Post Summary: Incredible things to do in Grand Teton National Park in Winter
Mountains, winter road trips, and adventure. Sounds like a great combination right?
When Berty and I were planning our recent road trips all across the western USA, we knew we had to stop in this beautiful area of the Rocky Mountain range.
We loved how close Grand Teton National Park was to Jackson, as well as the ease of access to enjoying all that winter has to offer in this area.
In this post, we’re sharing about our time in Jackson, Wyoming, and what activities you can enjoy if you are traveling here during the winter!
5 Amazing Things To Do In Grand Teton National Park In Winter
1. Snap Photos Of Wildlife at the National Elk Refuge
The National Elk Refuge is situated right before the entrance to Grand Teton National Park, to the north of Jackson.
This area was created to preserve and restore the Jackson Elk Herd, and provide a safe habitat for many other animals, birds, and fish.
In the winter, the Elk migrate down from the mountains into the valley floor near Jackson, Wyoming which make them visible to passersby on the highway. The Game and Fish Department estimate that around 5,000 elk come to stay in the valley during the winter months.
A fence borders the highway just outside of the city for some miles simply to prevent any encounters between elk and vehicles on the road. They aren’t fenced in but in fact, wild!
If you are planning to photograph the Elk herds, make sure to be quiet and be patient! They get spooked easily and even a cough will scatter them out of your shot. Establish your presence as a quiet bystander and they may just wander in your frame.
Read More: Our Complete Travel Photography Gear List
2. Stay at the Anvil Hotel
Berty and I couldn’t imagine a more trendy place to stay in Jackson!
The Anvil Hotel is located in the best area of town – within walking distance from Town Square attractions and with easy access to the Grand Teton National Park!
Every little detail from the gold cabinet handles to the gorgeous wrought-iron bed frame is evidence that this place takes their aesthetic and style seriously.
Anvil Hotel also offers amenities throughout the week to create a community feel within the hotel.
For example, they serve spiked hot chocolate in the lobby every night, host beer tastings on Wednesdays, have live music events, and they let guests know about events happening around town.
They even have free drip coffee every morning for everyone staying at the hotel!
3. Have Coffee (or Spiked Hot Chocolate!) at the Mercantile Lobby
Conveniently, the Anvil Hotel lobby serves as both a place to check into the hotel and a curated mercantile store and coffee shop.
The store sells things like quality felt hats, jackets, backpacks, sunglasses and is decorated with such thoughtfully rugged detail. Coffee table books about everything from Jackson Hole to beautiful cabins are strewn about the tables for visitors to flip through while they sip their beverages.
Berty and I even sat for some time chatting with the store curator while working on a custom-made Jackson Hole puzzle!
We came here in the mornings to get some work done. They have cubbies to help get you focused and like stated above, there is complimentary coffee for all the hotel guests!
4. Go Snowshoeing to Taggart Lake
Berty and I really wanted to go outside and get a closer view of the mountains during our visit.
We rented snowshoes for a half-day at Skinny Skis in Jackson, which ended up being $10 each for shoes and poles!
To get into the Grand Teton National Park and experience Taggart Lake, you have to stop by the station and pay $30 to enter OR buy an annual national park pass. We bought an annual national park pass in June of 2017, and it was worth the $80 spent!
If you are planning on checking out even just three national parks within the year, this pass is worth it. You can buy one at the entrances of any national park in the United States. Just ask for an annual pass instead of a day one.
For a snowshoe hike, make sure to pack:
- A small backpack
- Water bottle
- and SUNGLASSES. It was so bright from the sun and the reflecting snow!
We also recommend NOT walking on the frozen lake.
Although there was a thick blanket of snow that covered the surface, it was deceiving at best. As we ventured out towards the middle we frighteningly realized our feet softly broke through the layer right into the water.
We’ve never retreated so quickly (and carefully) off the ice! I also had nightmares about falling in so PLEASE just don’t even risk it!
Read More: 40 Essentials To Pack For Any Winter Trip
5. Take a Drive During Sunset or Sunrise
Of all the things to do in Grand Teton National Park in winter, watching sunrise and sunset is the icing on the cake. It’s one of the stops on an iconic Rocky Mountain road trip, and Highway 191 through Wyoming is boasted as the most scenic route in the state!
Jackson, Wyoming in the winter means that the sun rises late (between 7 and 8 am) and sets early (between 3 and 5 pm). This means you can still sleep in and still catch the prettiest times of the day!
During the rising and setting of the sun, the Grand Teton National Park mountain range shines bright with colors ranging from deep purples to brilliant oranges.
Check the sunrise and sunset times during your stay and plan to arrive at a lookout at least 30 minutes before to claim a good spot for your tripod. (Or to just simply enjoy the view!)
Here are some stops along highway 191 for a great view:
- Blacktail Ponds Overlook
- Glacier View Turnout
- Schwabacher’s Landing
- Snake River Overlook (Where Ansel Adams took his famous picture)
- Oxbow Bend
- Jenny Lake
- Moulton Barn (though, the road leading to this is closed from Nov. – May)
Want more ideas of things to do in Grand Teton National Park in Winter?
Berty and I loved our time exploring Grand Teton National Park!
Make sure to bundle up because it can get cold! While there can be limited activities to do in the winter, (some roads and campgrounds are closed for the season) there are some special activities that only this season provides.
Try cross-country skiing or snowshoeing to beautiful snow-covered lakes, skiing or snowboarding at Snow King or Jackson Hole Mountain, or just simply taking a drive on Highway 191 and look around at all the snow-capped mountains!
There are amazing things to do in Grand Teton National Park in Winter and we are excited to return and see it in a new season in the future.
The tail end/beginning of the season? String Lake Trail is an excellent loop hike with stunning views!
Have you explored Grand Teton National Park in winter? What was your experience like? Let us know in the comments below!
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