and not really something most people could realistic do. Plus, I don’t want to encourage tons of people to be taking photos in the middle of the road because not everyone may understand the dangers. I’ve seen and heard of pretty bad accidents from people trying to take photos/videos on highways
Hey where was the photo with the van taken? I’ve spent hours on google maps trying to find it and I’m having a hard time.
I just sent you an email with how to find that spot 🙂
Hi Renee Can you email me how to find the car spot too?
This information is great I was debating to go either to Grand Teton or Glacier national Park, I’m glad you rated this one number one because it’s closer to me than Glacier, so now I know where I’m going.. thanks for all the great info.
Have an amazing time!!
This is soo helpful! Thank you! What is the best national park to visit during the month of December ?
You’re welcome! December… hmmm I would say the parks in Florida are a great winter choice, or Big Bend in Texas would also be awesome. The Southwest parks are nice in the off season but it can get very cold during winter, so as long as you were prepared for that
I can’t wait to visit this summer!!
Have fun! Such an amazing park ☺️
Such a great resource! Thanks for putting this all together!
So glad you found it helpful!
Grand Teton NP is definately one of my fav parks and I had a wonderful time when I last visited there. I hope to get back there one day and experience more of it’s beauty. Thanks for all the great tips, ideas and stunning photos.
Isn’t it such an amazing park?! Thanks for reading!