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.

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!

Use this guide to learn all about a trip to Grand Teton in December: services available, what to pack, where to stay, things to do, and more!

National Park Planner free download

Some of the links on this site are affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, we may earn a small commission – at no extra cost to you! Read the full Disclosure Policy.

WHAT TO PACK FOR A NATIONAL PARK TRIP IN THE WINTER

1. US National Parks Pass

You can order passes online or get them at any of these Federal Recreation Areas. BUY THE PASS AT REI and they will donate 10% of sales to the National Park Foundation.

2.  Hiking Gear

3. Clothing – Layers

4. Daypack

5. Other

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 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 website for the exact dates.

Campgrounds and lodges are closed so you’ll need to stay in nearby Jackson. Here are a few places we recommend:

  • Elk Refuge Inn – this is right across from the refuge and the closes hotel to the park entrance – our favorite place to stay!
  • Elk Country Inn – awesome property if you want to be in town.
  • Vacation Rentals – we LOVE having a kitchen to prepare our meals!

December Weather

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.

Wildlife

In December it’s helpful to see wildlife 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.

Teton Park Road

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

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

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.

Photography

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.

PLAN A GRAND TETON VACATION

Where to Stay in Jackson near Grand Teton:

There are a variety of lodging options in Grand Teton as well as Jackson.

national park packing lists

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *