Summer activities in Grand Teton National Park range from hiking and biking to guided wildlife tours, fun on and in the lakes and Snake River and even horseback riding. Below are what we feel are the top 10.
1. Scenic Float Trips
The Snake River’s headwaters are a part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. Consider booking a rafting trip with Barker-Ewing Scenic Float Trips, and Solitude Float Trips both float the only stretch of the Snake River in Jackson Hole designated as “scenic.” The 10-mile Snake River Float Trips run entirely within Grand Teton National Park, floating beneath the Grand Tetons in an area untouched by human development for generations. River guides share a wealth of knowledge on the geology and history of Grand Teton National Park and Jackson Hole, as well as information on the animals that dwell in these regions. An approximate round-trip time of 2.5 to 3 hours makes these rafting trips the ideal length for a full river adventure while allowing visitors to explore some of the many activities that Jackson Hole has to offer in the same day.
2. Jackson Lake Cruise
Enjoy a breakfast, lunch, or dinner lake cruise on popular Jackson Lake. The Grand Teton Lodge Company conducts narrated tours about local history and folklore across the lake, after which guests are seated at a private meal site on Elk Island, directly in the shadow of Mount Moran. Guests may wander the island or enjoy sitting by the campfire before the boat returns to Colter Bay Village Marina. Jackson Lake Cruises are fun for the whole family.
3. Fly Fishing
When looking for something to do this summer, try your hand at fly fishing in Grand Teton National Park. Area lakes and streams offer great trout fishing opportunities: browns, rainbows, lake, and native cutthroat trout can all be caught in the park’s waters. Grand Teton Fly Fishing offers guided fly fishing trips that float the Snake River through the park. Come and experience world-class fly fishing in Jackson Hole.
4. Wildlife Tours
One of the best ways to view the wildlife in Grand Teton National Park is through a guided tour. Not only will guests witness the incredible number of species that inhabit the park, but they will also gain a more valuable experience by learning about the natural history, geology, and ecology of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Jackson Hole Wildlife Safaris, Wildlife Expeditions, Scenic Safaris, and Eco Tour Adventures offer several safari tours with half-day, full-day, and multi-day options, along routes that vary depending on wildlife, group interest and road conditions. The small group sizes and expert local guides make this experience a personalized one, with extensive wildlife viewing and boundless photo opportunities. All wildlife photo safari tours are also available on a private basis, allowing guests to customize their trips. There are no age restrictions on private tours, so don’t forget to bring the kids.
Traveler Tip: Scenic Safaris offers a half day Backcountry ATV Tour, with majestic views of the Teton range from the Bridger Teton National Forest. An excellent option for your family's first backcountry experience, if you have other activities planned and are looking for a shorter ride.
5. Jenny Lake Excursions
Experience the beautiful Teton views from the water! Jenny Lake Boating offers small, passenger shuttles across the lake at the base of Mount Teewinot. The shuttle runs to Inspiration Point approximately every 15 minutes during the day, and the Cascade Canyon trailhead can be found on the west side of the lake.
They also offer a scenic cruise, where passengers will spend approximately one hour on the lake with a knowledgeable guide. Learn about the history and geology of the area as well as the flora and fauna around the lake while capturing the spectacular views on your camera. Private boats are available and perfect for anyone with limited mobility to get up close to the Tetons.
Related: A Day at Jenny Lake
6. Biking On the Pathway
Grand Teton National Park and John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway provide more than 100 miles of paved roads and a multi-use pathway that present splendid views of the Teton Range. The roads and multi-use pathway pass through several wildlife habitats and bikers should be prepared for wildlife encounters. The multi-use pathway heads north from Jackson to Moose Junction, then follows the Teton Park Road to South Jenny Lake. The Jenny Lake Scenic Loop is a popular one-way, 7-mile loop from South Jenny Lake that provides spectacular views of the Tetons. In addition to road biking, riders can enjoy mountain biking at Two Ocean Lake Road—three miles of dirt road leading from Pacific Creek Road to Two Ocean Lake—as well as at Grassy Lake Road, an old Native American route through John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway.
Related: Jackson Hole Pathways
7. Horseback Riding
Take in the magnificent Teton views from horseback. Grand Teton Lodge Company offers short and longer horseback rides through Grand Teton National Park at Jackson Lake Lodge and Colter Bay Village. The rides provide spectacular views ranging from Jackson Hole to the boundaries of Yellowstone. So saddle up and see this part of the country on horseback!
Hiking is one of the most popular activities in Grand Teton National Park. The rugged nature of the landscape, including steep trails, high elevation and extreme and abrupt weather changes, make this activity both fun and challenging. The park has numerous trailheads, including scenic hikes around lakes such as Phelps, Jenny, Leigh and Taggart. During July and August, most trailhead parking areas fill early in the day, so it would be advisable to start your hike early or plan for alternate hikes.
9. Scenic Drives
View the geology, wildlife and plants of Grand Teton National Park from the comfort and safety of your car. Scenic drives are a popular activity in the park, especially for families. Many turnouts are present along park roads, providing safe places for visitors to enjoy scenic views, witness wildlife and take photographs. The Jenny Lake Scenic Drive skirts the east shore of Jenny Lake and provides stunning views of the peaks. Take Signal Mountain Summit Road to witness panoramic views of the Teton Range, the Jackson Hole valley and Jackson Lake.
One of the most recognizable mountains in the country, the Grand Teton draws millions of visitors every year and is a popular destination for mountain and rock climbers. A climb on this iconic peak is certainly a challenging experience, and a successful ascent is a memorable achievement. Exum Mountain Guides and Jackson Hole Mountain Guides offer private and group climbs for all abilities, ranging from a day to multi-day ascents. Family and kids day climbing are also available, and both Exum and Jackson Hole Mountain Guides offer climbing classes and guided climbs for first-time climbers to experts. Short on time? Try the single day climbs to achieve a mountain peak with Jackson Hole Mountain Guides.
Author: Denise Bakar grew up in McLean, Virginia, and now lives in the beautiful Jackson Hole. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, snowboarding, and camping.