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How to spend one day in Grand Teton National Park

We did a 10 day road trip to Wyoming & Montana from Salt Lake City Utah and explored three different national parks, Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park and Glacier National Park. We started with Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming and spent a day exploring this beautiful park known for its majestic mountains and pristine lakes. We visited in summer which is the best time, if you are looking to hike beautiful trails in the park. Also, all the roads and visitor centers are open in summer.

So, here are the things to do if you are visiting the national park for a day.

Hike Hidden Falls & Inspiration point

The hike to Hidden Falls then to Inspiration point is just over 2 miles round trip. It is an easy to moderate hike which I believe everyone will enjoy. We took a ferry from Jenny lake boat area to the trailhead which costed us around $20 per person (round trip). If you have time I would suggest to skip the boat ride and hike from Jenny lake visitor center which is about 6.5 miles round trip – i.e Jenny lake loop to Inspiration point hike. The ferry ride to the trailhead was scenic. We really enjoyed it.

If you are here for more than a day or up for a big day hike, you can go further to the Cascade Canyon trail.

Visit Mormon Row

Mormon Row is the most photographed place in the national park. Usually people visit this place at sunrise for the best lighting and view of the Teton range. Otherwise also, it is a gorgeous place to stop by at any time of the day. We stopped by late afternoon and it looked amazing.

Drive the scenic road

As soon as you enter Grand Teton National Park, you will be rewarded with amazing views. If you like scenic drives here are our recommendations – Jenny lake scenic loop, Teton Park road & John D Rockefeller Parkway.  There are plenty of lookouts and viewing areas to enjoy the beauty of this park.

spot Wildlife

There are plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife in Grand Teton NP. You can find them on the trails, roadsides or  from the lookout areas. We have spotted moose & bison while driving the scenic roads. Just remember to maintain a safe distance from the wild animals. If you love to take photographs, I would suggest to click with a telephoto zoom lens or use zoom option from your phone (such as 3x in Iphone 14 pro). Also, don’t forget to bring your binoculars, if you have one.

stop at lookouts & viewpoints

There are lots of the lookouts and viewpoints inside the park. We pulled over almost on every lookout to enjoy the views. Jenny lake overlook offers spectacular view of the lake with the mountain in the backdrop. Chapel of transfiguration is another beautiful place to stop.

Schwabacher landing & Oxbow bend are the best to enjoy & photograph the Teton ranges. I would suggest to visit these points at sunrise, if you are there to photograph the Teton range. We visited at sunset, even then the views were absolutely gorgeous.

Explore the town of Jackson

The town of Jackson is just 15 -20 mins from the park entrance (south). Jackson will be the starting point if you are entering the park from here or exit point in case you are driving from opposite direction (via Yellowstone National park).

In case you have extra time

If you have extra time, we would suggest to include Taggart lake hike or Phelps lake in your itinerary. In case you are visiting the park for more than a day, you can add Delta lake – 7.4 miles RT or Cascade canyon (9.1 miles RT). Do note – Both the hikes are strenuous so plan accordingly.

Brief Itinerary for a day in the park
– Start your day early and watch sunrise at Mormon Row. (we went in the afternoon though, but would suggest to visit for sunrise view) 
– After watching the sunrise, head to Jackson for breakfast. Then drive to Jenny Lake visitor center and hike – Hidden point + Inspiration point. Carry your own lunch or you can buy sandwiches at Jenny lake visitor center.
– Head for another hike to Taggart lake. (we didn’t do this hike due to shortage of time, however I would suggest if you have time do this hike) 
– After that drive the scenic route. Here are the scenic highways you can drive – Teton Park Road, Jenny lake loop, John D Rockefeller parkway, Signal mountain Road. Best view points to stop at – Oxbow bend, Schwabacher landing & Snake river overlook.
– Stop at Schwabacher landing or Jackson lake for sunset.
– Have dinner at Colter bay (assuming you will be heading to Yellowstone national park next) or Jackson if you are staying for the night there.

If you have an extra day,  you can do Delta lake hike or Cascade Canyon hike.
Best time to visit 
We visited in August (Summer) and the weather was good for hiking. You can also visit in Spring or Autumn for better photography oppourtunity. We would say, two- three days would be perfect amount of time to spend in Grand Teton National Park. 
Where to Stay  

We stayed one night in Teton Village at Hostel and the other night in a camper cabin at Headwaters Lodge at Flagg Ranch. Other good option you can find in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Also there are plenty of stays inside the park, you can check that options here. If you like camping, there are plenty of options around the park. You can check out the camping options here.

Where to eat 
Jackson Hole has great restaurant options to check out. You can park your vehicle in the parking lot and explore around by foot. We ate in Merry Piglets where we ordered rice bowls & tacos.
Best way to reach & explore

The best way to explore Grand Teton National Park would be – by renting a car. We flew to Salt Lake City, picked up a car at airport and drove to Jackson hole which was about 5 hours drive. Jackson hole is the nearest town to Grand Teton National park where you will find all the hotels, eating options and other facilities. You can also book a flight to the nearest airport of Jackson Hole (closer to Grand Teton National park) or Bozeman (closer to Yellowstone national park). However, we found the ticket options a bit costly to these airports from NYC.  We usually use Skyscanner for better flight price comparison.

There are many type of tours also available from Jackson Hole. In case you are interested check that here.

Other things to keep in mind
– You need to pay a national park entrance fee of $35 which is good for 7 days. If you are planning to visit more than one national parks in an year, we would suggest to buy Interagency annual pass which costs $80 and is valid for an year to visit all the national parks in the country.
– Summer is gonna be hot. So, carry sunscreensunglasses & hats.
– Drink plenty of water, so carry a reusable water bottle. You will find water filling stations in the visitor center.
– Since you have a day to explore the park , my suggestion would be to start early and carry snacks along with you.
– With Grand Teton National Park, we would definitely recommend to add Yellowstone National Park to your itinerary. In that way you will be covering two national park in one trip.
– Checkout the latest updates & closure in NPS website so that you know what to expect.
– Always remember to leave no trace. Take back all the things you bring or discard the garbage in trash bin properly.
– Download offline google maps as the cell network is not reliable in some areas inside the national park. You can also download the National park map or ask a ranger about the paper map. Now a days, you can even download National park app  where you will find all the details. 
– Lastly, Don’t forget to bring your camera or phone to capture all the beautiful moments. Also, add a tripod + remote to your list so that you can click the photos without any external help

We had an amazing time hiking around this beautiful landscape and would definitely recommend to anyone who loves to explore national parks. Pin it or bookmark the post, if you have plans to visit Grand Teton National Park. Do share with your friends & family who are looking forward to visit this national park. 

Also, do let us know in the comment section, if you find this blog helpful for planning your trip, we would love to know! You can also connect us on Instagram for more travel inspirations. 

Checkout the video to know more

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