Looking for an unforgettable Grand Teton itinerary? Well, look no further. Not only do we have a 2 day itinerary for you, but a 3 day and 4 day itinerary as well! Grand Teton is known for its abundant wildlife, beautiful lakes, colorful wildflowers and epic hikes. Truly, it’s a fantastic outdoor haven. If you love the great outdoors, you’ll love visiting Grand Teton National Park.
With so much to see and do, it can be a bit overwhelming trying to determine what to do with 48 or 72 hours in the park. We spent a month in the Jackson / Grand Teton area to compile a list of our favorite and must do things when exploring the park. Grand Teton is grandiose. Truly, there is no place like her and we can’t wait for you to see it for yourself!
Visiting Grand Teton National Park – Essential Information
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How Many Days Do You Need in Grand Teton?
While spending only one day in Grand Teton is doable, our suggestion is spending at least three days to four days. Three to four days is the perfect amount of time to not only see the highlights like Jackson Lake, Jenny Lake, Snake River Overlook, etc. But three days also allows you plenty of time to hit the hiking trails, to explore Jackson and to get some time close by or on the lakes and rivers.
How Much Does It Cost To Enter Grand Teton National Park?
First, a fun fact about Grand Teton National Park is that you can actually see the Teton range and have access to popular overlooks and pullouts before ever entering the National Park (aka paying)! Along highway 191, you have a picture perfect view of the towering Teton range. Plus, popular turnoffs like Mormon Row, Snake River Overlook and Schwabacher Landing are accessible from highway 191.
But back to the question. It costs $35 per vehicle to enter Grand Teton National Park. Your $35 entrance fee is good for seven consecutive days. If you are traveling by motorcycle, it’ll cost you $25 per bike and if you are entering the park by walking or cycling, it’ll cost you $20 per person.
Tip: If you plan to see other National Parks, we highly recommend getting a National Parks Pass to save you money on your entrance fees.
What Is The Best Time Of Year To Visit Grand Teton National Park?
The best time to visit Grand Teton National Park is June to September. The summer months are not only the best time to see wildflowers and wildlife, but the snow has melted making the waterfalls, lakes and rivers full of beautiful fresh mountain water. Plus, the weather is fantastic. Cool in the mornings and evenings and warm to hot during the days.
Another added bonus, is the amount of daylight. When we spent a month in Grand Teton in June, the sun didn’t set till 10pm! Talk about ample exploring time. The flip side to all of this is the summer months are the busiest months for the park. Plus, the prices in Jackson are higher due to peak season. If you’re wanting to avoid this, we suggest visiting in May or October.
Where To Stay & How To Get Around Grand Teton National Park
Lodging Inside Grand Teton National Park
- Jenny Lake Lodge: Considered the nicest lodge in the park, but that makes it the most expensive. However, the location is spot on (walkable to Jenny Lake) and the cabins are nice.
- Jackson Lake Lodge: Located close to Jackson Lake and Oxbow Bend and has nice views of the lake and Tetons.
- Signal Mountain Lodge Located on Signal Mountain, making this centrally located to all activities in Grand Tetons National Park.
- Colter Bay Village: This accommodation option happens to be the furthest north making it great if you’re planning to visit Yellowstone, but for everything else in Grand Tetons, you’re a decent drive away.
Outside of lodges, there are campgrounds and RV sites that require reservations to stay. For all first-come-first-serve camping, you’ll have to go outside of the park for that.
Located about 25 minutes from Teton National Park, Jackson is a great little downtown that’s the popular choice to stay for folks visiting Grand Teton National Park or Teton Ski Valley. Jackson has everything from luxury accommodations like Wyoming Inn of Jackson Hole, The Rustic Creekside in and The Lodge at Jackson Hole to boutique hotels like Hotel Jackson, Anvil Hotel and The Wort. Or, opt for a cozy roadside inn’s like The Antler Inn.
How To Get Around and Visit Grand Teton National Park
There are a few ways to visit Grand Teton National Park. The easiest and most popular option is visiting Grand Teton by car. You can easily rent a car at Jackson Hole Airport if you are flying into the area. A more active option is to explore the park by bike. There are bike rentals in Jackson or, you can rent bikes from Dornan’s located right outside the park entrance. There are no shuttle systems in Teton’s so renting some form of transportation is a must do when planning your Grand Teton Itinerary.
2, 3 & 4 Day Grand Teton Itinerary
Day One: Drive The Grand Teton 42 Mile Scenic Loop
What is the 42 Mile Scenic Drive Grand Teton you may be wondering? Well, it’s a 42 mile (68 km) loop that weaves in and out of Grand Teton National Park. Driving the 42 mile scenic loop, in our opinion is a great way to begin your Grand Teton Itinerary.
Why? It’s the best way to not only see the park highlights, but it allows you to orient yourself with where everything is in the park. Plus, if you like something and want to see it again, you have your additional days to swing back by and see it at sunrise, sunset or whenever you want!
- Sunrise at Mormon Row
- Jenny Lake to Hidden Falls to Inspiration Point Hike
- Drive up to Signal Mountain
- Have Lunch at Jackson Lake Beach and do a little swimming
- See if you can spot wildlife at Oxbow Bend
- Marvel at Snake River Overlook
- Catch the Teton reflection at Schwabacher Landing
- Drive Moose-Wilson Road to Teton Village
- Ride the Teton Village Gondola to The Deck @ Piste for happy hour
If you want complete day one itinerary details, check out our one day in Grand Tetons travel guide for an epic day one at Teton National Park.
Optional: Once you reach inspiration point, you can keep hiking another mile to reach Cascade Canyon. Once in Cascade Canyon, you’re surrounded by beautiful views of peaks, forests and a rushing river. You can hike the entirety of Cascade Canyon, which is a few more miles, or feel free to turn around at anytime and head back down to Jenny Lake.
Day Two: Hike to Delta Lake
One of if not THE most popular hike in Teton National Park (and for good reason) is the Delta Lake hike. You can access Delta Lake from the Lupine Meadows Trailhead in Grand Teton National Park.
However, the thing with Delta Lake is, you won’t see it on any of the trailhead signs when you arrive at Lupine Meadows Trailhead. Why? Delta Lake is an official unmaintained trail which is why you won’t see it on any trail signs. No worries though, simply follow signs for Amphitheater Lake and Surprise Lake. On your way up, count the switchbacks. Once you pass 6, you’ll reach the offshoot for Delta Lake Trail.
Tip: Plan to start hiking by 8am or earlier. This is a popular hike so the parking lot will fill up and the trail will get busy. The earlier you can start hiking, the better.
The hike in total is 8.2 miles / 13.1 km (roundtrip). The trail is out and back, rated as difficult and in some sections rated as strenuous, particularly the last 1.0 – 0.5 mile with the boulder scramble and steep uphill ascent to Delta Lake. The adventure and difficulty of this hike make that glacier, baby blue alpine lake at the top that much sweeter! Making Delta Lake a great first hike for your Grand Teton Itinerary.
Optional: You can extend your hike and explore two other amazing alpine lakes – amphitheater lake and surprise lake. Once you connect back on the main trail, take the switch backs up to explore a few other alpine lakes. Just be sure you have enough daylight to hike up and get back down.
After your hike to Delta Lake is complete, plan on stopping at Dornan’s on your way out of the park to have a celebratory beer on their roof top patio. The views of the Tetons from Dornan’s are worth the stop alone!
Day Three: Take A Tour and Go Kayaking
Take a break from your big hike yesterday and rest those muscles of yours. Our recommend is to book a morning tour of interest to you. Or, just take it easy and grab breakfast at Persephone and do a little souvenir shopping in Jackson. Or, even catch sunrise at one of your favorite overlooks from yesterday. The point being, it’s your vacation, spend your morning how you’d like.
- Grand Teton Wildlife Tour
- Scenic Snake River Rafting Tour
- Rent fishing gear from Snake River Anglers and go fishing
- Giddy up and hit the trails with a horseback riding tour
In the afternoon, plan to head to the park to get some time on the water! You can rent kayaks or paddle boards in the town of Jackson from Rendezvous River Sports or head into the park to Colter Bay Marina where you can rent kayaks, canoes and motorboats on Jackson Lake
Regardless which option you choose, spend they day on Jackson Lake swimming, kayaking and resting up on their rock beaches while having a little picnic.
Day Four: Conquer The Death Canyon to Patrol Cabin Hike
Ominous name much? Don’t let the name “Death Canyon” scare you. It’s not even rated as difficult 🙂 The Death Canyon to Patrol Cabin hike is a 9.1 mile / 14.6 km out and back hike located in Teton National Park. You can access the trailhead by driving scenic Moose-Wilson road and then turning off onto a very bumpy gravel road and go for 1 mile until you reach the Death Canyon Trailhead.
As you begin hiking, you’ll pass by Phelps Lake Overlook where you’ll get to see fantastic views of Phelps Lake below. You carry on into a valley and back up switch backs to continue your hike up to Patrol Cabin. Along the way, you’re rewarded with beautiful canyon and lake views.
Optional: Once you get back to Phelps Overlook, you can take the trail that heads down to Phelps lake. Along the lake you’ll come to a big boulder where you can jump off and take a cool, refreshing plunge into Phelps lake!
Once done with your hike, plan to head to Jackson for some dinner and drinks! A few of our favorite places to eat dinner in Jackson is Roadhouse Brewery and Hatch Taqueria & Tequilas. Oh and after dinner, stumble into The Cowboy Bar for an after dinner drink and this historic establishment.
Have More Time In Grand Teton National Park?
If you have more than four days allotted on your Grand Teton Itinerary, we recommend doing another hike or two or heading to Yellowstone National Park for a day! A few of our favorite and popular hikes are below.
Go On Another Hike
- Lake Creek-Woodland Trail Loop: 3.3 miles | difficulty level: moderate | elevation gain: 272 ft
- String Lake Trail Loop: 4.4 miles | difficulty level: easy | elevation gain: 291 ft
- Taggart to Bradley Lake: 6 miles | difficulty level: moderate | elevation gain: 761 ft
- Leigh Lake Shoreline: 7 miles | difficulty level: easy | elevation gain: 111 ft
Visit Yellowstone National Park
If you’re thinking hmmmm, Yellowstone National Park sounds interesting. You should totally do it! With Yellowstone being only an hour away from Teton’s, and not to mention, you drive through Teton National Park to get to Yellowstone, both national parks should be on your list to visit if time allows.
You can plan on driving the south loop of Yellowstone National Park to see places like:
- Old Faithful
- Midway Geyser Basin (Grand Prismatic Spring)
- Norris Geyser Basin
- Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
- Hayden Valley
- Yellowstone Lake
- West Thumb Geyser Basin
Leaving Grand Teton National Park, driving the southern loop in Yellowstone and coming back to your accommodation in the Teton area will be a long, but fun day! Plan on it taking you anywhere from 8-12 hours.
What To Pack For Grand Teton:
No Grand Teton Itinerary is complete without a little overview on what to prep and prepare. Once you’re in the park, we want you to be there and enjoy your time and our short packing list will help with that.
- Snacks: Whether they’re in your car or in your hiking day pack, having snacks is key. You’ll be spending long days in the park and no one wants to be hangry.
- Sunscreen: You’re at a higher elevation, meaning you’re closer to the sun. Lather up and protect that skin of yours. If you can, go the eco-friendly route to protect the pristine waters from sunscreen chemicals.
- Reusable Water Bottle: Avoid plastic bottles. Do your part to limit waste and opt for a reusable water bottle. You can fill up for free and Jenny Lake, Jackson Lake and any gas stations.
- First Aid Kit: For any blisters or accidental cuts. It’ll save you the hassle (and pain) of trying to track bandaids/medicine down from strangers or park rangers.
- Layers: In the mornings and evenings, the temperatures are chilly. Plan to have a jacket or fleece with you. Something you can take off as the day heats up.
- Comfortable Footwear: Comfortable sandals like Choco’s or Teva’s are great options, especially for summer! If you’re going on any trails, tennis shoes with tread are a must, or opt for a good pair of hiking boots.
- Bug Spray: THE MOSQUITOS are alive, well and THRIVING in Grand Tetons. No joke.
- Binoculars: We can’t tell you how many times we used our binoculars to see moose eating on the Gros Ventre river. You’ll be able to see wildlife much better if you have a pair of binoculars with you.
If you plan to have lunch on the go, a cooler is a must. Just make sure to keep it out of your truck bed as it could attract bears. Bear tips courtesy of our park ranger friends we ran into. Yes, we were the ones with the cooler in the back of the truck…
Where To Eat In Jackson?!
Jackson is full of amazing little restaurants and cafes. Some of our favorites re just below!
Breakfast & Coffee In Jackson
- Persephone Bakery: There is a line out the door every morning. This place is a must.
- Coffee Cowboy: For something grab and go, but very tasty.
- Pearl Street Bagels: Fantastic bagels and a little coffee shop too
Lunch & Dinner In Jackson
- Hatch Taqueria & Tequilas: Amazing patio, excellent Mexican food
- Cafe Genevieve: Another amazing patio, with great American fare
- Pinky G’s Pizzeria: Fantastic little dive pizza bar
- Bin22: If you’re in the mood for tapas, go here.
- Cultivate Cafe: Organic, fresh and fantastic.
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– Lauren & Jesse Stuart (The Stüs)