Things to See in Grand Teton National Park
A model of our nation's natural wonder and a symbol of the pioneers' exploration of the West, this national park is a must-see.
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A Quick History
One glance at the cornflower-blue sky reflected in placid lake water ensconced by a red, pink and purple sea of wildflowers and it's no mystery why so many settlers decided to end their westward journeys in this mini-Utopia. Originally encompassing only the Grand Teton Range and six glacial lakes, this national park was eventually enlarged to include the Jackson Hole Valley. Named by the renowned Jebediah Smith after fur trader David Jackson, Jackson Hole was at times home to legendary figures. The explorer John Colter discovered the region on his 1807 exploration of Yellowstone country, and the infamous Ed "I Robbed 15 Stagecoaches in an Hour" Trafton, known for speedy thievery during the Yellowstone Park Robbery of 1914, called the region home. The popularity of the region grew, and soon communities such as Wilson, Jackson, Kelly and Moose began to grow, along with the tourist-friendly dude ranches. Today, the prospectors and Conestoga Wagons are long gone, but Grand Teton and Jackson Hole are still hot commodities. Many visitors are merely en route to Yellowstone, but one look at mighty Owen or Teewinot peaks, or glimpsing the vast park terrain from Signal Mountain, even a drive along Grand Teton Road and one thing becomes overwhelmingly clear: This is one park more than worthy of travelers' sole attentions. In the tradition of the great pioneers - explore, explore, explore!
Grand Teton National Park seems to represent the original American Dream; it is a paragon of the natural wonders possessed by our nation, of pioneers' exploration of the West and the glories of the land.
This striking landscape, dramatically framed by the snow-capped Teton Range, offers hundreds of miles of trails to explore, plus the Snake River for floating, fishing and more. PLAN YOUR TRIP AT NPS.GOV
The park caters to 8- to 12-year-olds with daily Junior Ranger programs throughout the year. Rangers keep kids busy with stories, artwork, kid-friendly hikes and scavenger hunts to uncover secrets around the park.
The whole gang can enjoy family-friendly activities including the fire and ice cruise around Colter Bay to learn about the park’s ecology, including the glaciers and towering mountains.
Grand Teton offers absolutely spectacular landscapes featuring majestic mountains, pristine lakes and, most importantly, extraordinary wildlife. Moose, the mammal most often associated with Grand Teton, can be seen peacefully grazing in the park's many meadows. Bison are also often seen populating the Grand Teton landscape. Sixty-one species of mammals live beneath the peaks of the Teton Range and are found in each of the park's four major habitats: the alpine, coniferous forests, sagebrush flats and wetlands. Moose, elk, bison and pronghorns are commonly seen from the park's scenic roadways, however to see predatory mammals like grizzly bears, black bears, wolves and mountain lions, you'll need to hit one of the many hiking trails. The park also has many snowshoeing and skiing options available during the long winter months.
Pack a Picnic
A picnic lunch in the shadow of the Skillet Glacier or hiking along accessible paths with varying grades are both just minutes from the town center. The Colter Bay Headwall, the Jenny Lake shore trail to Hidden Falls and Menors Ferry Historic District also give visitors awe-inspiring views of the surrounding mountains.
It's all too easy to fall in love with the lands of Grand Teton, but visitors will be even more enamored when seeing this splendid landscape from an entirely unique perspective. When the urge to embrace Grand Teton Valley strikes, the Wyoming Balloon Company is here to help! A hot air balloon trip offers a stunning perspective on the rolling valleys, craggy mountains and wilderness of the region — not to mention a freshly squeezed juice and champagne celebration. These trips grant visitors sights they never imagined seeing, and an airborne experience they never imagined having.
More to Do
While the namesake peak lures climbers and experienced hikers with its 13,770 feet of windswept rock face, those who prefer lower altitudes can also partake in the beauty. Hit the trails on horseback or take a driving tour of the park to view more than 60 species of mammals including pronghorn antelope and stately elks.