Grand Teton National Park is high up there on the “great places to take a family vacation” list, with all its family friendly activities and lodging. But that’s not the only list it tops. If you want to see moose and other wildlife, hike in the mountains, boat across a lake, or exercise your photographic skills, Grand Teton National Park is best-of.
Some of our Small Group Adventures include Grand Teton National Park, and we plan lots of private custom trips to the park. Would you like an introduction to mountain climbing? Check. Do you want to go horseback riding? Mountain biking? Go wildlife watching and hiking with a naturalist guide? Check, check, and check.
Here are some selected highlights:
Seeing Wildlife in Grand Teton National Park
The Jackson Hole Valley, with its sagebrush, forests and wetlands, is home to pronghorn, deer, elk, moose (lots and lots!), beaver, trumpeter swans, Canadian geese, and many other ducks and birds. We can make sure you get to the best places to see and photograph wildlife in Grand Teton National Park. One of our favorite and very special ways to see wildlife in the park is on a quiet morning float on the Snake River with a naturalist guide. You might see otters, moose, bears, eagles, and lots of other birds and wildlife.
The Tetons feature loads of lakes, three that you can drive to (Jackson, String, and Jenny) and others that require a hike (Bradley, Taggart, Solitude, Surprise, and others). The lower lakes are easy to get to along well-marked trails ranging in length from about one to two miles. The upper lakes are accessed via more strenuous trails that go up the various canyons and require an eight to 16-mile round-trip hike. Get a map and let’s pick!
You can catch a shuttle boat across Jenny Lake to the Cascade Canyon Trailhead and back. You may have to wait for a boat or two, but they depart every 15 minutes, and no reservations are taken. Trips cost is based on one-way or round-trip. It’s fun, beautiful, and worth it!
Hiking in Grand Teton National Park
If you’re a hiker, you’ll be in heaven. This is a fantastic place to hike, with lots of “energy index” options, a diversity of trails, and vistas everywhere. Here are a few of our favorites:
Bradley/Taggart Lakes Trail (5.9 miles roundtrip, 400 foot elevation gain, Trailhead Taggart Lake) takes you to two beautiful lakes, with excellent views of the Grand Teton looming overhead. You'll travel through an area that was ravaged by the 1,028-acre Beaver Creek Fire in 1985, but the vegetation has come back and it's lush and very pretty. We are sure you will see many wildflowers.
Phelps Lake and Death Canyon Trail(Phelps Lake Overlook 2 miles roundtrip, 450 feet elevation gain, Phelps Lake, 4.2 miles roundtrip, 1,050 feet elevation gain, Trailhead Death Canyon via Moose-Wilson Road) takes you through aspen groves on a scenic, meandering trail to the overlook, and beyond, down a series of switchbacks to the beautifully blue lake. From the lake, you might decide to continue for as long as you'd like up Death Canyon. A good destination would be the Death Canyon Ranger Station, 7.5 miles round trip from the trailhead via Phelps Lake.
Laurence S. Rockefeller Preserve Trails(Three loop trails ranging from 2.9 to 7 miles depart from the Preserve Trailhead off the Moose-Wilson Road) are the newest trails in the park, running through land that was historically the Rockefeller's privately-owned JY Ranch. The Lake Creek and Woodland Trail Loop is 2.9 miles and takes you to the shores of Phelps Lake and back, the Aspen Ridge and Boulder Ridge Trail Loop is a good choice for great views, and the Phelps Lake Trail Loop takes you to the shores and around the beautiful Phelps Lake.
Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point (5.2 miles roundtrip with 550 foot elevation gain to Hidden Falls, 6 miles roundtrip with 800 feet elevation gain to Inspiration Point, take off two miles with one-way boat trip or four miles with round-trip boat ride across Jenny Lake, Trailhead Jenny Lake) is by far the most popular trail in the park, and for good reason, considering what you get to see with such a short hike. Though you will not find solitude, you will find a very impressive waterfall and a very inspirational point, with great views of Jenny Lake and the Jackson Hole Valley.
Surprise and Amphitheater Lakes (10.1 miles, 3,150 feet elevation gain, Trailhead Lupine Meadows) is a good hike with plenty of uphill, and you definitely will meet lots of climbers heading for the Grand Teton both coming and going as you head up to the lake. Soon into the hike you will have one of the best views available of Grand Teton and Teewinot Peaks. After hiking three miles, you will come to a junction, and from this junction you can go right to Surprise and Amphitheater Lakes or left to Garnet Canyon. The lakes sit as close to the Grand Teton as you can get without having to have special climbing permission.