Grand Teton National Park – Hikes, Camping and Best Tips

Petr Novák

Grand Teton is a national mountain park situated in the western part of the state of Wyoming. Yellowstone National Park is just a few dozen turns away. The park is named after Grand Teton Mountain, which at 13,776 ft is the tallest peak in the Teton Range.

Grand Teton National Park | © chascar

Table of Contents
  1. Information about Grand Teton National Park
  2. What to See and Do in Grand Teton National Park
  3. When to Visit Grand Teton National Park
  4. Entrance Fees for Grand Teton National Park
  5. Traveling to Grand Teton National Park
  6. Lodging in Grand Teton National Park
  7. Tips and Recommendations for Traveling to Grand Teton National Park
  8. Photos of Grand Teton National Park

Information about Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park was officially established on February 26, 1929, spurred by efforts to expand the territory of the neighboring Yellowstone Park. The globally renowned businessman John D. Rockefeller, Jr. fell in love with the Grand Teton area and wanted it to be better protected from commercial exploitation.

By area, Grand Teton is a medium-sized park—its 484 mi2 constitute about one-seventh of the larger Yellowstone. However, with 3,885,230 visitors in 2021, Grand Teton is one of the most visited national parks in the USA.

The park is home to over 300 species of birds, 61 species of mammals, 30 species of waterfowl, and 14 species of owls. The most common animals sighted in the park include gray wolves, coyotes, river otters, martens, beavers, American badgers, and bison.

More than 1,000 species of vascular plants grow throughout the park. The variety is due to differences in elevation, with a range exceeding 6,890 ft between the highest and lowest points. The flora primarily consists of various species of wildflowers, grasses, mosses, and lichens. Among the trees, you are most likely to see the twisted pine and the prickly spruce.

Movies shot in Grand Teton National Park include Django Unchained and Brokeback Mountain.

What to See and Do in Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park offers over 199 mi of hiking trails, so sturdy shoes are essential for a successful visit.

You can download maps for a total of nine trails from the park’s website.

If walking isn’t your preference, you can enjoy a scenic drive (as Americans call roads with spectacular views). The Signal Mountain Summit Road, with an elevation gain of 794 ft, offers stunning views of the Teton Range, Jackson Hole Valley, and Jackson Lake. There are two overlooks on the road. You can drive up to Signal Mountain, one of the park’s main attractions, in typical American style. Alternatively, you can enjoy mountain peak views on the Jenny Lake Scenic Drive, which runs along the eastern shore of Jenny Lake.

Throughout the year, you can participate in one of the ranger-organized programs, which may include guided trail hikes or lectures.

Take impressive photos of Grand Teton National Park from the Snake River Overlook.

When to Visit Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park is open year-round; however, anticipate road closures on Teton Park Road from Taggart Lake Trailhead to Signal Mountain Lodge, and Moose-Wilson Road from Death Canyon Trailhead to Granite Canyon Trailhead between November 1 and April 30. Antelope Flats Road and Signal Mountain Summit Road are also closed during this period.

Most visitors come to Grand Teton in the summer, when daytime temperatures range from 39°F to 81°F—the higher up you go, the cooler it gets. Expect rain showers in the afternoon.

From mid-April to June, and then from September to November, temperatures tend to be cooler than in the summer. The days are usually sunny, but rain or snow showers become more frequent. From December to mid-April, it’s typically overcast, and snow covers the mountain tops. If you’re planning a trip to the park during this time, rent a car with 4×4 drive.

Here’s the current weather forecast for Grand Teton National Park:

Average Temperatures and Visitor Numbers in Grand Teton National Park

The following table provides the average temperatures in Grand Teton National Park. Visitor numbers are based on a 2017-2021 average; the data source is the National Park Service.

Max Temp Min Temp Precipitation Days Visitors Popularity
January 24.80°F 6.80°F 7.7 54 079 🟩
February 30°F 8.60°F 6.6 48 443 🟩
March 39°F 17.60°F 7.1 61 284 🟩
April 50°F 27°F 7.1 65 015 🟩
May 59°F 34°F 9.4 297 638 🟨🟨
June 70°F 39°F 6.6 650 246 🟥🟥🟥🟥
July 79°F 45°F 5.0 780 932 🟥🟥🟥🟥
August 77°F 43°F 5.2 689 512 🟥🟥🟥🟥
September 68°F 36°F 5.4 526 211 🟥🟥🟥🟥
October 54°F 27°F 6.0 203 130 🟨🟨
November 37°F 17.60°F 7.7 50 092 🟩
December 24.80°F 6.80°F 8.2 47 232 🟩

Entrance Fees for Grand Teton National Park

The entrance fee for Grand Teton National Park is $35 per automobile and all occupants, $30 per motorcycle, and $20.00 per visitor aged 16 and over who arrives at the park on foot. In all instances, the entrance fee is valid for seven days and grants you access to Yellowstone National Park and the John D. Highway, among other places, including the Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway.

If you are planning to visit multiple parks across the USA, consider purchasing the America the Beautiful pass. This pass allows the holder access to all the national parks in the USA within a 12-month period. The official price of the pass is $80.

Traveling to Grand Teton National Park

The simplest way to reach the park is to rent a car and drive there. For your convenience, I’ve attached distances from the most important places in the area and maps of the routes:

From / To Distance Driving time Route
Denver 516 mi 8 hours 15 minutes View Route
Idaho Falls 93 mi 2 hours View Route
Salt Lake City 284 mi 4 hours 45 minutes View Route
Yellowstone National Park 133 mi 2 hours 30 minutes View Route

Lodging in Grand Teton National Park

Hotels

In the vicinity of Grand Teton National Park, you will find a variety of motels, hotels, bed and breakfasts, and cabins. Most of these accommodations are situated in the towns of Jackson, Cody, Teton Village, or Moran. The three-star Wyoming Inn is among these hotels, known for its unique style.

Campgrounds

There are a total of 6 campgrounds within Grand Teton National Park. The fees for renting campsites can be rather high, ranging from $41 to $49. Some campsites might also charge additional fees for the use of facilities such as electrical outlets. The maximum length of stay in Jenny Lake is seven days, while it’s 14 days in all other campsites.

The campgrounds in Grand Teton National Park include:

  • Colter Bay Campground: Located 24.85 mi north of the town of Moose, it is open from mid-May to late September. It offers all the essential amenities, and you can bring your RV.
  • Gros Ventre Campground: Situated less than 11.81 mi southeast of Moose, near the Gros Ventre River.
  • Headwaters Campground: Adjacent to the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway, it’s open from early June to late September.
  • Jenny Lake Campground: Located 8.08 mi north of Moose, it is open from early May to late September. Despite being strictly for camping, it usually fills up before 10 a.m., making it the most popular of all the campgrounds.
  • Lizard Creek Campground: A lesser-equipped campground situated on the northern edge of Grand Teton National Park, about 32 mi north of Moose.
  • Signal Mountain Campground: Located 8.70 mi north of Jenny Lake, this campground is open from mid-May to mid-October.

Tips and Recommendations for Traveling to Grand Teton National Park

Visitor Centers

Visitors to the park can access services at five visitor centers and one ranger station:

  • Craig Thomas Discovery & Visitor Center: Located in the town of Moose, it is open daily from early March to late October.
  • Colter Bay Visitor Center: Situated near Jackson Lake, about 24.85 mi north of Moose. It is open from mid-May to mid-October and offers craft shows and museum tours during the summer.
  • Flagg Ranch Information Station: A smaller facility located 16.16 mi south of Colter Bay, it is open from early June to late August.
  • Jenny Lake Visitor Center: Found 8.08 mi north of Moose, it’s open from mid-May to mid-September.
  • Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve Center: Situated 4.35 mi south of Moose and open from late May to mid-September.
  • Jenny Lake Ranger Station – Situated 8.08 mi north of Moose, the station is one of several locations where you can obtain a camping permit.

👍 Good to Know

Unlike some other national parks, there are no shuttle buses running through the park. Thus, having your own car is almost essential.

Before your visit, I recommend downloading useful apps from the park administration to your phone. They are free and include maps, recommendations, phone numbers, activity tips, and more.

Photos of Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton NP | © Mark Gunn
Grand Teton National Park | © rachaelvoorhees
Oxbow Bend in Grand Teton National Park | © Gregory Sloblrdr Smith
Grand Teton National Park | © m01229
Grand Teton National Park | © JC Essentials ;)
Mount Moran and Jackson Lake in Grand Teton NP
Grand Teton National Park | © Don Graham
Grand Teton National Park | © Frank Kovalchek

US National Parks

  1. List of US National Parks
  2. America the Beautiful Annual Pass
  3. Timed-Entry Reservation for US National Parks

Travel Guides to USA National Parks

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