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Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park (yep, it means “the big tit”)

French trappers are responsible for naming the three peaks now known as the South, Middle, and Grand Teton.

They called the mountains “Les Trois Tetons,” or “The Three Breasts.” The Grand Teton—the tallest of the three—literally means “the big tit.”

So now that we have that quirky and fun tidbit out of the way, I just want to say that after a visit to Grand Teton National Park, I am proclaiming it as one of my absolute favorites. It’s stunning and beautiful. I had visited the park after spending a few days in Yellowstone National Park, as they are situated very close to each other. In comparison, Grand Teton National Park doesn’t have nearly the amount of traffic jams and crowds that Yellowstone has. I’ve also been to Yosemite NP, Zion NP and Arches NP and those can be over-crowded too, depending on when you go. Grand Teton National Park feels like a hidden gem that not everybody knows about (or cares to make time to visit when they are at Yellowstone). Grand Teton National Park is home to bald eagles, grizzly bears, river otters, moose, deer, elk and bison.

In this article, I’ll provide you with some ideas to plan your itinerary for two perfect days in Grand Teton National Park.

me signalmountain

Day 1: Start off by taking the scenic drive up Signal Mountain. This windy road climbs almost 1,000 feet above the valley floor to the summit. Two overlooks provide panoramic views of the Teton Range and Jackson Lake. This is a great place for pictures with the wonderful mountain range in the background in all its glory. Afterwards, drive down to Jenny Lake and park. It’s time to for a hike! The Hidden Falls & Inspiration Point hike is about 3 miles and moderately challenging. You’ll hike around the lake first and continue up to the Hidden Falls.

The falls engage all your senses – the 230-foot cascade fills your view, the thundering water drowns out speech, the spray chills your skin, and the air smells crisp and clean. Keep hiking on to Inspiration Point for some stunning views across Jenny Lake. The final stretch to the point is rocky with some uneven surfaces so go slow and be careful. But once you’re up there you’ll be…well inspired! You can hike back down from Inspiration Point and then from that junction just take a scenic short boat ride ($10) back across the lake to where you parked if you don’t feel like hiking all the way back. It’s worth it and there will be some more hiking tomorrow so no need to feel guilty!

mormanrow moultonbarn

Day 2: Rise and shine early today to get some good lighting for pictures of Mormon Row Historic District. Here you can tour historic barns and homesteads of the Mormon’s, who in the 1890’s moved into the Jackson Hole area from Idaho. Photographers from around the world stop by the Moulton barn to capture this iconic structure with the Teton Range in the background. It’s not right inside the park, but It’s only one and a half miles east of the highway. Next, let’s drive into the park and over to Taggart Lake for a 3-4-mile roundtrip hike. Much of the hike features outstanding views of the Teton mountains always looming as if right there within arms-length to touch. The trail winds its way through aspen groves, mountain streams, and fields filled with wildflowers. When you get to the glacial lake you should take a few minutes and breath it all into your senses, it’s so beautiful and serene the way it sits in front of the Tetons like a picture-perfect postcard.

Dornans

After the hike, since you’ve worked up an appetite, head over to Dornans for lunch, it’s right near south the entrance to the park. You can sit outside on the picnic tables and enjoy your meal with views of the mountain range. It’s indeed perhaps one of the best lunchtime views in the world! The Chuckwagon at Dornans has been in operation since 1948. There’s a little village with shops nearby and this is the place where you can register for float trips on the river and rent bikes as well for the paved bike path that loops through the park. End your day by driving over to the Snake River Overlook. This turnout offers spectacular views of the Teton Range, and it’s where Ansel Adams took his iconic photo of the Snake River and Teton Range.

Ansel Adams Snake River Overlook

Grand Teton National Park gave me the feeling of home…well a shared great outdoor home that I know I’ll return to again and again. It’s one of those parks that just feels right, leaving you refreshed and providing a great recharge of your batteries. It is very easy to navigate around in and the nearby town of Jackson makes a great base and really has a quaint charm and old west feel to it. Enjoy your time discovering the magnificent landscape and wildlife of Grand Teton National Park.

TheGrandTetons

Update: I’ll be organizing a group trip to Yellowstone National Park and Grand Tetons in the spring of 2021. Please let me know if you’ll be interested in joining us.

Jack’s adventures in the USA and worldwide are carefully selected and the itineraries are hand-crafted to feature nature walks, hiking, biking, tastings, cultural immersion and sightseeing.