Less than 5 miles from Jackson Hole, Grand Tetons National Park is the most beautiful national park that is among the top 5 most visited national parks of 2021. Do you know it is the only national park that has a commercial airport inside its boundaries? Isn’t it amazing to land directly in the park, take a rental, and catch sight of the breathtaking views of the Tetons? 🙂
We have already been there twice this year in both the winter and summer seasons. Each season presented different views, equally beautiful and mesmerizing. A large portion of the park was closed during winter, while summer gave us ample opportunity to explore the park.
During our summer visit in the month of June, we were there for 3 days and covered almost every part of the national park. Here is the list of the top 10 points in the park that must not be missed.
1. Mormon Row Historic District :- For a fact, the barn displayed in the below picture is the most photographed barn in the world. Just a few minutes from Moose Junction is Mormon Row Historic District. It was established by Mormon settlers back in the 1890s, few barns still can be seen in the area which is now on the list of the National Register of Historic Places. This place is very popular among photographers. The right time to visit the place is during sunrise or sunset when you can see beautiful colors in the sky giving amazing background to the picture. The two most photographed barns in Mormon Row are the John Moulton Barn and T. A. Moulton Barn. We went there in the afternoon, roads of the area are gravel and a little bumpy which is a bit annoying, but that can be manageable.
2. Schwabacher Landing – This is probably the most beautiful area of the park. You might have seen reflection pictures of Grand Tetons. This is the place where you can see the most perfect and beautiful reflection of Teton’s mountain range in the snake river. it’s 5 miles north of the park’s main headquarters at Moose. Again, go there during sunset or sunrise for beautiful pictures. The point is a little out of way, so make sure not to miss it.
3. Snake River Overlook – Snake River overlook can easily be missed if you don’t know about it. Whether you visit this place in winter or summer, you won’t be disappointed by the amazing views. Ansel Adams, a famous landscape photographer captured the beauty of this place back in 1942 in black and white form. Still, many photographers come and try their hands to re-create Ansel’s magic. Ansel’s photograph is still on display at a banner near the overlook. During our winter trip, our tour guide told us about this place. The Snake River is clearly visible from the viewpoint flowing quietly in the backdrop of Tetons.
4. Oxbow bend – Just like Schwabacher landing, it’s a famous place among photographers. Mountain reflection can be seen on still water. We passed this point nearly 3 times during our trip. Most of the time water was turbulent, so we couldn’t see the proper reflection. But it’s very beautiful with or without reflection. There is not much parking space at the point and also due to its views, you will find this point mostly overcrowded.
5. Jackson Lake – It’s one of the largest high-altitude lakes in the United States, which offers boating, sailing, swimming, fishing, and lodging. There are multiple lookout points across the lake where you can spend quality time. Jackson lake dam is also a nice point to visit. We crossed this lake number of times while completing the park loop and going back and forth from Yellowstone National Park. During sunset, it is damn awesome.
6. Signal Mountain:- The next point after Jenny lake we covered was Signal Mountain. You need to drive nearly 5-miles taking close to 20 mins. The drive is not so easy as the road is very narrow at some places, so you need to be very careful while driving. Trailers and RVs are prohibited on the drive. There is not much to do at the top, the parking area is also limited. There were too many yellow flowers in the valley visible from the point. There is also a small trail that will lead you to the most beautiful view of this point showing the Grand Tetons mountain range. But beware of the mosquitos which will not let you enjoy the scenery for a second. It is super annoying when they keep chasing you wherever you go. We just took pictures and left as soon as we can.
7. Jenny Lake :- Jenny lake is the heart of the park. You will regret if you missed this place which is highly doubtful :).There are so many things to do there, be it kayaking, boating, hiking, trekking, photography or just to be in nature. If you are into hiking, there are some great trails that start from the lake. Jenny lake’s loop of 7.6 miles covers most of the points around the area. To explore these, there are 2 options, either you hike or take a ferry from Jenny lake to the opposite side which takes around 10-15 minutes. One-way and round-trip tickets are available at the booking window. We tried both options(hike and ferry) on two different days.
8. Hidden Falls :- Once you reach the other side of Jenny lake, there is a decent roundtrip hike trail of nearly 1 mile to Hidden falls. You will be mesmerized by its beauty. We went there twice in fact. The first day we went there in the evening late hours. We avoided hiking and took the ferry for a roundtrip due to time shortage. It was the last ferry, so they asked us to come back on time and gave us nearly 1 hour to explore the area. We were in rush, so couldn’t actually relax there. We quickly covered Hidden Falls, took some pictures, and tried to cover another famous point- Inspiration point, next on our list. Due to the time rush, we didn’t go all the way up to Inspiration point and returned early. If you miss the last boat, you have to hike back to jenny lake which we were not looking for :).
9. Inspiration Point :- The next point after Hidden falls is the Inspiration point. This point has a wonderful scenic view of Jenny Lake and actually is about 2 miles of roundtrip hike with 500ft elevation gain. Trek is steep at some places with several sections of rock stairs. It is definitely a must-do trek considering the beauty and trek challenges. We returned from so close to the point last evening, that we kind of laughed after reaching there. If we could have hiked for only 10 minutes more, the earlier day, we would have been at the point. Anyways we completed it the next day and it was really fun.
10. Cascade Canyon:- After reaching Inspiration point, you can go further up to Cascade canyon which is a moderate trek with beautiful breathtaking views. The total trek from Jenny lake is nearly 13.6 miles round trip with nearly 1300 ft. elevation. Post inspiration point, the trail passes through mainly from the wood area. We didn’t complete it due to lack of time, but as much we did, it was amazing. Bring plenty of water for the trail and have extra batteries for your camera :). The trail is challenging but really fun.
We feel that this national park somehow gets overshadowed by Yellowstone national park, the most famous park in the USA. In fact, it’s equally beautiful and mind-blowing as Yellowstone. I would say in terms of landscapes, it’s even better than Yellowstone. It also has rich wildlife like that of Yellowstone. While Yellowstone is unique due to its geysers, mud pots, hot springs, and wildlife, Tetons’ uniqueness lies in its unmatchable beauty.
Have you visited the park yet? If yes, have you covered all these points? Share your experience and let us know if any other point deserves a place on the list.
Happy Reading! Keep Traveling !!!