Grand Teton National Park, with its rugged mountains and alpine lakes, shines in all seasons. There are many things to consider when deciding on the best time to visit Grand Teton National Park. While the summer months of June, July, and August are considered peak season in the park, there are highlights that make each season special.
We visited Grand Teton National Park on our American Northwest road trip as part of our Family Year Out when our kids were 4 and 7. We headed to Grand Teton right after a visit to Craters of the Moon, a lesser-known park that we highly recommend!
Our family loved hiking around Grand Teton National Park and asked Kristen from Yonderlust Ramblings to fill us in on the best times to visit Grand Teton National Park.
Kristen has been drawn to Grand Teton National Park over and over for its wealth of rugged hiking trails. She has covered many miles of Grand Teton’s trails, including running in the annual half marathon race there! She loves enjoying the lake and mountain views at Jackson Lake, where she once even spotted a grizzly bear on the shoreline.
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At the bottom of this post download our Top Ten Tricks for Exploring National Parks with Kids.
Where is Grand Teton National Park Located?
Grand Teton National Park is located in northwestern Wyoming. Grand Teton is immense, with numerous lakes, two hundred miles of trails, the iconic Snake River, and a namesake mountain range that spans the length of the park, and provides the backbone for everything there is to do in Grand Teton National Park.
To the north is Yellowstone National Park and its south entrance is only accessible from Grand Teton. But be aware that it is a separate entrance fee. Many people combine the two parks into one road trip as it’s easy to move between them. We’ve got a terrific 3-day itinerary for families visiting Yellowstone.
How do you get to Grand Teton National Park?
Jackson, Wyoming is twenty minutes south by car and Salt Lake City is a 5 hour drive.
Jackson Hole Airport (JAC) is an 8-minute drive from the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center.
Idaho Falls Airport (IDA) is a regional airport, that offers year-round flights on major carriers to a few major cities and is just over 2 hours away.
Salt Lake City Airport (SLC) is the closest international airport and is about 5 hours away.
Driving to Grand Teton? Make sure you have plenty of car activities for the kids, and have stocked up on road trip essentials like jumper cables and paper towels! We’ve also got a long list of popular road trip snacks to bring along.
The park is open 24 hours a day year-round (though many facilities and roads close down throughout the fall and winter).
The fee to enter Grand Teton National Park is $35- that is good for your full car and lasts for seven days.
If you will be combining this visit with other National Parks, be sure to get an America the Beautiful Pass. This annual pass costs $80 and gets you unlimited access to National Parks for one year.
Buy Now: America the Beautiful Park Pass
When is the Best Time to Visit Grand Teton National Park?
Grand Teton National Park is a recreational haven, where you can hike for days, watch for wildlife, go boating and fishing, or simply soak in the sights. There are certain times of the year that are better for certain activities, so consider the characteristics of each season in the park when deciding when is the best time to visit Grand Teton National Park.
Spring in Grand Teton National Park
March: High of 40°F to a low of -10°F (4°C to -12°C)
April: High of 46°F to a low of 19°F (8°C to -7°C)
May: High of 57°F to a low of 28°F (14°C to -2°C)
❄️ Valley trails regularly remain snow-covered until late May or early June.
As is true in much of the surrounding region, spring brings new life to Grand Teton National Park, both literally, in terms of new wildlife, flora, and fauna, and figuratively, as the park becomes more accessible in terms of road and facility openings.
In April, on the last cusp of spring, is when Grand Teton’s facilities, including Visitor Centers, campgrounds, hiking trails, and park roads, including the main Teton Park Road, begin to open. Temperatures might still be a little on the cold side, and many higher-elevation trails may still have snow on them, but a visit during April and May will still avoid many of the heavier summer crowds that begin to show up in June.
Luckily, Grand Teton National Park has plenty of lower-elevation hikes that have a higher possibility of being snow-free in late spring, or at least getting an earlier start on the snow melt. Consider a hike around some of the popular lakes, including Jackson, Jenny, Leigh, String, or Taggart Lakes.
Water activities re-open in the Spring too. For example, the Jenny Lake ferry begins running in mid-May, shuttling visitors from the south shore of Jenny Lake to the west dock, where you can access hiking trails to spots like Inspiration Point, Hidden Falls, and Cascade Canyon.
You can also begin to catch signs of new life around the park, including resident bears emerging from hibernation, moose, elk, and pronghorn with their young.
Summer in Grand Teton National Park
June: High of 68°F to a low of 36°F (20°C to 2°C)
July: High of 77°F to a low of 41°F (25°C to 5°C)
August: High of 77°F to a low of 39°F (25°C to 4°C)
💦 Nighttime temperatures can be cool and afternoon rain showers are common.
Summer is often considered the best time to visit Grand Teton National Park in order to have full access to all the park’s highlights. Snow melt nears an end, making almost all trails accessible. Wildlife is out and about. Water activities are in full swing.
Daytime temperatures are balmy and mild, and nighttime temperatures have just the perfect nip of cool to them without being uncomfortable. The nearby town of Jackson, Wyoming, hosts some of its big annual summer events.
Local Events in the Summer
For runners, a huge annual event held on the first weekend in June is the Grand Teton Half Marathon and 5K. Runners from all over the country gather to participate in one of the most scenic courses in the United States. Also in June, Jackson hosts the annual Food and Wine Summer Fest, an indulgent weekend-long event!
The Grand Teton Music Festival holds events throughout the summer, and come July, there are plenty of fireworks shows put on in the area. Also in July, visitors can catch the Annual Art Fair in Jackson Hole, as well as the annual Teton County Fair. Rounding out the summer events in August is the annual Targhee Bluegrass Festival.
Fall in Grand Teton National Park
September: High of 66°F to a low of 32°F (19°C to 0°C)
October: High of 52°F to a low of 23°F (11°C to -5°C)
November: High of 36°F to a low of 14°F (2°C to -10°C)
🥶 Autumn averages 23 days that drop below freezing.
Fall in Grand Teton National Park heralds the end of the peak visitor season and the beginning of autumn. You can still enjoy summertime pastimes into September, including hiking, boating, wildlife watching, fishing, and sightseeing, but keep in mind that facilities begin to close in September, and by October, the weather in Grand Teton is likely to take a turn.
The heavy snowfall and frigid single-digit temperatures that are characteristic of winter in Grand Teton National Park can begin to make an appearance as early as October.
While many of the park facilities, including Visitor Centers, campgrounds, lodges, and ranger stations begin to close in September and will remain closed until the spring, that does not mean all outdoor activities at Grand Teton have to cease!
Trails remain open in the fall. Vibrant colors are on full display when the aspens turn a blazing golden yellow, set against a backdrop of snow-capped peaks. Some trails are arguably best enjoyed in the fall, to truly appreciate the stunning fall foliage and the break from the crowds of hikers that can often congregate on certain popular trails during the summer.
The Taggart Lake Trail, with its groves of golden aspens, glows in the fall! Some of the park’s most popular trails, such as Cascade Canyon and Jenny Lake, are best enjoyed in the solitude of fall. For some stunning views of the snowy Teton Mountains, reflected off the still waters of Jackson Lake, enjoy a hike on the Colter Bay Lakeshore Trail.
Wildlife watching is still prime, as some of the greatest migrations in the country begin to happen right in the heart of Grand Teton National Park. Following the rutting season, where the sounds of male elk bugling can be heard ringing across the valleys of Grand Teton, these majestic creatures begin migrating south through the park.
In addition to elk, bison and pronghorns also begin their migrations. Bears are on the move, foraging for food in preparation for their long hibernation coming up in winter.
Wherever the fall season takes you in Grand Teton National Park, keep in mind that weather conditions can affect accessibility in the park, including road and hiking trails.
Winter in Grand Teton National Park
December: High of 25°F to a low of 3°F (-4°C to -16°C)
January: High of 25°F to a low of -1°F (-4°C to -18°C)
February: High of 30°F to a low of 3°F (-1°C to -16°C)
❄️ Please Note: Due to the heavy snowfall in the region in winter, Grand Teton National Park’s accommodations, roads, campgrounds, and facilities are closed during the winter season.
Park roads are all closed to motorized traffic by November 1st (though roads can temporarily close earlier due to inclement weather conditions). But, Teton Park Road stays open to non-motorized vehicles from November 1st through April 30th, meaning that the park remains open to skiers and snowshoers.
If this is you, then you can enjoy this winter wonderland practically to yourself! You can cross-country ski or snowshoe independently or take advantage of organized guided tours. There are even ranger-led snowshoe hikes that occur in the park from January through March.
Winter is also an excellent time to continue watching for wildlife, or signs of wildlife in the fresh snow! If you are looking for a memorable and unique visit to Grand Teton, one in which you can enjoy the deafening silence and solitude of a snow-clad landscape, then winter is the season for you!
Things to Do in Grand Teton National Park
Here are the best things to do in Grand Teton National Park, and what season is best for each.
Hike the Top Trails in Grand Teton National Park
Below are some of the most popular Grand Teton hikes, we’ve included the mileage for each trail (round trip) so you can decide whether it makes sense for you. When hiking in Grand Teton National Park make sure to travel in groups and always carry bear spray.
The Cascade Canyon Trail
This trail is a park favorite, as it delves deep into the heart of Grand Teton’s backcountry, in the shadows of the Grand Teton Mountains! You can pick up the trailhead on the west shore of Jenny Lake, either by hiking or taking the Jenny Lake ferry. 10-mile trail.
Mormon Row Trail
Mormon Row is a short, easy stroll to one of the most historic and photographed destinations in the park. Get a glimpse of early frontier life at the Mormon Row historic area. 0.2 mile trail.
Taggart Lake Trail
Taggart Lake is just one of many pristine mountain lakes in Grand Teton National Park. Though it is smaller than some of its neighbors, it shines nonetheless. 3.3 to 5.5 mile loop trail depending on your route.
Jenny Lake Trail
One of the most popular spots in the entire park, Jenny Lake in Grand Teton National Park offers a handful of outdoor adventures, including hiking its beautiful trail to picturesque spots including Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point, as well as boating activities or taking the Jenny Lake ferry. Jenny Lake is the second largest lake in the park, second only to its northern neighbor Jackson Lake, and offers towering views of the Tetons reflected off of its gorgeous waters. 7.5 mile loop trail.
Leigh Lake Trail
Leigh Lake is another lake trail favorite, just north of Jenny Lake. This trail has it all – forests, mountains, and lake views. 3.7 mile trail.
Colter Bay Lakeshore Trail
If you want to enjoy a trek around the largest lake in the park, Jackson Lake, the Colter Bay Lakeshore Trail is an ideal choice! 2.1 mile trail.
Enjoy Water Activities
There are two lakes in Grand Teton National Park where you can go boating (with the right permits). These lakes are the two largest lakes in the park respectively, Jackson Lake and Jenny Lake. And then there is the iconic Snake River, a lifeline in this mountainous region.
Jenny Lake has already been mentioned above as one of the top hikes in the park, which it is! But what makes it really shine in the summer is the additional water activities you can enjoy there as well. You can take a ride on the Jenny Lake ferry, which runs all summer long. You can also rent boats, or bring your own.
While Jackson Lake does not have a ferry like Jenny Lake, you can still partake in boating activities here, on the largest lake in the park.
The Snake River is home to some of the best fishing spots and is a favorite among rafters who prefer its swifter-moving waters.
Watch for Wildlife
Grand Teton National Park is home to a wealth of resident wildlife. Both black bears and grizzly bears call this park home. Elk, deer, pronghorn, and moose all graze its alpine meadows. Bison herds roam with their young. Birds of prey including osprey and bald eagles soar amongst the mountain peaks.
There are several ideal locations throughout the park, mostly located by bodies of water, to secure the best chances of spotting local wildlife.
Oxbow Bend is an area one mile east of Jackson Lake, where slow-moving waters draw moose and elk to graze, as well as birds of prey who feed on fish.
Southeast of Jenny Lake is Timbered Island, a forested ridge, a favorite grazing ground for pronghorns and elk.
Mormon Row and the Snake River are a couple of favorite grazing spots for Grand Teton’s bison herds, as well as moose and elk.
A top sight for many visitors is arguably the park’s bears, both black and grizzly, which are the most active in spring. Spring is also a great time to see mother bears with their cubs. Regardless of the type of wildlife sighting, it is important to never feed wildlife or approach wildlife in Grand Teton National Park, and always maintain a safe distance.
Where to Stay Near Grand Teton National Park
Regardless of when you visit Grand Teton National Park, there are plenty of lodging accommodation options both within and outside the park borders.
Where to Stay Inside the Park
Within the park boundaries, lodging options include park lodges, campgrounds, and backcountry camping.
National Park Lodges in Grand Teton National Park
There are several motels, cottages, and lodges inside the park. The classic, historic lodge is the Jackson Lake Lodge. With 60-foot-high windows looking out over the lake, and a grand dining room, you’ll want to visit this lodge even if you don’t stay here.
All of the options within the park can be reserved through the National Park Service website.
Camping in Grand Teton National Park
There are 6 developed campgrounds in Grand Teton National Park, all of which are reservable in advance online. Car camping or sleeping in vehicles in the park is not allowed.
Backpacking in Grand Teton National Park
Backpacking is another overnight option in the park and a guaranteed memorable experience in Grand Teton’s backcountry wilderness! All overnight backpacking requires a permit, and all overnight backpackers must have a bear-resistant canister.
Where to Stay Outside the Park
Popular locations outside the park include Jackson Wyoming, the largest town in proximity to Grand Teton National Park. Jackson contains restaurants, shopping, and both hotels and vacation rentals. Other, often cheaper, locations include smaller towns like Victor, Idaho, which is only 30 minutes from the park but offers more budget-friendly options, with fewer crowds.
There is also additional camping in the surrounding National Forest, private campgrounds outside the park, or even in Yellowstone National Park, only a few hours north of Grand Teton National Park!
Top Pick Hotel: Alpine Motel. This is a gem in an expensive town. We stayed here on our family road trip. Includes a kitchenette so you can do some cooking yourself, or at least eat take-out at a table on real plates. In a quiet area, but close to downtown restaurants.
#2 Pick Hotel: Parkway Inn of Jackson Hole is a lovely inn right in downtown Jackson and across from Miller Park. With affordable rates and an indoor pool you can enjoy year-round, this hotel is an easy walk to shops and restaurants.
#3 Pick Hotel: Cowboy Village Resort is a great option for families of all sizes. It is just a ten-minute walk to Jackson Town Square. The rooms are laid out like cabins with a charming rusting feel and outdoor grills.
FAQ: Best Time to Visit Grand Teton National Park
Wildlife is visible year-round throughout the park, but depending on what type of wildlife, some seasons are more ideal than others. For example, if you wish to see bears, they will be hibernating in winter, but are more active during the months just after hibernation and just before.
Rutting season among the elk in the fall is a popular wildlife viewing activity for visitors. The wealth of new life, in the form of baby bison, moose, elk, etc., is popular viewing in the spring. Summer is a good season to view all the wildlife in full activity.
Summer is the best time of year to climb Grand Teton or any high-elevation summit in Grand Teton National Park. There is less chance for snow and snow melt on the trails at higher elevations in the summer, and the temperatures are more forgiving at higher elevations in the summer.
Just be sure to be off all summits by noon to avoid possible afternoon thunderstorms or showers. And always bring the 10 hiking essentials with you whenever you hike in the Teton mountain range.
The best time of year to camp at Grand Teton is summer, when the campgrounds are fully open, and the overnight temperatures are not as cold.
You can also camp at the end of spring after the campgrounds reopen in April, or the beginning of fall, before they close, to avoid the larger summer crowds and have a better chance of snagging a spot.
There You Have It: The Best Time to Visit Grand Teton National Park
Summer is the best time to visit Grand Teton National Park for full park accessibility and the mildest weather. But there are things to appreciate about every season in Grand Teton National Park!
If your priority is to visit when there are fewer crowds, then consider the shoulder seasons of spring and fall. If you prefer isolation and solitude and enjoy winter activities like snowshoeing and skiing, then winter might be the best time to visit Grand Teton National Park for you.
Interested in other National Parks? We’ve got guides to major parks like Glacier National Park, and Yosemite National Park as well as Bryce Canyon and Mesa Verde. We didn’t love the Grand Canyon for our family, but we did enjoy hiking in Arches National Park.