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How many days do you need in Grand Teton National Park? How do you plan the perfect Grand Teton itinerary?

The answer to these questions depends on two big factors. How much time do you have? And how much do you like to go hiking?

For those who just want to see the main highlights, one day is really all that you need in Grand Teton National Park. But for those who want to dive deeper into the park, by exploring the hundreds of miles that criss-cross the Teton range, then you can spend days, weeks even, and never run out of things to do.

In this post, get an overview on the best things to do in the park, when to visit, and get a sample Grand Teton itinerary, depending on your interests and available time.

Whether you have just a day, or an entire week, we have some great options to share with you.
 

Overview of Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park is located in northwestern Wyoming. This park preserves the Grand Teton mountain range, a cluster of rocky, jagged peaks that are fun to photograph and even more fun to explore on foot.

This is also a great place to spot wildlife. From the roads and the hiking trails, you can spot elk, moose, and sometimes bison. Once you head up into the mountains, it is not unusual to see black bear and sometimes grizzly bears.

Most visitors will spend their time on the eastern side of the Teton range. This is where you will find numerous overlooks of the mountains, Mormon Row, Oxbow Bend, Jenny Lake, and a handful of other very pretty lakes.

Hiking trails head into the mountains and this is where the true adventures await. From these hiking trails, you can hike through the valleys, counting the moose along the way, or hike to some of the tallest peaks for extraordinary views over Wyoming.

Best Time to Visit Grand Teton National Park

The best time to visit Grand Teton National Park is from mid-May through October, when all of the roads and visitor centers are open.

June, July and August are the busiest months in the park. Expect big crowds on the hiking trails, difficulty finding a parking space midday, and sold out lodges inside of the park.

The best time of day for wildlife sightings is at dawn and dusk.

If you want to see the park ablaze in fall colors, the end of September into very early October is best time to visit.

From November through mid-May, Teton Park Road is closed, along with several other scenic roads, such as Moose Wilson Road and the road to the summit of Signal Mountain.

The best time to plan your Grand Teton National Park itinerary is from the end of May through October, when the roads and hiking trails are open.

Grand Teton Fall Colors

Grand Teton National Park in late September.

 

Best Things to Do in Grand Teton National Park

Here is a list of the top things to do in Grand Teton National Park. For more information, and many more photos, check out our post about the best things to do in Grand Teton National Park.

How to Use This Map: Click the icons on the map to get more information about each point of interest. Click the star next to the title of the map to add this map to your Google Maps account. To view it on your phone or computer, open Google Maps, click the menu button, go to “Your Places,” click Maps, and you will see this map on your list.

1. Drive the 42-mile Scenic Drive. This 42-mile loop takes you through the heart of Grand Teton National Park. Drive down the length of the Teton mountain range, along Jenny and Jackson Lakes, and past numerous scenic overlooks. Along the way, you have the option to detour to Signal Mountain, Jenny Lake Scenic Drive, or numerous hiking trails in the park.

2. Jenny Lake Scenic Drive. Jenny Lake Scenic Drive is a one-way road that follows along the eastern edge of Jenny Lake. Along the way, stop at the Jenny Lake overlook for one of the best views of the lake.

3. Inspiration Point and Hidden Falls. Hidden Falls is a waterfall located in the Teton range next to Jenny Lake. Inspiration Point is a viewpoint over Jenny Lake. You can combine these two places into one hike. Get here by riding the Jenny Lake shuttle across Jenny Lake.

Trail to Inspiration Point

Trail to Inspiration Point

 

Jenny Lake

The view of Jenny Lake from Inspiration Point

4. Mormon Row Historic District. This is one of the best sunrise spots in Grand Teton National Park. This iconic shot of the historic barn with the Tetons in the background attracts photographers from around the world.

Mormon Row

Mormon Row Historic District

5. Schwabacher Landing. For one of the most scenic views of the Teton mountain range, don’t miss Schwabacher Landing. This is a great place to capture the reflection of the mountain range in the Snake River.

How Many Days do You Need in Grand Teton

Schwabacher Landing

6. Oxbow Bend. This is the place to get the iconic view of Mt. Moran’s reflection in the Snake River. It’s also a great place to spot wildlife in the early morning hours.

7. The Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve & Visitor Center. This reserve is an 1,100 acre refuge located within Grand Teton National Park and was donated by the Rockefeller family in 2001. With just one small parking lot, this Preserves gets far fewer visitors than the heart of Grand Teton National Park. If you like the idea of easy hikes with low crowds, this belongs high on your Grand Teton to-do list.

8. Hike to Phelps Lake. Located on the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve, you can hike the 7 mile trail that loops around Phelps Lake. Hike up to the viewpoint over Phelps Lake for one of our favorite views in Grand Teton National Park.

9. Go Hiking. Take your pick from trails that stroll around scenic lakes or trails that head deep into the Teton Range. If you are a hiker, this park is absolutely amazing with the variety of hikes you have to choose from. Get the full list in our post 15 Great Day Hikes in Grand Teton National Park.

Death Canyon

Death Canyon

 

Best Hikes Grand Teton

Static Peak Divide

10. Signal Mountain. From the summit of Signal Mountain, you get panoramic views over the park, the Teton range, and Jackson Lake. Signal Mountain Road is 4.4 miles long and it takes 15 minutes to drive it one way.

How Many Days Do You Need in Grand Teton National Park?

Plan on spending at least one full day in Grand Teton National Park. This gives you enough time to drive Scenic Loop Drive and take your photos at Mormon Row, Schwabacher Landing, and Oxbow Bend. It also gives you enough time to hike one of the trails, whether it is the uber popular Jenny Lake + Inspiration Point combo or something else, such as Phelps Lake, Taggart Lake, or hiking into one of the canyons.

If you just want to see the highlights of Grand Teton National Park, and feel no need to hike into the Tetons, one day is really all that you need to spend here.

However, if you enjoy hiking, or if you want to spend more time photographing the landscapes and wildlife of the park, add as many days as you can.

On our most recent visit to Grand Teton National Park, we spent six days here and still didn’t get to everything we hoped to do. The list of hikes is wonderfully long so you will see us back here again at some point.

If your visit to Grand Teton is part of a bigger road trip (this is easily combined with Yellowstone, which sits just to the north), I recommend spending three or four days here, if you plan to go hiking.

But for those with even more time, you could spend a week here and never run out of things to do.

Grand Teton National Park Itinerary

Here are sample Grand Teton itineraries, starting with a one day itinerary.

One Day Grand Teton Itinerary

In the morning, spend your time at the viewpoints and overlooks, when the lighting is perfect for photography. Midday, exit the park when the crowds are the biggest and have lunch in Jackson or ride the cable from Teton Village into the mountain peaks. In the afternoon, return to the park and do the Jenny Lake + Inspiration Point combo.

Sunrise and Early Morning: Photograph the barns at Mormon Row, capture the reflection of the Teton mountain range in the Snake River at Schwabacher Landing, and make like Ansel Adams at the Snake River Overlook, once again photographing the Tetons. Wind your way up to Oxbow Bend.

Snake River Overlook

Snake River Overlook

Mid-Morning: Drive south on Teton Park Road towards Jenny Lake. I recommend stopping off to the the short, easy, scenic stroll around String and Leigh Lakes. Drive Jenny Lake Scenic Road and enjoy the view from Jenny Lake Overlook.

Leigh Lake

String Lake

Midday: Crowds are enormous midday in Grand Teton in the summer and early fall. Rather than joining the crowds, I recommend leaving the park for just a little bit. Yes, that sounds crazy, but we do it a lot and it works very well. Either have lunch and do a little shopping in Jackson or go to Teton Village and ride the aerial tram to Rendezvous Peak. From Rendezvous Peak, you have jaw-dropping views across the Teton Range.

One Day in Grand Teton

Rendezvous Peak

Afternoon: Mid-afternoon, return to Grand Teton National Park. You can ride the Jenny Lake shuttle across Jenny Lake and hike to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point. Or, take your pick from one of the other shorter hiking trails. Taggart Lake and Phelps Lake make nice options for the afternoon.

For a detailed version of this itinerary, with suggestions on how to modify this, whether you are a photographer, a hiker, or traveling as a family, read our post One Perfect Day in Grand Teton National Park.

Two Day Grand Teton Itinerary

With two days in Grand Teton, you have enough time to visit the highlights and add on either a visit to the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve or a big hike.

Day 1: Follow the one day Grand Teton itinerary above.

Day 2: Take your pick from these two options

Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve

Morning and Midday: Visit the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve. Plan on getting here before 9 am because parking is very limited. The small parking lot is meant to limit the number of visitors, so this is a great place to visit if you want to escape the crowds in the heart of the park.

Visit the visitor center, hike the Phelps Lake Loop (7 miles, 3 to 4 hours), and if it is warm, you can go swimming in the lake and relax on the beach. Yes, there is a tiny beach on the far side of the lake. For a great view, hike up to Phelps Lake Overlook.

Laurance S Rockefeller Visitor Center

Phelps Lake Loop Hike

Phelps Lake

 

Phelps Lake Overlook

Phelps Lake Overlook

PRO TRAVEL TIP: If you are staying in Jackson, drive north on Moose Wilson Road to get to the Preserve. Along this somewhat scenic drive you have a good chance to spot moose.

Afternoon: Visit the northern side of the park and walk the Lakeshore Trail in Colter Bay, enjoying more views of the Teton Range. Or, spend the afternoon and evening in Jackson. 

Go Hiking

Spend the day on a hiking trail. The list is long, but some of our favorites are Death Canyon to Patrol Cabin (8 miles, 4 to 6 hours), Taggart Lake and Bradley Lakes (5.5 miles, 2 to 3 hours), and Cascade Canyon (10 miles, 5 to 7 hours).

If you are fit and fast, our favorite hike in the park is the Paintbrush Canyon + Cascade Canyon Loop. This hike is 20 miles long and takes 8 to 12 hours as a day hike. It’s a tough hike, and typically done as a 2 to 3 day backpacking trip, but if you are in great shape, you can do this in one day. Get the full details here.

Best Hikes in Grand Teton

Hiking from Solitude Lake to Cascade Canyon

Three Day Grand Teton Itinerary

With three days, you see the highlights of the park, go hiking, and visit the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve.

Day 1: Follow the one day Grand Teton itinerary above.

Day 2: Visit the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve, hike the Phelps Lake Loop Trail, and spend some time in Jackson.

Day 3: Go hiking. Get hiking recommendations here.

PRO TRAVEL TIP: Colter Bay Village, with its very nice views of the Teton Range from across Jackson Lake, is a quick but worthwhile visit. However, it’s a long drive to get here from Jackson and Teton Village.
 
If you have plans to visit Yellowstone National Park next, or if you will be visiting Yellowstone before your visit to Grand Teton National Park, I recommend visiting Colter Bay Village when driving between these two parks. It makes a nice pitstop on the drive.

Jackson Lake

The view of Jackson Lake from the Lakeshore Trail in Colter Bay Village.

Four Day Grand Teton Itinerary

With four days in Grand Teton, you can visit the Grand Teton highlights, go hiking, and either day trip to Yellowstone (if Yellowstone is not part of your road trip), spend some more time hiking, or go white water rafting on the Snake River.

Day 1: Follow our one day Grand Teton itinerary

Day 2: Visit the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve, hike the Phelps Lake Loop Trail, and spend some time in Jackson.

Day 3: Go hiking. Get hiking recommendations here.

Day 4: Take your pick from these options.

Yellowstone Day Trip

With one day in Yellowstone, you have just enough time to hit the highlights…Old Faithful, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Grand Prismatic Spring, and the wildlife in Hayden Valley.

We did this on our most recent visit in September 2020. We drove north into Yellowstone, to escape the cold, stormy weather in Grand Teton National Park. Even though we have visited Yellowstone numerous times, we have never been here on a day trip, but I can tell you, it works surprisingly well.

Go Hiking

Hike another trail in Grand Teton National Park.

Grand Teton Itinerary Summer

Taggart Lake

Go White Water Rafting

There are numerous companies that offer rafting excursions on the Snake River. It’s a beautiful spot to go rafting, with mountain views and the chance to see wildlife…not to mention the adrenaline rush that comes with rafting over rapids like The Big Kahuna and Lunch Counter.

There are different types of rafting trips. Take your pick between a mellow, scenic float trip or a more adventurous whitewater rafting trip. 

Here is a list of white water rafting companies in Jackson Hole or you can check out these tour options.

 

Five Day Grand Teton Itinerary

Day 1: Follow our one day Grand Teton itinerary where you visit the highlights of the park.

Day 2: Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve and Jackson

Day 3: Go hiking

Day 4: Yellowstone Day Trip or White Water Rafting

Day 5: Go hiking

Six or More Days in Grand Teton National Park

Beyond the five day itinerary listed above, each extra day you add onto Grand Teton National Park gives you more time for hiking. This gives you plenty of time, if you want to backpack the Paintbrush Canyon – Cascade Canyon Loop in two or three days or hike the Teton Crest Trail.

Cascade Canyon

Cascade Canyon

Where to Stay

Grand Teton National Park

There are numerous lodges and campgrounds available inside of the park. Click here to learn more about your options. 

Teton Village

This resort offers hotels and restaurants, plus gondolas, chair lifts, and a cable car that will whisk you up to Rendezvous Peak for stunning views over the Tetons. If you like the idea of staying in a resort town just outside of the park, this is a great place to consider.

Jackson

From Jackson, it takes just 15 minutes to drive to Moose (the southern end of Grand Teton National Park) and 30 minutes to drive to Jenny Lake. With a large number of accommodations and restaurants, this is a great place to base yourself for visiting the park.

This is where we stay when we visit Grand Teton National Park.

Wyoming Inn at Jackson Hole. This is one of the highest rated hotels in Jackson. It is not located in the city center, so you will have to drive to the town square and park your car if you want to visit the heart of Jackson. But we loved the spacious room, excellent Wi-Fi, and comfy beds.

The Lodge at Jackson Hole. This hotel is located next door to the Wyoming Inn, mentioned above. We stayed here on our most recent visit. We had a great stay…the room was clean, very quiet, and comfortable. We liked the Wyoming Inn a little bit better but we wouldn’t hesitate to stay here again, especially since prices are a little lower. To get into the heart of Jackson, it is a short drive or a 20-minute walk.

Hotel Jackson. This boutique hotel looks amazing. Just five minutes from the town square, rooms are beautifully decorated. All rooms have a gas fireplace and the hotel has two onsite restaurants and a hot tub.

Cowboy Village Resort. On our first visit to Grand Teton National Park, this is where Tim and I stayed. Western-style cabins come equipped with a private bathroom and a kitchenette.

The Wort Hotel. If you want an upscale experience in the city center of Jackson, the Wort Hotel gets great reviews.

Practical Information

Entrance Fee: $35 per vehicle, valid for 7 days

Hours of Operation: Grand Teton National Park is open 24 hours a day, year-round. For opening hours of the visitor centers and current conditions, click here. 

Grand Teton App: Before you go, download the Grand Teton National Park app, to get updates on road closures, trail status, and services throughout the park. 

Check the national park service website for important updates and possible trail and road closures, both as you plan your trip and just before visiting Grand Teton National Park.

Where Are You Going Next?

Here is more information for your trip to Grand Teton National Park and Wyoming.

ROAD TRIP IDEA: Grand Teton, Yellowstone, & Glacier National Parks: 10 Day Road Trip Itinerary
ONE DAY IN GRAND TETON: One Perfect Day in Grand Teton National Park
THINGS TO DO: 15 Amazing Things to do in Grand Teton National Park
DAY HIKES: 15 Best Day Hikes in Grand Teton National Park
HIKING: How to Hike the Paintbrush Canyon – Cascade Canyon Loop
HIKING: How to Hike Death Canyon to the Static Peak Divide
HIKING: How to Hike to Surprise, Amphitheater and Delta Lakes
YELLOWSTONE DAY TRIP: The Perfect Yellowstone Day Trip from Grand Teton National Park
YELLOWSTONE: 18 Amazing Things to Do in Yellowstone
YELLOWSTONE: Yellowstone Itinerary: Best Way to Spend 1 to 5 Days in Yellowstone
DEVILS TOWER:  Complete Guide to Devils Tower: How to Plan Your Visit


If you have any questions about how many days you need in Grand Teton, or if you have any questions about how to plan your Grand Teton itinerary, let us know in the comment section below.

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Grand Teton National Park Itinerary

 

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Comments 4

  1. Thank you for so much information. We are first time visitors to Yellowstone and Grand Tetons. We have one day to spend in the Grand Tetons. We are staying outside of Cody and driving through the East Entrance of Yellowstone and then south to the Grand Tetons. I know this will be a lot for driving and a very long day. Would you please share the must see spots and an itinerary coming from the north and making the loop. Thank you again.

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      Hello Kathy. Yes, it will a lot of driving. From Cody, you are looking at about 6 hours of driving time round trip and that just gets you to the northern part of Grand Teton National Park (Colter Bay). To then visit places in Grand Teton, factor in another 2 hours of driving, for a grand total of 8 hours. Unless you leave very early, you will be getting to Grand Teton mid to late morning so parking could be challenging. If you haven’t seen it, you can do a modified version of our one day Grand Teton itinerary. Visit Oxbow Bend, Snake River Overlook, Schwabacher Landing, and Mormon Row (doing the loop on our itinerary in the opposite direction). Then visit Jenny Lake and keep your fingers crossed that the shuttle lines aren’t too long. If they are long, you can walk part or all of the Jenny Lake Loop for nice views of the Tetons. Alternatively, Leigh and String Lakes should be less crowded and you have the option to walk part of the Paintbrush Canyon Trail. For more nice views, drive to the top of Signal Mountain before starting the drive back to Yellowstone. You can get an early dinner in Colter Village. I hope you have a great trip to Wyoming! Cheers, Julie

  2. Hi, First I would like to say, thank you so much for writing this travel blog. Your posts have really helped me out in planning countless family vacations! Your itineraries are easy to read and your trail information is spectacular! This summer my family will be traveling in the Teton/ Yellowstone area and this post (along with several others you have written) have been lifesavers for my own planning. So I just wanted to say THANK YOU!

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