Travel Tips

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Best Time to Visit Grand Teton National Park (By a WY Native!)

Find the perfect time to visit Grand Teton National Park with tips from a Wyoming native! Explore scenic drives, wildlife, and trails. Ideal visit months revealed.

Tobi Miles
July 21, 2022
Best Time to Visit Grand Teton National Park (By a WY Native!)

Grand Teton National Park is famous for Ansel Adams’ 1942 iconic photograph of the stunning Teton Mountains and Snake River. The 310,000 acres make up this renowned park recognized for its scenic drives of snow-capped mountains, diverse wildlife, and rugged trails. If you are considering visiting Grand Teton National Park you may be asking yourself when is the best time to visit this national treasure?

June and September are the best months to visit Grand Teton National Park, with temperatures averaging a high of 70 F. The weather is mild yet still comfortable enough to enjoy hours of Wyoming sunshine. They are also ideal months as you can avoid the influx of visitors that make their way during the summertime.

Grand Teton National Park is situated in northwestern Wyoming, south of Yellowstone Park, attracting almost 4 million visitors a year.  Open year-round, there is a perfect month suited for everyone to come and discover its great outdoors. Read on to find out what amazing activities each month offers and the best time to visit.

When is the Worst Time to Visit Grand Teton National Park?

April is a time of transition for both the weather and the park, making it the worst time to visit Grand Teton National Park.

The segments of Teton Park Road that were once groomed for cross-country skiers and snowshoers now become plowed changing it over to cater to biking and walking. Trails are still snow-covered and tend to be quite muddy with the milder temperatures making their way into the 40s.

Many of the park's amenities are not fully re-opened such as visitor centers, lodges, and restaurants. Roads begin to officially open at the beginning of May and by mid-May.  You can expect to see some of the campgrounds and lodges re-opening.

What is the Cheapest Time to Visit Grand Teton National Park?

The best time to reduce your budget when traveling to Grand Teton National Park is during the shoulder season of April and May.

Lodging and accommodations in the area are reduced during the low season. However, not everything will be open when you arrive as the park is slowly reopening from the winter months.

Teton Peaks Resort 3 star hotel has rooms as low as $135 a night at the base of the Teton Mountains during the low shoulder season months when lodging isn’t yet available in the park.

Once lodging begins to open a wooded cabin room in May at Colter Bay Village May is priced at $276. Lodging within the park is significantly higher and doesn’t become available until the later in the season.

For $35, the park's entrance pass grants you access for up to 7 days allowing you to save money with your daily visits. Another way to save money is by visiting the park on their free entrance days.

Best Time to Visit Grand Teton National Park: Month by Month Breakdown

January: Best Month to Experience the Fresh Powder Trails

January is the snowiest month of the year and is the best time to experience the park’s fresh powder trails.

Temperatures can range from an average high of 26 F reaching 0 F and seeing up to an average of 43 inches of snow. Needless to say, you need to bundle up!

The park closes off parts of Teton Park Road for those out braving the winter fun. The lanes are machine groomed packing it down creating an outdoor playground for winter sports.

  • Cross country ski the 8-mile Jenny Lake Trail Loop
  • Snowshoe the 3-mile Swan Lake Heron Pond Loop
  • Discover the freedom of skiing and snowboarding in the backcountry

February: Best Month to Get a Behind the Scenes Look with a Ranger

February is a great month to join a ranger-led snowshoe hike learning about the interesting history of the park and the wildlife within.

Temperatures are quite cold in February with lows still reaching close to 0 F, however, daytime highs can make their way up to the 30s. Although the sun's rays may be out, don't be fooled, be sure to wear layers.

Ranger-led activities are regularly available in the winter with snowshoeing being one of them. The snow shoes are even provided for you elevating your adventure with historic wooden snow shoes that are almost a half-century old.

  • Discover animal tracks and learn about how they survive and adapt to cold winters.
  • Ice Fishing and don’t forget to have your Wyoming State fishing license
  • Race through the terrain on a snowmobile tour

Related Read: Best Time To Visit Wyoming

March: Best Month for a Winter Scenic Drive

With an average snowfall of 20 inches for March, it makes it the best month for a safe yet magical winter scenic drive.

The other winter months see averages of 23 inches in November, 40 inches in December, 43 inches in January, and almost 29 inches in February making driving difficult at times. March slows down and gives you a chance to still see the beauty of winter and enough visibility to do so.

Crowds are still minimal so it’s the ultimate time to pull over and relish in the stark silence admiring the beauty of the snow-covered region.

  • Explore the steep hills walking the Taggart Lake- Beaver Creek Loop
  • Photograph the stunning snow-covered scenery and the grandiose Teton Mountain Range
  • Bring your furry friend along to explore the groomed road just don’t forget the leash

April: Best Month for Bear and Cub Sightings

After a long winter of hibernation wildlife begins to emerge in the spring and April is the best month for your chance of bear and cub sightings.

Winter may be officially over but it doesn’t always feel that way in Grand Teton National Park with snow storms occasionally rolling in. Still dress in layers as temperatures can reach the low 20s.

Adult male bears make their appearance in March, however, not long after it is the females with their cubs that leave the dens to start their food search. Both black bears and grizzlies call Grand Teton National Park home.

Enjoy your search for bear sightings and tracks and remember to carry bear spray for those backcountry adventures.

  • Ride your bike on the portion of Teton Park Road closed to traffic
  • Watch the sunrise as it casts its first rays of light upon the Teton Mountains
  • Discover the park through an Eco Tour

May: Best Month to Go Birdwatching

May is the best month to go birdwatching as spring brings the migration of the beautiful songbirds.

The terrain can be muddy and wet with both a mixture of rain and light snow in May. Average rain precipitation reaches almost 2 inches and snow averages almost 2.5 inches. As long as you have good hiking shoes there is nothing to worry about.

With World Migratory Bird Day in May, it is a perfect place to come celebrate the day and discover which birds you can identify. The park often holds a free event in honor of the day for all those interested in participating, all you need to attend is an interest in birds!

Mountain bluebirds, red-winged blackbirds, Western Meadowlark, and red-tailed hawks are just a sample of the birds that can be spotted during the spring months. The migratory birds arrive at the park and spring is in the air.

  • Visit Mormon Row Historic District and capture picturesque photos of the Teton Mountain Range in its backdrop
  • Travel the 42-mile scenic loop drive making time for the panoramic stops along the way
  • Retreat to Jackson Lodge for a drink or meal for an authentic mountain lodge experience

June: Best Month to Get a Head Start on the Summer Crowds

June is the best month to get a head start on the summer crowds before children are out of school and summer vacations start.

Temperatures range from the high 30s to low 70s during June leaving you comfortable and without the hot heat of the summer to slow you down.

The best part of June is that all the amenities are finally open in the park from roads, visitor centers, restaurants, camping, and lodging. Take advantage of the reduced foot traffic and enjoy some of the more popular trails such as the Cascade Canyon Trail.

  • Learn about the traditions and culture of the hosted American Indian Artists
  • Join a ranger and learn about the mysteries of why the water levels fluctuate
  • Sail across on the Jenny Lake Boat Shuttle and save yourself almost 5 miles of hiking

Related Read: 20 Best Camping Spots In Wyoming

July: Best Month to See the Teton Mountain Range on the River

July is one of the warmest months so it’s a fantastic time to cool off from the hot summer days. If you are feeling a bit adventurous brave a guided white water rapid trip through the Snake River Canyon.

Escape the summer crowds on land and discover the park through the wild waters. With daily high average temperatures of 80 F heading to the breeze of the water is the perfect treat.

The stunning canyon is world famous and is a thrilling way to see the Teton Mountain Range from a whole new perspective.

Battle through the Class III rapids but don't worry they are still family-friendly you only need to be 6 years of age and up for this adventure.

  • Scenic Float along the calm section of the Snake River
  • Learn all about the wildlife and how to locate them safely with a ranger
  • Visit the notable area of Menor’s Ferry Historic District and the Chapel of the Transfiguration

Related Read: 15 Best Waterfalls in Yellowstone National Park

August: Best Month for a Day at the Beach

With almost 11 hours of sun in a day, August is most certainly the best month to spend a well-deserved day at the beach.

Swim in the reflection of the Grand Tetons in Colter Bay’s clear waters along Jackson Lakes shores. August sees temperatures reaching mid to high 70s so the chilling waters are an epic way to unwind in the park.

With the lake breeze and shade of the pines, it's the ideal location to picnic and grill. Colter Bay boasts the largest picnic area in all of the park!

  • Purchase your boat permit and get out kayaking or canoeing
  • Walk the family friendly 2-mile Lakeshore Trail or join the daily walking tour
  • Join a campfire evening talk at Colter Bay auditorium to find out about all the wonders the park holds

September: Best Month to Photograph the Golden Autumn Colours

Fall is a photographer's dream in Grand Teton National Park with the explosion of golden hues and anyone aspiring for captivating photos should visit in September.

Cooler days roll in during the fall with September experiencing lows of 32 F and highs in the upper 60s and low 70s. The early mornings and evenings are brisk and require you to dress appropriately in warmer clothing and even fleece.

From early September until the middle of October is the best time to witness these brilliant shades of oranges and reds. Capturing all the changing colors of the trees makes the travels around Jenny Lake Scenic Drive one not to be missed.

  • Trail ride beneath the Tetons on a guided horseback tour
  • Experience the tranquility of the lakes and rivers fishing
  • Hike Phelps Lake Loop is a beautiful hike for colorful views of both Death Canyon and the remarkable Teton Range

October: Best Month to Escape into the Endless Hiking Trails

The summer rush has ended and the park has transformed into fall colors making October the best month to escape into the magic of over 200 miles of hiking trails.

Hiking during fall is ideal with the cooler weather in the mid-50s and it can drop to the mid-20s. The mountain air is brisk, refreshing, and invigorating.

Hidden Falls is an excellent place to explore taking you to the only waterfall that is accessible. Inspiration Point is one of the most popular trails to hike as it provides breathtaking views of Jenny Lake and Jackson Hole.

  • Spend time in the 22, 000 square foot Craig Thomas Discovery Center with exhibits, video rivers, a book store, and even a movie
  • Cycle through the park to see the beauty of the autumn scenery
  • Hear the echoing sounds of the wapiti calling out (Rocky Mountain Elk)

November: Best Month to Watch a Frosty Sunrise

November is a season of transition as winter becomes more evident in the park with the snow blanketing down and is the best time to watch a glorious quiet sunrise.

Chilly weather has arrived in the park with temperatures in the low teens averaging a low of 13 F and highs in the 30s. Dress for the cold and be prepared for potential snow.

The solitude is ominous in the park with the minimal crowds granting you a canvas free of visitors in your backdrop. Not only are the sunrises theatrical but winter wildlife photography is exceptional.

The morning hours will reward you with sightings of undisturbed wildlife. Elk, bighorn sheep, coyotes, wolves, and eagles, the snow gifts you with the presence of so many of its unique animal tracks.

  • Search for winter wildlife with a naturalist guide
  • Walk the traffic-free Teton Park Road
  • Photograph and spot bull moose out feeding

December: Best Month for a Heated Tour of the Winter Wonderland

December is the perfect month to stay warm and cozy inside a heated vehicle and tour the Grand Teton National Park’s winter wonderland.

Delight in the unique sightings of elk, wolves, moose, bison, and bighorn sheep as the tour travels you throughout the snow-covered plains. Learn all there is to know about the history and geology of the Tetons protected from the freezing temperatures averaging a low of only 1F.

  • Photograph the jagged snow-capped mountains
  • Take an enchanted horse-drawn sleigh ride in the nearby National Elk Refuge
  • Explore the park and nearby Jackson Hole by dog sled

Related Read: Best Time to Visit Jackson Hole, WY

What is the Best Time to Visit Grand Teton National Park with Family?

July, August, and September are the best times to visit Grand Teton National Park with family. The summertime weather is perfect for all the outdoor family activities.

During the spring the park begins to reopen and you may not find everything available as you would hope from roads to even some of the visitor centers. By summer, everything is open and accessible for a memorable trip wit the family.

Spending time in the visitor centers is an optimal way to introduce children to the park and pique their interest and curiosity with their exhibits. Campgrounds, cabins, roads, and visitor centers all bloom back to life after the spring season.

With sunshine and clear skies, it is the key time to participate in the Junior Ranger Program. Print it off beforehand or pick one up at the visitor center and allow children to discover their inner Junior Ranger, receiving their oath and earning a badge after their grand adventure and accomplishment.

What is the Best Time to Avoid Crowds at Grand Teton National Park?

The shoulder seasons of April, May, and October tend to have fewer crowds within Grand Teton National Park other than the winter months.

With close to 4 million visitors a year venturing to the outstanding landscapes of Grand Teton National Park you can expect the park to get busy during the peak seasons of the year. Summer, clearly is the busiest when children are out of school and many tend to take their summer vacations from work.

If you find that visiting during the busier summer months is the only time that you can go then be sure to arrive early before 9 am as traffic accumulates.

Catch an early sunrise, see wildlife before they are disturbed, and enjoy the serenity that comes with the early morning hours. It is definitely worth the effort!

What is the Best Time to See Wildlife in Grand Teton National Park?

Fall is one of the best times to see wildlife as they are actively preparing for the winter and if you visit in September then you will be visiting during the best time for sightings.

During the fall you may have the opportunity to see bears, and sparring bull moose while deer and elk are out for their mating season. September also sees the migration of the pronghorn.

Grand Teton National Park is the epitome of what the outdoor wilderness is all about. It is a paradise for wildlife to roam free and enjoy the great outdoors. Wolves and coyotes are out on the prowl, whitetail deer grazing, elk, moose, and even great grey owls flying within the area.

The park is abundant in a variety of wildlife and the early morning hours are when you will see countless species out before much of the afternoon disturbances.

What is the Best Time to Camp in Grand Teton National Park?

June and September are the quintessential months to camp in Grand Teton National Park as the crowds are not overwhelming.

By the middle of June lodging areas are fully open and running. The trails are a nice mix of both snow-covered and clear depending on which hiking routes you take.

September is another month that can be considered the best time to camp as the summer rush has dwindled and a bit of peace has been restored. The evening temperatures are still bearable in the low 30s so you can enjoy your nights under the starry skies.

Spring, summer, fall, or winter, Grand Teton National Park is a paradise for those in search of the beauty of the great outdoors. This infamous national park walks you into your living postcard with the Grand Tetons creating the most breath-taking backdrop.

Regardless of when you plan to explore Grand Teton National Park you are sure to discover that any day of the year is the best time to visit.

Tobi Miles
Article updated:
March 28, 2024
A nomadic wordsmith savoring the world's flavors and penning stories that turn every journey into an epic.
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