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    Can I Do Grand Teton National Park In A Day?

    By Visit Jackson Hole
    Wildlife in Grand Teton National Park. Wildlife in Grand Teton National Park, Photo: Nick Sulzer.

    We get asked all the time, "Can I do Grand Teton National Park in a day?" The answer is yes!

    In a well-planned day, visitors can start in Jackson Hole and drive through all of Grand Teton National Park, stopping for wildlife, overlooks, and unique meals before returning to Jackson for dinner and a night cap. In this blog, visitor services agent, Justin Walters, tells us how.

    Start at sunrise for optimal opportunities for wildlife viewing. You’ll drive toward the small Wyoming town of Kelly (the first exit at the Gros Ventre round-about) and “look for wolves, bison, pronghorn, and moose on the river,” Justin directs. If you need coffee for your early start, stop at Creekside Market on your way out of town.

    Mormon Row – After driving through Kelly, you’ll arrive at Mormon Row with perfect lighting to watch, and photograph, the sunrise. “It’s the most photographed barn in the area, maybe even the world,” says Justin, “and you want the opportunity to see it at sunrise without too many people around.”

    Enter Grand Teton National Park through the Moran Entrance. Though you’ve been driving in the Park for a while, this is where you’ll go through the gateway, get your map, and grab your Park newspaper.

    Wildlife in Grand Teton National Park Wildflowers in Grand Teton National Park. Photo by Wyoming Stargazing

    “I recommend entering through the Moran Entrance of Grand Teton National Park, then heading South because the views are more dramatic,” Justin says.

    Look for bears along Oxbow Bend. This Horseshoe-shaped section of river is prime wildlife viewing, especially for moose, elk, and bear. Even if you don’t spot any wildlife, the views in this area are stunning and worth the stop for a picture.

    Colter Bay – Colter Bay is an excellent stop on Jackson Lake if you need gas, treats, or other supplies. In addition, they rent kayaks and canoes here for those who want a quick adventure on the water. Or, if you’re craving a land adventure, this area offers some nice flat hikes.

    Signal Mountain Lodge – Driving South, head to Signal Mountain Lodge. “Get a Black Bear Margarita and a pile of nachos at Signal Mountain Lodge,” suggests Justin. “These are the best nachos I’ve ever had at a restaurant, plus the views are amazing.” Then drive around the area, or up Signal Mountain, keeping your eyes peeled for black bears.

    Canoeing in Grand Teton National Park Cloudy Sunset in Grand Teton National Park. Canoeing in Grand Teton National Park.

    Hit the scenic one-way loop along Jenny Lake. For those who want to prioritize sight-seeing, this loop contains jaw-dropping views direct from the car. For those who want to walk or picnic, a stop at Jenny Lake is the perfect place. Or, for those who want a little more adventure, you can paddle, kayak, or swim at String Lake (just before Jenny Lake) which is unique for its depth and warmth.

    Local advice: Jenny Lake and String Lake are among Grand Teton National Park’s most highly-visited stops, so plan accordingly. If you arrive to this area midday, parking will be very difficult. Instead, stick to the scenic loop in the car then opt for a more secluded hike later in your trip.

    Your best hiking options start here. From String Lake to Taggart, there’s a number of great hiking options at any trailhead along this route. Short, easy options include String and Leigh Lake, Hidden Falls (after taking the ferry across Jenny Lake), and Taggart Lake. Longer, more strenuous options include Paintbrush Canyon, Jenny Lake (around the lake to Hidden Falls), or Bradley Lake.

    Stop at Dornan’s for pizza and beer. After a long day and multiple adventures of your own choosing, Dornan’s is the place to recharge. Grab a brew from the tap and head to the upper deck to relax in the sun.

    Head back to Jackson. There are two roads from Grand Teton National Park back to Jackson – the highway you came in on or Moose-Wilson Road. For those on the look for additional wildlife or a spot to stop and take in the sunset, use Moose-Wilson Road then head to Cutty’s or Sidewinders for dinner. For those who are more interested in history, visit the Craig Thomas Visitor Center at the exit of the Park before heading to Jackson on the highway and stopping at Merry Piglets or Liberty Burger for dinner.