A Grand Teton National Park vacation means enjoying the views of the iconic mountain range, photographing the stunning landscapes, and exploring miles of trails in the park.
Summer is a popular time to visit Grand Teton because of its beautiful scenery and outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, river floating and camping.
Here’s a list of our favorite things to do in Grand Teton National Park in Summer.
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WHAT TO PACK FOR A NATIONAL PARK VACATION IN THE SUMMER
DOWNLOAD our US National Park checklists to make it easy to pack what you need for your next trip!
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
- Hiking shoes & boots: → Check out our FAVORITE hiking shoes/boots!
- Hiking socks: → Check out the BEST SOCKS EVER!
- Walking stick or trekking poles
3. Clothing – Layers
- WATER: → We carry water bottles or hydration backpacks
- FOOD: → Check out our favorite healthy snacks
- Flashlight: → Check out the headlamps we like
- National Park maps
- Lip protection with sunscreen
- Polarized sunglasses
- Insect repellant
- Hand lotion
- Toilet paper (carry out in a bag – do not bury)
- Hand sanitizer
- First aid kit
- Bags to pack out trash
- Cell phone
- Portable charger
- Guide books
- Camera Gear – DOWNLOAD our free checklist!
- Photography gear for hiking
Things to Do in Grand Teton National Park in Summer
If you’re looking for fun summer vacation ideas, check out Grand Teton National Park!
Use our list of summer activities at Grand Teton to create your itinerary for visiting the par.!
Hike, Climb, or Photograph the Iconic Grand Teton Range
Grand Teton National Park is one of the most scenic national parks in all the world, and the Teton Mountain Range is the focal point.
A major tourist destination, the Teton Range is the youngest range in the Rockies. An impressive 40 miles long; mountaineers and climbers come from all over the world to trek this majestic landscape. Backpackers love its accessibility to the backcountry.
The Teton mountains are special because they have no foothills, the jagged peaks rise directly from the valley floor. They are striking, unique, and unlike any other.
The Teton Range scenery is spectacular, and as it weaves through the valleys, meadows, and alpine lakes, the wildlife is abundant.
The view will catch your breath, and it’s easy to see why this is a popular destination for photographers.
Boat, Float, or Fish on the Mighty Snake River
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 Snake River is on one of the scenic float trips; you’ll get an expert guide and all the gear you need, making sure you don’t miss a thing.
Human-powered canoes, kayaks, and rafts are permitted on Snake River, but we recommend you visit a ranger station first because boaters require a permit to float the river.
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 is heavily regulated, and catch and release is highly encouraged.
Snake River’s trout season runs April 1 through October 31 with late August and September being the best months for catching trout.
Make a Visitor Center Your First and Last Stop
Grand Teton has not one, but 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 always a good idea to be safe and have the most up-to-date information.
Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center: This is a great first stop for seeing the park and as a bonus you’ll get to see photographic views of the Grand Teton mountain range. This visitor center boasts interactive exhibits that highlight the parks history, maps of all the trails, and displays of early settlers and mountaineers. A 154-seat theater hosts a 15-minute movie about the park, and rangers have a scavenger hunt for young kids. Here you can get permits and information about all the trails in Grand Teton National Park. If you’re lucky you might get to see a demo on how to use bear spray.
Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve Center: At this small, off the beaten path visitor center you’ll get acquainted with the legacy of Mr. Rockefeller through video, photography, and audio recordings. Visitors can check out the soundscape room or relax in the resource room. The hike to Phelps Lake from here is highly popular because of the stunning mountain views; be aware of your surroundings though, bear and moose sightings are common.
Jenny Lake Visitor Center: Popular because of its proximity to Jenny Lake, this cabin turned visitor center now serves as an art gallery and museum. The Grand Teton Association operates a bookstore here, and visitors to the park can find maps and camping information here. The views are amazing, and a wide paved walkway is a short walk to the lake nearby. The visitor center offers a shuttle service across Lake Jenny and a scenic cruise; I recommend both.
Colter Bay Visitor Center: This visitor center has amazing views of Jackson Lake, and the easy walking trails take you to the boat dock. Here 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.
Find Adventure and Beat the Heat at Jenny Lake
Grand Teton National Park has more lakes than you can count but Jenny Lake is one of the main attractions.
You can sit on the bank and take in the views, but Jenny Lake is a great place to get wet, cool off, and have some fun.
One of two lakes that permit motorboats, it’s the place to go if you want to enjoy your own boat (with some restrictions).
Paddleboarding, kayaking, and canoeing are all great ways to explore Jenny Lake and stay cool in the summer, they are available for rent.
It’s also fun taking the shuttle boat for easy access to the beautiful Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point hikes.
Enjoy the Full Park Experience by Camping Overnight
Nighttime offers another experience entirely, and we highly recommend an overnight stay.
You can walk witness a spectacular display of stars in the sky, check out an evening ranger program, or rent a canoe at dawn.
During the summer months people flock to the campgrounds at Grand Teton National Park, the scenery here is unforgettable.
The park has five campgrounds available on a first-come, first-serve basis; reservations are required!.
And all campgrounds except Jenny Lake welcome your RV’s and trailers. Backcountry camping is allowed in designated areas with a permit only.
Where to Stay in Jackson near Grand Teton:
There are a variety of lodging options in Grand Teton as well as Jackson. Here are the 3 favorite 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!
- Hotels in Jackson Hole
- Rent an RV – have it dropped off at your vacation destination!