Things to do While Visiting Grand Teton National Park
Grand Teton National Park
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Have you ever been to Grand Teton National Park
Grand Teton National Park is an often over looked do to the popularity of its neighbor to the north, Yellowstone National Park. Grand Teton National Park is located in Wyoming. It is much smaller than Yellowstone, but offers some amazing views of the Teton Mountain Range. It is unique because Teton Park road takes you along a path near the base of the mountains with nothing in the way to block the majestic view. The cost to enter the park is $25 per car for a seven day pass that also includes access to Yellowstone National Park.
Things to See
Grand Teton National Park has a lot of things to see. A big attraction is Jackson Lake, which is a large lake between US 89 and the base of the Teton Mountains. There are several areas to pull off along Jackson Lake and take pictures and stretch your legs. Also, there are places to rent boats and to take scenic guided cruises on Jackson Lake. The Jackson Lake Lodge is also worth a stop. Get out and take a walk through it. Go out back and you will have an amazing view of a marshy area with the Tetons towering above. This is a great place to view wildlife. Moose have been known to frequent that area. You can even make reservations and make that your home base for your vacation. I recommend driving up Signal Mountain. It is a short, twisty drive through a dense forest, but at the top it offers dramatic views of the Teton Range on one side and a beautiful valley on the other. Another place to see is Jenny Lake, which is south of Jackson Lake on Teton Park Road. It is a smaller lake, but offers boat rentals and a shuttle boat across that the lake that hikers take. On a still morning, it looks like a sea of glass and is very clear. There are also several trailheads in the area. I will get to a great hike that is fairly easy in the next section and well worth it. Drive south from Jenny Lake and you will have even more spectacular views of the Tetons as the road brings you closer to the mountains. As you leave the park, on the east side of the road is the National Elk Refuge. The Elk herd from Grand Teton National Park winters here and in the summer is normally empty. In the winter, you can take a sleigh ride through the National Elk Refuge. As you continue south, you will arrive in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Jackson Hole has several world-class ski resorts and is a quaint little town. In the summer, they have gunfights in the town square along with a horse drawn carriage ridge. Find a place to park, and take a stroll along the wooden sidewalks and check out the local shops. The town square has 4 arches made out of elk horns. Returning to the park, keep right at the junction and it will take you through eastern part of the park where there is abundant wildlife. The park boasts grizzly bears, elk, pronghorns, mountain lions, moose, and more.
Grand Teton Mountain National Park offers many hiking trails. A few things to remember before you hike. Always bring a friend with you, bring extra water, dress in layers, and be alert to your surroundings. Remember to make noise as you hike to alert wildlife that you are in the area. Also, remember not to approach wildlife. I have only hiked one trail in the Tetons so I will focus on that to start. Go to Jenny Lake parking area and you can either hike around the lake that is about 2.4 miles (one-way) or take the shuttle across the lake. I recommend the shuttle because of the wonderful pictures that can be taken and it is a pleasant ride. Take the trail that goes to hidden falls. It is about 2 mile hike round trip. The hike is easy and you walk along a creek that can run very fast in times of heavy water flow. While I was there, I encountered a muskrat as I was crossing a bridge. He seemed to be curious as to why we were there but after a few seconds ran along his way. Hidden Falls is an accurate description. As you near the falls, you can hear the water, but trees obstruct the falls until the trail turns a corner and bam, the falls dramatically comes into view. Hidden Falls is 80 feet high and well worth the hike. Jackson Lake Lodge has some flat and easy hiking trails. The Tetons has some more strenuous hikes that include hiking to Cascade Canyon, Death Canyon, and Paint Brush Canyon.
Grand Teton National Park is a great place to spend a day or two or a whole week. I want to go back to hike some of the canyon trails and to take more time around Jackson and Jenny Lakes. If you are looking for a place to stay, I recommend either the Jackson Lake Lodge or one of the hotels in Jackson Hole. The Tetons offer many amazing mountain views and are well worth a trip. Feel free to ask me any questions or any comments that you have.