Grand Teton National Park

Location: Wyoming

Park Tally: 31/59

Orientation: Grand Teton National Park is located just minutes outside of Jackson at the southern end, and stretches 45-miles north to the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway, connecting it to Yellowstone National Park. There is nothing quite like Grand Teton, with its majestic mountain vistas, abundant wildlife, picturesque hikes and seemingly endless sights to see.

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The park is best explored in 5 or more days, though the highlights can be discovered within 1-2 days. Each season brings a new feel to Grand Teton. Winter results in gorgeous snow covered peaks and temperatures as low as -60 degrees Fahrenheit, fall is the perfect time to witness the foliage changing colors and the wildlife preparing for winter, spring brings new life and lush meadows, and summer is the best time for hiking and exploring in the backcountry.

Jackson is the ideal home base when exploring Grand Teton, providing opportunities to visit the nearby National Elk Refuge and the ever so famous Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. There are also numerous camping and lodging options within Grand Teton and just outside of the park entrances.

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Most iconic view:  Not surprisingly, the Grand Teton (13,770 feet) is the most famous view in the park. This iconic peak is situated in the Teton Region and cannot be missed when driving though the park. The Grand can be best observed from viewpoints such as Snake River Overlook, Schwabacher Landing and Glacier View Turnout.

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Accessible activity: Many sights of Grand Teton can be experienced by driving the scenic road through the park. There are numerous pull-offs and lookouts to stop at for views of the Teton Mountain Range, wildlife and foliage. Jenny Lake is a popular spot for a walk or boat ride, all of which can be enquired about at the Jenny Lake Visitor Center.

Another “easy” adventure in the park is exploring the famous Mormon Row area. Found down Antelope Flats Road, the Moulton Barns are two of the remaining historic barns on Mormon Row. The barns are situated perfectly in front of the Teton Mountain Range, making for an ideal photo opportunity.

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For the adventurous: Grand Teton National Park has more than 200 miles of trails, with many options for getting into the backcountry. Cascade Canyon to Lake Solitude is a very beautiful full day-hike worth exploring. Rated strenuous, the trail covers 15.3 miles and has an elevation gain of 2350 feet. Lake Solitude is the perfect spot for a refreshing dip before hiking back to Jenny Lake. The Cascade Canyon Trail can also be added to the Paintbrush Canyon Trail, creating a 18.1 mile loop hike.

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Best photo opportunities: Sunrise is undoubtedly the best time of day to take photos in Grand Teton National Park, though late afternoon and sunset can provide some interesting light. Some picturesque spots to consider are Schwabacher Landing, Snake River Overlook, Moulton Barns, and the Blacktail Ponds area.

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Quick facts

  • Grand Teton National Park was established in 1929 and the Jackson Hole National Monument was created in 1943. The two units were combined in 1950 to become present day Grand Teton National Park.
  • The Teton Mountain Range was originally called “Teewinot” by the native Shoshone people, meaning “many pinnacles”. The park received its present name from French trappers in the early 19th century, who decided on “les trois tetons” (meaning “the three teats”).
  • The highest peak in the Teton Mountain Range is Grand Teton, at 13,770 feet above sea level. Many other peaks in the park are over 12,000 feet in height.
  • There are 12 small glaciers in the park’s peaks, with the more well-known ones being Schoolroom Glacier, Triple Glacier, Falling Ice Glacier, and Skillet Glacier.
  • Grand Teton National Park is the only national park in the United States that has a commercial airport. It was built in the 1930s and was later added to Grand Teton when Jackson Hole was absorbed by the NPS.
  • Mammals found within Grand Teton include grizzly bears, black bears, gray wolves, coyotes, cougars, river otters, martens, elk, bison, pronghorn, and moose.
  • The park had 3,270,076 visitors in 2016, almost 600,000 more than in 2013.

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