The areas around the Grand Teton mountain range and its lakes were established as a national park in 1929 in order to protect the land from commercial exploitation. The protected area was extended into the surrounding valley in 1950. Grand Teton National Park currently covers more than 310,000 acres and is located only 10 miles from Yellowstone National Park.
Located high above sea level at elevations from elevations from 6,320 to 13,770 feet, Grand Teton National Park is a diverse ecosystem with terrain ranging from summertime wildflower meadows to rushing whitewater streams. There are also numerous serene lakes with deep blue pools, echoing the stillness and color of the glaciers that shaped them. The wild and winding Snake River descends through the park in a rush of water and the dense forests blanketing the mountainsides provide habitat for a vast array of fauna and flora, with some species dating back to the prehistoric era.
Opportunities for viewing wildlife abound inside the park. It is often possible to see both grizzly and black bears, gray wolves, coyotes, bison and bald eagles. Other common sightings include pronghorns, elk and a variety of smaller mammals such as the Uinta ground squirrel. Speed limits within the park are reduced in many places, both for your safety and the safety of the animals as they cross park roadways, particularly in early morning and late evening.
Grand Teton Weather
Although the landscape is covered in snow from November to May, Grand Teton weather warms during the summer, giving a brief but welcome respite to the plants and animals that thrive there. However, there may be a mix of cooler days and occasional snow even in May and June. Many of the trails in the valley will have snow cover until the end of May. Afternoon thundershowers are common in summer and rain gear is recommended when visiting the park during spring, summer or fall. Winter visitors should expect sub-zero conditions and wear layers of warm clothing, protective hand and head gear as well as waterproof, insulated footwear.
Grand Teton Tours and Camping
Grand Teton lodging can be found in one of five campgrounds, some of which are by reservation only. Additional Grand Teton lodging is available including dormitory style rooms, cabins, full service resorts and RV parks. Restaurants, rest areas, picnic sites and convenience stores are also available.
Visitors to the park enjoy many outdoor activities including nature hikes, biking, climbing, fishing and boating. Guide services are available as well as educational walk and talks led by the park rangers. Visitors can also pick up a Grand Teton National Park map at one of several visitor centers or information stations.
Although the entrance gates are open year round, Grand Teton National Park has areas that close for winter and many of the facilities and visitor centers are closed on Christmas day.