Locals, as well as people from other places in the U.S. and other countries, come to Grand Teton to work, especially during their summer vacation. Many of the young people who serve you are college students, who are working in the park during their summer break. If you notice that the store clerk, maid, waiter or waitress, or other park employee has an accent other than U.S. English, ask where the worker is from. They always seem happy to tell you, and it can be very interesting to hear how they happened to come to Grand Teton to work
To camp in the vast and wonderful wildernesses of Grand Teton National Park, you will need to get a backcountry permit. These can be reserved in advance for $25 but the park very nicely does not charge a fee unless the requested sites are available. This is very different from most parks who ask you to give alternatives and charge you regardless of you getting a spot.
The park only pre-reserves a third of all spots in each zone so that means two-thirds of them are available to walk-ins. This is great for those who do not know when they will be in the park but this is a very popular backpacking destination so get to a backcountry ranger offices early in the morning and as soon as you get to the park to help ensure you get to do the trip you want. To be honest, you would have a tough time finding a bad trip to do in this amazing park so if what you want is not available, listen to rangers about alternatives as you just might find one even better than the one you planned on!
We arrived in September so after peak season. We had no problem getting some of the park's most coveted campgrounds but some of them were full even in September. To be fair, the weather was perfect so we were surprised it was not more busy.
When you arrive, stop by the backcountry ranger station and pick up a free backcountry planner. This is a decent sketch map with all the camping zones outlined on it. You'll need it to plan your trip and help you find your designated zone each night.
There is no fee for backcountry camping in this amazing park. All it takes is effort, determination, responsibility, and desire. If physically able and interested, give it a try. Your life will never be the same.
As you travel along the park roads, every once in a while you will come across a bunch of cars pulled over and people all staring through binoculars or camera lenses at something. Sometimes it pays to stop and ask them what they see. We saw moose, elk, coyote, a bear ect.... just by stopping and asking. This was the most helpful with moose. Our 1st day in Grand Teton I waited over an hour for a Bull Moose to emerge. When we stopped and asked what the bystanders were looking at,all we could see were the tips of his antlers! Definately worth the wait (I am a huge fan of moose!)
We actually started a pulloff once when we spotted a pronghorn antelope in Yellowstone. Such trendstters!
We were very excited to find this radio station. We listened to it the entire time we were in Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Idaho and the surrounding area. I think we may have heard the same song played once, otherwise it was always something different. They have a great mix of newer stuff, though not top 40, more "alternative" you might say, as well as some great older songs. They call is AAA, Adult Album Alternative. (When did I start liking "Adult" music..???.) I also enjoyed the weird little plugs from callers such as " My fish really likes your radio station, we play it for him all the time, he's a happy fish."
When we we leaving, we said to each other that one of the things we would really miss, would be listening to this radio station. We don't have anything nearly as good at home where we get the New York City stations! That may be surprising, but it's true.
As there are so many bear (though we have not seen any !) the Park has installed bear proof garbage cans. They are made of strong metal and there is no access to the garbage stored in the body of the can : when you open the top, you get a space where you can put your garbage. When you close it, the garbage falls into the body of the garbage can.
The Blackbird (Turdus merula) is found both in Europe and in Northern America. At Grand Teton National Park they fly together with the Yellow-headed Blackbirds but there are not so many : there can be only one for ten Yellow-headed.
Yellow-headed Blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus) is a bird that is normally found only in northern America though a few lost birds have been found in Denmark and in Sweden. At Grand Teton National Park, they look for visitors who might bring them food (forbidden) and as soon as a car parks, they arrive and wait.