A few summers ago, I lived and worked right outside of Grand Teton National Park in Jackson, Wyoming. I spent a lot of time exploring the park, hiking the trails, and stopping at every scenic overlook on the map. There are so many fun things to do in Grand Teton National Park, and I’m glad I was able to experience most of it.
Grand Teton is best known for its namesake mountain range, the Tetons. Once you’ve seen the jagged ridgeline of the Tetons, you’ll recognize it instantly in any photo. People ski nearby in the winter, but summer is an even better time to see the Tetons. Grand Teton is a popular spot for climbing, mountaineering, and hiking.
Among the many things to do in Grand Teton National Park, you’ll find serene hiking spots, historic buildings, incredible viewpoints, and an abundance of wildlife. This park is definitely an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts and those who enjoy biking, walking, and climbing.
However, if you don’t have much time to spend in the park, you can still see and do a lot. There are plenty of things to do in Grand Teton National Park in just one day. Maybe you don’t want to do a big hike or gear up, but you can still check out all of the sights and cool spots around the park.
Most of these are easy stops off the main park road.
15 Things to Do in Grand Teton National Park
Craig Thomas Discovery & Visitor Center
This visitor’s center is in Moose Village, just before the entrance station on Teton Park Road. It’s a great first stop for your first time in the park. Exhibits & displays fill most of the building, providing information about the wildlife in the park and geologic formations. The bookstore is a good place to pick up maps and trail guides or any souvenirs. Park rangers can also give you more info on things to do in Grand Teton National Park.
Mormon Row & Moulton Barn
The highly-photographed Moulton Barn is part of the greater Mormon Row Historic District. This collection of buildings (old homes and barns) was settled by Mormon homesteaders back in the 1800’s. It is now recognized by the National Register of Historic Places. Walking up and down the road will give you a peak into life on a 19th-century homestead. This area is also a great place to spot bison and antelope.
Signal Mountain Summit Road
Signal Mountain Summit Road takes you up 800 feet above the valley floor (7,593 feet total) to the top of Signal Mountain. The summit overlook is a great view over the valley below, but the Jackson Point overlook is the better view in my opinion. This overlook is not too far from the summit, but it looks out over Jackson Lake instead of the valley floor. However, both are views are pretty picturesque.
Go on a Short Hike
Hiking is one of the best things to do in Grand Teton National Park. Walking the trails gives you a chance to see the mountains, lakes, and wildflowers up close. While there are tons of great full-day and overnight hikes in the Tetons, not everyone has time for it. Take a short hike instead, something 5 miles or less that can be done in just a couple of hours. It’s a great way to start your day in the park, followed by sightseeing.
Jenny Lake Shuttle Boat
Jenny Lake is one of the most popular lakes in the park and has many activities surrounding it. One fun thing to do on the lake is to take the shuttle boat. The Jenny Lake shuttle boat takes passengers across the lake, from the east boat dock to the west boat dock (and back). The shuttle is generally meant to make hikers’ trips a little bit shorter (it cuts off 2 miles around the south end of the lake), but anyone can ride the shuttle one-way or roundtrip.
It costs $15 roundtrip, or $9 one-way. It’s a quick ride but you’ll get beautiful views of the lake and mountains.
Menors Ferry Historic District
Menors Ferry Historic District is just past the Moose entrance. Some of the buildings have been preserved and visitors can take a short self-guided tour of the area. Menors ferry is a wooden platform that was used to transport people across the river back in the day, and you can still take a ride on the ferry. There’s also a general store set up next to the ferry with local goods for sale, as well as things like old cookbooks.
Chapel of Transfiguration
The Chapel of Transfiguration was built in 1925, before Grand Teton became a national park. It was used regularly by local ranchers. The main draw of the chapel is the picture window. The chapel was built facing the Teton range, and the window creates the perfect shrine to the mountains. It is located next to Menors Ferry.
Hike to Hidden Falls
Hidden Falls is one of the most popular attractions in Grand Teton National Park. It sits on the west side of Jenny Lake and it requires a short hike to get there. There are multiple routes you can take to get to the waterfall: You can hike 2 miles around the south end of the lake, starting at the South Jenny Lake area; you can hike from the String Lake trailhead; or you can take the shuttle (as mentioned above). If you take the shuttle there & back, it only requires a 1 mile roundtrip hike to see the falls. It is all uphill, though, so be prepared!
Signal Mountain Lodge
Signal Mountain Lodge is the only lodge in the park that sits right on the water. It is centrally-located, near the Jackson Lake Junction. The lodge includes a variety of accommodations, a marina, plus restaurants and shops. Walk down to the marina for great views of Jackson Lake. Even if you’re not staying here, visit Needles gift shop for cute souvenirs or eat at the Trapper Grill.
The Cathedral Group is the name given to the major peaks of the Teton range. Grand Teton, the tallest in the group, is the most recognizable. Other peaks include Mount Owen and Teewinot, but a few others are also grouped in with them. There is a sign-marked turnout for the best viewing of the Cathedral Group near Jenny Lake.
Jackson Lake Lodge
Jackson Lake Lodge is located on the north end of the park, just off of highway 89. This is a central hub of the park. There’s lots of accommodation here, both in the lodge and in surrounding cabins and campgrounds. You’ll also find restaurants, gift shops, and activities around the lodge. Take half an hour to sit out on the back patio for a stunning view of the Tetons.
Spot the Wildlife
There’s no shortage of wildlife in Grand Teton. Here you’ll find moose, bison, pronghorn, and many other creatures both big and small. While you’re not guaranteed to see anything, it’s pretty likely that you will if you know where to look (or just ask a ranger about wildlife sightings that day). Stick to the eastern side of the park if you’re looking for bison–they hang around Mormon row and in the open fields. Moose can be tougher to spot, but they like to hang out near ponds and the marshlands.
The Murie Ranch
The Murie Ranch is the former homestead of the Muries, well-known naturalists and conservationists in the Grand Teton area. The family lived on the property until early 2000s, and it is now home to the Murie Center. You can tour the homestead alone or guided by a ranger.
Jackson Lake Dam
The Jackson Lake Dam is operated by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. It was built to help with irrigation throughout the Snake River basin. This may be the park’s least-natural feature, but it is still an interesting thing to see as your tour Teton Park Road.
Leek’s Marina Pizzeria
There are many dining options within Grand Teton National Park, but a lot of them are on the more formal/expensive side. The pizzeria is the perfect casual dining stop for a day in the park. You can order full pizzas (also to go) or get a slice. I had the Pesto Pie pizza with artichokes and it was delicious.
This is just a short list of many, many amazing things to do in Grand Teton National Park. Don’t forget to add in a longer hike or rent a bike to tour the park if you have time. And if you’re in the area, be sure to spend some time in the town of Jackson and Teton Village for even more fun.
Have you ever been to Grand Teton National Park? What was your favorite thing to do there?
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