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Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
Fast Facts
X-Country Skiing
Historic Interest
Boating & Sailing
Tourist Attractions
Kid-Friendly Hotels
Family-Friendly Tours
Points of Interest Nearby
Family Travel Tips

Teton Range from Dornan's


Photo by Alfredo De Simone

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Grand Teton National Park may be significantly smaller than its northerly neighbor yet it merits a visit. Even if for one day. Watch waterfowl on Jackson Lake. Bird at Willow Flats. Spot moose at Oxbow Bend. View bison on glacial terraces. Look for pronghorn in sagebrush flats. Float the Snake River in an inflatable raft. Take a boat ride on Jenny Lake. Make a river crossing on a wooden ferry. Hike mountain trails. Climb canyon walls. Come face to face with glaciers. Visit an historic settlement. Tour a Native American exhibit. Take part in a ranger-guided program. See Alpine Scenery. Grand Teton National Park is a great family travel destination. It's an ideal place to discover nature and learn about life on the frontier.
Getting There
Grand Teton National Park is located just south of Yellowstone in the U.S. state of Wyoming. The park is accessible from the north, east and south. All routes boast a scenic drive. The nearest airports are Jackson Hole Airport (JAC) in Jackson, Wyoming and Idaho Falls Regional Airport (IDA) in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Denver, Colorado and Salt Lake City, Utah are a 10 and 6-hour drive respectively. Mass transit in this part of the west is all but absent. Bus service will get you to Jackson but it won't get you round the Grand Tetons. This U.S. National Park is best visited by car. A bicycle and guided tour are alternative means of travel.
Getting Around
A scenic drive on Teton Park Road (closed in winter) is a great way to begin a family trip. It affords exceptional views of the Tetons and a chance to spot wildlife from the roadway. Time permitting, stop at a lookout or two - Jenny Lake, Snake River and Oxbow Bend are favorites with kids - and stretch your legs on a Teton trail, many of them are graded easy. Ranger-guided hikes and winter snowshoe walks are a great place to begin. Not only are the rangers knowledgeable, they make outings exciting. Want to walk alone? The following Teton trails are ideal for families. The level 0.5-mile Menor's Ferry and 2-mile Coulter Bay trails are both graded easy and are walkable with young children. (Self-guided brochures are available at the trailheads.) String Lake Trail, 3.3 miles roundtrip, offers a bit more adventure. This easy trail crosses two footbridges and traverses habitats home to moose, elk, marmots and deer. Don't forget to pack a towel; splashing in String Lake is part of the fun! Jenny Lake Trail - 6.6 miles round trip - need not be hiked in its entirety. Nor is it the only way to reach Cascade Canyon Trailhead. Here are two alternatives: 1) Take the shuttle boat from Jenny Lake Visitor Center to the Cascade Canyon Trailhead and hike back to your vehicle. The hike round the south end of the lake is an easy 2.2 miles. 2) Follow the moderate Cascade Canyon Trail to Hidden Falls, 1-mile roundtrip. Take the shuttle boat one-way or out and back. Traveling with high energy teens and tweens? The 8.8-mile Hermitage Point Trail is a great choice for families in search of a ½ day hiking trip. This gently rolling trail graded easy winds its way through a variety of wildlife habitats. Traverse forests and meadows, walk along ponds and streams. Alternatively, follow Cascade Canyon Trail all the way to Inspiration Point. This strenuous trail climbs 700 feet and when combined with the hike round Jenny Lake's south shore takes 4 hours to complete.
When to Travel
The climate in the Grand Tetons is alpine. Summer days are warm with an average high of 80°F or 27°C. Winter days are cold and oftentimes frigid. The average high in January is a mere 25°F (-4°C). The nighttime lows are significantly cooler than the daytime high. Rain is likely in summer and snow is possible from September through June. Plan to dress in layers and pack warm clothes whether you visit in June or the dead of winter. River rafting is ideal from May to early September.
Health & Safety
Dehydration, high elevation, wildlife encounters and rapid changes in the weather are the main cause of incidents at this U.S. National Park. Pack rain gear and extra clothing even if it is warm and sunny when you set out. Carry plenty of water (4 liters per person per day is recommended when hiking in summer) and encourage the children to drink regularly. Don't drink the water in the lakes, river or streams unless you have boiled or filtered it first. Select a trail that is commensurate with the age and ability of the kids. Check trail conditions at the ranger station. View wildlife at a safe distance and never feed animals, no matter how small. Be bear aware at all times; carry bear spray and make lots of noise on day hikes and in the backcountry and store food and discard debris in apposite bear safe containers.
Hours & Seasons
Grand Teton National Park is open 24 hours a day year-round. The Craig Thomas Discovery & Visitor Center is open 9:00 - 17:00 in winter and 8:00 - 19:00 in summer. Closed December 25. The Jenny Lake, Coulter Bay and Flagg Ranch centers and stations are open seasonally. Ranger-led interpretive programs are offered May through October. Ranger-led guided snowshoe hikes are offered December through March. Many of the programs are family-oriented and offer kids a chance to earn a junior ranger badge. The daily program is posted at each visitor center and is published in the park newspaper seasonally.
Admission & Fees
A single entry fee, valid for 7 consecutive days at both Grand Teton and Yellowstone, is charged per vehicle (per person for visitors traveling by foot or bicycle). A day use fee is available in winter only. Annual passes, interagency and single park, offer value for repeat and multiple park visits. Backcountry permits are required for all overnight backcountry trips and can be reserved in advance (Jan. 1 to May 15) or obtained in person (first-come first-serve). A permit is required for boating and floating.
Things to Keep in Mind
Junior ranger booklets are available at park visitor centers.
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Travel Trivia
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