U.S. National Park Series (6) – Grand Teton National Park

Most people visit Grand Teton and Yellowstone in one trip. We are no exception. These two national parks are so close to each other. The Yellowstone National Park entrance ticket actually also covers Grand Teton. 

Yellowstone is a national park that you always discover new surprises and always see tourists. Grand Teton, on the other hand, makes you feel quiet, relax, and peaceful. You also won’t see so many tourists, which allows you to enjoy the nature even more. 

When to Visit

The park is open 365 days a year but if you want to visit Yellowstone with Grand Teton together I would still recommend that you go in summer (between July and August). 

How to Get There
If you visit Grand Teton after Yellowstone, you can go there from Yellowstone’s south entrance. Just keep driving south for about 24 miles and you can arrive at Grand Teton. 

If you visit Grand Teton from south, you can consider staying Jackson Hole for some time. It’s a small town famous for skiing, but you will have fun walking around even in summer. If you continue driving north from Jackson Hole, you can also arrive at Grand Teton pretty soon. 

What to Do There

Do nothing and just relax! Well, you can definitely do that if you have plenty of time and just want to enjoy the Jackson Lake and Teton mountains. 

Camp for a few days or stay in a cabin, do some hiking, try some boat trips, or try some horseback riding. That’s one way for vacation. 

I belong to the other kind of travelers who like to spend time exploring things. So, we spent one and a half days in Grand Teton. The first day, we drove around the park following a list of 11- scenic-points given by the park ranger in the visitor center; The 2nd day, we just spent half a day trying horseback riding and a boat trip. 

Ok, time for some highlights of Grand Teton. I would recommend that you consider stopping by some of these places if you visit Grand Teton. 

Willow Flats Overloak

We were told it’s a great spot to see birds, beavers, and moose although we only saw some birds. It is a very scenic spot, though.

Jackson Lake Dam

The dam itself is really tiny and not worth watching, but from here you can have a closer view of the Teton mountains. (Although, later on you will find out no matter where you stand in Grand Teton you always see those Teton mountains.)

Signal Mountain Summit

Driving up a 5-mile Signal Mountain Summit road, you will reach the summit of Signal Mountain. From here, you can have a panoramic view of Grand Teton.

Mentor’s Ferry/Chapel of the Transfiguration

This is a small church built by Bill Mentor, located in the center of the park. From the church window, you can see the Teton mountains. 

Jenny Lake

Although smaller than Jackson lake, Jenny lake is stunning beautiful with the mountain reflections. If you have some extra time, you can also hike the 5-mile round trip to reach the Hidden Falls. 

Antelope Flats Loop

If you haven’t seen enough Bison in Yellowstone, you can drive this loop. You will see some bison and antelopes here. 

Cunningham Cabin Historic Site

I don’t know whether you see any Grand Teton post cards. The cabin on the post card is from this site. It’s actually a really small cabin but with the Teton Mountains as its background it becomes scenic and unique. 

Like horses? You can see a lot here. There’s a ranch close by. 

Oxbow Bend Turnout

Last but not the least, the Oxbow Bend Turnout. I would highly recommend this place if you want to see Moose up close and personal. 

Remember, animals usually come out in dawn or in dusk. If you wait there in noon, 99% of the time you won’t see any animals unless you are lucky. 

We drove to the Oxbow Bent Turnout around 5:30 p.m. and saw a really huge male moose on our way, eating tree leaves in the bushes beside the main road. Later on, after waiting at the Oxbow Bend Turnout for about 10 minutes, we also saw two moose coming out of the bush to drink water at the river bank.
On our way back to the camp site, we also spotted an elk and a female moose and her baby moose. In a word, there are a lot of moose in Grand Teton. Don’t miss them.

If, after visiting all these places, you still have time and plan to explore Grand Teton a bit more. I would recommend you try the Jackson Lake Cruise and horseback riding, but if not you won’t miss much either. 

Another thing you might want to consider is to try whitewater rafting in the Snake river in Grand Teton.