It’s time to start planning that bucket list trip to one of the most beautiful places in the world! With miles and miles of amazing hiking trails, abundant wildlife, and glistening alpine lakes, of course you’re excited about your trip to Grand Teton National Park. Due to its proximity to Yellowstone, many vacationers tack on Grand Teton to an already busy itinerary or skip it all together. But luckily, you know better! There’s so much to see and explore within Grand Teton and although it’s not a ton of time… You can see quite a bit in 2 days!
In this post, I’ve outlined the best way to spend 2 days in Grand Teton National Park within this itinerary. Just have an extra cup of coffee and wear comfy shoes… you have a busy few days ahead! And don’t forget to use some of my other Grand Teton resources to plan your trip. You can’t miss some of the best wildlife viewing spots and don’t forget to plan with the best time to visit Grand Teton in mind!
Getting to & around Grand Teton National Park
Grand Teton National Park is located in the northwestern corner of Wyoming. Getting there takes a bit of planning because it’s not near a major city. However, you have plenty of options! The easiest is to fly directly into Jackson Hole, Wyoming which is located about 15 minutes from the park entrance. Given that it is a small airport in a small city, flights are limited and can be pricy. I recommend flying into Salt Lake City and making the 5 hour drive up to Grand Teton!
You will most definitely want a car to get around Grand Teton National Park so driving from the airport won’t make your travels much more complicated. And I promise the drive is very scenic! Unless you are planning to take a tour bus the whole time, renting a car and driving is 100% the way to go. There are shuttles that service various stops within the park but none run by the National Park Service.
When to visit Grand Teton
Grand Teton National Park is undoubtedly beautiful at every time of the year… but each season will offer you different things. For this itinerary, you’d be best served in summer or early fall when there’s no snow on the ground. Snow can linger in the Tetons anywhere from October to June, so plan your trip for late June to September. We visited in September and this was a great time. May and September are considered shoulder months, so you’ll experience great weather with fewer crowds.
Check out this post to explore all the best of every season in Grand Teton National Park.
What to pack for a Grand Teton trip
No matter what time of year you go, the weather can be very variable! Given that this itinerary is based on summer travel, these are recommendations for this time of year. It can be very hot in the daytime but given the elevation and mountains, you’ll get a good temperature variation at night. Layers will be your best friend!
For day hiking, I recommend shorts (I love these!) and a sweat-wicking base layer like a tank or short sleeve top. Be sure to pack a pullover and rain jacket for the crazy weather changes! Be sure to wear a solid pair of hiking boots (obsessed with the color of these!) and don’t forget the beloved wool socks. For night, you’ll definitely want to hang onto that pullover and maybe even a lighter coat like the Patagonia Nano Puff. Even though it may be July, cropped pants or leggings may still be warranted at night.
Aside from clothes, pack a big water bottle and water filter. If you have access to a car it can’t hurt to stash some extra snacks as well! If you are planning to do longer day hikes, bring a portable cell phone charger for emergencies. And don’t forget: this is bear country, pack that bear spray! You can’t fly with bear spray, but it can be bought or rented from the visitor centers or many shops located in Jackson.
Alright, all prepared for the trip, now let’s get to the itinerary!
2 DAY GRAND TETON ITINERARY
Start your travels
Head to the Tetons! There is an airport just near the park in Jackson, WY, but it tends to be a bit more expensive to fly into than bigger airports. We chose to fly into Salt Lake City and road trip to Grand Teton. This option clearly takes longer, but is very scenic!
Road trip through Bear Lake and Garden City
The route we chose takes longer than the route the GPS would have you take, but drive through Garden City and see Bear Lake! It’s known as the “Caribbean of the Rockies” for its beautiful turquoise color. Just be warned, even at the tail end of summer, the water is still freezing! Swim at your own risk 😉
And don’t you dare leave Garden City without getting a raspberry milkshake. Garden City is famous for these milkshakes and they are sold on pretty much every corner.
From there, the map will take you through Idaho and several canyons and into Wyoming. No shame in pulling over several times to enjoy the amazing views!
Hike around Jenny Lake
After your road trip, head straight to Jenny Lake! The afternoon of your first day has already arrived, and you don’t want to waste any time! There’s a long looping trail called Jenny Lake trail, which is one of the most iconic lakes in Grand Teton National Park. There’s a short paved path that goes just to the lake and tends to be very crowded. Continue on Jenny Lake Trail and start your trek around the lake.
TIP: Make sure you are carrying bear spray if you are hiking in this area! You can’t take it on the plane if you are flying out here, but if you can get it anywhere other than in the parks or immediate surrounding area you will most likely save lots of money!
The full trail is 7.9 miles so go as far as you feel and/or have the daylight for. We didn’t quite make it to Inspiration Point but this is another very popular viewing spot.
Look for wildlife on Moose-Wilson Road
On the way to your accommodations, take the long route back through Moose-Wilson Road. The road is about 8 or 9 miles of tiny backcountry road that is teeming with wild life. This night, we saw a female moose taking a dip in the river. You’ll see signs everywhere along the road to drive slow and keep your eyes peeled for wildlife!
We stayed at the Snake River Lodge & Spa. It was GORGEOUS and right at the bottom of Jackson Hole Mountain which is world famous for skiing. No matter what time of year you find yourself here, you won’t regret a stay at the Lodge. Be sure to take a dip in the hot tub and then wrap up in the hotel robes before bed! Is there anything better?
Looking for somewhere to stay in Jackson? Booking.com is my favorite resource!
Look for more wildlife at dawn
Alright, day 2 let’s do this! If you’re really into wildlife, you may want to get up around dawn and drive down Moose-Wilson Road again to see what animals are active in the area before breakfast! Make sure you have a hearty breakfast at your hotel or at The Bunnery Bakery to fuel up before a big day of hiking.
Hike to Delta Lake
Today, you’ll be hiking one of my favorite trails: Delta Lake. At the time of original writing in 2020, the trail leading to Delta Lake is not on the map. It is on All Trails but we still had to ask a Park Ranger where to enter. If you’re following this and wanting to do Delta Lake: take Lupine Meadows up for about 2 miles and then you have to take a right at a little ladder/wooden steps. The path is pretty well traveled but it’s not marked, just FYI!
TIP: If you choose to do this lake, or any hike in Teton, make sure you have lots of water and snacks! If you aren’t accustomed to hiking out West this is gonna kick your butt. But it’s so worth it! And don’t forget the bear spray.
Best. Views. Ever.
Spend a leisurely afternoon at the lake, swim in the glacial waters (if you dare!) and have plenty of snacks and water.
Eat lunch in Jackson
Afterward, make your way into Jackson, Wyoming for lunch. We went to Snake River Brewery for a beer and some food. The bison chili was amazing… although, I admit it was kinda weird eating bison given how famous they are in this area!
Hit the popular spots at Grand Teton
Following lunch you’ll want to make your way back into the park. Check out some of the famous sites like Mormon Row, Jackson Lake, Signal Mountain, and Oxbow Bend. Don’t forget to plan to stop at a popular wildlife viewing spot as dusk approaches! If you are planning to head to Yellowstone National Park (highly recommend) from here, just follow Bridger-Teton Highway all the way into the south entrance of Yellowstone. Just be mindful of wildlife as it starts to get dark!
What to do with more time in Grand Teton
Have more than 2 days to spend in Grand Teton National Park? With 3-4 days in Grand Teton, you can see so much more! Here are some ideas to fill your itinerary:
White water rafting or floating down the Snake River
This is how I’d fill my days in Grand Teton. There are hundreds and hundreds of hiking trails just waiting to be explore in the Tetons. Try String Lake, Paintbrush Canyon, or Taggart Lake Trails.
One day in Grand Teton National Park
Only have a short day in Grand Teton? While I definitely recommend more time, you can still see the park in just one day. I recommend cutting out the hiking portion and focusing on the major scenic stops like Mormon Row and Signal Mountain. You can also maximize your time by taking a day tour!
Phewf, what an action packed couple of days! While this is certainly just the highlights, this 2 day Grand Teton itinerary should let you see a good portion of the park in a small amount of time. You will have great opportunities to hike, see wildlife, and take in the beauty of the Teton mountain range. Grand Teton National Park is truly overlooked by Yellowstone in my humble opinion, so definitely plan a return trip to explore more!
Have you ever been to Grand Teton? Is it on your bucket list?