The second National Park on our 2019 National Parks Trip was the Grand Tetons. We stayed in Jackson Hole, Wyoming for this stop on our trip. Jackson Hole is an entire valley area includes the towns of Jackson, Teton Village, Wilson, The Aspens, Moran Junction, and Moose. We camped at Fireside Resort in Wilson, Wyoming. It was not far from the National Park and the town of Jackson. The town of Jackson is a lovely small town with great character. They have a town square with plenty of restaurants and shops. It is a well-designed location for tourism. The National Park entrance is not far from downtown Jackson.
The Grand Tetons are a beautiful mountain range. This National Park is just a couple of hours from Yellowstone National Park. If you are planning a trip to Yellowstone, then a day trip to the Grand Tetons is a great idea since you are so close.
There is a boat ride in Grand Tetons National Park on Jenny Lake that I highly recommend. Jenny Lake is one of the loveliest areas of the park. You go to the boat launch inside the park, behind the Jenny Lake Visitor’s Center to buy your boat tickets. They run a shuttle across Jenny Lake. You can get a one-way ticket and hike back, or you can get a round trip ticket. We did the round trip ticket but hiked the other side of the lake up to Inspiration Point. The views on this hike were amazing! Such a beautiful area. The park also offers boat tours several times a day.
This National Park was moderately busy. Not terribly busy like Rocky Mountain National Park hot spots can be. The busy spots at Grand Tetons National Park were not overly crowded. It was very pleasant, even at the most sought-after destinations, such as Jenny Lake. There was plenty of parking every place we went in the park. There is also over 200 miles of trails to hike in the Grand Tetons National Park.
The Grand Tetons are home to bear and moose. We were hoping to spot some, but no luck. I did see a moose in the brush, but it looked like a brown blob because she was so far away and in the thicket. Others with super-professional zoom lenses said they could see it clearly with their zoom lens. Oh well, I saw a brown blob that was a moose. Nothing up close. We did have bear go through our campsite at night. The bears can be a problem, so when hiking bear spray is a good idea to have on hand. Keeping all food locked up and maintaining a clean campsite is very important, not only for human safety but for bear safety. Many times, the bears that have to be put down are those that have become dependent on human’s feeding them (even if it is from poorly secured garbage cans and coolers left outside). They tend to become aggressive and it is not a happy ending for the bears. We have heard these stories enough times at National Parks that we know that is very important to never leave food out for any wild animals to get to. It makes them dependent on humans and they become aggressive when the supplies can no longer be found. They become more brazen looking for food from humans, including ripping doors off vehicles (I saw this on the news a few month ago, a grizzly pried the door off a pickup truck overnight because he could smell the food left inside). This is why National Parks all utilize bear-proof garbage dumpsters and cans. They want to prevent the bears from ever getting used to finding food from human sources. Bears need to stay in the wild and hunt for their food from natural sources, for their own safety and the safety of humans.
To tour the Grand Tetons National Park, you can drive the main loop that goes through the Park. You can see this loop on the map below. It has lots of viewpoints and overlooks along the drive, so you can stop and enjoy the Park. The Jenny Lake area was our favorite area of the park. It is definitely worth stopping there for a boat ride and hiking.
The National Elk Refuge is located at the south entrance of the Grand Tetons National Park. During the winter thousands of elk migrate to this valley area. If you are in the Tetons in the summer months you won’t find thousands of elk (if any) at the National Elk Refuge. The elk are in the higher country. Don’t bother looking for elk in the refuge in the summer, but in the winter months it is a great place to visit and you can see thousands of elk.
Below are photos from our trip to visit Grand Tetons National Park.