Two Day Grand Teton National Park Itinerary

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Grand Teton National Park is the eighth most visited park of the beloved U.S. National Park system and it’s no wonder why—this incredible park offers world class hiking, ample wildlife viewing opportunities, and epic landscapes. But with 485 square miles, bursting with trails, wildflowers, and moose, it can be challenging to decide how to spend your time if you’ve only got 48 hours in the park. 

I’ve been lucky enough to visit this little slice of heaven a few times and have nailed down some of the absolute best things to do in the park. So here’s the best two day Grand Teton National Park itinerary, with everything you need to know from the best hikes, photography spots, and swimming holes to include on your trip.

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Table of Contents


How to Get to Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park is located near Jackson Hole, in western Wyoming.

While Jackson is a fairly remote town, it definitely has some advantages, including the fact that it has its own airport, which happens to be the only one in the United States that’s literally INSIDE of a national park, with regular service from United, American Airlines, and Delta.  

man and woman sitting on roof of parked car and looking at the Teton Mountain range in Grand Teton National Park at sunset

You’re more likely to find more affordable airfare by flying into Bozeman, Montana, which is approximately four hour drive from Jackson. This is your best option if you’re also interested in stopping in Yellowstone—you’ll have to literally drive right through it! Alternatively, the most affordable option will likely be flying into Salt Lake City, UT, which offers an stunningly gorgeous five hour drive north along the Wyoming and Idaho border.

In either capacity, when you fly into your airport of choice, you’ll need to rent a car to get around Grand Teton, as unfortunately, there are no shuttle to get around, like some other U.S. national parks.

To get into Grand Teton National Park, you’ll need to pay an entrance fee of $35 per vehicle or $20 per person per week—or, alternatively, you can get in for FREE, with the America the Beautiful Pass, an annual pass you can purchase for $80 that gets you unlimited access to all of the U.S. National Parks and over 2,000 federally managed lands.

Woman holding an America the Beautiful Pass in front of the Olympic Mountains in Olympic National Park

Where to Stay when Visiting Grand Teton National Park

First things first- I was really confused about the difference between Jackson and Jackson Hole. Should I be looking in Jackson? Jackson Hole? Both?

So let me break it down for you. Jackson is the town right outside of Grand Teton National Park, while Jackson Hole refers to the entire valley in the region and includes towns like Teton Village, Wilson, the Aspens, Moran Junction, Moose, and other surrounding areas.

If any accommodations are listed as being in Jackson Hole (rather than just Jackson), be sure to double check how far they are from the actual park. It might be a longer drive than what you’re willing to undertake. 

Woman running by the Moulton Barn in front of the Teton Mountain range in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming

I would generally recommend staying in the town of Jackson, which is a quick 15 minutes drive to the park and full of cute coffee shops, bars, and restaurants. Caveat, though- Jackson is EXPENSIVE. When we visited, the cheapest accommodations I could find was a 1970s RV on Airbnb that wound up costing us $550 over the course of three days!

So instead, I’d recommend staying at one of the following hotels that are budget friendly and highly rated on several platforms: Elk Country Inn, Elk Refuge Inn,  or Cowboy Village Resort.

Antler archway in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Camping is also a great option in Grand Teton. There are six campgrounds and one RV park within the park itself, with only Colter Bay RV Park and the Headwaters Campground & RV Sites at Flagg Ranch taking reservations (see the National Park Service site for more information). Otherwise, the park’s campground are first come, first serve and fill up QUICKLY (the Jenny Lake campground often gets filled before 8 AM!), so be sure to get to the park early!

Alternatively, there are a plethora of free and paid campground outside of the park.

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When to Go to Grand Teton National Park

If you’re planning on hiking in Grand Teton, I’d recommend planning to visit between mid-June and mid-October, when the roads and trails in the park are mostly snow and ice-free and the days are pleasantly warm.

woman standing in String Lake in Grand Teton National Park with pine trees and mountains in the background

Additionally, I’d argue that Grand Teton is one of the best national parks to visit in October, thanks to its plentiful aspens that turn flaming gold at the beginning of the month, as well as its wildlife, which become much more active as they prepare for winter. Just be sure to plan your visit towards the beginning of the month.

It’s worth noting that Jackson Hole is a skier’s and snowboarder’s paradise in the wintertime, but most of the roads in the park are closed during the winter season. As such, this guide focuses on visiting the Tetons in the summertime and fall.

Itinerary for Two Days in Grand Teton National Park

Okay, so let’s get to the good stuff—how are you going to spend your two days in Grand Teton National Park?

Day 1

Early morning

If you’re a history buff or photographer, start off the day bright and early with a stop at the ever iconic “Mormon Row.”  Named after followers of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that settled the land in the late 1800s,  six homesteads built by the settlers still remain today.

Woman standing in front of the Moulton Barn along Mormon Row with the Teton Mountain range in the background in Grand Teton National Park

The Moulton Barn is the most famous of the standing buildings and creates a postcard- ready foreground as the early morning sun casts a pastel glow on the Tetons, rising dramatically in the background. This is also an excellent place to spot the park’s famed bison roaming about.

Morning

Let’s ease into hiking with the easy loop trail, Taggart Lake-Bradley Lake.

Man and woman standing at the edge of Taggart Lake-Bradley Lake in Grand Teton National Park with the Teton Mountain range in the background

Clocking in at 4.1 miles and less than 500 feet elevation gain, this is a great hike for beginners or for families. The trail offers a great mix of hiking through a forest straight out of a fairy tale, a pristine lake perfectly reflecting the Tetons, and, of course, sweeping views of the mountains themselves. I’d recommend hiking this loop counterclockwise for the best views of the Tetons!

Afternoon

You’re not done with lake hikes for the day!

Next up is String Lake, a 4.4 mile hike with only 291 feet elevation gain throughout (perfect for trail running!). This trail provides some of the best scenery in the park, with a glacial-fed lake with crystal clear, emerald water and a beautiful forest of pine and aspen trees (definitely not to be missed in September and October!). 

If you’re up for more of a challenge here, add on the offshoot to the gorgeous Laurel Lake. You can find this boot trail by looking at the trail map for String Lake—just be prepared for a steep hike (rising a whopping 800 feet in 0.7 miles) and may even require a bit of bushwhacking.

Tip: String Lake is a popular place to launch kayaks, canoes, or paddleboards and is close to the park’s most famous lake, Jenny Lake. As such, the parking lot gets CROWDED, especially in July and August. If you don’t like fighting to the death over a parking spot, you might want to shuffle this hike to earlier in the day. 

Otherwise, you’ll definitely can snag a space here—just know that you’ll probably have to circle around the parking lot for a bit before you score one.

Evening

Pick up some dinner to go in Jackson (see the Where to Eat and Play section below) and head back towards the park to watch the sunset over the Tetons.

There are several excellent scenic overlooks to watch the sunset along Highway 89. Justin and I stopped at the Albright View Overlook, but some other good options are Blacktail Ponds Overlook, Glacier View Turnout, or Teton Point Turnout (with the latter choices being accompanied by views of the Tetons rising over the Snake River).  

woman running along road with teton mountain range in the background in Grand Teton National Park

If you still have some energy left afterwards, hang out for a stargazing session, waiting until the sky turns dark and the Milky Way twinkles into sight.

Some great places to stargaze in Jackson Hole is back by the Moulton Barn or alternatively, taking the Antelope Flats Roads, past the town of Kelly, where you’ll find several scenic pull-offs.

Day 2

Morning

You’re going to wake up bright and early this morning for one of the best hikes in Grand Teton National Park, Delta Lake.

A portion of this challenging 8.8 mile out-and-back trail is unmaintained, meaning it’s not an “official” trail of the National Park, so you may come across a downed tree and will definitely have to scramble across several boulder fields along the way.

Man hiking along the Lupine Meadows trail on the way to Delta lake in grand teton national park

We have a whole guide on how to hike Delta Lake, but, in a nutshell, you can expect the trail to be STEEP in certain sections (as in, if you’re scared of heights, you might want to skip it!) and to have some route finding sections.

Your hard work will absolutely be worth it though, once you reach the robins egg blue waters of Delta Lake, sitting in the shadow of an impossibly rugged mountain. In fact, I’d suggest budgeting quite a bit more time than you’d think for this hike—you’ll be stopping to take a LOT of photos!

Word of warning, though—despite the fact the trail is “unmaintained”, it’s still one of the most popular hikes in Grand Teton National Park, so expect to be sharing this beautiful trail with others!

woman standing on a rock staring down into the crystal clear delta lake in grand teton national park

If you’re looking for a more beginner or family-friendly hike instead of Delta Lake, you could instead try one of the most popular trails in the park to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point from Jenny Lake. This hike is still six miles, but you can choose to take a shuttle boat across the lake (see rates and hours here), cutting the mileage down to only two.

Afternoon

Now that your legs properly feel like Jello, it’s time to kickback and have a more relaxing afternoon exploring the park. If it’s July or August, I’d recommend getting up close and personal with one of the frosty lakes at the foothills of the Tetons, whether you want to swim, kayak, or paddleboard.

We slipped into our swimsuits and actually went back to String Lake, due to its gorgeous scenery and the fact that its waters are some of the warmest in the park.

woman standing on a rock in the middle of String Lake in grand teton national park

Alternatively, I’d recommend doing a driving tour to the most epic viewpoints in the park. You can find some of the best views at Schwabacher Landing, Snake River Overlook, and Blacktail Ponds Overlook.

Evening

End your day by exploring the charming town of Jackson. Grab some dinner, a delicious microbrew or two, and poke around the adorable shops lining the streets of downtown.

Cars in front of Million Dollar Cowboy Bar in Jackson, Wyoming

Is Two Days Enough in Grand Teton National Park?

I’ve been to Grand Teton three times, each of which have only been for a handful of days apiece. While I think three or four days in Jackson Hole would probably be ideal to explore the park more in depth and enjoy the town at a slower pace, I feel like we really hit most of the major highlights and got a good feel for the park in our two days there.

Couple with a blanket wrapped around their shoulders and looking at the Teton mountains in Grand Teton National Park at sunset

So if you’re on a bit of a short timeline like us, not to worry—I totally still recommend it!

What to Pack for Grand Teton National Park

Besides the essentials for any hiking trip (i.e., hiking boots, backpack, etc.), here are some odds and ends that you should definitely pack for a trip to Grand Teton National Park:

Layers: Justin and I went to Grand Teton in mid-July and I was SHOCKED by how cold it was at night and in the early morning. So bring along plenty of cozy layers for the early mornings and evenings—I brought along a vest like this one (here’s a similar one for men), this beanie, and a cozy zip-up like this one.

woman staring at grassy field and mountains during dusk in Grand Teton National Park

Bug spray

Sun screen

Refillable water

Binoculars: For wildlife spotting!

Moose standing in tall grass in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming

Headlamps: For stargazing, camping, or even doing some early morning or evening hikes

Bear spray: As many signs around the park will be quick to tell you, Grand Teton is bear country- home to both black and grizzly bears.

Both kinds of bears are generally not aggressive, but may act aggressively if their young is near, if you have startled them, or if they’re sick. Because of this risk, I always take bear spray (which is used much like pepper spray to temporarily deter, but not permanently injure aggressive animals) with me wherever I go hiking in bear country. Although we thankfully have never had to use it, we have this one.

Swimsuit

Towel

A cooler: The park has several restaurants (check out their menus, hours, and locations here), but like any national park, you should expect to pay premium prices for not-so-stellar food within park limits. And while the park has the benefit of having Jackson close by, the high prices extend to the city as well- a modest lunch at a Mexican restaurant wound up costing Justin and I about $60. 

As such, if you’re roadtripping here like we did, I’d highly recommend packing a cooler to keep in your car with some breakfast and lunch to cut down on costs. Jackson has several fun breweries to try, so we also packed some beers in the cooler to drink while splashing about the lake- 10/10 would recommend!

Road winding through a forest with the Teton mountain range in the background in Grand Teton National Park

Camp chairs

Offline maps: A lot of the park has spotty cell coverage, so I definitely recommend downloading offline maps on the Google Maps app and any trail maps on AllTrails before heading to the park.

Pssst... you’ll need an AllTrails+ membership to download trail maps, but luckily, our awesome readers get a free seven day trial and 30% off an annual membership if you use this link!

Where to Eat and Play near Grand Teton National Park

Jackson is such a quirky, charming town and, for a city with 10,000 residents, has an astounding array of restaurants, breweries, and saloons. Here’s some of the best places to eat and drink near Grand Teton.

Coffee

Persephone Bakery

Super cute Instagram-able cafe to pick up a matcha latte and some fresh baked goods

Cowboy Coffee

Try coffee that is roasted in-house “Old West”-style (believed to be the only roaster to use this method west of the Mississippi!) and get a shot of huckleberry flavoring along with your cup of joe.

Breakfast

Picnic

A stylish and airy space dishing up fresh eats, like avocado toast with microgreens and watermelon radishes or a tri-colored quinoa bowl with cucumber tomato salad and roasted kale.

Healthy Being Cafe & Juicery

This eatery serves up cold-pressed juices, delicious smoothie bowls, and tasty bowls with fresh and organic ingredients.

Lunch/Dinner

Hatch Taqueria and Tequilas

Offers a modern take on Mexican food, Jackson’s largest selection of tequilas and mezcal, and surprisingly yummy margaritas (and I’m very picky about my margs!)

Hand Fire Pizza

Delicious wood-fired pizzas made with fresh, organic ingredients and served in an adorable vintage theater. 

FIGS

An upscale restaurant dishing up Lebanese food, including what the Washington Post crowns “the best hummus in Wyoming” (I mean, how do you even compete with that?!)

Dessert

Moo’s Gourmet Ice Cream

Scooping up 24 rotating flavors of ice creams and sorbets, like the local huckleberry or loganberry ones!

Cowboy neon sign at the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar in Jackson, Wyoming

Drinks

Snake River Brewing

With around eight taps pouring delicious house-made brews and house-infused liquors, this is a must stop for any beer lover.

Million Dollar Cowboy Bar

For the full blown cowboy experience (I’m talking Western dancing and live music from legends like my main man, Willie Nelson), this bar, established in 1937, is not to be missed.

The Rose

If you’re a lady/gentleman after my own heart and love you a fancy cocktail, the only spot in town is this speakeasy-esque spot, with chandeliers, velvet booths, and all the overpriced libations your body craves.


Whew- what an action-packed two days exploring Grand Teton National Park! Are there any highlights or actual hidden gems that I missed? Let me know in the comments below!

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