Grand Teton National Park is one of the many wonders located in the United States but also one of the most underrated. I got the opportunity to visit this beaut in the summer of 2017, but wanted to highlight it here to encourage all of my followers to book a trip here. It’s well-known counterpart, Yellowstone National Park, typically overshadows the “Tetons”, making Tetons more desirable due to its comparably less crowded/touristy hotspot with just as much beauty.
Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone are geographically close, which allows you to visit both sites in one fell swoop. You will have to rent a car regardless, so you may as well make the most of it!
As you can see in the above map, you can fly into Jackson, Wyoming. This is about 20-30 minutes outside of Grand Teton Village, which is where I recommend staying. This is a small village with markets, public events, nightlife, restaurants, souvenir shops, hikes, excursions, and more. It is fun for family trips and friend trips alike. You can buy daily or weekend/weekly passes for the gondola and tram. There is also a free gondola for mountain bikers, but my friend and I just rode it up and down several times without getting off.
- Hike in Grand Teton Village (or take the gondola). During the summer, the skiing trails become hiking trails. The specific trail we hiked is called “Wildflower Trail” because it features a beautiful panorama of wildflowers. There is a restaurant located at the peak which overlooks fields of hot air balloons, the Teton mountain range, and Sleeping Indian Mountain range (resembles a man lying down). After hiking, you can either ride the gondola down or hike back down. Even in the summer, the peak is snow-capped. This is a 3.5-hour hike at an intermediate level.
2. Aerial tram from Grand Teton Village to Corbet’s Captain then hike down Summit Trail to the gondola which takes you back to Grand Teton Village. You have the option to hike the entire thing, but we wanted to spend time at the pop-up flea market, hot tub, and shops. The hike from peak to gondola took approximately 3 hours and was fairly easy due to the downhill component.
3. Visit Yellowstone National Park. Along the drive to Old Faithful (erupts every 90 minutes), there are several stunning overlooks and quaint chapels. The plague of tourists in Yellowstone made one day plenty and exhausting. Some stops I recommend along the way are Leeks Marina (great pizza and ice cream), Signal Mountain Lodge (amazing photo op), and any old chapel or boat marina on the water. It’s the unexpected or accidental stops that really leave a lasting impression.
4. Visit Idaho. This is a lovely drive, including plenty of spots to try their famous square-shaped ice cream and quaint towns such as Driggs. This gives you a different, less touristy perspective on the mountain range.
5. Head into Jackson Hole Town Square for shopping, fun eats, and maybe even a trip white-water rafting down the Snake River. Don’t forget a towel and dry clothes because even in the summer, it is cold. And I hate to break it to you, you’re going to get wet! Million Dollar Cowboy is also a stop worth making, especially for its night-life.
6. There are also several days-worth of hikes in Grand Teton National Park. Some must-do’s include Moulton Barn (stopping point), Death Canyon Trail (easy 2 mile hike), and Jenny Lake Trail (easy 7.5 mile hike). On Death Canyon Trail, there is a local rock where people go cliff jumping so of course I had to join in…despite my extreme fear of heights.
7. Ride horses, hot air balloon, or paraglide! Unfortunately, we did not have time to do these but got to watch it from afar.
All in all, if Grand Teton National Park is not on your bucket list, I hope this post changed your mind! Unfortunately, this was years before I started my blog so this post could not go as in-depth. Luckily, there are plenty of helpful people in Wyoming and free maps everywhere. When in doubt, drive around, look for buffalo, breath in the fresh air, and enjoy the sunset (and maybe even a sunrise).
Want more US National Park inspiration? Check out Glacier National Park here.