Visiting Grand Teton National Park
Seasons, Fees and ReservationsGrand Teton National Park is open all year, but its activities are subject to change depending on the season. Standard park entry, which is good for seven days, is $25 per vehicle, $20 per motorcycle, or $12 per single hiker or cyclist. Check the park's website for details on use fees and special passes. Reservations are required for overnight stays in the park's backcountry. Winters in the park are cold, and snowfall can be very heavy, so access to the backcountry during this season is limited. Park roads can close suddenly due to snow, and even those that remain open can present hazardous, icy conditions. With the exception of the Craig Thomas center in Moose, all visitor information centers close for the season beginning in early October. That being said, winter at Grand Teton is almost inexplicably beautiful and very peaceful. Visitors can enjoy the pristine winter scenery while exploring the park on cross-country skis on a ranger-led snowshoe walk.
Visiting Grand Teton in the summer is pretty easy, since many of the park's campgrounds and scenic spots are accessible by car. Snow generally melts off by June, opening trails to hikers and backcountry campers. Alpine hikes in mid-summer are often complimented by the presence of ubiquitous wildflowers. For resplendent fall colors, head to Grand Teton National Park in late September to catch the blazing reds and golden yellows of cottonwoods and aspens. Be on the lookout for bull moose and elk, who will be sparring for mates at this time.
Historic BuildingsSummer is also an excellent time to check out the numerous historic structures in the park, like its early dude ranches and homesteads. Head to Mormon Row on the southeastern edge of the park and snap a picture of the Moulton Barn, the most photographed barn in America. Spoiler alert: it's the mountains of the Teton Range behind the barn that are most impressive. Many historic buildings in Grand Teton pre-date the founding of the park. Many are past, present and future projects of the Western Center for Historic Preservation, but the Triangle X Ranch -- which remains open all year -- still operates, hosting a variety of Western-themed activities for visitors. Various types of lodging -- from campgrounds to cabins -- are available in the park. There's even a full-service hotel at Jackson Lake Lodge.
Visitor CentersGrand Teton National Park has numerous visitor centers offering different kinds of information for travelers. Drop into the Flagg Ranch information station (located near Yellowstone's southern entrance) for a bookstore and general information about Greater Yellowstone and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Memorial Highway. The Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve Center offers a series of features designed to enhance visitors' experiences in the preserve, including unique sensory exhibits and ranger-guided walks and talks. The Colter Bay visitor center has a craft museum, and the Jenny Lake ranger station is a must-visit for anyone considering a trip to Grand Teton's backcountry.