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Grand Teton National Park


A Visit to to Grand Teton National Park

In August 2010, I took a trip to Wyoming and saw Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park, and other sites in the area. In total, I spent just over 2 days in the Tetons and hiked a number of trails and captured some of the things I saw with my camera.

On this page I will share a few details of my trip, my Grand Teton pictures, and provide some information to help you plan your own Grand Teton vacation and learn more about the area.

Plenty of beautiful roadside sights

Plenty of beautiful roadside sights

My Grand Teton National Park Vacation

I had spent a few days in Yellowstone National Park prior to driving south into adjacent Grand Teton. I actually hiked more in the Tetons and became more aquainted with the landscape there than I had in Yellowstone.

The weather was sunny and the temperatures were fairly mild. Western Wyoming is rather dry, and the high altitudes assured that temperatures were more mild, although the variation between elevations, times of day. and so forth were significant.

I saw wildlife such as deer, ground squirrel, foxes, eagles, and more, but to my relief I came across no bears while hiking although I know they inhabit the area. Backcountry and day hiking is possible within the Grand Tetons and there are hikes available which range from very rugged to very easy.

If you live in an area with a lower elevation, you'll need to keep in mind the potential effects of hiking in a higher elevation. More frequent rest stops may be needed.

There are bike trails available and visitors can boat, swim, camp, hunt elk with special permits, and more.

My lunch time entertainment

My lunch time entertainment

There are several areas in the park where visitors can get a meal if they won't be enjoying a picnic. At the northern end of the park the Flagg Ranch Village offers facilities, as do the Jackson Lake Lodge, Jenny Lake Lodge, Colter Bay Village, and Moose Junction.

We had lunch the first day in Colter Bay at Leeks Marina. Eating outdoors we could view Jackson Lake and the highest peaks of the Tetons while we enjoyed our meal. We even had a group of friendly ground squirrels who kept us entertained.

An easy hike

An easy hike

My visit to the park wasn't planned well in advance, so we stopped at the Flagg Ranch Village as we entered the park at the north end. Here there was a visitor information center where I was able to get park maps, trail maps, and so forth. Because there were some easy hiking trails here, we took the 2.5 mile Polecat Creek Loop Trail. It offered a very level, easy hike.

Following lunch we took the hike around Two Ocean Lake just south east of our location, or at least we attempted it. We found that a number of trails lie off of the main road a few miles. Many of these connecting roads are narrow, winding dirt roads that are sometimes rutted. They make for an interesting excursion but aren't always well marked.

A portion of the Two Ocean Lake trail was closed for the season, but we hiked nearly 5 miles. The hike was moderate in difficulty as we passed through meadows of flowers as well as pine and aspen wooded areas. Two Ocean Lake was often viewable although we never really skirted the shore.

Beautiful, even on a dreary day

Beautiful, even on a dreary day

Probably my favorites hikes around Grand Teton National Parks were around the areas of Leigh Lake, String Lake, and Jenny Lake which are clustered in the center of the park on the west side of the loop. These mirror like lakes are situated with quiet paths along their eastern shore and the moutains along the western shore. Hiking along the canyons to the west of these lakes is more strenous but provides some rewarding views. (I have a couple of pictures of the lakes lower on this page.)

Even for those who don't hike, taking the one way road that diverts from the main road at North Jenny Junction will provide a taste of this natural beauty, with views of the stream and lakes. There is also a boat available to take visitors across the lake to view the Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point rather than hiking the full distance.

The "big picture", Grand Tetons at a distance

The "big picture", Grand Tetons at a distance

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Time didn't permit me to hike some of the longer trails like Death Canyon, Granite Canyon, or Teton Canyon but there were plenty of shorter, and easier options.

On the second day, we stopped at Menor's Ferry, visited the homestead, general store, and sampled some of the goods such as fresh baked gingersnap cookies and pretzels with Huckleberry Jam. We even took a short ride on the ferry across the river.

At Taggart Lake we took the 3.2 mile hike which although it was easy, required a fair amount of climbing. Part of that trail is pictured above. Just north of Taggart Lake, Lupine Meadow is where many of the trails going up the main mountain begin. However, this wasn't something I could tackle on a short trip as 8 or more hours were required.

A quiet watering hole

A quiet watering hole

With time running short, we took a number of quick hikes along the eastern route through the park, seeing historic homesteads, wildflowers, and wildlife. On my final effort, I took an unmarked dirt road a few miles north of Jackson Lake Lodge and found the trailhead for Grand View Point. It was a moderate to difficult hike with an ongoing climb which took me to an elevation of 7586 feet and provided a great view of Jackson Lake with the Tetons as a backdrop. (A rather hazy picture of the view is featured below.)

With that, my visit to Grand Teton National Park ended. However, for those with more time the park offers horseback riding, fishing, boating, float trips, biking, educational seminars and workshops, moutaineering, and more. In the winter skiing, sleigh rides, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling are possibilities too.

Below, you'll find a few more of the pictures I took while in the Grand Tetons.

Information to Help You Plan Your Grand Teton National Park Vacation

Entrance into the the Grand Teton park in 2010 was $25 per vehicle. I had purchased my pass in Yellowstone a few days earlier. The pass provides access to both parks for a period of 7 days. There are of course annual passes ($80) and other types of passes available.

Dress in layers, the temperatures and weather changes rapidly. Always carry water, rain gear, and at least a little food when hiking.

Plan your trip ahead. Know what sites you want to see and what activities you're interested in doing. You can find information to help you on the Grand Teton National Park site.

Although I saw moose and bison only from a distance and no bears at all, they do inhabit the park. Hikers should take precautions to protect themselves. Food should be kept sealed and care should be taken that you don't sneak up on bears; making plenty of noise can help with this. Bear spray can be a good precaution.

Make lodging reservations well in advance. Lodges within the park are ideal but fill up quickly. Jackson and other nearby areas are other alternatives. Jackson however, is particularly crowded in the winter months as skiers abound.

Grand Teton National Park Maps

Grand Teton National Park Lodging

Let Us Know You Stopped By!

Paladins on April 09, 2013:

When I was young, I traveled with my sister and parents "out West" and we went to the Grand Teton National Park. I have been in every state in the country and I have never been anywhere that compares with the Grand Tetons. It is simply amazing. Thanks for the memories and the great lens.

Aunt-Mollie on April 08, 2013:

This is absolutely one of the most beautiful places on earth. I used to live about 40 miles south of Jackson Hole and I know these mountains very well.

Leah J. Hileman from East Berlin, PA, USA on August 26, 2012:

Great. I think Grand Teton is my favorite of all the National Parks I HAVEN'T seen.

MacPharlain on August 20, 2010:

Wow, I really have to get out to Wyoming.

WindyWintersHubs from Vancouver Island, BC on August 19, 2010:

Awesome Trip. I will have to add Grand Teton to our trip list. The scenery is sure beautiful. :)

GramaBarb from Vancouver on August 19, 2010:

Enjoyed the photo journey. Love your wildflower photos too!

irenemaria from Sweden on August 19, 2010:

Amazing how much beauty there is in nature! Thank you for the trip!

anonymous on August 18, 2010:

Love the Grand Tetons, and was in Yellowstone this summer myself, loved it all but the construction! ;)

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