8 Incredible Things to Do in Grand Teton National Park

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There are plenty of fun things to do in Grand Teton National Park. Whether you’re looking to do some epic hikes or just take in the views on a scenic boat ride, you’re sure to enjoy a visit to this awe-inspiring place.

Read on for a detailed look at the Grand Tetons and all they have to offer travelers. You’ll get the scoop on the top things to do in the park as well as helpful information on how to get there, the best time to visit, where to stay, and much more. 

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Grand Teton National Park 

Located in the Rocky Mountains of Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park is a truly stunning place to visit. Visitors flock here to gaze upon the impressive mountain peaks, pristine lakes, and abundant wildlife.

Here’s a fun fact about this national park and how it got its name. Once upon a time, French-Canadian fur trappers called the mountain range “Les Trois tétons,” or “the three breasts.” They must have been a bit lonely on their expedition, but the name stuck.

Grand Teton NP is in between the town of Jackson Hole and Yellowstone, so it’s a great way to check a few national parks off your list on one trip. Be sure to bookmark this post on a 3-day Yellowstone itinerary if that sounds good to you.

As far as planning your Grand Teton National Park itinerary goes, you’re pretty spoiled for options. Hiking, biking, horseback riding, camping, fishing, boating, and climbing are just a few of the many things to do in Grand Teton National Park.

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Grand Teton National Park, photo credit: Sasha Savinov

Top Things to do in Grand Teton National Park

There are a lot of fun things to do in Grand Teton National Park, and here are some top picks to tempt your fancy.

Hiking in the Grand Tetons

Grand Teton National Park is somewhat of a paradise for avid hikers. There are some 40 trails here of varying difficulties, from simple loop trails to overnight treks into the backcountry. 

If you’re planning to do some hiking in the park, there are some important safety tips you’ll want to be aware of. First of all, you’re in bear country out here. The NPS (National Park Service) recommends carrying bear spray and knowing how to use it if you’re heading out on the trails.

You’ll also want to make sure you are prepared for sudden weather changes. It’s a good idea to bring rain gear and extra layers with you. Make sure you take plenty of water as well, as the high altitude and low humidity can really take it out of you.

The best time to go hiking in the Grand Tetons is in July and August. Most of the snow has finally melted at this time of the year. You can always get updated trail conditions from the visitor centers and park rangers. 

Now that you’re ready to hit the trails, here are five of the best hikes in the Grand Tetons with all the relevant information you’ll need:

  1. Jenny Lake Loop
  • Distance: 7.6 miles round-trip
  • Elevation Gain: About 700 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate-Difficult
  • Loop trail

The loop trail around the scenic Jenny Lake is definitely one of the top things to do in Grand Teton National Park. You get to enjoy some incredible mountain and lake views here without a ton of elevation gain. 

If you’re up for it, you can combine this loop with other trails for a more challenging experience. It links up with trails for Hidden Falls, Inspiration Point, and Cascade Canyon. Alternatively, some opt to take the ferry ride across the lake and just do half of the loop trail. 

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Jenny Lake, photo credit: Sasha Savinov
  1. Lakeshore Trail
  • Distance: 2 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 150 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Loop trail

To access this loop trail, head to the Colter Bay Visitor Center. The bay is named for John Colter, who was a key member of the Lewis & Clark expedition. 

As the name would suggest, this easy trail takes you along the shore of Jackson Lake. Be sure to bring your camera on this one, as the views of the mountains in the distance are absolutely incredible. It’s also a good place to spot wildlife such as moose, elk, river otters, and great blue herons.

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Grand Tetons, photo credit: Sasha Savinov
  1. Christian Pond Loop
  • Distance: 3.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 250 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Loop trail

This trailhead located at the Jackson Lake Lodge is a great one if you’d like to have a few different options. Sticking to the Christian Pond Loop is an easy hike through a marsh habitat and over a forested ridge. 

Those looking for a more advanced hike can add the loop around Emma Matilda Lake or a strenuous hike up to Grand View Point. As you might guess from a name like that, the views of the Teton Mountain Range are pretty impressive here.

  1. Taggart Lake-Bradley Lake Loop
  • Distance: 5.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 585 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Loop: Yes

As soon as you get to the Taggart Lake Trailhead, you’ll be able to enjoy views of the park’s namesake – the massive Grand Teton Peak. You’ll also get to admire the two alpine lakes along the way.

Just be aware that this is a very popular hike and the parking area can fill up quite early. It’s worth it to get a jump on the crowd and hit this train first thing in the morning.

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Taggart Lake, photo credit: Sasha Savinov
  1.  Lake Solitude
  • Distance: 14-20 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 2,500 fet
  • Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Out-and-back trail

If you’re looking for a serious challenge while hiking in Grand Teton NP, look no further than the trail to Lake Solitude. When combined with the Jenny Lake Loop, it clocks in at about 20 miles round-trip. You can also catch the ferry, either way, to shave a few miles off.

This hike definitely isn’t for the faint of heart, as it includes a lot of elevation gain and takes 8-12 hours. Be sure to start early and come prepared for a long, tough day on the trail. Despite the name, it’s actually a popular place and you definitely won’t be in solitude there.

Other Great Things to Do in Grand Tetons

Though hiking is a really popular activity, there are other things to do in Grand Tetons National Park as well. Here are some of the top choices.

Visit the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center

Before you begin your adventure in the park, it’s worth it to stop at this visitor center. You can check out a variety of exhibits, get information on trails, watch a movie about the park, chat with a park ranger, and much more. 

It’s open every day except on holidays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., but it’s closed from November to April along with most of the facilities in the park. 

Drive the 42-Mile Scenic Loop

A great way to see many of the highlights of Grand Teton NP is by taking a cruise along the 42-mile loop road. It consists of two roads (the outer and inner) and can be done in a few hours if you don’t make a ton of stops. 

Pro tip—start at Moose Junction and take the Outer Road first. This gives you a panoramic view of the mountains to start and you can go in for a closer look when you take the Inner Road.

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Grand Teton scenery, photo credit: Sasha Savinov

Go Horseback Riding

Horseback riding in the Grand Tetons is also a popular activity. You can sign up for 1-2 hour rides at a few different spots at the park. 

Horseback riding is available from late May to September, weather permitting. Prices range from $50-80 for adults. Click here for more info.

Ride the Jenny Lake Ferry

For those who don’t feel like hiking the entire loop around Jenny Lake, the ferry is an excellent option. This eliminates two miles off the hike in either direction. It’s also an incredibly scenic and informative ride.

It runs every 10-15 minutes and costs $10 for a one-way ticket or $18 round-trip. Lines can be long in the summer months but they move quickly. 

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Jenny Lake Ferry, photo credit: Sasha Savinov

Fun on the Water

There are lots of opportunities for having some fun on the water at Grand Teton NP, with the Snake River flowing through it and its many lakes. There are plenty of options for rentals and tours if you don’t have your own equipment.

You can only bring motorboats to a few of the lakes (Jenny and Jackson). Kayaks, canoes, and SUPs (stand-up paddleboards) are allowed in more places. You’ll need to get a permit for all of the above, though. These are available online or at the visitor centers. Click here for more info.

Take in the Views at Signal Mountain

One of the best views in the entire park can be found at the Signal Mountain Summit. It’s a long, windy road to the top if you have a vehicle. Otherwise, you can hike to the top from the trailhead near the Signal Mountain Lodge and campsite.

However, you get up there, get ready for some absolutely epic panoramic views of Grand Teton National Park. Be sure to have your camera charged for this one!

Signal Mountain, photo credit: Sasha Savinov

Go Fishing

If you’re into fishing, then you’re going to love Grand Teton National Park. There are great options for lake fishing as well as fly fishing in the Snake River here.

You’ll need a Wyoming fishing license in order to get out there and catch some cutthroat trout. These can be purchased at several locations in the park or Jackson as well as online. Less experienced fishers can sign up for a guided tour that includes gear rental. 

Visit Mormon Row

Back in the 1890s, a group of Mormons established a homestead community out here near the Grand Tetons. This historic Mormon Row is one of the top things to see in Grand Teton National Park, especially for photographers. 

Grab your camera and find a good spot to get pictures of the historic barns with the mountains towering above in the distance. It makes for a great pit-stop while you’re doing the 42-mile scenic loop.

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Mormon Row, photo credit: Sasha Savinov

How to Get to Grand Teton National Park

The easiest way to access Grand Teton National Park for most people is via Jackson Hole Airport (JAC). It’s actually located inside the park, which makes for one of the most scenic landings you’ll ever experience.

During the peak summer and winter seasons, there are direct flights available to Jackson Hole from cities all across the US. It’s definitely a popular place to travel, and for good reason!

From the airport, the actual town of Jackson is about 7 miles to the south. Many visitors to Grand Teton National Park choose to base themselves in Jackson for ease of travel in and out of the park. 

Another option is flying into Idaho Falls (IDA), which is about a 2-hour drive from the entrance to the park. Depending on where you’re traveling from, you might find a much better deal on a flight here.

If you’re looking to add Grand Teton NP to a road trip, it’s about a 5-hour drive from Salt Lake City or Bozeman or about 10 hours from Denver. 

Jackson, photo credit: Sasha Savinov

How to Get Around Grand Teton National Park

If you’re staying in Jackson, you have several options for visiting the park. Many people choose to rent a car for their stay. If you’re going to go this route, be sure to book it well in advance as they tend to sell out in busy months.

Alternatively, you can easily jump on a day tour. Jackson is very much a tourist town and there are plenty of places running all sorts of awesome tours to the park. 

Many people choose to explore Grand Teton NP on two wheels. There are 67 miles of paved pathways in Teton County, including a 15-mile stretch within the national park. You can rent a bicycle in Jackson or at Moose Junction if you didn’t bring your own. 

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Grand Teton tour, photo credit: Sasha Savinov

When to Visit Grand Teton National Park

For most people, the best time to visit is from mid-May to late September. At this time of year most of the roads, trails, and visitor centers are open. It’s also much easier to enjoy the park minus the snow and ice.

July and August are definitely the most popular months. Accommodation in Jackson and in the park can be tough to come by and expensive. Consider visiting in June or September if possible for smaller crowds.

September is actually a great time to visit, as you’ll get to see the vibrant fall colors. It’s also the height of rut (mating) season for bull elk. You’ll hear their loud bugles echo throughout the valley during this time.

While the park is open all year, certain roads are closed to motorized vehicles from November to May. During these winter months, it’s still possible to visit the park by snowshoeing, skiing, or hiking.

Whenever you visit, just keep in mind that the weather in the Grand Tetons can be unpredictable. You might need sunscreen one minute and a raincoat the next in the summer, for example. 

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Grand Tetons view, photo credit: Sasha Savinov

How Much Time to Spend in Grand Teton National Park

With so many things to do in Grand Teton National Park, you could easily spend a week or more there. That’s obviously not possible for everyone. The good news is that you can still have a great experience there in just 2-3 days.

If you get an early start each day and plan ahead, you can definitely cover some ground in a few days. You can do some scenic drives, check out the visitor centers, take a hike or two, and maybe even squeeze in some fun on the water. 

To maximize your time in the park, be sure to pack a picnic lunch, snacks, and plenty of water. If you have a refillable water bottle, you can fill it up at any of the visitor centers. 

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Hidden Falls, photo credit: Sasha Savinov

Where to Stay in Grand Teton National Park

Within the national park, there are campgrounds, cabins, and lodges to choose from. There are currently seven campgrounds within the park. All of them can now be booked online six months in advance on Recreation.gov.

For those who require a little more comfort, you can choose from a dude ranch, rustic cabins, or full-service hotels. Here are a few options to satisfy different budgets and styles:

  • Budget: Gros Ventre Campground—This is the largest campsite in the park and thus the easiest to find an available site at. It costs $38 a night for a campsite with a vehicle or $60 if you need an electric hook-up for an RV. 
  • Mid-Range: Colter Bay Village—Leave the camping gear at home and enjoy a stay in one of the tent cabins here. There are also several rustic yet comfortable wood cabins to choose from.
  • Luxury: Jenny Lake Lodge—You’ll definitely be living the good life at this AAA Four-Diamond Resort. Their Signature Stay package includes a gourmet breakfast and 5-course dinner, as well as free access to bicycles and horseback riding.

For accommodation outside of the park, most people choose to stay in the nearby town of Jackson. There are plenty of options here, but it can get quite crowded and expensive in the high season.

If you don’t mind a bit of a commute to get in and out of the park, you can look at options in Victor. This Idaho town is just over the mountain range and is a more budget-friendly option. 

Where to Eat in Grand Teton National Park

There are actually quite a few restaurants to choose from inside Grand Teton NP. Here’s a list with links to their location on Google Maps:

Top Things to do Around Grand Teton National Park

If you’re itching to see a little more of the area around Grand Teton National Park, the top spot is to visit Yellowstone National Park. This unique park is not more of the same as it has a lot of the beauty of Grand Tetons with one incredible addition: the geysers and other geothermal features.

Go to see Old Faithful, the best-known geyser. And learn the difference between geysers, mud pots, and fumaroles. You’ll see all different kinds in this park and they are simply incredible. There’s really nothing like it in the country, and in the world.

Another popular thing to do in this area is to visit Jackson Hole. The town square is a lot of fun to walk around and grab a beer at the Cowboy Restaurant. Check out the National Museum of Wildlife Art, and head to the resort spas. This is also a popular skiing area in the winter.

Ready for these Awesome Things to Do in Grand Teton National Park?

Are you excited to get out there and explore Grand Teton National Park? You must be after reading about all these amazing things to do there. It truly is a magical place to visit and one you’ll want to return to again and again.

If you’ve got some other recommendations for things to do in and around the park, places to stay, or any other helpful tips you’d like to share, feel free to leave a comment below!

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