Camping & Hiking in the Tetons
This five-day tour is perfect for families and those who prefer to camp in the great outdoors. Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons have a wonderful diversity of day hikes as well as backcountry adventures. Most campgrounds are open May-September; advance reservations are recommended.
Choose from five campgrounds within Grand Teton National Park or several others in nearby Bridger-Teton National Forest. A quiet, out-of-the-way choice is Gros Ventre Campground in the park, but many visitors prefer Jenny Lake Campground for its central location and wonderfully scenic setting.
Once you’re set up, drive to the park’s Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center for details on the park, maps, brochures, and guidebooks. Just across the river in Moose are several Dornan’s shops, offering groceries, wine, inexpensive meals, and outdoor gear, including bike and canoe rentals. Stop off at pretty Chapel of the Transfiguration and explore the 0.5-mile Menor’s Ferry Trail before returning to your campsite.
Spend today hiking into the Tetons. Many short—and long—hikes are available including one of the most popular, to Inspiration Point. This one begins with a shuttle boat ride across Jenny Lake. It’s a 0.5-mile hike to Hidden Falls, followed by another steep 0.5-mile climb to the top of a 400-foot hill overlooking the lake. From there, paths continue to nearby lakes or high into the Tetons.
Head north from Jenny Lake and take a side road to Signal Mountain, with its panoramic vistas across Jackson Hole and the Tetons. Continue on to Jackson Lake, where a myriad of boating and fishing options await. Stop in at the Colter Bay Visitor Center for a trail map and escape the summertime crowds, looking for moose and trumpeter swans instead.
South on U.S. Highway 26/89/191, pull off for the view at Oxbow Bend. Beyond this are the old Cunningham Cabin and a couple of spectacular turnouts facing the Tetons. A gravel road drops down to Schwabacher Landing, popular with photographers at dawn and dusk. Return to Jenny Lake where you began the day.
Spend today playing in the town of Jackson. Directly behind Jackson is Snow King Resort, with a summertime lift that’s great for hikers and mountain bikers, plus a kids-love-it alpine slide. Twice-weekly rodeos are another favorite family activity, as are evening “shootouts” on Town Square.
Take the scenic route back to Jenny Lake by driving to Teton Village to check out the activities, including hourly horseback rides, an all-summer classical music series, a pop-jet fountain, and jaw-dropping tram rides to the summit of 10,450-foot Rendezvous Mountain. Narrow and winding Moose-Wilson Road continues north from here into the park, providing potential hikes along the way and an opportunity to visit eco-friendly Laurance S. Rockefeller Center.
Four days have barely scratched the surface of this fascinating and scenic place. You may want to return to a spot you missed, or check out something different such as remote Gros Ventre River Valley or Teton Pass for some high-country hiking, or head back into Jackson for a day of shopping and play.
© Don Pitcher from Moon Yellowstone & Grand Teton, 5th Edition