Year Established: 1872
Annual Visitors: 3.27 Million
Entrance Fee: $20-$35
Located in northwestern Wyoming, just 10 miles south of Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park was established in 1872 and spans 310,000 acres. The park comprises most of the Teton Range — a segment of the Rocky Mountains — and the majority of the Jackson Hole valley.
The park’s majestic environment includes stunning views of snow capped mountains, a variety of glacier-made lakes, and the peaceful, slow-flowing Snake River. Many types of wildlife also call the park home, including otters, bison, bears, and antelope. Some of the best wildlife-viewing can be found in the southeastern corner of the park around Schwabacher’s Landing and the north side of the Gros Ventre River, but no matter where you find yourself in the park, you're bound to come across some critters.
In addition to diverse wildlife, you’ll find many historical and oft-photographed sites, like Mormon Row. Named after a group of late-19th-century Mormons who established 27 homesteads in the area due to its fertile soil and proximity to the Gros Ventre River, Mormon Row is a National Historic District that’s best-known for the Moulton Barns. People from all over the world visit the park to photograph the Moulton Barns, comprising two barns on adjacent homesteads built by the early Mormon settlers and set against the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains.
Menor's Ferry Historic District is another historical site the park is well-known for, housing a log cabin and general store built by Bill Menor in 1894. Visitors can travel back in time when they enter the cabin, outfitted with period furniture, or purchase old-timey goods from the site's original general store.
The park is just as beloved for its outdoor sights and activities as it is for its history. Jenny Lake is among the park’s most popular attractions. Formed approximately 12,000 years ago by glaciers and spanning over 1,000 acres, the lake itself is a sight to behold, but its surrounding hiking trails and easy access to major climbing routes are equally appealing. You can relax the day away, booking a scenic cruise on the lake, or scratch your climbing itch by ascending nearby Grand Teton, the park’s highest peak, which soars 13,770 feet high.
Speaking of cruises, Jackson Lake is another popular destination, offering all kinds of water sports, from paddle boarding and sailing to water skiing and windsurfing. You can rent a boat, hop on another scenic cruise, or take a guided fishing trip, depending on the flavor of adventure you’re after.
Due to the 80-degree weather, most people tend to visit the park during the summer, but Grand Teton offers plenty of fun during the cooler seasons as well. Visiting during the fall will treat you to endlessly beautiful scenery thanks to the changing leaves while offering plenty of opportunities for biking, horseback riding, photographing, and fishing. And if you head there during the winter, you can partake in activities like cross-country skiing and snowshoe hikes guided by rangers. Local vendors also offer alpine skiing and climbing classes for the more adventurous travelers.
Regardless of when you decide to venture out to the park, you can choose from a variety of accommodations to enhance your experience. For instance, the Jenny Lake Lodge is a popular resort for those looking for an upscale log cabin vibe complete with a gourmet restaurant, yoga classes, and live music. But if you prefer to stay in the great outdoors, then you can set up camp at any number of developed campgrounds around places like Colter Bay, Signal Mountain, and Gros Ventre. No matter where you stay, though, you're pretty much guaranteed to have an unforgettable time.
Learn more about the sights, activities, and accommodations at Grand Teton here.
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