Grand Teton National Park in northern Wyoming is just below Yellowstone National Park. So, why not enhance your trip and check out both!
Grand Teton can be characterized by mountains and meadows, rivers and lakes, cultural history and wildlife. It is truly an amazing park, with so much to see and do. You can easily drive through the park and see the beauty, but we encourage you to get out of the car as much as you can-- that is how the real beauty of Grand Teton National Park is experienced!
Below are our favorite things to do in Grand Teton National Park:
1. Go for a bike ride! Our absolute favorite thing to do in Grand Teton National Park is go for a bike ride. The park has an incredible bike path from Jackson to Jenny Lake. You can also ride in the bike lane on the roads in Grand Teton, take the bike path to Antelope Flats Road, where Mormon Row is located, and there is even a bike path along Moose-Wilson road, that can take you back to Jackson.
It's one of the best ways to experience the park, because you can go at your own speed, take in all of the amazing sights, breathe fresh mountain air, and get a great workout-- all while having the time of your life. Regardless of how much time you have in the park, we highly recommend getting out of the car, jumping on a bike and riding the bike path!
You can rent a bicycle at Dornan's at the Moose junction (they also have a great deli there).
We suggest wearing a helmet, even when just on the bike path.
2. Take a hike. There are so many great hikes in Grand Teton National Park, ranging from climbing the Grand, to walking the shores of Jenny Lake, and everything in between. Our favorite hikes are:
Cascade Canyon: 10 miles roundtrip, Strenuous, Trailhead: Jenny Lake.
Signal Mountain: 6.8 miles roundtrip, Moderate, Trailhead: Signal Mountain Lodge.
Taggart Lake: 3.3 miles roundtrip, Easy, Trailhead: Taggart Lake.
You can find a list of hiking trails in Grand Teton National Park, along with a detailed description HERE!
3. Check out the backside of the Tetons, in Idaho. To get a completely new perspective of the Tetons, including lush, green rolling foothills, check out the west side of the range. There are tons of hiking trails that lead to waterfalls, spacious meadows and alpine lakes. If you are staying in Victor, or Driggs, Idaho, don't forget to check out the western side of the Teton Range!
4. Visit the Murie Ranch. Take the trail behind the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center, near Moose. You will reach the Murie Ranch in just over half of a mile. Olaus and Mardy Murie were fundamental in the conservation movement of the 1940s. Olaus Murie was the director of the Wilderness Society, and helped Jackson Hole National Monument in 1943. (Grand Teton became a National Park in 1929, but only included the Teton Range and six glacial lakes at the base of the mountains. With the establishment of Jackson Hole National Monument, federally protected land increased to include Teton National Forest, Jackson Lake and a 35,000 acre private land donation from John D. Rockefeller Jr.)
And although Olaus Murie passed away in 1963, the ecological and conservation work that they did while living at the Ranch helped pass the 1964 Wilderness Act-- which defines wilderness as “untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor and does not remain".
Mardy Murie received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1998, from President Clinton.
The Murie Residence was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990, and the Murie Ranch was listed in 1998. Both properties were declared a National Historic Landmark in 2006.
5. Take a kayak out on Jenny Lake or Jackson Lake. There's no better way to enjoy a nice day than on the water! You can rent kayaks at Jenny Lake and Jackson Lake, and paddle around the lake, taking in the sights of crystal clear water, gigantic mountain peaks, and wildlife along the shore. Kayaking on Jenny Lake, or Jackson Lake is a fantastic way to experience Grand Teton National Park.
6. Go for a scenic float on the Snake River. Another great way to enjoy the water at Grand Teton National Park is by going on a guided scenic float on the Snake River. With a guide to give you information about your surroundings and the history of the area, you are able to get a local's insight to Grand Teton National Park. This float is through calm water, and is designed to allow visitors to enjoy the scenery as they meander down the Snake River.
7. Check out the fall colors! Grand Teton is home to millions of Quaking aspens, which shimmer and glow in the fall. The best time to see the leaves change to their famous golden-yellow is on dry, sunny fall days followed by crisp, cool nights.
Other leaves to change color in the fall in Grand Teton National Park are Narrowleaf Cottonwoods, Willows, and Black Hawthorns.
These fall colors are some of the best, west of Colorado. They are definitely worth planning a trip in the fall!
8. Be on the lookout for wildlife! It is very common to see moose, black bear, grizzly bear, elk, pronghorn and bison in Grand Teton National Park. Some of the best places to view wildlife in Grand Teton are by the Snake River bridge at the Moose junction, Antelope Flats Road (Mormon Row), or near Jenny Lake and Jackson Lake.
One grizzly bear to be on the lookout for is Grizzly 399. This is a female grizzly bear who lives in Grand Teton National Park and the surrounding National Forest. She is 25 years old (which is older than most grizzly bears live), weighs over 400 pounds, and stands at 7 feet on her hind legs. 399 has 16 cubs and grandcubs, and is probably the most famous grizzly bear-- she has a huge following of photographers and wildlife enthusiasts, so keep your eye out for her!
Bring your binoculars, and check out the Park Service's wildlife brochure!
As with any other National Park, it is important to do a little planning before you arrive, and know what you want to do and see. Also, it will most likely be busy in the park-- don't let the crowds get to you. Find the trails that are a little more off-the-beaten-path, take advantage of the amazing bike path, and get out of traffic. Grand Teton National Park is incredible, and may soon become one of your favorite National Parks!
Join Nomadic By Nature on a guided backpacking or day hiking tour of Yellowstone National Park, and see why it was the world's first National Park. Get out of the car and get back to Nature!
Featured Trip: Heart Lake to Mount Sheridan
This guided trip offers backpackers a little bit of everything Yellowstone has to showcase— thermal hot springs, pristine lakes, big rivers, remote valleys, and mountain summit views.
We camp on the shores of Heart Lake, one of the largest backcountry lakes in Yellowstone. Weather permitting, you'll have a chance to summit Mount Sheridan, with views all the way to Grand Teton National Park. Once leaving Heart Lake, we traverse Snake River and travel far into the southern boundaries of Yellowstone.
On this trip you'll have excellent opportunities to spot wildlife, soak in hot springs, and experience remote parts of Yellowstone National Park.