Visiting Grand Teton National Park in the Spring

Grand Teton National Park is located in northwestern Wyoming. Due to the elevation, you’ll find many areas are still closed due to snowpack when visiting Grand Teton National Park in the spring.

The best time to visit Grand Teton National Park depends on the type of activities you want to do. In March and April you’ll enjoy winter sports like cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. By mid-May most of the services and roads are open for hiking and scenic drives.

Grand Teton National Park in the spring

We live only a few hours away from Grand Teton and have visited the park many times during all four seasons. This Grand Teton National Park guide details the weather, services, what to pack, where to stay, and things to do in the spring.

The number one tip for visiting Grand Teton during the spring months is to pack the right clothing for the weather and temperatures for the time you’ll be there! Use our Grand Teton National Park packing list to make sure you have the right clothing and gear for visiting during the cold and unpredictable spring months. 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!

What to Expect at Grand Teton National Park in the Spring

Visiting Grand Teton National Park during the spring months of March, April and May are pretty quiet. In the town of Jackson, you can feel hints of spring late March and early April, but each year is different.

Grand Teton National Park in March – You can still do winter activities like cross country skiing, snowshoeing and hiking. Near Jackson you’ll find ski resorts.

Grand Teton National Park in April – It’s usually called the “mud season” because when it’s not snowing, it’s raining! Since the weather is still pretty cold, the crowds typically have not arrived quite yet at the park. In April a few things may open, but check the park website for exact dates as they vary year to year.

Grand Teton National Park in May – The beginning of May is still pretty quiet in the park then starts to get busier toward the end of the month when all services and facilities are usually open.

Usually the first of May is when the Teton Park Road from Taggart Lake to Signal Mountain Lodge is open. At any time in the late spring there may be snow and lakes still frozen, especially close to the base of the Teton range. And of course, the higher up you go in elevation, the more winter holds on!

Snake River overlook in the winter at Grand Teton
Snake River overlook with snow

Grand Teton Spring Weather

In the spring expect cool mild days and cold nights with rain and snow any time. Check the Grand Teton National Park weather and be prepared with the right clothing (we always have our winter clothing with us in the Jeep because you never know!)

  • March temperatures: highs near 40 and lows around 12 degrees.
  • April temperatures: highs near 50 and lows around 22 degrees.
  • May temperatures: highs around 60 and lows near 30 degrees.

In March and April is really important that you dress in layers and bring your winter clothing due to the cold and snowy conditions:

Grand Teton Road Closures in the Spring

When visiting the Tetons in the Spring, pay attention to winter closing dates and spring opening dates. Check the NPS website for updated Grand Teton road status.

The Teton Park Road is closed November 1 to April 30 from Taggart Lake Trailhead to Signal Mountain Lodge. During this time the road is used for skiing, snowshoeing, and hiking from mid-December to mid-March.

Once the snow melts in the spring, you can bike, hike, run, rollerblade or walk you dog on the road until April 30.

Moose-Wilson Road is usually closed to vehicles until mid-May. When it’s snow-packed it’s open to skiing, snowshoeing and hiking.

Oxbow Bend with snow
Oxbow Bend with snow

Things to Do at Grand Teton in the Spring

There are a wide variety of Grand Teton National Park spring activities. In early spring winter sports are still happening like cross country skiing and snowshoeing. By late spring you can enjoy hiking, fishing, and kayaking.

There are fun way to get the family excited before, during and after the trip with National Park activities:

Grand Teton Visitor Center in the Spring

Grand Teton has four visitor centers, each with exhibits, publications, and films to educate and entertain park guests. We always recommend stopping in a visitor center and talking to a park ranger before hiking, climbing, or tackling the river for the first time. It’s good to have the most up-to-date information for the things you want to do at Grand Teton.  

If you’re visiting Grand Teton National Park with kids be sure to grab the Junior Ranger booklet so they can earn their Junior Ranger Badge!

Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center: Opens early April

You’ll see interactive exhibits that highlight the parks history, maps of all the trails, and displays of early settlers and mountaineers. There’s a 15-minute movie about the park and rangers have a scavenger hunt for young kids. You can get permits and information about all the trails in Grand Teton National Park.

Jenny Lake Visitor Center: Opens early May

This cabin turned visitor center now serves as an art gallery and museum. You’ll also find books, maps, and camping information here. Be sure to take the short walk to see Jenny Lake. The visitor center offers a shuttle service across Lake Jenny and a scenic cruise. 

Colter Bay Visitor Center: Opens early May

This visitor center has amazing views of Jackson Lake, and the easy walking trails take you to the boat dock. You can view a fantastic collection of Native American art and artifacts. The Rangers host park-related programs and videos throughout the day, and love sharing what they know about the park and all the things you should see and do.  

Grand Teton Winter Activities in the Spring

There is still a lot of snow in Grand Teton National Park in early spring. You can enjoy winter sports like cross country skiing and snowshoeing. And there is the nearby Jackson Hole ski resort as well.

You’ll find a variety of Grand Teton National Park winter tours still available in March. 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!)

Grand Teton scenic drive
Grand Teton scenic drive

Grand Teton Scenic Drives in the Spring

Beginning May 1 you can explore the Grand Teton National Park scenic drive loop. Keep in mind that the Teton Park Road is accessible between May to October, but the visitor centers, lodges, and other services may not be open during the early spring shoulder season.

The complete Grand Teton loop drive is 42 miles. We recommend you plan a full day for this drive so you have time to stop to enjoy the views and capture pictures! It can be done in half a day if you’ll do short stops and take quick photos.

We recommend the Grand Teton GuideAlong App to hear fun behind-the-scenes stories and local tips that play automatically as you drive, based on your GPS location.

grizzly bear and two cubs at Grand Teton
Grizzly bear and two cubs at Grand Teton

Grand Teton Wildlife Viewing in the Spring

Grand Teton National Park is home to elk, bison, grizzly and black bears, coyotes, wolves, moose and more! Late spring and early summer is the best time to see baby animals in the park!

In the spring there will be area closures due to bear activity and other wildlife management so be sure to follow instructions on any posted signs.

Here’s a list of great wildlife viewing areas in the spring:

  • Oxbow Bend
  • Mormon Row
  • Gros Ventre
  • Willow Flat
  • Coulter Bay
  • Pilgrim Road
  • Moose-Wilson Road

Please be a responsible wildlife observer by maintaining a safe distance of at least 100 yards from wolves and bear, and 25 yards from all other wildlife. The Grand Teton website has more detailed information about wildlife viewing in the park.

We’ve put together some good resources for Photographing Wildlife:

RV driving through Grand Teton National Park
RV driving through Grand Teton

Grand Teton Camping in the Spring

The Grand Teton camping sites begin to open in late spring. Reservations are required for all Grand Teton campground sites in the park. You can book campsites on Reserving six months in advance is recommended!

Grand Teton Campgrounds typical opening dates (always check the website for the most current information:

  • Gros Ventre Campground: First of May
  • Jenny Lake Campground: First of May
  • Signal Mountain Campground: Mid-May
  • Colter Bay Campground: End of May
  • Colter Bay RV Park: First of May
  • Colter Bay Tent Village: End of May 
  • Headwaters Campground at Flagg Ranch: Mid-May

If you can’t get a spot in the park, there are some RV Parks near Grand Teton National Park the offer tent, RV, and cabin camping options!

Grand Teton photo spot at Schwabacher Landing
Schwabacher Landing

Grand Teton Hiking in the Spring

Hiking at Grand Teton in the spring usually means muddy or even snow-covered trails so be prepared. Stop by a visitor center to get recent trail conditions.

When setting out on a Grand Teton day hike in the spring, here are some tips:

  • Springtime means bears and cubs! Make bears aware of your presence and avoid surprising them by making loud noises such as talking loudly or clapping your hands. Always carry bear spray and know how to use it. Visit the Bear Safety page for more information.
  • Carry drinking water. Dehydration is common and can be serious. Plan to drink considerably more at Grand Teton due to low humidity and high elevation.
  • Be prepared for rapid weather changes! In the spring at Grand Teton you’ll need layers, spring outdoor gear and cold weather outdoor gear!
  • Pace yourself. High elevation may cause breathing difficulties so listen to your body and don’t overdo it! The only cure for altitude sickness is to retreat to a lower elevation.
  • Be careful crossing snowfields and streams. Do not hike in steep snow unless you have previous experience and the proper equipment.
  • Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return.
  • Solo hiking and off-trail hiking is not recommended. Many rescues involve solo parties that were unable to self-rescue, sometimes with life-threatening injuries.
sunset at Oxbow Bend
Sunset at Oxbow Bend

Grand Teton Photography in the Spring

Taking pictures at Grand Teton in the spring can be a bit tricky due to road and trail closures until late late spring and early summer. Some of the best photo spots at Grand Teton could be closed in the spring due to road or trail conditions and bear management.

Here’s our list of favorite places to photograph Grand Teton National Park, that you should be able to access in the spring:

  • Overlooks along Highway 191/89
  • Moulton Barn / Mormon Row
  • Schwabacher Landing (road and area may be closed early spring)
  • Snake River Overlook
  • Oxbow Bend
  • Coulter Bay
  • Jackson Lake Overlook

Make your camera gear checklist so you don’t leave anything at home. You’ll enjoy capturing images of the landscape and wildlife as you drive along the road or hike the trails.

Grand Teton River Rafting in the Spring

Spring runoff can create dangerous conditions on the Snake River so most rafting tours don’t begin until May. Be sure to check dates if you’re planning a spring trip.

About 50 miles of Snake River winds through Grand Teton National Park and the river offers incredible views. One of the best ways to experience this area is on a Snake River scenic float trip. You’ll get an expert guide and all the gear you need, making sure you don’t miss a thing.

Canoes, kayaks, and rafts are also permitted on the Snake River, but check with the Rangers at the Visitor Center to see if they’re giving out permits based on river conditions in the spring.

kayaks at Grand Teton
Kayaks at Grand Teton

Spring Kayaking and Paddleboarding at Grand Teton

Jenny Lake is one of the main attractions at Grand Teton for boating, kayaking, and paddleboarding. You can rent all the equipment at the park.

There are some lakes that allow personal motorboats at Grand Teton. Most boat launches in the park open the first of May.

The Jenny Lake Boat Shuttle provides easy access to the beautiful Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point hikes. This service begins mid-May. 

Grand Teton Fishing in the Spring

The Snake River is home to the unique fine-spotted snake river cutthroat trout, and anglers can’t wait to cast a line here. To protect this valuable resource, fishing at Grand Teton is heavily regulated, and catch and release is highly encouraged.

Snake River’s trout season begins April 1, but late August and September are the best months for catching trout. 

Grand Teton maps and guides

AMAZON: Yellowstone and Grand Teton Guides and Maps

Where to Stay in Jackson Near Grand Teton

grand teton national park in the spring

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