The easiest way to get to the Grand Tetons quickly is by flying into Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The airport is very small, but sits right in the valley with the mountains surrounding the airport. The city of Jackson Hole is only about 15 minutes from the airport and easily accessible from the airport either by taxi or rental car.
To travel around Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons, you will need a car or should plan to visit with an organized group. Having a car will allow you to travel to different parts of the parks including trailheads for hiking and viewpoints from the road. It will also give you flexibility to day-trip to Yellowstone National Park just north of Grand Tetons National Park.
National, Hertz and Enterprise have rentals available right at the Jackson Hole airport. The Avis and Budget office is located in downtown Jackson Hole, meaning you must take a shuttle from the airport to Jackson (~15 minutes) to pick up a rental car.
If visiting in the winter and planning to ski or snowboard in the area, there are shuttles that take visitors from some housing areas to the base of the mountain.
Jackson Hole is the main town in the area and has the largest selection of restaurants, shops, and accommodations to choose from. It is located about 15 minutes from the airport, 30 minutes from the entrance to the Grand Tetons National Park, and it has its own ski area. There are a variety of hotels, motels, and airbnb locations available. If you are considering using airbnb, Outpost JH is a company overseeing many properties within the area.
Teton Village is located 30 minutes from the airport, 15 minutes from downtown Jackson Hole, and about 5 minutes from the Granite Canyon (SW) entrance to Grand Tetons National Park. Teton Village also has its own ski resort. The area is large comprised of condos, houses, and lodges but the location is key. This is a great place to base yourself if you have a car that allows you to travel outside the village.
Wilson is located about 30 minutes from the airport, 15 minutes from downtown Jackson Hole, and 10-15 minutes from the Granite Canyon (SW) entrance to Grand Tetons National Park. Wilson is a cute town with many residential properties as well as a few small shops. It is another easy place to stay if you have a car to travel outside of the town.
Visit downtown Jackson Hole and stroll through the Town Square where each corner has an arch made from Elk antlers
The Grand Tetons might be one of the most beautiful national parks in the United States. The mountains are breathtaking and the alpine lakes never get old. Activities in the park include hiking, biking, kayaking, boating, swimming, camping, and cruising along the roads with magnificent views. The park has lots of wildlife including Moose, Bison, Bears, Elk, Foxes, and Eagles. Be sure to bring bear spray when out hiking and exploring the park as it is bear country.
Teton Park Road is the large road running all the way through the park with numerous pullout opportunities to observe the views of the Tetons. Make sure to make a stop specifically at Oxbow Bend, which has a picturesque view of the mountains.
Distance: 7.7 miles
Elevation Change: 730 feet
Estimated Time: 3.5 hours
Loop trail running around Jenny Lake. Jenny Lake is the most famous lake in the Grand Tetons, and the most visited. Aside from those coming to enjoy Jenny Lake and hike around it, there are a variety of other hikes with trail heads in the same location. For this reason, make sure to start the day early when visiting Jenny Lake (recommend by 8:30 am). In the summer, getting a parking spot can be a challenge as the parking lot fills up quickly. The large groups can also make the experience less enjoyable, which are easier to avoid earlier in the day.
The elevation change is gradual, and nicely spread over the course of the loop. The views along the entire path are beautiful, and most of the path is right along the water. Hike counterclockwise to have views of the mountains right in front of you rather than at your back.
This is a good hike for most abilities. It can be shortened by using the Jenny Boat shuttle, which costs $10 one way or $18 round trip (adult ticket price) and takes you across the lake. You can either start by taking the shuttle over the lake and make your way back to the parking lot, or walk either side of the loop and catch the boat back over the lake.
Other hikes that are commonly paired with Jenny Lake include Hidden Falls, Inspiration Point, Cascade Canyon and Lake Solitude (more details below).
Distance: 4.9 miles
Elevation Change: 590 feet
Estimated Time: 2 hours
Out and back hike along one side of Jenny Lake and brings you to a view of a waterfall on the other side of the lake. True to its name, the waterfall is hidden just off the main Jenny Lake trail. The trail out to the falls is easy and can be done by hikers of most abilities. For those that want to see the falls, but cannot walk far, the Jenny Lake shuttle boat can cut off about 4 miles total.
Distance: 1.8 miles
Elevation Change: 410 feet
Estimated Time: 1 hour
Out and back route route up to a view over Jenny Lake. This is a highly trafficked path with hikers of all different abilities. To keep the route short, you must take the Jenny Lake Shuttle boat to and from the trailhead. The hike is then largely uphill to reach the viewpoint. To make the trail longer, hike around Jenny Lake rather than taking the shuttle.
If you are considering hiking Cascade Canyon, there is no need to do Inspiration Point separately as the beginning of the Cascade Canyon path goes up to Inspiration Point and continues back into the Canyon.
Distance: 10 miles
Elevation Change: 1,130 feet
Estimated Time: 4 hours
Out and back trail beginning on the opposite side of Jenny Lake from the parking lot. To keep the hike around 10 miles, plan to take the Jenny Lake shuttle boat over the lake. If you wish to extend your hike, you can add about 3 miles by walking along the lake at the beginning and end rather than using the shuttle boat.
This trail starts with the picturesque Jenny Lake and then guides hikers up to Inspiration Point. On your way up (or down), be sure to veer off the path about 100 meters and catch a view of Hidden Falls as well. This is a great way to hit the highlights of a few of the hikes around Jenny Lake together. Once you reach Inspiration Point, you have done the steepest part of the hike. The rest of the hike is a steady, gradual incline with beautiful views of the canyon along the entire path.
The turnaround point of the Cascade Canyon hike is nothing to get excited about, but the hike as a whole is nice. It is common to see moose on or around this trail. At the turnaround point, there are a few longer hike options you can choose to pursue if you have the energy. One aspect to keep in mind is that since this is an out and back hike, the path will be busy. If you get an early start, your journey into the canyon will be less interrupted by hikers walking in the opposite direction, but the way back will surely be busy.
Distance: 16 miles
Elevation Change: 2,637 feet
Estimated Time: 8 hours
Out and back hike up to a quiet lake. The hike to Lake Solitude is an extension from the Cascade Canyon hike. At mile 5, the turnaround point of Cascade Canyon, you will have the option to continue about 3 more miles up to the serene lake. The final trek up the lake will be the most challenging. As this is a long hike, even including the Jenny Lake shuttle boat, be sure to get an early start to give yourself adequate time.
Distance: 6 miles
Elevation Change: 760 feet
Estimated Time: 2.5 hours
Lake loop path providing views of both Bradley and Taggart Lake. The trail is a nice mix of incline and decline, and never an overwhelming amount at once. The path is quiet and provides excellent views of the mountains behind the lakes. The trailhead is very close to the Moose entrance and can be completed by hikers of different abilities. For those looking to shorten the route, consider only visiting Taggart Lake or only Bradley Lake.
Distance: 7 miles
Elevation Change: 111 feet
Estimated Time: 3 hours
Out and back trail beginning at String Lake. The path runs along the edge of String Lake and then takes hikers on the edge of Leigh Lake with breathtaking views of the mountains. String Lake is a common swimming and boating lake where many people spend the day. The path can get a bit buggy so be sure to use bug spray or pack it.
If you would like to lengthen the hike, go a bit past Leigh Lake to find Bearpaw Lake before turning around. This hike is more of a walk as there is little elevation change.
Distance: 7 miles
Elevation Change: 725 feet
Estimated Time: 3.5 hours
Loop trail around Phelps Lake, known for the “jumping rock” where visitors and locals will jump out into the lake. The trailhead begins from a small parking lot, with only 30 spots available. Plan to wait about 15 minutes for a parking spot here, but do not let this scare you away from visiting as the small parking lot means the trail is less busy. Consider visiting on a weekday or a less busy time during the day to limit wait time.
The lake is located just over a mile from the parking lot, which is also the spot you will have the best view over the lake. Walk clockwise to hit the jumping rock on the second half of your hike as it is located about 2/3 of the distance around the lake when traveling clockwise. Bears are commonly seen around this lake so keep your eyes peeled.
Distance: 9 miles
Elevation Change: 2,330 feet
Estimated Time: 4.5 hours
Out and back epic hike in the Tetons, and easily one of the best views in the park. The trail is a constant climb until you reach the glacial lake, but starts off with a steady incline. Once you reach 3 miles, the terrain changes. Since this is not technically a marked trail in the park, keep your eyes peeled around 3 miles. Once you see a sign for Garnet Canyon, you are about 100 meters from the path to Delta Lake. The path will curve left, taking hikers up to Surprise Lake and Amphitheater Lake. If you are looking to tackle Delta Lake, do not take the left bend. Instead, straight ahead you will see a fairly large decline which seems to almost have a ladder guiding hikers down about 10 feet.
Take the path down and then quickly continue your climb back up to Delta Lake. The journey up will take you across a few boulder fields. Be careful when climbing over the rocks as these can be slippery, especially if you are not wearing good hiking shoes. Even though the path is not technically marked in the park, there will be plenty of visitors completing the same hike as you. You will see some stacked rocks (rock towers) along the boulder fields to show the route other hikers have taken.
As you get closer to the top, the path will switch back largely to dirt and be a fairly steep climb up to the end. At this point, you have nearly made it. Enjoy the green and grey colored, freezing water and be sure to take a break on one of the many rocks along the edge of the lake to sit and enjoy the view.
Distance: 8.9 miles
Elevation Change: 2,942 feet
Estimated Time: 4.5 hours
Out and back uphill hike to two alpine lakes. Surprise Lake is first and Amphitheater Lake is about another 0.2 miles further. Stop at Surprise Lake on your way up and walk around part of the lake for views over the lake with the mountains in the background. Then continue up to Amphitheater Lake to your halfway and turnaround point as Amphitheater Lake is more impressive than Surprise Lake.
At the top of Amphitheater Lake, consider hiking up on the left side of the lake for views over the lake. If you go high enough (about 5-10 minute additional climb up), there is a view into Garnet Canyon, but this is not for those afraid of heights as there are sharp cliff drops into Garnet Canyon.
Distance: 11.5 miles
Elevation Change: 3,667 feet
Estimated Time: 6 hours
Out and back hike to three fantastic alpine lakes. If you are up for a long hike, consider visiting Delta, Surprise and Amphitheater Lakes all in the same trip. Since it is an out and back trail, the first and last 3 miles are the same regardless. Head to Surprise and Amphitheater first as they require slightly more incline and a further distance. Then, when heading to Delta, you will have the major incline behind you and are saving the best of the three lakes for last. The hike out to Delta Lake will still be challenging since the path is through rock fields and there are some very steep inclines towards the end.
Distance: 2.5 miles
Elevation Change: 85 feet
Estimated Time: 1 hour
Short walk around the Bay area providing views of the Tetons over Jackson Lake, which is by far the largest lake in the Grand Tetons. The Bay draws in boaters, kayakers, and beachgoers.
Distance: 6.5 miles
Elevation Change: 1,387 feet
Estimated Time: 3.5 hours
Out and back trail that takes you up to a view of the Grand Tetons. The trail was uphill until the top and the top did not have the best view. If considering this hike, the best view is around 1.5 miles into the hike. If you choose to get the extra steps in and climb to the top, be aware that the last mile is not well marked and the trail is not frequently traveled. It is very easy to get lost and off the main trail for this route.
Distance: 8 miles
Elevation Change: 2,742 feet
Estimated Time: 4 hours
This hike is not inside Grand Tetons National Park, but instead in Teton Village on the Jackson Hole ski slopes. The trail goes up the mountain where the gondola runs and is a straight uphill climb. Once at the top, grab a snack or a drink at the restaurant and enjoy the views over the mountains. If you wish to cut the distance in half, take the free gondola back down to the base.
The path is filled with wildflowers along the route in the summer and has views over Teton Village and the surrounding area. There is a tree swing about 1.5 miles up the mountain from the base that makes for a nice break. This is a good hike if you are staying in the Jackson Hole / Teton Village / Wilson area and do not want to go into the national park. It provides a good challenge and nice overall trail.
Teton Village is where the main ski resort in Jackson Hole is based. The Gondola takes people to the top year-round
Rent kayaks to view the Tetons from the water. At Colter Bay, you can rent kayaks from Grand Teton Lodge Company on an hourly basis (2 hour minimum) and paddle out on Jackson Lake.
Depending on the location, many companies offer white water rafting or float trips in the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone areas. For a more adventurous and exhilarating trip, look into white water rafting on the Snake River or Yellowstone River. Those who do not enjoy an adrenaline rush will find the float trips more enjoyable.
Rent bikes in the area and take them for a long ride into Grand Teton National Park or around the Jackson Hole area. If you are looking for a route around Jackson Hole, head in the direction of Game Creek which is about 8.5 miles from Jackson Hole. Keep in mind there is nothing exciting to see in Game Creek, but provides a nice change to hiking on a smooth bike path.
Hoback Sports is located at 520 W Broadway Avenue in downtown Jackson Hole and offers easy bike rentals.
Get off your feet for a break and take a horseback ride in the Grand Tetons.
Get an aerial view over the Tetons by paragliding over the area
Another option for getting a view from above the mountains. Trips up tend to start early in the morning and can get expensive quickly.
If visiting during the winter, get out on the slopes in downtown Jackson Hole or at the main resort in the area located in Teton Village
Yellowstone National Park is the world’s first national park and is known for being home to one of the largest calderas. A few of the famous spots include Old Faithful (geyser), Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone Grand Canyon and Yellowstone Lake. Common wildlife to see when visiting the park includes bison, elk, and bears.
When staying in Jackson Hole, at a minimum make a day trip up to Yellowstone. The south entrance to Yellowstone National Park is located just under two hours from Jackson Hole. Checkout the Yellowstone page for details on different possible itineraries, routes, and places to stop and explore.
Delicious Mexican restaurant with a large menu and variety of drink choices
Italian restaurant located in downtown Jackson Hole
Great cafe with a big menu including healthy and filling options or splurge items. Overall, a very allergy friendly location
Small market with good options for a quick bite to eat or snacks
Cafe and bakery with to go options or options to sit down for breakfast and lunch with small plates and sandwiches
Cute coffee shop in downtown Jackson Hole
Local ice cream shop
Take the gondola from Teton Village up (free after 5:00 pm) for a great view over the area and a nice spot to grab a drink outside
Bar in the town square where they have saddles as bar stools
The Wyoming area is known as bear country. When hiking, be sure to carry bear spray which can be used if you do run into an aggressive bear. Although rare to run into an aggressive bear, it is not uncommon to see bears while hiking. Bear spray will provide you with a sense of security.
Bear spray cannot be transported on planes (carry-on or checked luggage) so if traveling by plane, you cannot purchase this in advance. Teton Backcountry Rentals provides bear spray rentals from the airport where you can pay a rate per day for up to five days, or around $30 for anything over a five day period. They also have a location in downtown Jackson Hole and in Yellowstone.
In the summer, temperatures sit in the 70s and 80s during the day, but are drastically lower in the morning and at night. Expect the temperature to drop into the 40s sand 50s each night. For this reason, many accommodations will not have air conditioning as it is not necessary.
Albertsons (105 Buffalo Way) – full service grocery store similar to Kroger
Jackson Whole Grocer (1155 S Hwy 89) – more selective products similar to Whole Foods
Aspens Market (4015 N Lake Creek Drive, Wilson) – small market located in Wilson, which is good for quick grab & go items, but is expensive
Mangy Moose Market & Cellars (3295 Village Drive) – well stocked small market in Teton Village, but expensive
Hungry Jack’s General Store (5655 W Hwy 22, Wilson) – small grocery
In order to visit the National Parks in the area, you will need to pay for a pass. The pass you select will depend on the vehicle you are in, planned duration of travel, and if you are visiting other National Parks as well.
A 7 day standard car pass to the Grand Tetons OR Yellowstone costs $35, while an annual pass costs $70 so if you plan for staying more than 7 days you should invest in the annual pass. Alternatively, the “America the Beautiful” pass has an annual fee of $80 and gives you access to multiple national parks including the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone. If you plan on visiting both parks in your visit, consider purchasing this pass in advance.
Transportation and Accommodations
Things to do and see
Food and Drinks