Grand Teton National Park

Schwabacher Landing, copyright QT Luong,

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Swift, powerful strokes carry the osprey and its meal away from the river. Winging through the trees that line the Snake River, the raptor carries a fat, protein-rich fish -- a trout, maybe a sucker -- that its talons moments ago had plucked from the swirling river.

Somewhere the bird will find a roost where it can enjoy its meal in peace. Now it simply is determined to flee the river and the other ospreys and eagles that might want to steal the catch.

The backdrop to this scene is that sky-scraping national park that holds up western Wyoming's border, Grand Teton. Soaring to nearly 14,000 feet atop the granitic tip of its namesake peak, the park’s jagged crags and their snowfields quickly catch your eye -- and hold it -- from anywhere in the Jackson Hole Valley.

The abruptness with which the Tetons climb out of the valley, their easy access, and the countless climbing opportunities, combine to define the range as one of mountaineering's classics.

But there’s much more to do in this wondrous park than grab a rope and ice axe and climb to the roof. There's the Snake River for angling and paddling, a string of shimmering lakes nestled at the base of the Tetons for exploring by canoe or sea kayak, hiking trails that allow you to escape the crush of humanity, and rich wildlife resources to spot.

Campers have hundreds of sites to choose from in the front-country, while backpackers have hundreds of miles of trails to follow high into, and across, the mountains. Easy trails cater to families with young children as well as folks just looking to savor the scenery and build an appetite for dinner.

A Western classic, Grand Teton lures most of its visitors in summer and fall. While winters can be harsh, they also reveal other elements of this majestic park.

Traveler's Choice For: Hiking, paddling, wildlife viewing, climbing, families, photography

Park History: Grand Teton National Park

Say what you will about corporate altruism, whether it's self-serving or truly benevolent, but in the case of Grand Teton, without it the park would be a shell of its present form.

Lodging in Grand Teton

Finding a room in Grand Teton is not terribly hard, if you plan far enough ahead. And even if you wait until the last minute and find the park sold-out, the town of Jackson is closeby with its somewhat plentiful possibilities.

Gilbert Stanley Underwood and Jackson Lake Lodge At Grand Teton National Park

The Jackson Lake Lodge was Gilbert Stanley Underwood's last project, but was it his best?

Seasons in Grand Teton

As with its northern neighbor, Yellowstone, the prime tourist season in Grand Teton is July and August, thanks mainly to school schedules, but the gorgeous Rocky Mountain weather is a great draw, too. Warm, sunny days followed by cool, starry nights are as much an invitation to the park as is its iconic mountain range.

Camping In Grand Teton

Hundreds and hundreds of campsites are scattered about Grand Teton's front country, from sprawling campgrounds dotted with cottonwood trees to lake-front sites. RVers also are accommodated, though sites catering to them are not as plentiful in the park.

Hiking in Grand Teton

Hiking can't be ignored in Grand Teton. Miles of trails, from short, easy hikes such as the loop around Jenny Lake, to the 30-40-mile-long Teton Crest Trail, practically beg your legs to enter this gorgeous setting.

Grand Teton Wildlife

Though Grand Teton National Park's scenery is the first thing that overwhelms you about the park, look a little closer and you'll find an incredible wildlife menagerie. There are bears -- black and grizzly --, wolves, bison, moose, elk, pronghorn antelope, and so much more.

Grand Teton Paddling

Dotting the base of the Teton Range like pearls on a necklace is a series of lakes -- some large, some small -- that offer great paddling opportunities. And then, of course, there's the Snake River, a powerful stream that offers a watery adventure with the craggy Tetons always looming overhead.

Climbing in Grand Teton

The thunderstorm was scored brilliantly. Pelting sleet drummed the roof of the climbers' hut while echoing thunderclaps underscored the sky-cracking lightning bolts. The mid-summer fury surely would have awakened me ... if I had been asleep.

Traveler's Checklist for Grand Teton

The question of "what" to at Grand Teton National Park is relatively easily to answer. The more difficult question is "when" to do it. Here are some thoughts on both those questions from the Traveler.

Grand Teton Geology

Stand at 13,770 feet atop the “Grand” and spread before you is one of the world's great geologic classrooms. Although the Tetons are one of the youngest ranges in the Rocky Mountains, their geology is one of the most varied among the world's mountainous regions.

Resources for Visiting Grand Teton

This is where you can find things such as websites, helpful phone numbers, friends groups and cooperating associations, and, sometimes, interesting books related to the park

Some Worthy Side Trips To Consider

If you've got some extra time in your schedule, there are a few side trips in the area worth your time.

Grand Teton National Park News

Avalanche Kills Backcountry Skier At Grand Teton National Park

Spring skiing in the Rockies can be sublime, with warm daytime temperatures and "corn" snow conditions, all set against incredible scenery. But it also can be risky, as melting snow can be prone to avalanches, and squalls can make conditions dicey. Such was in the case in the backcountry of Grand Teton National Park this past weekend, as a slide killed one skier and seriously injured another. A third skier sustained minor injuries while a fourth was uninjured.

Native American Artisans In Residence At Grand Teton National Park This Summer

A rich diversity of Native American artwork will be on hand this summer at Grand Teton National Park, along with the artisans who make it,.

Temporary Route Detour For Hikers Heading To Inspiration Point At Grand Teton National Park

A little detour will be required this summer for Grand Teton National Park hikers heading to Inspiration Point. Trail work in the area above Jenny Lake requires the detour so crews can replace bridges and work on the steep and rocky ledge trail section that leads to Inspiration Point.

Grand Teton National Park Images