When you think of a classic National Park you are imagining certain things in your head. Pristine blue lakes, craggy and steep mountains, rolling meadows and plenty of wild plants and animals. There is a park like this in the United States known as Grand Teton National Park.
Let’s look at this gem of a park in Wyoming including its history, what to see, where to go, where to stay and the best time of the year to visit.
A History of Grand Teton National Park
Native Americans have been calling the regions of Teton home for around 11,000 years. American settlers and fur trappers came across the region in the early 19th century and preyed on of the area’s vast resources. The US Government led further exploration of the area and the first permanent settlement, Jackson Hole, was founded around the later period of the 19th century.
At the same time, many settlers urged the US to protect the land so near to Yellowstone and on February 26, 1929 the US Congress declared Grand Teton National Park protected. Soon after oil magnate and conservationist John D. Rockefeller began buying up large swaths of land around Jackson Hole to increase the park’s boundaries. This land became known as Jackson Hole National Monument and was added to the park in 1950.
What to Do Once You Arrive at Grand Teton National Park
Grand Teton is home to serene views, pleasant hikes and plenty of outdoor fun. Here are some things to do and see when visiting Grand Teton National Park.
If you have mobility issues or just prefer to see several sights there are a few great scenic drives to take. Teton Park Road is a 20-mile stretch that gives you an overview of the park and takes you by many of the classic bodies of water. Signal Mountain Summit Road affords you a good view of Grand Teton, the peak the park is so named for along with good views of Jackson Lake.
Hiking and backpacking are still some of the more popular recreational activities at Grand Teton. There are a variety of trails for every level and skill. Beginners might decide to take the half mile loop known as Lunch Tree Hill. Hikers who are more skilled might venture onto the Hidden Falls Trail and if you’re looking for a heck of a trek you can try the Paintbrush-Cascade Loop, a 19.2-mile loop that takes has a combined total of 5000 feet in elevation gain.
As far as everything else, well that’s up to you! Popular summer activities include not only hiking and backpacking but also kayaking, fishing, white water rafting, biking, bouldering, and mountaineering. In the winter, there are several areas to snowshoe in and don’t forget about the great skiing and snowboarding Jackson Hole is known for.
Where to Stay at Grand Teton National Park
Most National Parks are not the best at hosting RVers due to their lack of large sights and utility hookups, but that is not the case at Grand Teton. Colter Bay Village RV Park, located on Jackson Lake, contains 112 pull through sites complete with full utility hookups. Jackson also contains many other great RV parks like Virginia Lodge. You definitely have great options for where to stay at Grand Teton.
When to Go to Grand Teton National Park
Grand Teton sees over 2 million annual visitors and many of those visitors come during the peak summer season. If you want to skip the crowds try planning your trip around spring. Temperatures are definitely cooler but for most people, a heavier jacket is better than a crowded hiking trail. Spring also affords you the spring bloom of wildflowers as well as some interesting animal behavior. Just watch out for aggressive moose!
All in all, Grand Teton National Park is a great place to go for that authentic National Park experience. Stay within the park’s boundaries, get a good hike or drive in and try going in spring to have the best possible time as this grand old park.