Winter in Grand Teton National Park provides a unique opportunity to see a quieter side of this stunning park in Wyoming. The impressive Teton Range covered in snow, wildlife in their winter element and the peaceful lull that falls over this national park during the winter months combine to offer an experience unlike anything else.
From sliding and gliding on skis or snowboards, to traversing trails wearing snowshoes or riding a fat bike, there is fun to be had during the long winter months. Here are ways to enjoy this amazingly beautiful landscape and some things to keep in mind before setting out to explore the winter serenity of Grand Teton National Park.
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Is Grand Teton National Park Open in the Winter?
Yes, Grand Teton National Park is open during the winter months; however, road access within the park is limited. US Highway 89/191 and US Highway 287/26 are open from Jackson or Dubois to Flagg Ranch, allowing visitors to enter the park via the Moran Entrance Station and drive about 16 miles north of Colter Bay Village.
Although these roads are maintained, winter storms can appear quickly in the mountains. It’s advisable to drive a vehicle that’s well-equipped for winter conditions and to travel with a winter safety kit.
Most of Grand Teton National Park is open to skiers and snowshoers, but it’s important to note that portions of the park do close completely during the winter months to protect wildlife. Wolff Ridge, Static Peak, Prospectors Mountain and portions of the Snake River are among these closures.
Winter Trails in Grand Teton National Park
If you’d like to hike or cross-country ski in Grand Teton National Park during the winter, you’ll need snowshoes and the right skis to traverse the snow-covered trails. Before you try these low-impact winter sports, be prepared.
You’ll burn lots of calories an hour snowshoeing and skiing, so stay hydrated and eat small meals of fruits, vegetables and leafy greens before you head out. Bring snacks that are easy to eat while wearing gloves and mittens to replenish energy.
Be aware of the risks associated with snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in Grand Teton during winter, and make sure you don’t go alone. And it’s best to bring a map and compass since you can’t rely solely on a cell signal out in the wilderness.
The Best Places for Snowshoeing and Cross-Country Skiing in Grand Teton National Park
There are three great places in particular to snowshoe and cross-country ski in the park.
Snowshoeing and Cross-Country Skiing Jenny Lake in Winter
Considered a moderately challenging route from June through October, the Jenny Lake Trail takes almost 3 hours to complete in good weather. Snowshoeing around Jenny Lake is perfect for beginners and offers incredible views. The flat 8-mile round-trip cross-country ski trail here follows the Teton Park Road and is suitable for beginners.
Snowshoeing and Cross-Country Skiing Taggart Lake in Winter
The National Park Service reports the Teton Park Road from the Taggart Lake Trailhead to Signal Mountain Lodge is open for non-motorized use only from November 1 to May 1. The road is intermittently groomed to provide a packed surface to make for some of the best snowshoeing and cross-country touring in Grand Teton. However, the Taggart Lake Trail is for more advanced nordic skiers as it cuts through the rolling foothills.
Grand Teton Winter Snowshoe and Cross-Country Skiing Tours
The National Park Service licenses companies to offer guided snowshoe tours in the Grand Tetons National Park. These businesses include Eco Tour Adventures, The Hole Hiking Experience and Teton Backcountry Guides.
Most Popular Winter Activities in Grand Teton National Park
Wintertime is a magical time in Grand Teton Park when thick blankets of snow cover the ground and new outdoor adventures begin. Bundling up is worth it to experience the serenity of the wilderness snowshoeing or cross-country skiing.
Adventure junkies can rev their engines and explode out of trails on snowmobiles while couples and families can enjoy a traditional sleigh ride. Discover all of these things to do in Grand Teton this winter and even more.
Skiing & Snowboarding
Nordic Skiing, Cross-Country Skiing & Snowshoeing
Avid summer hikers will love the chance to strap on a pair of nordic or cross-country skis or snowshoes to explore a snow-covered Grand Teton National Park. In addition to the route from Taggart Lake Trailhead to Signal Mountain Lodge, trails can be found at Colter Bay, Flagg Ranch and Antelope Flats Road.
For a fun winter experience, consider a ranger-guided snowshoe walk if you’re interested in learning more about Grand Teton’s ecology. Snowshoes can be rented from the park for a small fee for those taking part in this ranger-led program, which is available from late December through mid-March. Be sure to make reservations in advance by calling the park at 307-739-3399.
Limited vehicle access to roads makes snowmobiling an appealing option within Grand Teton National.
If you’re looking for a fun winter experience, Grassy Lake Road is open to any snowmobile without requiring a guide. Other parts of the park have more strict guidelines, including the requirement of Best Available Technology (BAT) snowmobiles. Learn more about snowmobiling in Grand Teton National Park.
Explore snow-covered trails on a fat bike designed for off-road cruising with oversized tires. Popular winter trails in Grand Teton Park include Cache Creek, Hagen Trail, Emily’s Pond and Wilson Centennial Trail.
The same lakes that offer boating options with mountainous views during the summer can be accessed for ice fishing through Grand Teton National Park in the winter. Jackson Lake, Jenny Lake and Phelps Lake are among the best options for ice fishing in the park.
Be sure to attain a fishing license and rent the necessary gear (including an auger, rod and reel) before heading onto the ice. Or find a guide to share expertise and take the pressure off of gathering the proper gear.
For a unique winter wildlife-watching experience, visit the National Elk Refuge. A popular winter activity in Grand Teton, this refuge serves as a key habitat for a variety of wildlife in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, but in the winter, it primarily serves a large herd of wintering elk.
Visitors of this wildlife refuge can book a winter sleigh ride for a closer look at the elk and learn more about this Wyoming herd.
Winter Wildlife in Grand Teton National Park
Grand Teton is bursting with life during winter. Moose, elk, bison, wolves, trumpeter swans and other local wildlife are exciting to watch during the winter when more extreme conditions play a role in already fascinating behavior.
Go out for a stroll on your own or learn about Grand Teton National Park’s fauna by booking a guided tour. Ecotour Adventures (who also offer guided snowshoeing and cross-country skiing trips), Jackson Hole Wildlife Safaris, Brush Buck Wildlife Tours and Teton Wild are among several area companies offering expert guiding services, some are private tours. Before you head out, learn how to enjoy natural spaces and travel responsibly.
Two lodges are open within Grand Teton National Park in the winter: Triangle X Ranch and Dornan’s Spur Ranch Cabins, which are open December through March during the winter season. Be sure to book in advance, as lodging in the park fills up quickly. For those who don’t mind pitching a tent in the snow, primitive camping sites are available at Colter Bay. Just a short 15-minutes away, you’ll also find an abundance of lodging options in the town of Jackson, from luxurious and stylish to charming and retro-inspired.
Triangle X Ranch
The Triangle X Ranch is a five-generation family-owned working dude ranch and the only concession open in Grand Teton National Park during the winter. Enjoy unsurpassed cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, photography, and wildlife viewing right out your front door. Triangle X Ranch opens December 26th and our winter season runs through mid-March. A minimum stay of one night is required during the winter.
Dornan’s Spur Ranch Cabins
Dornan’s Spur Ranch is a small family-owned resort offering a dozen cabins furnished with handcrafted with lodgepole pine furniture. In the winter, guests can take advantage of cross-country and snowshoe rentals in the Trading Post. Besides grooming the road from Taggart Lake to Signal Mountain for skiing and snowshoeing, the Park also offers guided snowshoe hikes. The winter season begins October 16th and runs through March 1st.
There is plenty to see, do and explore in the winter in Grand Teton National Park. Make sure to plan and prepare before you visit. Travel Wyoming offers resources to help you plan your Grand Teton National Park trip.