I have traveled to over 50 countries on seven continents, more than half of which were visited solo. I love traveling, being outdoors, and hiking. I hope to inspire others to travel and explore further, even if that means going alone.
Hey, I'm Ashley!
Grand Teton National Park is one of my favorite national parks with its jagged peaks, alpine lakes, and abundant wildlife. From easy strolls to challenging treks, Grand Teton National Park also offers a variety of trails. Just make sure you don’t miss the best! Each of these hikes will leave you with lasting memories.
The best time to visit Grand Teton National Park depends on what you want to do and see. The peak tourist season runs from mid-June through August. During this time the weather is warm and all park facilities are open. You can also enjoy a wide range of activities, including hiking, camping, fishing, wildlife viewing, and scenic drives. However, this is also the busiest time of the year, and the park can get very crowded with visitors.
If you prefer a quieter experience, consider visiting in May or September. At this time, the crowds have thinned out. However, keep in mind that some park roads and facilities may be closed or limited during the shoulder seasons. Check the park website before planning your trip. Winter is another great time to visit the park if you enjoy snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, or other winter sports.
Getting to Grand Teton National Park is relatively easy. There are several ways to get there, depending on your location and preferences. Here are some of the most popular options:
The nearest airport to Grand Teton National Park is Jackson Hole Airport. This airport is located just 10 miles from the park’s southern entrance. The airport is also served by several major airlines.
Grand Teton National Park is easily accessible by car, with several major highways leading to the park. Don’t forget to bring a map or GPS device. Cell service can be limited in some areas of the park.
Several companies offer guided tours to Grand Teton National Park from major cities such as Jackson, Wyoming. These tours typically include transportation and guided activities.
Grand Teton National Park offers a range of accommodations to suit every type of traveler and budget. Whether you’re looking for a rustic cabin, a cozy lodge, or a backcountry camping experience, here are some of the best options for where to stay in Grand Teton National Park.
There are several lodges within the park, including the historic Jackson Lake Lodge, which offers stunning views of the Teton Range and comfortable guest rooms. The Colter Bay Village, Jenny Lake Lodge, and Signal Mountain Lodge also offer accommodations within the park. If you’re looking for a more rustic experience, consider staying in the Headwaters Lodge.
Grand Teton National Park has several campgrounds, including the popular Jenny Lake Campground and Colter Bay Campground. These campsites offer a great way to immerse yourself in the area.
For the more adventurous traveler, backcountry camping is a great way to explore the park’s remote areas. Plan ahead as permits are required for backcountry camping. If backpacking with a tour operator, they will be able to obtain permits for you.
Many of the accommodations in Jackson and Jackson Hole are on the pricey side. However, I managed to find Cache House in Jackson for around $100/night. If a hostel isn’t for you, I can connect you with a hotel in the area that has been vetted for high quality and service. As a travel agent, I also get access to additional perks. Possible perks include food/beverage credits, breakfast daily, upgrades and extended check-in/out upon availability. Contact me for personalized recommendations for your next trip at no additional cost to you.
No matter where you choose to stay in Grand Teton National Park, be sure to book your accommodations in advance, especially during peak season.
Whether you’re planning a day hike or a multi-day camping trip, it’s important to pack the right gear to stay safe in the park. Here are some essential items to bring with you when day hiking Grand Teton National Park.
The park’s trails can be rugged and uneven, so be sure to wear sturdy hiking boots with good ankle support.
Weather conditions in Grand Teton National Park can change quickly. I’ve been on a hike in the summer where it started off bright and sunny, but ended walking back in a hail storm! Be sure to bring layers that can be easily added or removed as well as a waterproof jacket! You can use my code ASHLEYSTIO for 20% off waterproof jackets at Stio.
It’s important to stay hydrated when hiking or spending time outdoors. Bring plenty of water and high-energy snacks like trail mix or energy bars to keep your energy levels up.
The sun can be intense at higher elevations, so be sure to bring sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses to protect your skin and eyes. Try out Kinfield’s outdoor skincare products with code DISCOVERINGDISTANCE15 for 15% off.
Accidents can happen, so it’s important to bring a basic first-aid kit with supplies like bandages, gauze, and antiseptic.
The park is home to grizzly bears and black bears. It’s important to carry bear spray and know how to use it in case of an encounter.
Check out this blog post for more on how to stay safe when hiking in bear country.
Check out my Amazon Storefront for all my hiking essentials.
Lastly, before we get into the ultimates hikes in Grand Teton National Park, be sure to keep an appropriate distance from all animals in the park. They may look cute and cuddly, but they can be dangerous. Stay at least 100 yards away from bears and at least 25 yards away from other wildlife in the park.
To learn more about all seven principles of Leave No Trace, read more here.
The Cascade Canyon Trail has something for everyone. However, with its variety comes being one of the most popular hikes in the park. Make sure to get to the Jenny Lake parking area early in the morning before it fills up!
The trailhead for the Cascade Canyon Trail begins at the Jenny Lake Trailhead. You will first take a shuttle boat across Jenny Lake to the trailhead. You will be required to pay a small fee for this boat and the line can get long if not here early.
Once back on land, you’ll quickly pass by a number of picturesque landmarks, including Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point. Below is Inspiration Point.
If you’re not into hiking you can always head back at Inspiration Point. If you want to see more of the canyon, which I would recommend, continue on the trail for a 9.1 mile out and back trail with 1,102 feet in elevation gain.
There’s not one thing to see at the end of the 9.1 mile trail, unless you continue further past the fork at the end of the trail. If you head right at the fork, you will eventually hit Lake Solitude, but this will be a 14.7 mile day.
If you aren’t looking to do a 10-15 mile day, just find a spot along the trail in the canyon for a nice lunch. Below was my beautiful lunch spot. While here, keep your eyes peeled for moose and even the occasional bear.
Trail: Cascade Canyon Trail
Length: 9.1 miles out and back
Elevation Gain: 1,102 ft elevation gain
If you’re looking for a more thrilling hike in Grand Teton National Park, the Phelps Lake Trail is a must-do.
There are a few ways to get to Phelps Lake. The most popular route is the Phelps Lake Loop Trail. I would suggest taking the trail counterclockwise around the lake to reach the most popular part of this lake quicker.
After 2.5 miles, if heading out on the loop in a counterclockwise direction, you’ll reach Jumping Rock (pictured below) as well as an adrenaline rush while jumping off a 25-foot cliff. If that’s not really your thing, have lunch near the cliff while watching brave jumpers.
The full loop totals 7 miles, but you can cut it short by 2 miles if you head back at Jumping Rock the way you came rather than continuing on the loop.
Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife on this trail. I ended up face to face on the trail with a young black bear. Although encounters with wildlife are rare, it’s important to remember that you’re in their home. Always give them plenty of space and respect.
Trail: Phelps Lake Trail
Length: 7.0 miles loop
Elevation Gain: 725 ft elevation gain
If you’re up for a challenging hike in Grand Teton National Park, the hike to Delta Lake should definitely be on your list. This 7.4 mile round-trip hike takes you through a variety of landscapes, including a forest, rocky switchbacks, and steep inclines. All of this leads up to the stunning Delta Lake, which sits at the base of the towering Grand Teton.
The trail for Delta Lake starts at the Lupine Meadows Trailhead. The parking lot is small, but there is plenty of parking along the road. You may just have to walk a bit from your car to the trailhead.
The first 1.7 miles begins with a hike through a forested area with minimal elevation gain. You will then reach a series of switchbacks with the Bradley and Taggart Lakes in view below.
3.2 miles in on the trail, you will reach a set of “stairs” off to the right that will take you to Delta Lake. Keep a lookout for these stairs and download the map. The trail to Delta Lake is not marked.
The final push to Delta Lake is pretty challenging, with a steep incline that requires some scrambling up dirt terrain. This part of the trail can be challenging for even the most experienced hikers. However, the reward for the effort is well worth it. Once you reach the top, you’ll have in view a gatorade blue lake, laid in front of the impressive Grand Teton.
Delta Lake is a great spot to take a break, have a picnic, or even take a dip in the cool waters. For the more adventurous hikers, there’s also an option to continue on to Surprise and Amphitheater Lakes. This option offers a lesser known view from above of Delta Lake.
Length: 7.4 miles out and back
Elevation Gain: 2,299 ft elevation gain
The Amphitheater Lake Trail in Grand Teton National Park is an exciting hike that takes you through an area of the park known for wildlife.
The trail starts at the Lupine Meadows Trailhead and is a more strenuous climb that gains over 3,000 feet in elevation. As you make your way up the trail, you’ll be met with plenty of switchbacks but no steep drop-offs.
If you’ve already read about the hike to Delta Lake, you know there is a turn off, down stairs to Delta Lake. Instead of heading to Delta Lake, continue on the Amphitheater Lake Trail and you’ll soon after reach a berry-dense area very popular for bears. Check out this post of my three bear encounters.
As you near the end of the trail, you’ll first come to an alpine lake known as Surprise Lake. Take in the views and then continue on to your final destination of Amphitheater Lake.
Amphitheater Lake provides stunning mountain views, but also views of Grand Teton. When you get to Amphitheater Lake, head onto a trail to the left. On your left, on this trail, will be a view from above of Surprise Lake. Continue past the view of Surprise Lake to this rocky area around the lake (pictured below) to have lunch.
If you’re feeling adventurous, continue on this trail on the left to summit Disappointment Peak.
Another option is to view Delta Lake from above. Instead of heading left when you reach Amphitheater Lake, head right. Make sure you have the map for Amphitheater Lake downloaded for this one. AllTrails will still show you a trail continuing past the designated trail alongside Amphitheater Lake to view Delta Lake.
After you go past Amphitheater Lake and up and over a rocky area, you will head down to a cliff with extremely steep drop offs in order to view Delta Lake. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get a picture. It started hailing and my priority was getting away from the cliff I was on. Don’t tell anyone about this! It’s my little secret!
Length: 10.1 miles out and back
Elevation Gain: 3,001 ft elevation gain
For more National Park destinations, make sure check out these posts.
April 6, 2023