DescriptionGrand Teton National Park's southern entrance is north of Jackson on US 26/89/191; an eastern entrance is at Moran Junction on US 26/287. From this point US 89/191/287 heads north through the park into Yellowstone National Park. The park's 485 square miles include the major portion of Wyoming's Teton Range and the valley of Jackson Hole. Together the mountain range and valley frame a majestic landscape of eight large lakes and many smaller ones, glaciers, numerous snowfields and extensive pine, fir and spruce forests.
The Tetons are among the youngest mountains on the continent. The elevations established by the U.S. Geological Survey for the major peaks are Grand Teton, 13,770 feet; Mount Owen, 12,928 feet; Middle Teton, 12,804 feet; Mount Moran, 12,605 feet; South Teton, 12,514 feet; Teewinot Mountain, 12,325 feet; Thor Peak, 12,028 feet; Buck Mountain, 11,938 feet; Nez Perce Peak, 11,901 feet; Mount Wister, 11,490 feet; and Mount St. John, 11,430 feet.
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General InformationThe park is open all year, although most park facilities operate only from mid-May to mid-October. Visitor information is available at Colter Bay and Jenny Lake visitor centers, the Craig Thomas Discovery & Visitor Center in Moose and the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve Center on the Moose-Wilson Road. Free ranger-led activities in summer include hikes. Entrance stations and visitor centers distribute a park newspaper listing the schedule of activities.
More than 250 miles of trails afford short walks, strenuous hikes and overnight backcountry trips. Trail booklets can be found at some trail heads and at the visitor centers. Campsites along backcountry trails require a camping permit, available at the visitor centers and the Jenny Lake Ranger Station.
Game fish include brook, brown, cutthroat, Mackinaw, and rainbow trout, as well as whitefish. Fish can be taken with artificial flies and lures during most of the summer and autumn, but the Mackinaw trout in Jackson and Jenny lakes are best caught by trolling with heavy tackle.
A Wyoming fishing license is required; a nonresident 1-day license is available for $14; a full-year permit is $92. Special fishing regulations apply in the park, and changes are made annually regarding limits and waters open to fishing; check the current regulations.
Mountain climbing is a popular summer pastime. Authorized guide services are available, and because of the difficulty of the Teton peaks, climbers are urged to use them. Prospective climbers should consult rangers for information about routes and appropriate equipment. The Jenny Lake Ranger Station is the park's climbing information center.
Standard alpine equipment is essential: ice axes, ropes and rubber-soled boots or climbing shoes. Two park-approved mountaineering schools offer lessons and guide service.
The climbing season in Grand Teton National Park ordinarily spans mid-June to mid-September, but conditions are best from July to early September. In most cases it is advisable to allow 2 days for an ascent of Grand Teton, Mount Owen or Mount Moran and 1 or 2 days for all the other peaks, depending upon your experience.
Riding on horses trained for mountain trails is another popular way to explore the park. From corrals at Colter Bay Village and Jackson Lake Lodge, the Grand Teton Lodge Company conducts daily guided 1- and 2-hour rides, half-day trail rides and wagon rides; phone (307) 543-2811.
Morning and evening wagon rides with breakfast or dinner also are available for $44-$56. Guide fees vary according to trail, but all rates are regulated by the park and range from $43-$80. Restrictions apply to horseback riding.
If water levels allow, boat and canoe rentals, guided fishing trips and scenic boat trips can be arranged at the Colter Bay Marina at Colter Bay Village, the Bridge Bay Marina on Yellowstone Lake and the booking office at Jackson Lake Lodge. Canoe and kayak rentals are $20-$23 per hour or $75-$88 per day. Two-person kayaks are $25 per hour or $99 per day. Boat rentals are $10 per hour for a rowboat, $44 per hour or $181 per 8-hour day for a motorized boat (including gas and oil); there is a 2-hour minimum boat rental.
Jackson Lake boat cruises lasting 1 hour, 30 minutes leave the Colter Bay Marina several times daily, if water levels allow. Daily trout breakfast cruises to Elk Island as well as Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evening dinner cruises also are offered. Cruise rates range from $32 to $67; $14 to $38(ages 3-11). Contact the Grand Teton Lodge Co. for schedules and exact fares; phone (307) 543-2811.
Jenny Lake Boating Co. offers scenic cruises on Jenny Lake for $19; $17 (ages 62+); $11 (ages 2-11). The booking office is at the south end of Jenny Lake near the ranger station; phone (307) 734-9227, mid-May to mid-September.
Motorboats can be operated on Jackson and Jenny lakes, but motors more than 10 horsepower cannot be used on Jenny Lake. Hand-propelled craft are permitted on Bearpaw, Bradley, Emma Matilda, Jackson, Jenny, Leigh, Phelps, String, Taggart and Two Ocean lakes and on the Snake River. Water skiing and windsurfing are permitted only on Jackson Lake.
Mandatory boating permits can be purchased at the visitor centers. Permits are $10 for nonmotorized craft and $40 for motorized craft. In addition, privately owned boats must be inspected prior to launch and display an Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) decal from the Wyoming Game & Fish Department; phone (307) 777-4600 for information and border inspection locations. AIS fees are $5 for nonmotorized boats and $10 for motorized boats for Wyoming boat owners; $15 for non-motorized boats and $30 for motorized boats that come from outside Wyoming.
Several companies offer scenic float trips on the Snake River from May through September . Reservations for these relaxing excursions are recommended (and, in some cases, required).
Winter activities include cross-country skiing, snowshoe hikes and ice fishing. Marked trails for cross-country skiing also are provided.
Five campgrounds, Colter Bay, Gros Ventre, Jenny Lake, Lizard Creek and Signal Mountain, are open on a first-come, first-served basis. Opening dates vary from early May to early June; closing dates are from early September to mid-October. Per night rates for campers with vehicles are $25; $13 (Golden Age Passport holders). Per night rates for bicyclists and hikers are $12; $6 (Golden Age Passport holders). Reservations are not accepted.
ADMISSIONADMISSION to the park is by private vehicle permit ($30), motorcycle permit ($25) and by single nonmotorized entry ($15), valid in Grand Teton and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway for 7 days; a two-park pass for Grand Teton and Yellowstone private vehicle permit ($50), motorcycle ($40) and nonmotorized entry ($20), valid for 7 days. Park Annual Pass ($60) or Interagency Annual Pass ($80 for entrance to most federal sites) also is available. An Interagency Lifetime Senior Pass for U.S. citizens ages 62+ is $10; an Interagency Access Passport for physically impaired U.S. citizens provides free admission. Daily entrance fee mid-Dec. through Apr. 30, $10 per private vehicle, motorcycle or individual hiker, biker or skier.
PETSPETS are permitted in the park only if they are on a leash or otherwise physically restricted at all times. They are not permitted on trails, in the backcountry or in any public building.
ADDRESSADDRESS inquiries to Grand Teton National Park, P.O. Drawer 170, Moose, WY 83012-0170; phone (307) 739-3300.
Points of Interest
Things to SeeAmphitheater Lake Trail
Float TripsFloat Trips, on the Snake River through Grand Teton National Park, are conducted by experienced guides who thread rubber rafts down the river. These trips, which offer spectacular mountain scenery and opportunities to view native wildlife, are carefully supervised by the National Park Service.
Note: A minimum weight of 35-40 pounds is required for most float trips.
GEM DescriptionThe recreational possibilities in this magnificent park are endless.