Stunning Grand Teton National Park is located in northwestern Wyoming and is sometimes overlooked by travelers heading to Yellowstone. It features expansive valleys, tranquil forests, pristine lakes, and the Teton Range’s major peaks. Offering unforgettable sights and experiences, this national park is a must-see for nature lovers. With that said, here are a few family-friendly places and things to check out.
Families Will Love These 10 Activities In Grand Teton National Park
1. Camp out overnight
Grand Teton National Park has several campsites for visitors such as Jenny Lake Campground and Colter Bay Campground—both of which allow walk-ins. Backcountry camping zones are also available, but require reservations. Moreover, the park features accommodations for RVs, trailers, and group camping.
2. Observe wildlife in their natural habitat
The park recommends specific areas for viewing wildlife. In the southeastern part of Jenny Lake is Timbered Island, a place where pronghorn antelope and elk are commonly seen. Likewise, a mile eastward from Jackson Lake Junction is where visitors can witness bald eagles, muskrats, moose, and ospreys.
3. Take part in the Nature Explorer's Backpack program
Designed for children aged 6 to 12, the Nature Explorer’s Backpack program encourages participants to discover the magnificence of the outdoors and write down their experiences. The course begins with a short orientation, and then each child is given a nature journal and list of activities. Afterward, the little explorers are free to roam the Preserve trails. The backpacks can be rented out at the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve Center.
4. Explore the lakes and river on a boat
Home to an abundance of lakes and the Snake River, Grand Teton National Park is perfect for boating. However, there are restrictions on the type of vessel allowed on each body of water, and some vessels require a park permit like stand-up paddle boards. Jackson and Jenny lakes allow motorboats whereas windsurfers and sailboats are only permitted on Jackson Lake. Rentals are available at the Grand Teton Lodge Company.
5. Visit one of the dude ranches
Take a journey into the past at one (or all) of the park’s four dude ranches: JY Ranch, Bar BC Ranch, White Grass Ranch, and Elbo Ranch. These ranches preserve the historic crafts and buildings like cabins and warehouses that were constructed in the early 1900s.
6. Support the park by shopping at the bookstore
Purchasing products at the park’s bookstores helps fund scientific and educational initiatives at Grand Teton National Park. Craig Thomas Discovery & Visitor Center houses one of the largest bookstores at the park. The bookshop also sells souvenirs and apparel such as shirts and baseball caps.
7. Go hiking
National parks are the perfect places to explore nature on foot. With advanced trails on steep and rugged terrain as well as scenic lake hiking trails, Grand Teton National Park is no exception. For the former, Granite Canyon Trailhead and Hermitage Point Trailhead are rather challenging. On the other hand, Swan Lake Hike and Taggart Lake Trailhead are more appropriate for beginners.
8. Become a Junior Ranger
Children of all ages are invited to join the National Junior Rangers. To participate, go to any visitor center at the park and pick up the Grand Adventure, an activity booklet. After completing the guide and attending a workshop led by a ranger, the participant will be awarded with an official Junior Ranger patch.
9. Go snowshoeing or cross-country skiing
The colder months of late December to the middle of March bring lots of snow to the park creating the ideal landscape for winter sports. Although the snowshoe and ski trails aren’t marked, the National Park Service has licensed several businesses to give tours. These include The Hole Hiking Experience for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, and Exum Mountain Guides for climbing and backcountry skiing.
10. See the great outdoors on horseback
Trekking through the park by foot may be exhausting, so tour the breathtaking scenery on a horse instead (or do both!). A few lodges in the park offer a one or two hour horseback ride service where patrons can explore expansive meadows and lakes. Jackson Lake Lodge provides horses with morning and afternoon departures.
This article was written by Justina Tran.