Visiting Grand Teton in December

Wondering what it’s like to visit Grand Teton in December? A trip to Grand Teton National Park in the winter months is a unique time to visit if you enjoy cold weather and snow activities.

In December, all Grand Teton National Park services are closed. 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!

visiting Grand Teton in December

Grand Teton National Park is located in northwestern Wyoming. You can enjoy winter activities at Grand Teton National Park like cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and photography!

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

We live only a few hours away from Grand Teton and have visited the park many times during all four seasons. The tips we provide here are based on our travels to the park, especially during the month of December.

The number one tip for visiting Grand Teton in December is to pack winter clothing so you can enjoy your time at the park!

Use our Grand Teton National Park packing list to make sure you have the right clothing and gear for visiting in the winter! Grab your free printable packing checklist by clicking the image below!

Grand Teton packing list Optin box
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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!

Visiting 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.

The park campgrounds and lodges are closed in the winter, but you can find hotels near Grand Teton National Park in nearby Jackson.

grand teton national park with snow
Grand Teton National Park in the winter

December Weather at Grand Teton

It’s important to know the Grand Teton National Park weather and what to expect for the dates you’ll be there.

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.

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.

Road Closures and the 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.

Things to Do at Grand Teton in December

There are a variety of Grand Teton National Park winter activities available like cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, wildlife viewing, and photography!

Grand Teton Winter Tours

You’ll find a variety of Grand Teton National Park winter tours. Many of the tours will determine stops based on the road conditions, weather conditions, and needs or interests of each group.

Most winter tours do NOT include the Grand Teton National Park entrance fee (be sure to have your National Park pass!)

elk refuge near Grand Teton in the winter
Elk refuge near Grand Teton

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
Winter at Grand Teton

Grand Teton Cross-country Skiing and Snowshoeing in December

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

The Teton Park Road from Taggart Lake Trailhead to Signal Mountain Lodge is intermittently groomed for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. You can also explore areas around Colter Bay, Antelope Flats Road, Taggart Lake and Flagg Ranch. Moose-Wilson Road is another fun trail, be sure to park at Granite Canyon Trailhead or Death Canyon Road.

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
Snake River Overlook in the winter
Snake River Overlook in the winter

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.

Here’s our list of favorite places to photograph Grand Teton National Park, that you should be able to access in the winter by car, cross-country skiing or snowshoeing:

  • Overlooks along Highway 191/89
  • Moulton Barn / Mormon Row
  • Snake River Overlook
  • Oxbow Bend
  • Coulter Bay

Be ready with your WINTER camera gear to capture images the landscape and wildlife as you drive along the road, or ski along the trails. We especially love photography gloves and rechargeable hand warmers!

snowmobile at Grand Teton
Snowmobile at Grand Teton

Grand Teton Snowmobiling in December

Snowmobile use along the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway is limited to Grassy Lake Road when open. Off-road travel anywhere in Rockefeller Parkway is prohibited.

Visit the Yellowstone National Park Web site for information regarding snowmobile and snowcoach tours and for non-commercial snowmobile access.

The only location in Grand Teton where you can snowmobile is the frozen surface of Jackson Lake for ice fishing access only. Access is limited to the Colter Bay Swim Beach and Best Available Technology(BAT) snowmobiles is required. For the latest BAT approved snowmobile list please refer to Yellowstone Best Available Technology(BAT) Snowmobiles.

Grand Teton maps and guides

AMAZON: Yellowstone and Grand Teton Guides and Maps

Grand Teton Lodging in December

Since all the lodges and campgrounds are closed in December, you’ll need to stay in nearby Jackson. Here’s a list of our favorite places to stay:

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