Ready to getaway to one of the most beautiful National Parks in the United States? Grand Tetons National Park will not disappointment with its majestic mountains, crystal clear lakes, wildlife, hundreds of miles of trails & activities for the whole family. I’m sharing our experiences while visiting Grand Tetons that include camping, hiking & exploring this majestic National Park in Wyoming.
Where to camp in Grand Tetons National Park
Camping in Grand Tetons in Wyoming is AMAZING & a must if visiting the Grand Tetons for a full experience. We’ve learned that staying inside any National Park is the best way to get hiking & exploring. During our trip to the Grand Tetons National Park we traveled in a camper van we rented through KuKuCampers for a week-long trip which we parked at campgrounds. We stay at Colter Bay Campground for 3 nights total, when we got to check-in (there were no reservations available prior) the “FULL” sign was still up but we decided to drive up & ask…turns out it wasn’t full & thank goodness we ignored the sign. So, make sure you ask if they are full even if the sign says they are. Try to get in line as early as possible!
Each campground site had its own bear box, fire pit & also a picnic table. All the campsites were also within close walking distance to the bathrooms that all have running water.
The Colter Bay Campground has laundry, paid showers, a grocery store, a coffee shop & restaurants. There are also rentals for canoes, kayaks & boats.
Hiking in the Grand Tetons National Park
Every trip for our family takes while visiting National Parks includes finding the best hikes for our families! Family hiking in the Grand Tetons was a magical experience with fields of flowers our family had never seen before, amazing mountain views, lakes that were crystal clear, a moose walking a trail & streams of water that create magical lush moments. All of these hikes were done with our family of four while our children were 6 years old & 11 years old.
Lakeshore Trail (2.4 mile loop) – A mostly flat terrain that skirts the Colter Bay in two loops & offers spectacular views of the bay & mountains. A very peaceful hike near the water.
Heron Pond & Swan Lake (3.2 mile semi loop) – This trail is a semi-loop, like a lollipop. During the first week of August, we were greeted with flowers, a trail that was mostly shaded by trees & flat. This trail gave views of both Heron Pond & Swan Lake which both unique in their own way were delightful treats. This hike is an easier hike that is great for families.
String Lake (3.8 mile loop) – String lake is a loop hike that sits at the bottom of the Grand Teton Mountain range and there are gorgeous views from this trail. The lake is a popular spot for swimming and kayaking as the water is crystal clear and calm.
Jenny Lake Trail (7.5 miles) – This hike was a little bit of a mess for us, we ended up hiking nearly 6 miles & took the boat back across after getting a little lost at the end of the trail (of course you always get turned around on a trail when you leave your maps in the car). This hike had the most amazing scenery, we were in beautiful wooded areas & then lush areas with an oasis of flowers, you truly don’t know what’s next as you curve through the trail. It’s spectacular. This hike might be a bit hard for families with small children but you can take the boat across from the start for less intense hikes & for views of beautiful waterfalls.
5 Things to do in Grand Tetons National Park with a Family
1. Hike in Grand Tetons National Park
If you’re looking for the best day hikes in Grand Teton national park, there are plenty to pick from with 242 miles of trails. Some of the short hikes are Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point, String Lake, Leigh Lake, and Swan and Heron Pond. If you looking for a full-day hike that is more challenging, pick from Cascade Canyon, Death Canyon, or Paintbrush Canyon and experience towering granite peaks and beautiful remote lakes! More detailed hiking information and Grand Teton trail map PDFs can be found on the National Park Service website.
2. Picnic and Swim at String Lake or Colter Bay Swim Beach
We were able to swim at Colter Bay two days of our trip, the waters are incredibly clear. And though the water can be quite colder than our Texas bodies are use to, once we started swimming & playing the water was so refreshing and one of the best places we’ve ever swam. So don’t forget your swimsuit!
3. Horseback Rides in Grand Tetons
Spend a morning or afternoon in Grand Teton horseback riding and experience the views the same way the early explorers did. Jackson Lake Lodge horseback riding also offers one and two hour scenic rides where you’ll enjoy sweeping views of the Tetons, Oxbow Bend, and the Snake River. Colter Bay Village along the shores of Swan and Heron Ponds and include panoramic mountain views from wildflower meadows.
4. Wildlife & Nature Viewing
Grand Teton wildlife viewing is regularly referred to some of the best in the US. Bear, Bison, Moose, Elk, Pronghorn, Eagles, and more are regularly seen throughout the park. The best place to view wildlife in Grand Teton National Park is always changing, ask at a Visitor Center or Activity Desk once you are in the park where there’s been wildlife sightings. The Activity Desk at Jackson Lake Lodge keeps a log of recent animal sightings. However, some of the best spots for wildlife viewing generally are the Willow Flats in front of Jackson Lake Lodge, Oxbow Bend, Elk Ranch Flats, and Moose.
The beautiful views of mountains, lakes & field of wildflowers will have you slowing down to take it all in.
5. Rent a Boat
Jackson Lake boat rentals allow you to spend a few serene hours exploring the Colter Bay, Half Moon Bay, and other surrounding bays and islands. The Colter Bay Marina rents kayaks (double and single), canoes, and motorboats. Maps, lifejackets, and radios are provided with your boat rental. Boating is a fantastic way to spend a few hours relaxing in the morning or afternoon.
What to bring to Grand Tetons National Park
Camelbak – I don’t care how small my hike is, I find it easiest to just strap on my Camelbak (since I keep it stocked on hiking trips) filled with water. It also gives me a place to store anything I might want to store for the hikes (don’t forget to put a map in it). I opted for the 100 oz Camelbak while both of my kids have the Camelbak scout hydration pack (for more ideas for kid’s hiking gear check out this post). I fill my hydration pack every chance I get!
Snacks – I always have snacks in my backpack since I’m always with my family, so I like to be prepared. Even if I was on my own, I would still pack nuts, fresh fruit & a few protein bars.
Sunglasses – These are a must for desserts or near waters, the sun bounces & is extremely harsh on your eyes.
Sunscreen – ALWAYS use sunscreen, even an overcast day can leave your skin vulnerable to the sun. Two sunscreens I like that don’t break me out or feel heavy are this Alba sunscreen & this one from Sunbum, I also keep this stick sunscreen in my bag.
Hat – You’ll want some kind of hat to keep the sun out of your eyes, I usually opt for my Patagonia baseball cap that’s worn well. If you want to keep the sun off your neck, a bucket hat is great for hiking too.
Bathing Suit – Don’t make this mistake, I forgot my bathing suit & ended up swimming in my yoga pants & sports bra!
Hiking poles – Hiking poles are great for steep hikes, hikes that tend to have snow/water & for those with bad knees.
PIN THIS BLOG POST FOR LATER