Grand Teton National Park Things to Do

  • small reflective pool at sunset near our 1st camp
    small reflective pool at sunset near our...
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  • Ominous rain clouds approach the Tetons
    Ominous rain clouds approach the Tetons
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  • It sprinkled a bit, but we did not budge
    It sprinkled a bit, but we did not budge
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Most Recent Things to Do in Grand Teton National Park

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    Stop for a View From Jackson Lake Lodge

    by KimberlyAnn Updated Dec 19, 2010

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    View From Jackson Lake Lodge���s Huge Lobby Window
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    When you first see Jackson Lodge from its outside, it is an unimposing, nothing special building, but just step inside, and gaze out of the lobby’s huge picture window, as well as viewing the historical murals within the lodge. The lodge was built in 1955, and is a National Historic Landmark site. If time, take a few moments to relax in the wonderful lobby area. Step outside on the back deck where you can enjoy the magnificent view, and read the informative signs about the area. As you gaze toward the mountains, you will be looking across the Willow Flats. This is a moist, flat plain, with willows and marsh grasses. If you are lucky you may even see a moose. In the summer, moose cows with calves will often browse on the willows, and in the winter the willows may support as many as 40 moose per square mile. Besides moose, many small animals and birds find food, water, nesting sites, and protection within the Willow Flats.

    You may also wish to walk the trail that leads from the lodge, have a meal, or sign up for a number of outings, such as Snake River float trips, scenic lake trips, evening steak-fry cruises, or a number of other outings. But even if you choose not to eat, sleep, or take a park trip, it is worth the stop, just to enjoy the lobby and the back deck.

    My second photo is of the view from the lodge’s back deck.

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    Signal Mountain Road, Try Not to Miss This Drive

    by KimberlyAnn Updated Dec 19, 2010
    Trail at Jackson Point Overlook
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    Drive the scenic Signal Mountain Road, stopping at the Jackson Peak Overlook to walk the short trail to the awe inspiring grand vista. Closed in the winter, the Signal Mountain Road is a five mile, narrow, two lane switch back road, that climbs 1,000 feet to the top of Signal Mountain. From the high point at Jackson Peak Overlook, you will view the Tetons as they rise above the valley floor, with the Snake River, and Jackson Lake below. This is just stunning, if you have the time don’t miss it! I consider this one of the finest views in the entire Jackson Hole Valley.

    Signal mountain got its name from an 1891 search for a lost hunter. When he was found drowned in the Snake River, the search party climbed the mountain’s summit and lit a fire to signal the end of the search.

    We saw a black bear while driving down from the view point, but could not find a place to pull over, so did not stop. Do not block traffic if you see wildlife along the route.

    NOTE! Trailers and RVs are not allowed on this narrow, scenic drive.

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    Mount Moran Turnout

    by KimberlyAnn Updated Dec 19, 2010
    Take a Photo, Read the Information
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    Stop at the Mount Moran Turnout, another picturesque location to take a few photos of these magnificent mountains. Also take time to read the informative sign, that will describe how a sandstone cap can be found at the top Mt. Moran, 6,000 feet above the valley, which at one time was connected to a layer of sandstone that is now about 24,000 feet below the valley floor.

    Mt. Moran was named for landscape artist Thomas Moran, who traveled west with the 1871 Haden Expedition, which explored the region of north western Wyoming. His watercolors and sketches from the trip helped to popularize Yellowstone, and influenced Congress to establish Yellowstone as the world’s first national park.

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    Stop at the Jackson Lake Dam

    by KimberlyAnn Updated Dec 18, 2010
    Jackson Lake Dam
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    Although Jackson Lake is a natural lake created by glacial gouging, it has been enhanced by building a dam at the outlet of the lake where the Snake River emerges. When full, the dam raises the level of the lake by 30 feet. The chief reason the dam was built was for irrigation and water storage. There are fifteen 1.5 ton gates at the base of Jackson Lake Dam. These gates are used to control the level of the reservoir by releasing or maintaining water as needed. If there is a flood danger, the reservoir is lowered, to make room to store water. In the summer, water is released as needed for agriculture and recreation uses.

    There is a trail nearby which will enable you may read some of the history, and walk along the lake shore.

    My other photos include water being released at the base of the gates, the lake side of the dam, and a view from the nearby trail.

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    Chapel of the Sacred Heart

    by KimberlyAnn Updated Dec 18, 2010
    View of Stain Glass Window From Inside the Chapel
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    As we drove the park road, there were a number of tourists stopping at the Chapel of the Sacred Heart, and we decided to see what it was like. We had thought maybe it had some historical significance, but we could find no information about its history. This is a small Catholic church, made of log, with a rustic atmosphere. It sits within a forested area, on the shore of Jackson Lake, and is generally open from June through August, when services are held on Saturday evenings and Sunday mornings. Often, however it is not open just for tourists to peek inside. I thought the most interesting part of the chapel was its small, round stain glass window. Unless you are Catholic, love small chapels, or have a lot of time to view things, I would not recommend this stop. You will not have the picturesque photo opportunity as at the Chapel of Transformation, and the chapel, itself does not have a large window framing the lake view.

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    Signal Mountain Boat Launch

    by KimberlyAnn Updated Dec 18, 2010
    View From the Signal  Mountain Boat Launch  Area

    Whether you brought your own boat, are planning on renting a boat, or not planning on boating at all, make a stop at the Signal Mountain Boat Launch.

    If you brought your own boat with you, or are renting a boat, Signal Mountain Boat Lunch is one of the areas in the park from which you can launch your boat. Do be aware, however, that all private boats must be registered with the park, and you must place a park permit sticker on the side of your boat. Both motor boats and non-motorized boats are allowed on Jackson Lake.

    If you do not have a boat, this boat launch area offers some of the most stunning views of the Teton Mountains across Jackson Lake. You may stop in here for a quick set of photos, and find yourself lingering along the edge of the lake, just to enjoy the beauty of the area, or to sit and listen to the waves lapping along the lakeshore.

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    Drive the One Way Jenny Lake Road

    by KimberlyAnn Updated Dec 14, 2010

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    Jenny Lake Overlook
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    As you drive south from Jackson Lake, take the one way road at the North Jenny Lake Junction. Along this wooded drive, with lake and mountain views, are two turnouts that you may wish to stop at. One is the Cathedral Group Turnout, and the other is the beautiful Jenny Lake Overlook. The park is named after Grand Teton, which is the tallest mountain in the Teton Range, as well as the second tallest mountain in the state of Wyoming. The Cathedral Group is made up of the tallest peaks in the Teton Range, and include Grand Teton at an elevation of 13,770, Mount Owen at 12,928, Middle Teton at 12,804, South Teton at 12,514, Teewinot Mountain at 12,325, Teepee Pillar at 12,266, Cloudveil Dome at 12,026, and Buck Mountain at 11.938.

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    Jenny Lake Boating

    by KimberlyAnn Updated Dec 13, 2010

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    View of Jenny Lake Boat From Hiking Trail

    Jenny Lake Boating has a variety of boating activities to choose from. The staff is friendly and helpful, and the boats are environmentally friendly with 4-stroke engines. The Lake offers magnificent views of the Tetons, and what ever type of boating you choose will be enjoyable. Maybe you would just like to take the ferry across the lake to pick up hiking trails to Hidden Falls, Inspiration Point, and Cascade Canyon. The Jenny Lake shuttle departs every 15 minutes Mid May to late September.

    From Mid-June through Early September, the business offer an hour, narrated scenic cruise around the lake. This is a relaxing way to sit back, and enjoy the scenic beauty. Don’t forget to pack your camera.

    The third option is to rent a kayak or canoe, and explore the lake and the lakeshore on your own.

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    Hike to Inspiration Point

    by KimberlyAnn Written Dec 13, 2010

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    View from Inspiration Point
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    Inspiration Point is rated moderate strenuous. The trail itself begins at Hidden Falls, so if you have hiked the Hidden Falls Trail, you can just continue for another half mile to Inspiration Point. This trail is not for everyone, however, as it is steeper with a greater climb than to the falls, so if you found the Hidden Falls hike tiring, you will not want to continue on up. After reaching the top you will be at an elevation 7,200 feet. The view is not toward the Teton Range, rather it is a view across Jenny Lake toward the mountains that border the eastern side of Grand Teton National Park, as seen in my main photo.

    See my second photo for a view looking down from the trail as I hiked up, and my third photo for a view looking up the trail as I neared the top. This upper section is quite rocky, and rougher than the rest of the trail. My fourth view was taken as I hiked back down to the Ferry Boat Landing.

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    Hike to Hidden Falls

    by KimberlyAnn Updated Dec 12, 2010

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    Hidden Falls
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    The Hidden Falls Hike is a popular hike that is rated moderate in difficulty, probably because of the 150 foot climb along the trail. The falls were advertised as a 200 foot cascade in an official park book that I picked up, but it didn’t look that tall to me. I later read that it is an 80 foot falls, combined with cascades that make it 200 feet. There are two options on how to get to the falls. You can hike around the south end of Jenny Lake, which makes your outing a 5.2 mile roundtrip hike, or you can take the ferry boat out of the Jenny Lake area across the lake, and pick up the trailhead at the docking area for the boat, making it only a 1.2 mile hike, which is what we did. My second photo shows the ferry boat docked at the trail head.

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    Teton Glacier Turnout

    by KimberlyAnn Written Dec 11, 2010

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    A Zoomed In View of the Glacier
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    Stop at the Teton Glacier Turnout to read about this glacier, and locate it on the side of Teton Mountain. For a glacier to remain at a constant size, snowfall at the top of the glacier must equal the melting ice at the bottom. Teton Glacier flows at an average rate of 30 feet per year, and is the largest glacier in the park. The glacier is left from the Ice Age, which has sculpted Teton Glacier into the shape you see today.

    My second photo is not zoomed in, can you still find the glacier?

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    Taggart Lake Hike

    by KimberlyAnn Updated Dec 11, 2010

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    Taggart Lake
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    The Taggart Lake Trail is a four mile loop hike, rated moderate in difficulty, with a 277-foot elevation climb. The trail is in great shape with a few mild rocky sections. I really enjoyed this beautiful hike, with a picturesque view across Taggart Lake as the highlight of the walk. The lake itself sits at 6,902 feet at the end of Avalanche Canyon. Begin by taking the trail to the right. You will be hiking through a sagebrush meadow, and then you will cross Taggart Creek over a foot bridge. The trail then begins to gradually climb, offering you many beautiful views of the Teton Range. When you reach the junction for the Bradley Lake trail, go left (west). Continue taking each junction to the left. The trail will take you along the lake shore, where you will cross another bridge, then loop back to the parking area.

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    Windy Point Turnout

    by KimberlyAnn Updated Dec 11, 2010
    Windy Point Turnout

    Windy Point Turnout is a short stopping point along the Teton Park Road. Glaciers 3,000 feet thick once filled the valley. Read the information sign that will discuss the glacier Moraines of the area, and look at the diagram that names each mountain that you will be viewing. This is also one of the many areas you may wish to take photos of the mountains from.

    As you look at my photo, the tallest peak in the center is Grand Teton. The mountain to the left is Middle Teton, and the smaller one just to the right of Teton Mountain is Mt. Owen, with Teewinot Mountain on the far right of the photo.

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    The Episcopal Chapel of the Transfiguration

    by KimberlyAnn Updated Dec 11, 2010
    The Episcopal Chapel of the Transfiguration
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    The land for this small Chapel of the Transfiguration was donated to the church by Maude Noble. In its early days, it served as a chapel for summer services, which were attended by both local people and tourists from the nearby dude ranches. On some Sundays, more than 100 horses were corralled next to the chapel. In the 1920s and 1930s, the chapel’s services were important to the dude ranches. Mock ambushes and other pretend events often took place as people traveled to the chapel for Sunday services. The Chapel is still in use, and is owned by the St. John’s Episcopal Church in Jackson.

    Besides my main photo, my other four photos show the entrance area to the Chapel, and views from inside the chapel. The third photo, is of special interest, showing how the window behind the small alter frames the tallest peaks in the Teton Mountain Range.

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    Menor’s Ferry Historic District

    by KimberlyAnn Updated Dec 10, 2010
    Menor���s Cabin and Store
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    If you enjoy history, and will be in the park for more than a day, you may enjoy visiting the Menor’s Ferry Historic District. Here you will have a look at a part of the homesteading and pioneer life of Jackson Hole. You will walk a short half mile trail to view a few building, such as Bill Menor’s cabin and store, a replica of the ferry that crossed the Snake River, and a Transportation Shed with a number of old wagons in it. Mener’s Ferry once belong to William Menor, who came to the Jackson Hole area in 1894. Homesteading along the Snake River, he built a ferryboat that became important to the early settles in the valley. The cable work and the ferry that you see are replica’s of the original. He charged 50 cents for a wagon and a team, and 25 cents for a rider and horse. Pedestrians were able to ride for free if a wagon was crossing at the time. In 1918 Menor sold the business to Maud Noble. She doubled the faire, hoping to make a living from the increasing tourist traffic. Now the ferry was transporting automobiles, and she charged $1 if you had a Wyoming license plate, and $2.00 for out of state people. Eventually a bridge was built south of the ferry, and it was no longer needed. The white-washed cabin and store that you will see was the original homestead of Bill Menor. The cabin was built in three phases. You can easily see each addition as you look at the structure. The east addition is where Menor opened a store. Here he sold settlers and travelers such items as coffee, tea, sugar, flour, canned foods, some clothing, and tobacco. He also had a blacksmith shop.

    My second photo shows the interior of the Menor Cabin, the third shows the fire place within the Maud Nobel Cabin, the fourth shows a wagon in the Transportation Shed, and my last photo is of the ferry.

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