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Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park is adjacent to Jackson Hole, WY. This park is a must-see!

When you visit Jackson Hole be sure to check out Grand Teton National Park, which is less than five miles away. Here are some of the top questions we receive about visiting Grand Teton to help you plan your visit.

When is Grand Teton National Park open?

The park is open year-round, twenty-four hours a day, although many facilities and roads close during the winter season. Check the national park website for seasonal updates on road openings

What are the top things to do in the park?

There are many trails for hiking and fantastic sightseeing to do throughout Grand Teton National Park. Many visitors like to begin their trip to the park at Jenny Lake. The beautiful hiking near the lake can take you the 7.5 miles from the Jenny Lake Trailhead to various gorgeous vantage points, such as Symmetry Spire and Cascade Canyon, and back again.

There’s also the 1.5 mile trip to Hidden Falls if you want to make your time at Jenny Lake just one part of the day before exploring other parts of the park. Jenny Lake, along with Jackson Lake, allows for motorboats on the water for travelers in search of some vroom for their visit. Jenny Lake is a 10 horsepower maximum, but Jackson Lake is open for water-skiing and tubing.

Jenny Lake might be a better spot for hiking, but Jackson Lake is the best place to try your hand at fishing. With more than a dozen islands, notably Elk Island, Jackson Lake is also a gorgeous spot to do some sailing. Both lakes offer camping options for guests who want to take their time in the area before moving on to explore more of Grand Teton National Park.  In addition, guests can also take to the water on a 10-mile scenic float down the Snake River within the park. For a full list of things to do in Grand Teton, visit the park's website here.

grand teton view

Can I visit Grand Teton National Park during the winter?

The winter months are a special time to visit Grand Teton National Park.  Snow blankets the Teton Range, the hustle and bustle of summer visitors quiets down and peace and tranquility settle into the valley.  Popular with artists and athletes alike, the park becomes a wonderful place to explore the wintry landscape by foot or with a camera lens. Much of the road is closed during the winter, but the park's main highways US 89 and 26 are plowed and open from the Town of Jackson to south of Yellowstone at Flagg Ranch. This route offers amazing, sweeping mountain vistas and plenty of opportunities for wildlife viewing. The inner park road is plowed from Moose to the Taggart Lake Trailhead parking area.  From here, you can park your car and explore the area on the groomed cross country ski trails or on snowshoes.  

winter wildlife

How much time will I need to explore the park?

Visitors can spend one day or multiple days taking in the beauty of Grand Teton National Park. There are many locations to explore and your timeframe ultimately depends on how your group wishes to engage with the environment. However, a one day visit is sure to leave guests satisfied with glorious views and ample hiking opportunities. For more information, give our local experts a call at 888-838-6606 or you can find some additional trip planning ideas for your visit here.

Where can I stay near Grand Teton National Park?

The travel experts at Jackson Hole Central Reservations can help you find the perfect place to stay in Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park, as well as recommend the best things to do in Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park to fit your unique travel style.  Your two main options are staying in the town of Jackson, WY or in Teton Village, WY. You can read more about choosing a place to stay on our blog.

What kind of wildlife lives in Grand Teton National Park?

In Grand Teton, moose are commonly spotted as well as bison, elk, and black-tailed deer. There have also been sightings of mountain lions, wolves, and bears (both black and grizzly) around the park, although these creatures are more rare. In the winter months, the neighboring National Elk Refuge, at almost 25,000 acres, serves as a home and a sanctuary to some of the country’s largest number of migrating elk and bison. The lower elevation is appealing to these creatures and the refuge is also home to animals like deer and bighorn sheep. 

It’s important for visitors to remember to keep a safe and respectful distance from any wildlife they do see, whether observing from a vehicle or in the midst of a hike. Twenty-five yards is a good rule of thumb for most creatures you might encounter in Grand Teton, while any predatory animals should be observed from a distance of at least 100 yards.

moose jackson hole

Is the park friendly for pets?

The general rule regarding any animals that have accompanied you to the park is that if it’s cool for a car (like campgrounds or roads), it’s cool for a canine. Your pets could easily be in danger if given much room to explore on their own. For this reason, there are no pets allowed in the backcountry or on the park trails. All pets must be appropriately restrained or contained, and you must clean up after your pet. If you're traveling with a pet, then check out our blog for pet-friendly Jackson Hole travel tips.

Is the park family friendly?

Very much, with ranger-led programs and hikes that provide the perfect starting point for your family. These programs (with different options in the summer and winter) are a great opportunity for kids to learn about Grand Teton. Find more family-friendly activities in Jackson Hole here.

What is the history of Grand Teton prior to being named a National Park?

Humans have explored Grand Teton National Park for at least 11,000 years. Archaeological evidence suggests they used the area encompassed by the park from spring to fall, based on what resources were available. People of European descent began exploring the area in the early 1800s, following wildlife and Native American trails through Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park.

bear cub

When was the park established?

Establishing Grand Teton National Park was much more difficult than the relatively easy establishment of neighboring Yellowstone National Park. The original Grand Teton National Park, encompassing only the Teton Range and six lakes at the base of the mountain, was established by an act of Congress in 1929. The park was expanded in 1943 with a presidential proclamation by FDR and a donation of 35,000 acres by John D. Rockefeller. In 1950, the original 1929 park and the lands set aside in 1943 were combined, creating what we know today as Grand Teton National Park.

What mountains make up the range in Grand Teton?

The Teton Range, mostly contained within Grand Teton National Park and to the south of nearby Yellowstone National Park, is made up of two divisions along a fault line, each known as a block. The east block, which fell along the range, now referred to as Jackson Hole. This has become a popular spot for tourists in search of some mind-blowing sights and pulse-pounding skiing. The west block rose and created the famed Rocky Mountains. Although Mount Elbert is the highest point of the Rockies at 14,443 feet, Grand Teton is the highest point of the Teton Range, rising to 13,770 feet and towering more than a mile above the valley of Jackson Hole. The Tetons represent the youngest mountain range in the Rockies. 

Ready to book your Jackson Hole vacation or have some additional questions? Feel free to contact one of our local travel experts!



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