Wyoming’s stunning 310,000 acre wilderness is a mecca for outdoor lovers. Here are ten reasons why you should visit.
Jaw Dropping Terrain
This magnificent natural landscape of jutting peaks and gleaming lakes is a feast for the senses. Hike through summer wildflower meadows, and explore acres of golden aspen forest in autumn. Gaze skywards at the craggy granite crests of the Grand Teton mountain range, which provide the park’s dramatic backdrop. The crowning glory is Grand Teton, which soars to a majestic 13,700 feet.
A glittering gem at the heart of the park, Jenny Lake’s serene expanse of water sits surrounded by soaring peaks. Catch the boat shuttle from the south shore to the start point for the Cascade Canyon trailhead. A brief trek through conifer forest will bring you to Hidden Falls, an imposing 100 foot torrent of cascading waters. Walk half a mile to Inspiration Point, where you’ll be rewarded with superb views of the lake. You’ll find an informative visitor centre and general store at the lakeside.
Wild camping Vs High-End Resort
The park has a range of accommodation to suit all budgets. If you fancy camping in the wilds, grab a permit and trek into the unexplored backcountry. Here you’ll enjoy bike and car free adventures off the beaten track. For more mod cons, there are seven camping grounds and RV parks across the park. And if creature comforts are your thing, opt for a rustic log cabin, or indulge in one of the sleek, high end lodges or upscale hotels around Jackson Hole and Jenny Lake.
Rock Climbing In High Country
The Tetons’ granite topography is a playground for rock climbing fans. The lofty range boasts over 200 peaks, and abundant climbing routes to suit all skill levels. The mountains are frequently snow-capped until mid-July, and weather at altitude can change dramatically. If you’re inexperienced, consider joining a guided excursion. Novice climbs and family programs are available. For a more challenging adventure, tackle an overnight alpine assault of Grand Teton’s renowned granite spires, the ‘Garnet Towers’.
Meet The Neighbours
The park is home to a vibrant array of wildlife. You’ll probably encounter bison, elk, moose, deer, and bald eagles on your travels along with black and grizzly bears, foxes and wolves. As many animals seek shade in the heat of the day, morning and dusk are productive times for wildlife spotting. Elk, bison and mule are partial to wandering on the roads after dark, so be vigilant if you’re driving at night.
Nudging the National Park perimeter lies the thriving resort of Jackson Hole. Here you’ll discover a world of activities including bungee jumping, horseback riding, bouldering and treetop zip lines. Mountain Resort is a skiers’ paradise during winter months, and a popular paragliding spot in summer. Take a spectacular aerial tram ride to the 10,000 foot summit of Rendezvous Mountain. Enjoy dinner with a panoramic view at one of its restaurants.
Historic Mormons Row And Menors Ferry
The historic Mormons Row homesteads were built in the late 1800s by settlers from Idaho. Don’t miss the iconic wooden T.A. Moulton Barn. Flanked by the stunning Teton Range, this 1890s structure is allegedly the most photographed barn in the U.S. The Menors Ferry District is a significant crossing point on Snake River, and its whitewashed general store and settlements date back to 1892. In the Transportation Barn you’ll discover relics of early settlers, such as the bullboat, a 19th century American Indian invention of bison hide across a willow frame.
Water Fun At Jackson Lake
Jackson Lake, the largest stretch of water in the park, offers a bounty of water sports including swimming, kayaking, canoeing, sailing, water skiing, sailboarding and windsurfing. It’s a popular spot for fishing, and home to perch, rainbow trout, catfish and walleye. Enjoy an evening lake cruise with dinner on scenic Elk Island.
Excellent Cycling Trails
Grand Teton N.P. has more paved bike trails than any national park in the country. Pack a picnic and explore the scenic eight mile Jenny Lake Pathway, which runs from Moose Junction to the shores of Jenny Lake. You’ll pass jagged mountains, plunging canyons and acres of alpine forest. You can hire a bike in Moose or Jackson Hole.
Explore Snake River
Enjoy Snake River’s tranquil waters on a three hour guided scenic excursion. You’ll learn about the surrounding scenery whilst you spot osprey, eagles and river otters. Home to the native fine-spotted cutthroat trout, the river is a key fly-fishing destination. Adrenalin junkies can opt for a white-water adventure on the river’s churning rapids. Late spring or early summer bring the biggest thrills, aided by snowmelt from the mountains.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com