What to Expect When Visiting Grand Teton in December

Wondering what it’s like to visit Grand Teton in December? The winter months are a unique time to plan a Grand Teton vacation.

Use our Grand Teton National Park guide and the tips below to plan your December vacation: services available, what to pack, where to stay, things to do, and more!

In December all services and most of the roads are closed to vehicles. But that means you can experience the park in a completely different way and avoid the busy season crowds!

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A Photo Tour of Grand Teton National Park

Take a visual tour through Grand Teton National Park to see the stunning landscape and wildlife you’ll find in the park!

Grand Teton in December

There are a lot of things to do when visiting Grand Teton National Park. Each season will have different activities and services available.

In December you’ll enjoy winter activities like skiing and snowshoeing!

Use our guide to find other times of year to visit if you want to do summer activities like hiking and kayaking: best time to visit Grand Teton National Park.

Services at Grand Teton in December

Grand Teton is open 24 hours, every day of the year. BUT some roads and most of the park services are closed in December. Check the Grand Teton National Park website for the exact dates.

Campgrounds and lodges are closed so you’ll need to stay in nearby Jackson.

grand teton national park with snow

December Weather at Grand Teton

When you visit Grand Teton in December you can expect cold temperatures. Daytime highs are near 25 degrees Fahrenheit and the lows are near 0! 

It is really important that you dress in layers and bring your winter clothing.

Snow storms can roll through at any time. Always check the current weather and road conditions on the Grand Teton website.

elk refuge near Grand Teton in the winter

Grand Teton Wildlife in December

In December it’s helpful to see wildlife at Grand Teton National Park as they contrast against the white snow.

You’ll see many elk at the Elk Refuge between the park and the town of Jackson. You can take a sleigh ride tour to see the elk up close! Tours usually start mid-December

If you’re lucky you may see eagles, coyotes, foxes, bison, deer, wolves, trumpeter swans and more on the tour… as well as on the roads or trails that are open in the park.

winter at grand teton national park

Teton Park Road in December

Enjoy skiing, snowshoeing and walking along the Teton Park Road from Taggart Lake Trailhead to the Signal Mountain Lodge.

The road is closed to vehicles and bikes once snow covered, usually from November 1 to April 30. Winter grooming on the road happens three times a week beginning mid-December.

Check out the map below showing groomed trails, skier tracked trails and wildlife closer areas.

Cross-country Skiing and Snowshoeing in December at Grand Teton

Enjoying cross-country and snowshoeing at Grand Teton National Park in the winter is a wonderful way to enjoy nature in a quiet setting.

There are etiquette aspects to keep in mind:

  • Do not walk or snowshoe on ski trails
  • Leave your skis on and side-step down or detour around steep sections
  • Snowshoe parallel to the ski track
  • Yield to faster skiers
  • Step out of the track for a break

Pets at Grand Teton in December

Pets are allowed on plowed roadways and parking area. You can also take your pet on the unplowed sections of the Teton Park and Moose-Wilson roads.

Pets must be on a leash of six feet or less, and within 30 feet of a roadway. Please dispose of your pet’s waste properly. There are waste disposal cans at the trailheads.

Grand Teton Photography in December

The winter landscape at Grand Teton is amazing! The jagged peaks of the snow-capped mountains are a photographer’s dream!

Accessing the most famous photo spots at Grand Teton is difficult in December. And many of these locations look vastly different when the water is frozen and snow-covered.

Be ready with your camera gear to capture images the landscape and wildlife as you drive along the road, or ski along the trails.

Check out our tips to photograph Grand Teton National Park!

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