Towering more than a mile above the valley known as Jackson Hole, the Grand Tetonrises to 13,770 feet above sea level. Twelve Teton peaks reach above 12,000 feet elevation, high enough to support a dozen mountain glaciers. In contrast to the abrupt eastern face, the west side of the range slopes gently, showing the angle of tilt of the Earth's crust. Youngest of the mountains in the Rocky Mountain system, the Teton Range displays some of the North America's oldest rocks.
The rise of the Teton Range as well as the erosion caused
by eons of glaciation have created the conditions that allow several plant
communities to thrive, from
ribbons of green riparian plants bordering rivers and streams, to sagebrush flats,
lodgepole pine and spruce forests, subalpine meadows and alpine stone fields. The wide range of plant communities create habitat for a variety of animals, from the tiniest insects, to fish, birds and large and small mammals.
Humans have taken advantage of the mountain setting and its abundant resources for approximately 11,000 years. Early residents occupied the valley during the short spring, summer and fall seasons. During the other eight months of the year, they moved to lower elevations and warmer winter climates. Beginning in the late 1800's, homesteaders, ranchers and later dude ranchers moved into the valley, bringing the technologies of irrigation and insulation, that allowed them to stay through the long, harsh winter.
on Grand Teton National Park
Operating Hours for Grand Teton National Park
The park is open every day, visitor centers are closed on Christmas Day.
Visitor Center seasons and approximate hours of operation
Moose Visitor Center: open 8:00 - 5:00 winter, spring and fall; 8:00 - 7:00 summer
Jenny Lake Visitor Center: open 8:00 - 7:00 June to Labor Day
Colter Bay Visitor Center: open 8:00 - 5:00 mid-May to June, 8:00-8:00 June to Labor Day, 8:00-5:00 Labor Day to October 1
Flagg Ranch Information Station: open 9:00-6:00 June to Labor Day.
How to Get to Grand Teton National Park
Closest Airport to Grand Teton National Park - The
nearest airport is Jackson Hole Airport
How to Drive to Grand Teton National Park- Visitors
may travel east and north from Salt Lake City, UT, east from Boise, ID,
or south from western Montana, to Idaho Falls, ID, thence to Teton Pass
or up the Snake River Canyon to Jackson, WY, thence north 12 miles to
the Moose Visitor Center. Visitors may travel west from Riverton, WY,
or Casper, WY, over Togwotee Pass and thence into the park's east entrance.
Visitors may also travel south from Yellowstone National Park, the John
D. Rockefeller, Jr., Memorial Parkway and through Grand Teton's north
entrance. Travel generally involves I-70, I-80, I-25, I-15 and State 191,
depending upon actual routes.
Weather & Climate
The first heavy snows fall by November 1 and continue through March with snow and frost possible during any month. Summer days in the 70's and 80's with cool nights in the 40's. Summer thunderstorms are common. Mild to cool temperatures through September and October. Raingear recommended during spring, summer and fall. Sub-zero temperatures are common throughout winter and demand multi-layered clothing, hats, mittens and cold weather boots.
Visitor Centers at Moose, Jenny Lake, Colter Bay and Flagg Ranch provide accessible restrooms, TDD, parking spaces, curb cuts and entrances. Restrooms and exhibits at Colter Bay may require an assist. TDD at Moose is (307) 739-3400 and at Colter Bay is (307) 739-3544.
Many activities are accessible and are listed in the park newspaper, The Teewinot.
Campgrounds at Gros Ventre, Jenny Lake (partially accessible restrooms) and Colter Bay (partially accessible restrooms)located on relatively flat terrain. Lizard Creek and Signal Mountain are hilly and access is more difficult. Inquire for most accessible sites. Eight campsites along Grassy Lake Road west of Flagg Ranch, provide easy access by vehicle and accessible vault toilets. Camping and RV sites at Flagg Ranch provide accessible facilities.
All lodging facilities provide some units that are accessible. Please contact individually for assistance and reservations. Restaurants with accessible facilities are located at Flagg Ranch, Leek's Marina, Jackson Lake Lodge and Jenny Lake Lodge.
Some hiking trails are accessible, providing asphalt surfaces, appropriate grades and good views. The majority of trails make no special provisions for accessibility. Valley floor elevations vary from 6,400' to 7,200'
Waysides and overlooks are numerous and all have curb cuts
and designated parking.
Where to Stay at
Grand Teton National Park
Camping at Grand Teton National Park
Colter Bay Campground
Open late May to late September
25 miles north of Moose, with 350 sites, also has showers, a laundry and a trailer dump station. Fills about noon. Colter Bay is a wooded campground with larger sites and easier access if you are traveling with a camper, trailer or RV. Close to Jackson Lake with plenty to do close by.
By far the most crowded Campground in the entire park, it is right among the hustle and bustle of Colter Bay. Good place to camp if you want to be near shops, restaurants, or visitor centers.
Flagg Ranch Campground
Concession operated, located just south of Yellowstone National Park's south boundary. 175 sites in the spruce-fir forest. Call for reservations for both trailer sites and tent sites. For More Information on this campground please call (800) 443-2311
Gros Ventre Campground
Open late April to early October
11.5 miles south and east of Moose, with 360 sites and a trailer dump station. Generally fills in the evening, if at all. The campground lies along the Gros Ventre River with a mix of sites in sagebrush, beneath cottonwoods and adjacent to but a short distance from the river. If you are arriving in the afternoon of a busy day, just pull-in. Seek a better site the next morning.
Jenny Lake Campground
Open late May to late September, fills by 8 a.m.
8 miles north of Moose, with 49 sites and is restricted to tents. This is the park's most popular campground and is generally full by 8 a.m. Sites are in among the evergreens and glacial boulders a short distance from Jenny Lake.
Very nice campground that is a nice escape if you want to get away from the RVing croud or just want to be a little bit farther away from the craziness of other parts of the park. All sites are treed.
Lizard Creek Campground
Open early June to early September.
At the north end of Grand Teton National Park, about 32 miles north of Moose, has 60 sites and fills by about 2:00 p.m. A less heavily developed campground with sites in the spruce and fir forest. One side of the campgound is adjacent to and slightly above Jackson Lake.
Signal Mountain Campground
Open early May to mid-October, fills by 10 a.m
16 miles north of Jenny Lake, has 86 sites and a trailer dump station. Fills by about 10 a.m. Signal Mountain offers a mix of spruce and fir trees, hillsides and lake and mountain views. Adjacent to Signal Mountain Lodge and marina with a campstore and amenities close by. Sites are generally small and intimate.
This is a very nice camground, far enough from the main crunch of Colter Bay, that you can get nice peaceful evenings and actually enjoy the serenity that is Grand Teton NP. There are a number of sites that you can have a view of either the lake or Grand Teton... it tends to fill up around 10am, so its best to come early to get a spot, especially if you want one with a view. I was able to get a great spot at 630am, and yes there were many people up and already leaving at that hour.
Activities and More Information
Grand Teton National Park and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Memorial Parkway offer a variety of activities from traditional mountain park hiking, walking, wildlife viewing, photography, backpacking, camping, climbing and fishing to swimming, boating, floating, canoeing, biking and skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling in the winter. Some activities such as overnight backpacking, boating, floating, canoeing, fishing and snowmobiling require fee permits, licenses or registration. Special regulations may also apply, so take the time to become informed at any visitor center or ranger station.
Here are some suggestions for activities for the summer visitor season, listed in a north to south order, beginning at Yellowstone National Park's south boundary and proceeding south through Grand Teton National Park. The distance from Yellowstone's south boundary to Grand Teton's south boundary is 56 miles; approximate driving time with no stops is 1 1/2 hours. Reference to the attached map will also be helpful.
HALF DAY ACTIVITIES
Colter Bay Visitor Center and Indian Arts Museum - Visit the museum to view art created by native peoples and gain a glimpse of 19th century American Indian life. American Indian and wildlife videotapes and a park orientation slide program are shown throughout the day. Ranger-led activities include museum tours, park orientation talks, natural history hikes and evening amphitheater programs.
Signal Mountain Summit Road - This 5-mile drive starts one mile south of Signal Mountain Lodge and Campground. The road winds to the top of Signal Mountain, 800 feet above the valley. Summit overlooks provide panoramic views of the entire Teton Range, Jackson Lake and most of Jackson Hole. The road is narrow and parking at overlooks is limited, so no trailers or large motorhomes, please.
Jenny Lake Scenic Drive - Turn at North Jenny Lake and drive southwest. Stop at the Cathedral Group Turnout for a spectacular view of the Grand Teton (13,770'), Teewinot and Mt. Owen. The road is two-way as far as String Lake and Jenny Lake Lodge. South of String Lake, the road becomes one-way and provides a relaxed lakeshore drive with views of Jenny Lake. Rejoin the Teton Park Road near South Jenny Lake.
Menor's Ferry and the Chapel of the Transfiguration - Turn off the Teton Park Road 1/2 mile north of Moose. The Menor's Ferry Trail, less than 1/2-mile long, affords a look at homesteading and pioneer life in Jackson Hole. Visit Bill Menor's cabin and country store. Ride a replica of the ferry that crossed the Snake River at the turn of the century (the ferry is launched after high water in the spring - usually after the 4th of July). The altar window of the Chapel of the Transfiguration frames the tallest Teton peaks. Please be respectful, the chapel is a house of worship.
FULL DAY ACTIVITIES
Willow Flats - Stop at the Willow Flats Turnout, 6 miles south of Colter Bay, for a view of an extensive freshwater marsh that provides excellent habitat for birds, beavers and moose. Jackson Lake and the Teton Range for the backdrop.
Oxbow Bend - Located one mile east of Jackson Lake Junction, this cut-off meander of the Snake River attracts a wide variety of wildlife. Mount Moran, the most massive peak in the Teton Range, dominates the background.
Jackson Lake Dam Overlook - Jackson Lake Dam, one mile west of Jackson Lake Junction on the Teton Park Road, raises the level of Jackson Lake a maximum of 39 feet. In addition to being a reservoir, Jackson Lake is also a natural lake formed by an immense glacier that once flowed from Yellowstone National Park. Park on the southwest side of the dam and take a short walk for a peaceful view of Jackson Lake and Mount Moran.
South Jenny Lake - Park at South Jenny Lake and take a short walk to view glacially-carved Jenny Lake nestled at the base of the tallest Teton peaks. A 6-mile hiking trail encircles Jenny Lake. Shuttle boats (early June through late September, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., fee charged) provide easy access to the west shore of the lake and trails to Hidden Falls, Inspiration Point and Cascade Canyon. Parking is limited and the trail becomes crowded, so plan to arrive early or late in the day. A midday arrival will be frustrating.
Antelope Flats - Kelly Loop - At Gros Ventre Junction, 5 miles south of the Moose Junction on Highway 26-89-191, turn east. Follow the road to the small town of Kelly. To see the Gros Ventre Slide, turn at the sign marked "national forest access." The Gros Ventre Slide occurred in 1925 when earthquakes and rain caused the north end of Sheep Mountain to break off and dam the Gros Ventre River, forming Lower Slide Lake. Follow the Antelope Flats Road along hayfields and ranches to rejoin Highway 26-89-121.
Ranger-led Activities - Join a ranger for a visitor center talk, museum tour, stroll, hike or evening program. From early June to Labor Day a full schedule of activities is conducted daily. Consult a park newspaper, available at visitor centers and entrance stations, or various bulletin boards in the park. Attend the activities of your choice and learn more about the natural and human history of the park and parkway.
Take a Hike - Over 200 miles of hiking trails in the park and parkway range from level and easy trails on the valley floor to steep, arduous trails into the mountains. At visitor centers, ask a ranger for recommended hikes and look at or purchase maps and trail guides. Parking areas at popular trail heads fill as early as 11:00 a.m., from late June to early September.
Raft Trips on the Snake River - Park and parkway concessioners and operators provide a variety of floating and fishing trips on the Snake River. Equipment is also available for rent in Jackson from several sources.
Ride a Bike - The Teton Park Road has wide shoulders and superb views of the Tetons. The Antelope Flats-Kelly Loop provides riding opportunities on secondary roads. Ride bikes only where cars can legally go; bicycles are not allowed on trails nor in the backcountry. Equipment is available at Dornan's and in Jackson from several sources.
Mountaineering - The Teton Range offers many opportunities for climbers and mountaineers. The Jenny Lake Ranger Station is the center for climbing information and climbers are encouraged to stop in and obtain information on routes, conditions and regulations. Registration for day climbs is not required, while all overnight stays require a backcountry permit. The Jenny Lake Ranger Station is open from early June to mid-September, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Horseback Riding - Park concessioners offer horseback rides
at Colter Bay and Jackson Lake Lodge.
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