Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton Regulations

Park Regulations

For your safety, and to protect Grand Teton's treasures, please read and follow all NPS regulations. Complete regulations are available at any park visitor center.

Backcountry Use

Permits are required for overnight backcountry use.

Biking

You may ride anywhere cars are permitted. Biking is prohibited on trails or in the backcountry.

Swimming

Swimming is permitted in park lakes; it is discouraged in the Snake River due to cold water and strong currents.

Lake and River Boating

Motorized craft and non-motorized craft both require a park permit to operate on park waters. Boaters can purchase either a seven-day permit or a season-long (annual) permit; fees vary accordingly. To float the Snake River, you must register your craft with the NPS and obtain a boat permit. Register and pay fees at Moose or Colter Bay visitor centers.

Motorized craft are permitted only on Jackson and Jenny lakes (small engine only on Jenny). Non-motorized craft are allowed on Bearpaw, Bradley, Emma Matilda, Jackson, Jenny, Leigh, Phelps, String, Taggart and Two Ocean lakes. Note that sailing, waterskiing and windsurfing are allowed only on Jackson Lake. Please check with park personnel regarding current fees and regulations during your visit.

Vehicles

Vehicles are restricted to established roadways; no off-road (ORV) travel is allowed in the park. Snowmobiles are allowed on the Continental Divide Snowmobile Trail when snow conditions permit.

Firearms and Hunting

Firearms are not allowed openly in Grand Teton, although unloaded weapons may be transported through the park if kept cased, packed or stored in a manner that prevents their ready use. In autumn, an elk reduction program is conducted by special permit at the National Elk Refuge, throughout the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway, and in specified portions of Grand Teton.

Staying Safe

Altitude

The lowest points in Jackson Hole are more than a mile above sea level. Trails and tram rides into the mountains can take you above 10,000 feet in elevation. Visitors from lower elevations may feel short of breath at times and should carefully consider their physical condition when planning backcountry travel. Symptoms can be minimized by resting, eating high energy snacks, drinking more fluids, avoiding cigarettes and alcohol, and limiting strenuous activity.

Wildlife

Animals have the right-of-way everywhere in the park, including roads, trails and parking lots. All wild creatures, from chipmunks to moose, are potentially dangerous and should be respected from a distance. Female animals with young are especially unpredictable. The park is also home to both black and grizzly bears and mountain lions. These large predators are considered dangerous, especially when surprised or approached too closely. Maintain a distance of at least a football field from bears, and give all animals including bison, moose and elk a wide berth. Bison have been known to gore visitors who approach too closely. Campers must guard their food from scavengers by storing it inside vehicles out of view or by using backcountry bearproof facilities or canisters.

Driving

The view out the window can distract you from paying attention to other vehicles on the road; share driving responsibilities so everyone gets a chance to sightsee in comfort. Fellow motorists may stop suddenly to avoid animals jumping in the flow of traffic or to watch them feeding along the roadsides. If you stop to view an attraction, use roadside turnouts to avoid being a traffic hazard.

As an alternative to driving, consider taking a scenic tour of the park by bus. Contact the Grand Teton Lodge Company at (307) 543-2811 or other tour operators for information.

Be aware that mountain storms can result in snowy conditions or icy roads during almost any month of the year.

Water Safety

Boating and rafting are popular on Grand Teton's many lakes and the Snake River (mountain water is usually quite cold year-round). There are no lifeguards at park lakes. No inner-tubing is allowed on the Snake River due to its swift currents and natural debris such as logjams.

Water from lakes, rivers or streams needs to be treated before drinking by either filtering or boiling to eliminate microorganisms, such as Giardia lamblia, that can make you ill.

Dress

Sunscreen, sunglasses, hats, and protective clothing should be worn every day of the year. During warmer months, a cotton shirt, fleece pullover and rain jacket or windbreaker are a wise combination against potential hot sun, high winds, rain or mosquitoes. Shorts are fine at noon, but long pants are better in the morning and evening. If you are visiting in winter, late fall or early spring, be prepared for extreme cold and sudden storms by dressing in warm layered clothing.

Fires

Campgrounds provide fire grates for visitor use. Backcounty campfires are prohibited except at designated lakeshore campsites.

Pets

All domestic animals must be leashed in Grand Teton whenever they are outside of a private vehicle. No pets are allowed in the backcountry or on park trails. Service animals are allowed in the park, but must be kept under restraint.

Vandalism

Damaging property or removing plants, animals and minerals from the park is illegal. Violators are subject to heavy fines.