When most people think about national parks in Wyoming, most think of Yellowstone; however Grand Teton National Park should not be ignored. Grand Teton has amazing mountains, rivers, and lakes to explore. Whether you want to spend hours hiking or prefer to walk only a few feet from your car, you will be amazed by this national park.
What you need to know before you go:
- Grand Teton National Park is just on the southern end of Yellowstone National Park and the two parks can easily be explored on the same trip.
- You can easily enjoy and explore the majority of the park in 1 day. If you plan to hike, you will need to add more time.
- The best time to visit is in May and September when there are less crowds, but still good weather. This park can get busy between June-August. Make sure to check the NPS website for road closures before you go as Grand Teton Rd closes from November to April/May
- Try to pick a day when there is less cloud cover. When we went in the morning it was cloudy and could not fully appreciate the size of the mountains. After lunch the clouds cleared and the views were amazing.
- This area has plenty of wildlife, so be on the lookout. Follow the national park guidelines on how far to stay away from the wildlife.
- You will likely have very little cell service throughout your time here.
- You can drive the entire national park in one loop. The two main roads are Grand Teton road and HWY 191. Make sure to take the scenic turn off for Jenny Lake Rd, which parallels Grand Teton road but actually goes along the lake. There are not that many gas stations within the park, make sure to fill your car up if you see one.
- My highest recommendation is prior to getting there download the GyPSy guide Combo Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park. The combination is $10 and can be found on the App Store. This narrated guide will follow your route using GPS and as you drive through the park, it will tell you the top spots to stop at as well as the history of the park based on your location.
- You can get a 7 day pass to explore Grand Teton National Park for $35. Note this is a different pass than the one for Yellowstone (which is $35 for 7 days). If you are planning to go to both National Parks, I recommend purchasing an America the Beautiful Pass. It is $80 for an entire year and allows you to get into most national parks and monuments (including both of these) for no additional cost. They also have great deals for those above 62 years old, including $80 for a lifetime pass or $20 for an annual pass. You can purchase online or at the entrance gate to any national park.
- Most of the photos seen here are with a 16-35mm lens. I highly recommend taking a wide angle so you can capture the full landscape.
- There are lots of animals in the region and I recommend taking a telephoto lens as well. I used both a 70-200mm and a 150-600mm while here. I mostly used these for shooting wildlife.
- If you are hoping to capture the reflection of the mountains in the water, you will need an ND filter as well as a good tripod.
- If you have an iPhone, you will be able to get some great photos as well. Make sure to take some panoramic shots.
Great viewpoint to get the river in the foreground and the mountains in the background. If you have the right light, a tripod, and an ND filter, you can hopefully get the mountains reflecting in the water.
There are two famous Moulton barns that you most likely have seen hundreds of photos of them. The Mormons came to this region in the 1890s to establish new communities and built several structures, 6 of which are still standing today. You can walk around the outside of the 2 Moulton barns.
This is one of the viewpoints that cannot be missed. It most likely will be packed with tourist buses, but I still highly recommend it. You have a view of the mountain with the river in the foreground. The classic view is from the parking lot with about a 35mm lens. There is a small but steep hill down to the riverside. I recommend going down to the bank of the river to get photos without any other people in it. We came down from Yellowstone and went on Grand Teton Rd first. This was our last stop and despite spending the day admiring the mountains, this was probably our favorite.
Snake River Overlook
This is the view that made Grand Teton famous. Back in 1842, Ansel Adams took the iconic picture of the Snake River with the Grand Tetons in the background. Unfortunately the trees have grown a lot since then so you cannot fully reproduce the picture, but you can still get some amazing photos.
Jenny Lake Overlook
What makes Grand Teton special is that you have these 13,000 feet mountains that are surrounded by plains, rather than a mountain range leading up to it. This is evident at this overlook where you can see the mountains climbing right from the shores of Jenny Lake. You will need to make sure to get off Grand Teton Rd and on to Jenny Lake Rd to see this spot. I recommend you take this scenic road as it parallels Grand Teton Rd, but goes right along the lake. It does not add on much time to go this way and the views are amazing.
Jackson Lake Overlook
We came down from Yellowstone and this is the first view that you will get of the entire mountain range. Another stop I highly recommend to admire the amazing view.
Look for Wildlife
Just like Yellowstone, Grand Teton is filled with lots of wildlife. You are actually more likely to see a moose in Grand Teton than Yellowstone these days. You will likely see lots of pronghorn and bison. Best places to look are in Antelope Flats near Mormon Row and Moose-Wilson scenic drive.
This is probably the busiest spot in Grand Teton and parking can definitely be an issue. This is where you can start on a hiking trail along the lake, during the summer rent Kayaks, or take a scenic cruise along the lake. If you are short on time, this is a spot that can probably be missed and is mostly filled with tourists.