Activities in Grand Teton National Park
FishingThe waters of Grand Teton National Park offer excellent fishing for anglers. Its creeks and streams are excellent for fly fishing, and its plentiful lakes are accommodating for boat traffic. Species of game fish that are available for sportsmen include mountain whitefish, grayling and several species of trout. Ice fishing is a popular winter activity in the park.
Bear in mind that Grand Teton's waterways are regulated under Wyoming law, and in some cases have special rules that apply, particularly with regards to the use of fish as bait. A license is required to fish in the park, and catch limits must be respected. If you plan on fishing on a boat, make sure to clean it so as to avoid spreading pathogens and non-native species that can harm the park's ecosystem. Several concessioners are licensed to host commercial fishing tripsin Grand Teton National Park.
Day Hikes, Biking and Horseback RidingGrand Teton National Park has 17 trailheads that provide access to numerous trails for day hiking across its 310,000 acres. These range from easy loops around Jenny Lake to strenuous ascents in excess of 4,000 feet at Teton Canyon. Hikers should come prepared for the park's high altitude, rugged (and sometimes, downright rough) terrain, sudden changes in weather, and potential bear activity. Some trails are open all year, making them ideal for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing during winter. In the summer, Grand Teton's high-elevation meadows bloom with a colorful blanket of wildflowers. Biking is another popular activity at Grand Teton, taking place seasonally in the park from April until early October, weather permitting. Guests are welcome to cycle on the more than 100 miles of paved roadway in the park and the adjoining John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Memorial Parkway, which connects Grand Teton to Yellowstone's West Thumb area. Bikes are not allowed on trails or in backcountry areas. However, many trails are open to stock animals, such as horses, mules and llamas. That's right, llamas. There are five backcountry horse camps in Grand Teton National Park: north fork of Garnet Canyon, Death Canyon, south fork of Cascade Canyon, Paintbrush Canyon below Holly Lake, and Berry Creek near Hechtman Creek. These five sites are the only places where visitors can camp with stock in the park. Reservation fees and regulations apply. Some authorized companies offer horseback rides within the park.
Backcountry CampingBackcountry camping in Grand Teton National Park is incredibly popular. In order to protect its trails and ecosystems, the park must limit the number of backcountry visitors it allows per day. The park allows advanced reservations for one third of its available permits, and offers the rest on a first-come first-served basis at the Colter Bay and Craig Thomas visitor centers. A fee of $25 applies to successful reservations. Unlike some national parks, visitors can camp anywhere in the backcountry zone, but using previously established camp sites is strongly encouraged. Use of appropriate bear-resistant food canisters is a critical part of bear safety in the backcountry.
MountaineeringNo separate permits are required for mountaineering, but climbers looking to camp -- even up on the rock face -- must have a backcountry permit. One of the most popular ascents in the park is Grand Teton itself; Garnet Canyon is another popular place for climbing.
Wildlife ViewingGrand Teton National Park is teeming with abundant wildlife, including 300 species of birds and dozens of mammals, big and small. Visitors can book ranger-led nature hikes, take a guided viewing tour with a third party company, or take to the trails and observe animals on their own. Just be sure to give animals a lot of room when observing them. Remain at least 300 feet away from animals at all times.