Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park

Only A Day

Driving is the quickest way to see most of Grand Teton's famous features. The distance between the park's southern and northern boundaries is just 56 miles. Since most visitors enter the park from Jackson, this suggested route starts from that southern approach.

At Moose Junction, turn left for Moose Village and get your bearings at the visitor center located there. Menors Ferry and the Chapel of the Transfiguration, just north of Moose Village, are connected by a half-mile, self-guiding trail leading past one of the park's historic settlements. You can ride a replica of Menors Ferry across the Snake River during peak season as part of a ranger-guided walk through the area. Check at the visitor center for details.

Go north from Moose on the Teton Park Road for 11 miles until you reach the North Jenny Lake Junction. Turn left to begin the Jenny Lake Scenic Drive. This road goes past Jenny Lake Lodge, String Lake and the shoreline of Jenny Lake, with some of the park's most famous mountain vistas. If you enjoy water, catch Jenny Lake Boating's shuttle boat (modest round-trip fare) at South Jenny Lake and make a 10-minute trip west across the lake to the mouth of Cascade Canyon. There, you can follow the Cascade Canyon Trail, possibly the best single choice you could make for a short or longer hike (one to 14 miles round-trip), in Grand Teton National Park. Many inviting picnic sites at Jenny Lake make this a good lunch stop. The Jenny Lake Visitor Center has geology exhibits and a large relief map. If you'd rather stay on the road, continue north along the Teton Park Road to Signal Mountain Summit Road, a five-mile side trip off the Teton Park Road near Signal Mountain Lodge that takes you 800 feet above the valley floor for views of the Teton Range and Jackson Lake (no RVs or trailers allowed). Two turnouts with picnic tables provide dramatic panoramic views.

After turning left at the Jackson Lake Junction, check out Jackson Lake Lodge with its huge picture window lobby and historic murals. While there, consider signing up for a breakfast, scenic lake or evening steak-fry cruise (seasonal). Next, drive five miles north to Colter Bay Visitor Center and Indian Arts Museum, which has a large collection of artifacts from several tribes. Wildlife videos and ranger presentations are offered throughout the day.

Head back to Jackson by taking the Jackson Hole Highway (U.S. 26-89-191) and stop at Oxbow Bend, one mile east of Jackson Lake Junction. This large wetland area is home to bald eagles, osprey, American white pelicans, moose, beaver and other wildlife.

As you head south on Jackson Hole Highway, you will pass numerous historic and scenic turnouts, including Cunningham Cabin and Snake River Overlook.

If you have time, the Antelope Flats/ Kelly Loop is a good choice for history buffs as it travels past many of the park's early ranch buildings and settlements. A five-mile side trip takes you to Lower Slide Lake in the adjacent Bridger-Teton National Forest, the site of the dramatic, 1925 landslide that dammed the Gros Ventre (pronounced "grow vaunt") River.