Things to Do: Grand Teton National Park
Have you ever driven through a place on your way to your destination and thought to yourself, "Wow this is a great place!" or "Why haven't I've been here before?" Well it's happened to me on occasion, most recently on my way to Utah from Wyoming. I had spent a couple of days exploring the nations first national park, Yellowstone and planned to make my way down south towards Salt Lake City, Utah. After experiencing a place like Yellowstone; which I recommend everyone do at least once in their lifetime, I wasn't really sure what to expect of its adjacent park, Grand Teton National Park. The only thing that seemed to be in my mind was geysers, crystal-clear blue lakes, and bison...lots of bison! But as soon as I left Yellowstone and entered Grand Teton, which literally happens the minute you say bye to the Yellowstone park rangers, I knew I was somewhere magical!
Home to some of the most beautiful alpine scenery in the United States, Grand Teton National Park was created in 1929 and has been attracting millions of tourist ever since. Before Europeans arrived, the Teton area was an important gathering and hunting ground for the Paleo-Indians. In the early 1800s, mountain men spent time there; and decided to call the flat valley surrounded by mountains Jackson's Hole after the trapper Davey Jackson. The first settlers were ranchers and farmers, whose buildings and historic sites still linger to this day. When the park was established, it included only the mountains and the glacial lakes at their feet, portions of the valley were added in 1950.
Today the park's 485 square miles include both the Teton Range and much of Jackson Hole. Park roads, all in the valley, offer an ever changing panorama of the Tetons. The Tetons are popular amongst hikers; with backcountry trails climbing high into the mountains and behind them. Easy trails in the valley lead around lakes and beside wetlands where visitors can see moose, elk, deer, and many different species of birds.
THINGS TO DO
Wildlife Tours | A great way to view the wildlife in Grand Teton National Park is through a guided tour. Not only can you witness the incredible number of species that inhabit the park, but you'll also gain a more valuable experience by learning about the natural history, geology, and ecology of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
Jenny Lake Excursion | Experience the beautiful Teton views from the water. Jenny Lake Boating offers small, passenger shuttles across Jenny Lake at the base of Mount Teewinot. You can take the shuttle that runs to Inspiration Point every 10-15 minutes during the day or spend an hour on a scenic cruise with a knowledgeable guide.
Biking | Grand Teton National Park and John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway provide over 100 miles of paved roads offering splendid views of the Teton Range. The roads and multi-use pathway pass through several wildlife habitats, so be prepared to see an animal...or two!
Hiking | Hiking is one of the most popular things to do in Grand Teton National Park. The rugged nature of the landscape, which includes steep trails, high elevation, and extreme weather changes, make hiking a fun and challenging experience. The park has numerous trailheads, including scenic hikes around lakes such as Phelps, Jenny, Leigh, and Taggart.
Scenic Drives | Enjoy the geology, wildlife, and landscapes of Grand Teton National Park from the comfort and safety of your car. Scenic drives are a popular activity in the park, especially for families. Many turnouts are scattered along the park roads, providing safe places for visitors to stop and enjoy scenic views, witness wildlife, and of course take photographs!
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About The Author
In 2015, Founder of TMDE Paul Martinez left a career in sales for a life of exploring. In just a matter of months he had visited over 10 countries, 30 cities, 10 states, countless national parks, taken thousands of photographs, and did a ton of soul-searching. His search uncovered a deep passion for exploration; which he now believes to be the essence of the human spirit, and led to the birth of The Modern Day Explorer. You can follow him on his personal journey by visiting his Instagram, and hopefully continue to support TMDE by following us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.