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Grand Teton National Park Travel Guide

USA

#5 in Best Places to Hike in North America

Best Things To Do in Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park is filled with natural wonders, such as the towering Grand Teton and the glittering Jenny Lake, and historic settlements, including Mormon Row and Menors Ferry. But before travelers start climbing and hiking, touring and wildlife watching, they should stop in at one of the park's numerous visitor centers to get the scoop on how best to organize their vacation. The Craig Thomas Discovery & Visitor Center is a good place to start.

How we rank Things to Do.

#1

#1 in Grand Teton National Park

Free
The 2-mile-long, 250-foot-deep Jenny Lake is the muse of many an artist and photographer –and a great place to base your Grand Teton National Park trip. Depending on the weather, visitors can fish, paddle, swim, or boat its waters, or they can take the moderate 7 ½-mile round-trip hike from the Jenny Lake Trailhead for views of Cascade Canyon, Storm Point, Symmetry Spire and Mount Moran, among others. There is also a much shorter 1 ½ -mile round-trip hike to Hidden Falls, which is a traveler favorite. It's a central spot for visitors wanting to spend a night at the campsite or upscale Jenny Lake Lodge. If travelers would rather boat than hike their way to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point, they can hop aboard the Jenny Lake Boating shuttle service, which offers shuttles every 10 to 15 minutes during the day. Taking the shuttle will knock off 2 miles (each way) to the Cascade Canyon trailhead. 
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Hiking Type
More than Full Day Time to Spend
Jenny Lake
The 2-mile-long, 250-foot-deep Jenny Lake is the muse of many an artist and photographer –and a great place to base your Grand Teton National Park trip. Depending on the weather, visitors can fish, paddle, swim, or boat its waters, or they can take the moderate 7 ½-mile round-trip hike from the Jenny Lake Trailhead for views of Cascade Canyon, Storm Point, Symmetry Spire and Mount Moran, among others. There is also a much shorter 1 ½ -mile round-trip hike to Hidden Falls, which is a traveler favorite. It's a central spot for visitors wanting to spend a night at the campsite or upscale Jenny Lake Lodge. If travelers would rather boat than hike their way to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point, they can hop aboard the Jenny Lake Boating shuttle service, which offers shuttles every 10 to 15 minutes during the day. Taking the shuttle will knock off 2 miles (each way) to the Cascade Canyon trailhead. 
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#2

#2 in Grand Teton National Park

Free
Teton Park Road winds around the base of the Teton Range, offering visitors an overview of the park, including views of the Tetons, Menors Ferry Historic District, the Snake River Overlook and Jenny Lake. You'll also likely spot some wildlife, such as elk, moose, bison and maybe even a bear or two. 
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Sightseeing Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Teton Park Road
Teton Park Road winds around the base of the Teton Range, offering visitors an overview of the park, including views of the Tetons, Menors Ferry Historic District, the Snake River Overlook and Jenny Lake. You'll also likely spot some wildlife, such as elk, moose, bison and maybe even a bear or two. 
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#3

#3 in Grand Teton National Park

Free
Carved by glaciers and continually reshaped by water and wind, Grand Teton is the 13,770-foot peak of the Teton Mountains – so tall it's visible from Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Although this jagged, snow-covered mountain is only summited by the most experienced climbers, usually via the Upper Exum Ridge, long distance hikers can take the Paintbrush Canyon-Cascade Canyon Loop, which offers magnificent views of Grand Teton. Visitors of all kinds can ascend Grand Teton virtually by watching this NPS video
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Hiking Type
More than Full Day Time to Spend
Grand Teton
Carved by glaciers and continually reshaped by water and wind, Grand Teton is the 13,770-foot peak of the Teton Mountains – so tall it's visible from Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Although this jagged, snow-covered mountain is only summited by the most experienced climbers, usually via the Upper Exum Ridge, long distance hikers can take the Paintbrush Canyon-Cascade Canyon Loop, which offers magnificent views of Grand Teton. Visitors of all kinds can ascend Grand Teton virtually by watching this NPS video
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#4

#4 in Grand Teton National Park

Free
The $22 million, 22,000-square-foot Craig Thomas Discovery & Visitor Center, which is colloquially called the Moose Visitor Center, was built in 2007 to spread awe among visitors about the majesty of the Teton Mountains, which are on display through the center's enormous floor-to-ceiling windows. Not only does it contain the usual maps and information about hiking trails and ranger programs, it also offers an in-house theater that airs a documentary on the park. 
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Shopping Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Craig Thomas Discovery & Visitor Center
The $22 million, 22,000-square-foot Craig Thomas Discovery & Visitor Center, which is colloquially called the Moose Visitor Center, was built in 2007 to spread awe among visitors about the majesty of the Teton Mountains, which are on display through the center's enormous floor-to-ceiling windows. Not only does it contain the usual maps and information about hiking trails and ranger programs, it also offers an in-house theater that airs a documentary on the park. 
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#5

#5 in Grand Teton National Park

Free
Most of the hiking trails in Grand Teton National Park are listed as strenuous or, at the very least, moderate. The Taggart Lake Trail is described as easy-to-moderate by most hiking guides, and it's a good one to attempt if you're a novice hiker or visiting the park with kids, since the elevation change is roughly 400 feet and the distance is only about 3 miles round-trip. If you're a seasoned hiker, don't let the trail's moderate degree of difficulty sway you from making the trip: Visitors say the views of Taggart Lake and the surrounding streams, meadows and conifer groves are nonetheless rewarding. 
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Hiking Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Taggart Lake Trail
Most of the hiking trails in Grand Teton National Park are listed as strenuous or, at the very least, moderate. The Taggart Lake Trail is described as easy-to-moderate by most hiking guides, and it's a good one to attempt if you're a novice hiker or visiting the park with kids, since the elevation change is roughly 400 feet and the distance is only about 3 miles round-trip. If you're a seasoned hiker, don't let the trail's moderate degree of difficulty sway you from making the trip: Visitors say the views of Taggart Lake and the surrounding streams, meadows and conifer groves are nonetheless rewarding. 
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#6

#6 in Grand Teton National Park

One of the most refreshing ways to explore Grand Teton National Park – especially in the heat of summertime's peak season – is via boat. A number of tour companies operate float or rafting trips down the Snake River or mini-cruises on the park's Jenny and Jackson lakes. Some of these companies also rent kayaks and canoes should travelers want to take self-guided tours of the river and lakes. 
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Recreation Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Boat Tours
One of the most refreshing ways to explore Grand Teton National Park – especially in the heat of summertime's peak season – is via boat. A number of tour companies operate float or rafting trips down the Snake River or mini-cruises on the park's Jenny and Jackson lakes. Some of these companies also rent kayaks and canoes should travelers want to take self-guided tours of the river and lakes. 
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#7

#7 in Grand Teton National Park

Free
Photographers, wildlife watchers and history buffs will all enjoy a stop at the Mormon Row Historic District. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this tract of land was founded as a Mormon ranch settlement in the 1890s and to this day contains preserved homesteads and barns that provide a compelling foreground to the Teton Range in the backdrop. If you're lucky, you might see some antelope or other mammals grazing. 
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Historic Homes/Mansions Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Mormon Row Historic District
Photographers, wildlife watchers and history buffs will all enjoy a stop at the Mormon Row Historic District. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this tract of land was founded as a Mormon ranch settlement in the 1890s and to this day contains preserved homesteads and barns that provide a compelling foreground to the Teton Range in the backdrop. If you're lucky, you might see some antelope or other mammals grazing. 
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#8

#8 in Grand Teton National Park

Free
Visitors are transported back to the Wild West when they enter the Menors Ferry Historic District. William (Bill) D. Menor settled beside the Snake River at the turn of the century and built the ferry that transported people across the river. Unlike other ferries, Menor's was fashioned in such a way as to allow it to move sideways in the river. Along with preserved 19th-century barns and cabins, the district features a working general store. Quick tip: Visitors heading to Menors Ferry should stop in at the Chapel of the Transfiguration for an awe-inspiring view of Grand Teton. This 1920s log chapel, which hosts Sunday services in the summer, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and contains an enormous window that overlooks Grand Teton. 
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Sightseeing Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Menors Ferry Historic District
Visitors are transported back to the Wild West when they enter the Menors Ferry Historic District. William (Bill) D. Menor settled beside the Snake River at the turn of the century and built the ferry that transported people across the river. Unlike other ferries, Menor's was fashioned in such a way as to allow it to move sideways in the river. Along with preserved 19th-century barns and cabins, the district features a working general store. Quick tip: Visitors heading to Menors Ferry should stop in at the Chapel of the Transfiguration for an awe-inspiring view of Grand Teton. This 1920s log chapel, which hosts Sunday services in the summer, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and contains an enormous window that overlooks Grand Teton. 
... more
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