If there's any park that makes it easy to explore with very few days to spare. That doesn't mean visitors will be able to see the entirety of the park but it does mean they'll have the chance to see some of its best features. The best way to do this is by car, which allows people access to many of the most popular areas without having to spend days hiking in between.
A road trip to Grand Teton starts visitors off with incredible views of the surrounding landscape without even leaving the car. Of course, no trip would be complete without at least a little hiking and sightseeing, though.
What To See In Grand Teton On The First Day
Start In Jackson, Wyoming
This is a great place to have a home base or at least to spend the morning grabbing breakfast and other essentials. Jackson is somewhat of a hub for those visiting Grand Teton since it's the closest city to it and offers plenty of convenience with its proximity.
National Elk Refuge & Mormon Row Historic District
Before diving straight into the park, there are some places that visitors should explore first. National Elk Refuge is an incredible place that's home to one of the largest herds of elk that's ever been seen. This first stop is also free, which makes it a nice way to ease into spotting some nature and wildlife without pulling out one's wallet. If nothing else, it's quite humbling to be near such incredible animals, and to watch them in their natural habitats.
Mormon Row Historic District is technically inside of the park but it's an important stop due to its history. This is where visitors can see real homesteads dating back to the 19th century and take photos to record the sights. In the background of what was once a farmstead community, visitors can see a breathtaking mountain vista in the form of the Teton Range.
Moose Junction, Windy Point Turnout, & The Lakes
Moose Junction is where park-goers can get fantastic views of the Snake River, which was one of the most significant locations in the region, historically and ecologically. This overlook is just off Moose Junction on Teton Park Road, which can be found by making a left. This road takes drivers straight to the visitor's center but not before crossing over the magnificent Snake River, itself.
Windy Point Turnout is yet another place to witness stunning views of the surrounding Teton Range. Four mountains are visible from this overlook, which can be found by continuing past the Moose Entrance Station. The views of descending mountains across the valley are nothing short of phenomenal, especially on a cloudless day.
From this point in the journey, there are three lakes that visitors can choose to fit into one day (if they've got an incredibly early start) or choose from. To spend even more time communing with nature, all three of these lakes could be added to day two - but visitors risk losing out on even more destinations.
- Taggart Lake. This lake requires a three-mile trek that leads hikers down a path, past a waterfall, and to the lake. On arrival, hikers will be greeted with majestic mountain views since the lake is at the base of the mountain range.
- Jenny Lake. For even more activities and a well-serviced area, Jenny Lake is worth the short hike to get there. The lake is home to a visitor center, concession stands, boat shuttle access, and trail access. From here, visitors may choose to explore the areas around Jenny Lake at will (such as Hidden Falls, which is a two-mile hike from the lake) or take the boat shuttle to another area of the park.
- String Lake. This lake is home to lakeside beaches as well as incredible views - once again - of Teton Range. Hikers can choose to follow one of its trails or. simply soak in the views and stop for lunch or an early dinner at its picnic area before heading back.
What To See In Grand Teton On The Second Day
Head To Signal Mountain Road
Fantastic views of Jackson Lake await eager park visitors, and they'll have the perfect vantage point after driving up Signal Mountain Road. The overlook provides sweeping views of the lake below and the northern Teton Range in the background. From here, drivers can head to Jackson Lake Dam, which is also home to easy trails that follow the lake and are easily walked in a couple of hours.
Christian Pond Loop
The round-trip loop trail around this pond is a great way to see wildlife in Grand Teton. Along with elk, moose, and swans, visitors will be able to take in the expansive valley and meadow views along the way.
Colter Bay Village Or Lakeview
From there, visitors might choose to visit both Colter Bay Village or the Lakeview Picnic Area, depending on how much time they have. Colter Bay Village is a more extensive area and it would be easy to spend the rest of the day exploring Lakeshore Trail, its visitor center, and the marina. Short day cruises can also be taken from Colter Bay Village to Elk Island, complete with lunch.
As an alternative, heading to Lakeview Picnic Area will give visitors views of Jackson Lake with the added bonus of many picnic spots. Here, visitors can walk down to the shore, enjoy the sun, and take in the beauty surrounding them before heading back.