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Grand Adventures: Exploring Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons

Grand Teton National Park has one of the most diverse terrains in the world, with alpine peaks, serene meadows and glistening lakes and rivers. Nearby Jackson Hole is a quaint mountain village that serves as the entrance for travelers looking to explore the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Park. With an Old West atmosphere, art galleries, museums and plenty of restaurants and boutique shops, Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons make for an excellent adventure.

Snake River Overlook

Why Visit Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons?

You may have heard of this area before, but you may still wonder where the Grand Tetons are, where Jackson Hole is, and what makes this place so unique. Grand Tetons National Park is in Wyoming, just below Yellowstone National Park. Part of the Teton Range, the Grand Tetons are one of the youngest mountain ranges in North America, characterized by sharp, rugged peaks that rise dramatically out of the foothills. Jackson Hole is a town located in Wyoming, just below Grand Tetons National Park and above the Idaho border. Both Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons are located in Jackson Hole Valley. Some of the top attractions that make this area special include:

  • Teton Glacier: While there are several glaciers in Grand Teton National Park, Teton Glacier takes the spotlight, adorning the high peaks of the Teton Range with breathtaking views.
  • Jenny Lake: This picturesque glacial lake is perfect for boating, fishing and hiking around its scenic shoreline.
  • Snake River: A major waterway cutting through the valley, the Snake River is an excellent spot for white-water rafting, fishing and wildlife viewing.
  • National Elk Refuge: Located in Jackson Hole Valley, this wildlife refuge is home to thousands of elk and offers an unparalleled wildlife viewing experience.
  • Hot Springs: Throughout the area, several mineral-rich hot springs, such as the Astoria Hot Springs, offer respite from a long day of hiking and exploring.


Travel Planning Tips

Whether you’re looking to go hiking in the Grand Tetons or on a winter adventure in Jackson Hole, being adequately prepared is a must. Below are some travel planning tips to ensure a smooth adventure:

  • Best times to visit: When you visit Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons depends on what you’re looking to do. The summer offers warm weather and longer days, perfect for exploring and wildlife viewing as animals like moose, elk and caribou are out. But in the cold weather, even though there may be seasonal road closures that limit access to certain areas of the park, Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons serve as a winter playground with unique experiences like snowmobiling tours, skiing, snowshoeing and other winter sports, particularly at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. The shoulder seasons in the Spring and Fall bring variable temperatures and fewer crowds, perfect for those looking for more comfortable weather and tranquility.
  • Packing essentials: When visiting Grand Teton National Park and the surrounding area, layered clothing is a must, as temperatures can vary significantly throughout the day and across different elevations. Rain gear, warm clothing, comfortable hiking boots and swimwear are also recommended. Additionally, gear like binoculars, a camera, sunscreen, a first aid kit, a water bottle and a backpack are all essentials for exploring the Grand Tetons.
  • Travel advisories: When planning your trip, look into local travel advisories that provide information on weather conditions, wildlife safety and trail conditions. Before going, you may need to apply for permits to camp or hike in specific areas. Also, be aware of altitude sickness and acclimate slowly upon arrival.

Exploring the Grand Tetons

Keep these scenic points, trails and attractions on your list of must-see spots when you explore the Grand Tetons:

  • Jenny Lake
  • Mormon Row Historic District
  • Snake River Overlook
  • Oxbow Bend
  • Schwabacher Landing
  • Cascade Canyon Trail
  • Taggart Lake Loop
  • Teton Crest Trail
  • Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point
  • Jenny Lake Visitor Center
  • Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center
  • Colter Bay Visitor Center

These attractions and trails offer an immersive experience in the Grand Tetons. Before arrival, be aware of entrance fees, which are $35 for a 7-day pass for a private vehicle, $30 for a 7-day pass for motorcycles and $20 for a 7-day pass for individuals on foot or bike. Additionally, boating, backcountry camping and climbing permits may be required.


Outdoor Activities in Jackson Hole

There are a variety of exciting outdoor activities in Jackson Hole for you to enjoy. Go white-water rafting down the Snake River, skiing at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort or hiking in the Grand Tetons on the 2.2-mile round-trip trek to Inspiration Point. Jackson Hole tours will bring you throughout the town to landmarks like Jackson Town Square and the Antler Arches of Jackson. In contrast, Grand Teton tours will pair you with an expert instructor who will teach you about the area’s wildlife, cultural significance and geography.


Cultural Experiences

Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons have something for everyone. The region served as a home to Indigenous tribes for thousands of years, including the Shoshone, Bannock and Gros Ventre tribes, as well as a hub for the fur trade during the era of European exploration. The National Museum of Wildlife Art houses works by Robert Bateman and Georgia O’Keefe, while the Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum offers exhibits on the region’s history with educational programs and displays on the fur trade. There are also several cultural events to experience, such as the Grand Teton Music Festival and the Jackson Hole Rodeo at the Teton County Fairgrounds.

Road Scholar Participants

Itineraries for Various Traveler Types

Whether you’re a family, solo traveler or senior, you can create the ultimate Grand Teton and Jackson Hole adventure based on your interests and whether you’re looking for a short stay or an extended visit. Below is an example of a 5-day itinerary for Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons:

  • Day 1: Arrive in Jackson Hole and check into your accommodations before visiting the Town Square and Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum. Then, catch a show at the Jackson Hole Playhouse after dinner.
  • Day 2: Drive to Grand Teton National Park, stopping at the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center first. Then, take the shuttle boat across Jenny Lake to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point. If you have extra time and energy, hike the Cascade Canyon Trail before returning to Jackson Hole for dinner.
  • Day 3: Venture back to the Grand Tetons, this time stopping at the Colter Bay Visitor Center and hiking the short Lakeshore trail. Then stop on Oxbow Bend and its scenic overlook and have lunch at Jackson Lake Lodge’s Mural Room before driving up Signal Mountain for panoramic views.
  • Day 4: Visit the historic Mormon Row for an unmatched photography experience, then join a guided wildlife safari to spot animals like elk, bison and moose. End the evening by enjoying a performance at the Jackson Hole Rodeo.
  • Day 5: Visit Granite Hot Springs to rest, recharge and take one more scenic drive through the park for final views and photos before departing.



Visiting Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons is an exciting and otherworldly experience. When exploring these areas, adventure responsibly by respecting wildlife, leaving no trace and respecting local customs and traditions. Explore the Grand Tetons and Banff National Park on your next U.S. and Canada travel tour.