The smaller of the two nearby national parks, Grand Teton National Park is easily identified by the craggy, snow-capped spine of the Teton mountain range and encompasses over 310,000 acres of forests, shimmering lakes, rivers, waterfalls and mountain trails to explore. Grand Teton National Park is also home to Jackson Hole Airport (JAC) — the only airport in the U.S. to operate inside of a national park.
Top Things to See & Do in Grand Teton National Park
Open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year (with reduced hours for some roads and visitor service in the winter months), Grand Teton National Park is a joy to visit in any season. Just a short drive from both Teton Village and the town of Jackson, the accommodations in and around Jackson Hole serve as an ideal base camp for any Grand Teton adventure. Here are a few of our favorite things to see, do and experience during trips through the park.
1. Jenny Lake
One of several large, pristine lakes found within Grand Teton National Park, Jenny Lake is popular due to the mirror-like reflection it offers of the Teton Mountains on the horizon — a view coveted by photographers and one of the top spots for photography in Jackson Hole. In fact, the nearby Jenny Lake Visitor Center is housed within a 1920s photography studio. At Jenny Lake, you can venture out onto the lake via a kayak rented from a local outfitter, join a boat tour, relax along the shore, or explore any of the surrounding trails, including several that lead to stunning vantage points within the park.
2. Hidden Falls & Inspiration Point
Of the trails located around Jenny Lake, those that lead to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point are among the most popular and with good reason: they present hikers with views that are both charming and secluded, as well as dramatic and panoramic. The Hidden Falls trail is a 4.9 mile round trip route from Jenny Lake that eventually leads adventurers to a beautiful 100-foot waterfall in the middle of a forest. A shuttle boat is available for those looking to shorten the hike by several miles.
By continuing just another half mile along the trail, you will reach Inspiration Point, where you can find a sweeping view of the Jackson Hole Valley, Jenny Lake, Cascade Canyon, and the Teton mountains.
3. Jackson Lake
One of the largest high altitude lakes in the nation, Jackson Lake is another of Grand Teton National Park’s most popular recreational destinations. Here, visitors can enjoy the lake via waterski, wake board, or a boat tour, cast a line from the shore in an attempt to catch some trout, relax on the beach, or spend the night sleeping under the stars at one of several area campgrounds. The nearby Jackson Lake Lodge — a National Historic Landmark — offers less rugged accommodations as well as a restaurant and horseback riding excursions.
4. Snake River
Kick things up a notch with a thrilling whitewater rafting trip along Snake River. Over 1,000 miles in length and passing through four states — Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Wyoming — the Snake River carves its way through the heart of Grand Teton National Park, presenting outdoor enthusiasts a range of water-based activities and a blend of jaw-dropping park vistas. Many local outfitters and tour operators, like Jackson Hole Whitewater, offer heart-pumping whitewater rafting experiences along the river, however adventurous park-goers can opt for casual family-friendly floats along the river’s calmer currents — leaving less time for paddling and more time for sightseeing.
Photo credit: National Park Service (NPS)/J. Bonney
5. Taggart Lake Trail
This easy, 3-mile out and back trail is ideal for adventurers looking for a limited elevation gain while also enjoying a hike that rewards you with some of the best views in Grand Teton National Park. The Taggart Lake Trailhead is found just off of Teton Park Road and guides hikers through meadows and forests, eventually reaching the crystal-clear alpine lake with awe-inspiring views of the Tetons in the distance. Those looking for a slightly longer hike can consider the Bradley Lake Loop, which delivers its own set of photo-worthy moments and mountain reflections.
6. Local Wildlife
The amazing vistas offered by Grand Teton National Park’s signature mountain range, lakes, rivers, waterfalls and meadows are accented by the presence of park’s resident wildlife, many of which you’re sure to spot as you drive, hike, kayak, or raft your way through the park. Though nearby Yellowstone National Park is home to the oldest and largest herd of bison in the U.S., visitors to Grand Teton are likely to catch a glimpse of the symbol of the American west as part of a guided wildlife tour available throughout the year. Early morning spring safaris are an ideal time to spot bears, moose, coyotes and other wildlife, with some of the top wildlife viewing areas including Oxbow Bend, Snake River, Mormon Row and Cascade Canyon.
7. Mormon Row
Once a community for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, what is now known as “Mormon Row” consists of several historic structures that remain standing — two barns and a homestead — set against the imposing beauty of the Teton Mountains. This unique juxtaposition of man-made buildings and nature’s splendor make Mormon Row another top photo location in Grand Teton National Park. Trail brochures and an interpretive sign in the nearby parking lot offer additional insights into the history of the community and the landmarks that still stand. Plan your visit accordingly — the access road to Mormon Row (Antelope Flats Road) is closed from November through spring.
Consult our guides for more tips on visiting Grand Teton National Park and to learn more about the key differences between Yellowstone and Grand Teton. Contact our team of experts at (888) 838-6606 today to arrange your perfect outdoor Old West adventure and for help scheduling wildlife tours, rafting excursions and securing your spot at one of the many hotels and resorts near Grand Teton National Park.