Top 10 Things to Do in Grand Teton National Park

by Jon D. B.

From pristine lakes to unrivaled mountain vistas, Grand Teton National Park has something for everyone, and everything for mountain lovers.

Ready to experience the heart of Wyoming? Only a handful of national parks can rival Grand Teton’s beauty, but none could ever replace this magnificent landscape. Here, the Rocky Mountains loom tall as the Teton Range; the rivers, valleys, and foothills below creating a paradise full of hiking, kayaking, climbing, or breathtaking views while you simply relax to take it all in.

Below, you’ll find our Top 10 recommendations of must-sees for Grand Teton National Park; a bucket list national park if there ever was one.

10. Mormon Row Historic District

If there were ever “the shot” visitors hope to get in Grand Teton, it’s of the Mormon Row Barn. With the Cathedral Group peaks in the background, this iconic shot has been sought by countless photographers over the centuries since it was built. Sunrises here are unrivaled as far as historic scenery goes, and Mormon Row is only a ten minute drive from the park’s south entrance – so it’s easily accessible.

Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for both wild bison and domestic cattle in the area, too. Both roam sections of Jackson Hole, and make for further picture-perfect opportunities as you explore this valley’s fascinating history.

9. Snake River Overlook

top-10-things-to-do-in-grand-teton-national-park
Teton Mountain Range and cloudy skies reflects on still waters of Snake River, Grand Tetons National Park, Teton County, Wyoming (Photo by: VW Pics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Another highly-sought vista in Grand Teton, Snake River Overlook offers the perfect view of both the river and the Tetons. Be sure to soak it all in while you’re there and don’t just stop for a photo. Moose and other wildlife frequent the area, too, so be on the lookout.

Access is easy, too, as the overlook is marked by signs right off the park’s main drive (U.S. Highway 191 / Hwy 89). Once you’re there, placards and signs show the magnificent history of this area. As always, the earlier you arrive, the better. It’s a small parking lot for a popular sight.

8. Signal Mountain Summit Road

Tourists look out at Signal Mountain in the Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming on June 10, 2019. (Photo by Daniel SLIM / AFP) (Photo credit should read DANIEL SLIM/AFP via Getty Images)

Signal Mountain Summit rests atop the marked 5 mile road right off the main drive (U.S. Highway 191 / Hwy 89), and it’s another stop that’s well worth your time. You’ll find the historic observation point after the parking area, all leading to a magnificent view of Signal Mountain and the surrounding Tetons.

Please be aware that the drive up to Signal is incredibly narrow, and hardly wide enough for vehicles to pass one another. Use caution going up and coming down. And again, arrive early to beat crowds to the limited parking.

Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife such as black bears that frequent this area.

7. Cascade Canyon Trail

Get ready for the hike of a lifetime. Cascade Canyon has it all: immaculate Teton views, pristine waterways, waterfalls, ancient forests, and abundant wildlife (from moose to quail, you name it).

This glorious ecosystem lives a vibrant life around the trail. It’s accessible from multiple points and trails in the park, too. Grand Teton National Park offers shuttles to the trail, and you can head here by South Jenny Lake Trail, too. But the trailhead that passes Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point is definitely Outsider’s recommendation.

Cascade Canyon Trail cuts through the heart of it’s namesake, but also offers plenty of other trails flowing outward. This is one journey you should plan on dedicating an entire day to if you can.

6. Grand Teton National Park Jewel: Jackson Lake

People kayaking in Colter Bay on Jackson Lake in the Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, United States. (Photo by: Wolfgang Kaehler/Avalon/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Jackson Lake is truly the sapphire jewel of Grand Teton. Lodge or dine here, hike from the lodge, take a horseback ride, kayak the lake, or just stop in to see the incredible lodge itself.

But Jackson Lake is the star of it all. This pristine, enormous body of water reflects the Tetons in all their glory, and provides some of the best lake scenery in America. As always, the earlier you arrive to the lake, the better chance you have of beating crowds to all of the above.

To reach Jackson Lake, head for the Lodge via highway 89/191 north towards Yellowstone National Park. As you do, follow signs for Jackson Lake Lodge, just north of the Jackson Lake Junction.

5. See Grand Teton National Park via Moose Wilson Road

Want to experience Grand Teton National Park off the main highway? Moose Wilson Road is your destination. Right up the road from Teton Village, this roadway is truly a must see for all visitors. Be sure to drive carefully at all times, as you will see wildlife abundant around Moose Wilson; from bears and deer to moose themselves.

Also keep in mind that only the first couple of miles of the road are paved. From there, Moose Wilson becomes a somewhat bumpy gravel road. The scenery more than makes up for any bumps, however.

4. Take the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway From Grand Teton to Yellowstone National Park

The Teton Range, a mountain range of the Rocky Mountains, is seen as the sun sets south of Yellowstone National Park. (Photo by Patrick Gorski/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

In the 1970s, NPS and the DOI built John D Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway to honor it’s namesake’s contributions to Grand Teton National Park. This highway connects Grand Teton to Yellowstone (via Yellowstone’s south entrance), and can be traveled within an hour for those wishing to visit both parks in a single day. Yes, it can be done!

So if you’re planning on a Teton excursion, why not see Wyoming’s other brilliant national park within the same trip? The gorgeous view of the Tetons and surrounding valley and wildlife make it a worthwhile venture, too.

If you do plan to visit both, keep in mind that both national parks charge an entrance fee. Both, however, are beyond worth these fees, which go directly to conserving each national park.

3. Jenny Lake Trail, A Grand Teton National Park Favorite

Top 10 lists are always a matter of opinion, so sometimes you just have to bow to the will of the masses. In the case of recommending a top trail for Grand Teton National Park, visitor feedback is clear, and it’s Jenny Lake Trail.

Jenny Lake has something for everyone, and offers a main section nearly all hikers of any level can experience. Tackle the trail counter-clockwise from the Jenny Lake Overlook parking lot, and the first several miles are flat, shaded, and a perfect intro hike (with less people).

Along the way, you’ll see everything Grand Teton is famous for, and then some. If you’re up to it, the trail leads all the way to the .5 mile hike up to Hidden Falls (for more experienced hikers). From there, you can also climb the steep path to Inspiration Point; one of the absolutely must-sees of Grand Teton National Park for those willing to summit.

2. Grand Teton Scenic Loop Drive

American bison graze at Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, on June 12, 2019. (Photo credit should read DANIEL SLIM/AFP via Getty Images)

In the same vein, if you make one drive in this national park, be sure it’s Grand Teton scenic loop drive that is the main park road. This 42-mile drive is a lifeline to much of the park, but the road itself offers incredible views of the Tetons and surrounding scenery. You’ll see bison, elk, deer, and maybe even wolves and bears along the drive, so be sure to drive carefully – and never stop in the middle of the road to view wildlife.

UNITED STATES – 1991/01/01: USA, Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park, Teton Range At Dusk, Balsamroot In Foreground. (Photo by Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images)

And then there’s literally everything else you’ll see. It’d take an entire other Top 10 to list out everything available to you from this drive. So if you take our word for anything on this list, make the full 42-mile scenic loop drive. You won’t regret it!

1. Spot Grand Teton

Grand Teton and the Teton Range with low clouds at sunrise in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, USA.. (Photo by: Jon G. Fuller/VWPics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

You can’t go to Grand Teton National Park without spotting, identifying, and viewing the most magnificent mountain for which all of this place is named: Grand Teton.

The tallest mountain in the Grand Teton Range (a subrange of the Rocky Mountains), Grand Teton is a true spectacle and demands awe at 13,775 feet (4,199 meters). It is the highest point of the Teton Range, Wyoming’s second highest peak after Gannett Peak.

Mountaineers have been chasing Teton’s peak for centuries, and once you see this rugged giant for yourself, you’ll know exactly why.

For more ahead of your Teton excursion, be sure to visit our Top 10 Things to Know About Grand Teton National Park.

And for more on what to see and where to go in this magnificent park, head to our Grand Teton National Park Must-Sees: Hikes, Views, and Landmarks.

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