A mere 10 miles to the south of its more famous neighbor, Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton is perhaps one of the most under-appreciated National Parks in the USA. However, this is a near-criminal oversight, as over the sprawling 310,000-acre park you’ll find some of the most breathtaking nature in America, nay, the entire planet.
Let the layman stop by Old Faithful as you have the dreamlike (and far less crowded) views of the stunning peaks, forest, and lakes that surround Grand Teton National Park. BUCKiTDREAM is here to guide you on the adventure of a lifetime through Grand Teton.
It Might Be Called Static Peak, but Climbing the 11,303 ft. Mount is Anything But! The mountainous peaks that make up the Tetons aren’t exactly walker-friendly but Static Peak is the closest you’ll come to conquering them without engaging professional climbing skills. The round-trip hike is in no way, shape, or form easy. It’s 16.3 miles and at its highest elevation is over 11,000 ft, but the walk is unforgettable. It’ll take an entire day but you’ll see panoramic views that leave you as breathless as the climb up.
Cruise the 42-mile Scenic Loop Drive Whether you want to find trails, check out the unique wildlife or take in the dramatic views along the way, the one thing you’ll need to remember is that you’ll probably be stopping a lot during this beautiful drive; so it’ll take you a lot longer than it looks on the map.
Dive into Jackson Lake Need a refreshing dip? Then dive into Jackson Lake; just bear in mind the water is cold – basically freezing cold – so it’s not for the faint (or weak) of heart. For the less brave, or more rational, Jackson Lake is home to a lot of amazing fishing and boat tours and offers one of the most scenic hashtag-ready backdrops in America.
There are Lots of Phenomenal Hikes in Grand Teton; Here are our Favorites
Those looking to ease into their adventure can start with the gentle half-mile Lunch Tree Hill for a great vista view at a painless pace.
To take on something more epic, the Paintbrush-Cascade Loop is a punishing 14-hour trek that will give you access to miles of gorgeous nature.
Alternatively, consider the slightly more moderate 12.4-mile Holly Lake Trail, which, despite the distance, is a more gentle ascent and less strenuous hike.
Find your inner Zen at Inspiration Point The mild 2.2-mile hike will take you past picturesque forests, wildlife, and a beautiful vista. It’s a wonderful place to relax and take in the immensity of the beautiful nature around you whilst contemplating life.
Meet a majestic moose and a lot more wildlife The ecosystem that makes up this area is famous for its unique mammals and birds. Watch golden eagles soar, bump into a grizzly bear, stare across a valley of beautiful bison or meet one of the biggest moose you’ve ever seen; Grand Teton has it all.
There is a wide array of animal-spotting tours available but we’d recommend venturing towards the aptly named Moose-Wilson Road.
You can also head to the National Elk Refuge just outside the park, where you’ll find bison, elk, bald eagles, trumpeter swans, and wolves.
Take it all in via boat This 310,000 acre dreamscape is chock-full of lakes and you don’t have to just walk around them as there are some amazing boat tours you won’t want to miss out on. Everyone loves animal-spotting on Jenny Lake or taking one of the guided Solitude Float Trips. There’s also a plethora of opportunities to rent your own, should the mood take you.
Want to take the best photos? It’ll be hard to put your camera down at Grand Teton but there are a lot of views you aren’t going to want to miss. One of the most photographed barns in the entire world can be found in the Mormon Row Historic District. For a great place to find wildlife check out Timbered Island on Jenny Lake. Vista points at inspiration point are named appropriately while Cascade Canyon is full of dazzling views and more interesting wildlife.
Where to stay in Grand Teton From upscale luxury lodges to bargain hotels and some of the best campsites in America, Grand Teton National Park has a range of accommodations to suit any season and/or budget.
The Expensive The Rusty Parrot Lodge is a beautiful lodge that has been voted one of the best places to stay in the USA for nearly a decade. It has a rustic charm with world-class facilities, a super restaurant, and a stunning luxury spa.
The moderately priced but equally nice Super 8 Driggs has a beautiful pool, nice clean crisp rooms and serves a delicious breakfast, so it sneaks our top pick of the medium-priced places to stay.
Why not camp? If you’re in season and want to save a little money while getting the most out of nature, you can’t go wrong with camping anywhere around Grand Teton…but we love the Jenny Lake campground the most. It provides phenomenal views of the Tetons and has all of the necessities you’d expect from a high-quality campground.
Where to eat & drink around Grand Teton
You won’t find an abundance of nightlife or Michelin-starred restaurants around Grand Teton National Park, but you didn’t come here for that anyway. However, that doesn’t mean that you won’t find a few great bars and some fantastic eats whilst you’re there.
For the Hungry If you’re hungry for what the locals love then you’re going to want to head down to Dorman’s Pizza & Pasta Company, which is famous for its delicious pies and superior views.
To make a special occasion of it book the Jenny Lake Lodge Dining Room, where you’ll experience a fine dining experience worthy of any locale. The Lava Lake Lamb T-Bone is to die for. Make sure that you budget for it though; it isn’t cheap and they suggest that guests dress appropriately for a fine dining experience.
Want to party like a local? You’re going to Jackson Hole If the idea of a great night out is drinking on a bar stool that used to be a saddle whilst listening to live music and having a drinking companion that just so happens to be a giant taxidermy bear then you’ll love the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar. Rich in both history and atmosphere, it’s a great place to while the night away. If you want to try your hand at a few Western Swing lessons, they’re free on Thursdays at 19:00. If you prefer cocktails to beers than head to The Rose, where you’ll find some of the finest mixologists this side of the Mississippi and a few luxurious bar eats as well.
What to drink? Beer at Snake River Brewing To be named the Small Brewery of the Year at the Great American Beer Fest is one thing, but to be given the honor twice is another thing altogether. Snake River Brewing is a beer connoisseur’s dream; with a wide collection of award-winning Stouts, Ales, Lagers & Pilsners, they’ve got something for every discerning beer lover’s palate. The people who work there are as passionate about drinking fine beer as they are about making it!
A few tips for your trip
- Like any Natural Wonder, Treat Grand Teton with Respect Pick up your trash, behave around wildlife and adhere to fire safety regulations. It’s pristine and we should strive to keep it that way.
- Best Time to Visit? September, as autumn unveils a cacophony of beautiful colors across the Tetons.
- Acclimate Yourself to the Altitude and Stay Hydrated. If you’re hiking, start with small treks before taking on the monsters, so your body can adapt to where the air is rare.
- Pack: Raingear, water, sunscreen, high-energy snacks, camera, sunglasses and a hat.
- Plan: book any permits and accommodation well in advance.
- Best View: Head to Signal Mountain Summit, which offers 360° views of the Teton peaks.
- Best Trails: Anywhere along the Cascade Canyons.
Adventure of a Lifetime?
Conquer One of America’s Most Iconic Summits: The Grand Teton.
You’ll need some advanced climbing skills and an incredibly experienced guide to take on the 13,800 ft ascent up the grandest of all Tetons. However, if the once-in-a-lifetime challenge is what you’re after, you won’t find one more rewarding than taking on the Grand Teton climb. For an experienced climber it can be done in two days, but you may want to savor the journey and enjoy it with a four-day trip. Whatever your preference, when you reach the summit of one of the USA’s most iconic mountain ranges you will have accomplished what few before you would dare to take on.
If the Grand Teton National Park is one of your BUCKiTDREAMs, make sure to share your experiences on social media and talk to fellow dreamers. You never know, they may have some amazing advice that will turn your dream into a reality sooner than you could have imagined.