While many people plan a trip to Yellowstone National Park, they tend to overlook Grand Teton. This park is just south of Yellowstone and more beautiful, in my opinion, so it’s worth it to spend at least one day in Grand Teton National Park.
I had barely heard about this park when I was planning my trip to Yellowstone in 2018. However, when I saw how close the park was on the map, I knew I had to stop there. After dealing with Yellowstone’s crowds, it felt amazing to spend one day in Grand Teton exploring a beautiful area full of stunning mountains and lakes with much fewer crowds.
While I recommend spending more time here if you have it, you can still see plenty in Grand Teton in one day. This guide will help you plan your trip with tips to know in advance, stops to make, and a sample itinerary.
The facts in the post have been checked and updated as of April 2021.
This post promotes travel to a national park that is the traditional lands of the Shoshone-Bannock, Eastern Shoshone and Cheyenne people. I make a formal land acknowledgment showing my respect and appreciation to the people of these lands. You can learn more about this on Native Land.
Tips for Visiting Grand Teton in One Day
Here are a few tips to help you with your Grand Teton one day itinerary.
What to Know for Spending One Day in Grand Teton
Here are some tips for spending 1 day in Grand Teton National Park.
- May through September is the most popular time to go – While it’s also the most beautiful time, you should know it may be crowded during your one day in Grand Teton. That means starting the day early to maximize your time there.
- Some roads are closed from November to April – You’ll want to check the official website to look for current closures when planning your trip.
- The area is bear country – Bears enjoy the lakes and hiking trails just as much as humans do, so you’ll want to be on the lookout as you explore Grand Teton in a day.
How to Get to Grand Teton National Park
Grand Teton is in the northwest part of Wyoming, and there are several ways to reach it. If you’re going on a road trip from Seattle to Yellowstone National Park, you can drive here and enter the park through three different entrances during your 1 day in Grand Teton.
- South entrance (Moose entrance) – where you’ll enter if you’re staying in Jackson, Wyoming
- East entrance (Moran entrance) – northeast of the park, which you’ll want to use if you’re coming from the east part of Wyoming
- Southwest entrance – you can use Granite Canyon entrance if you’re coming from Idaho or Utah, but it’s a longer, more scenic route
Grand Teton National Park Entrance Fees
Here are the different entrance fees for the park. You can pay these at any of the three pay stations found at the entrances during your Grand Teton one day itinerary.
- Private vehicle – $35 per vehicle (good for 7 days)
- Motorcycle – $30 per bike
- Hiking/biking in – $20 per person
- America the Beautiful pass – $80 (good for a year and gets you into all national parks across the United States)
Where to Stay in Grand Teton National Park
You’ll likely have a long day in the park, so you’ll want to spend the night at someplace close. Here are a few recommendations for your one day in Grand Teton.
- Mountain Modern Hotel – This is a plush place to stay in downtown Jackson that I enjoyed staying at during my trip. (rates start at $180 per night on Booking.com or Hotels.com)
- This country escape has a private deck and wood-burning fireplace to relax by after you go hiking all day. (rates start at $185 per night)
- Staying in a beautiful cabin with a kitchen and two bathrooms is a fun way to end your day after exploring the park. (rates start at $185 per night)
10 Unmissable Stops to Visit During One Day in Grand Teton
While there are many places to stop during your 1 day in Grand Teton, here are some of the best places to stop.
From dramatic panoramic views from mountain summits to quaint homesteads, this 42-mile scenic loop passes by a ton of beautiful, engaging, and historical spots. One day is enough to explore the best that this awesome US national park has to offer.
I’ve put together an epic guide on the best stops for Grand Teton National Park in one day. Enjoy the wildlife, the breathtaking scenery, and the adventures that are in store for you!
Menor’s Ferry Historic District
This stop is a historic homestead along the Snake River set up by William D. Menor in 1894. The ferry which he built and operated was crucial for early settlers in Jackson Hole, which I highly recommend stopping at during your 1 day in Grand Teton National Park.
You can explore the old district, stopping by Menor’s cabin, the general store, and the ferry. This area is a remarkable little journey back in time, so make sure to stop here during your one day in Grand Teton.
The best part? Water levels permitting, you can go for a ride on the ferry! Well, a replica, but the strange, old-fashioned river craft is as unusual and charming as you’d expect. And it’s completely free, operating between 10 am and 2 pm in summer.
The ferry ride is only about 10 minutes, so it’ll easily fit in on your one day trip. You’ll get the chance to experience a unique activity in the park while learning about the ferry’s interesting history from a ranger.
Jenny Lake District
Jenny Lake is one of the most popular stops in the park and definitely not a spot to be missed during your one day at Grand Teton National Park. Apart from the awe-inspiring scenery, a spectacular combination of turquoise lakes, and vast mountains, there are a couple of awesome activities to enjoy.
The Jenny Lake district offers some of the best hiking trails in the park, and you can pick your route according to your time and desires. If you’re not a keen hiker, or just want to experience the lake in another way, grab some paddles and head out on a canoeing adventure while exploring Grand Teton in a day.
If you’re there to take in the stunning views without expending too much energy, there is a shuttle boat that takes you across the glacial lake. This activity is especially fun if you’re exploring the Tetons with kids during your one day in Grand Teton.
Whether you’ve decided to paddle, shuttle boat, or hike around Jenny Lake, you can reach the beginning of the Hidden Falls trail. This area is easily one of the best little hikes in the area and a Grand Teton gem. If you’re coming here after visiting Yellowstone in one day, you’ll want to do this activity.
This is one of the best hikes in Grand Teton as it’s a 1.3-mile round trip that’s quick, moderate, and absolutely stunning. And the 200-foot waterfall is an impressive sight, cascading down staggering rock steps. You can stop here or continue to Inspiration Point. I recommend this hike if you have the time and energy when looking for what to do in Grand Teton National Park in one day.
If you’re hoping to see wildlife on your Grand Teton itinerary for 1 day, this is the stop for you. Oxbow Bend is an overlook located between Jackson Lake Junction and Moran Junction. The postcard-perfect scenery of Mount Moran and Snake River is a treat.
It is undoubtedly the best place to catch a glimpse of native wildlife such as moose, black bears, and river otters. Birders will love the abundance of waterfowl and birds of prey.
It is particularly beautiful at sunset when the light hits the water just right. Photographers will revel in the almost perfect reflection of the mountain on the river.
Snake River Overlook
One of the four iconic photography spots of the Grand Teton is this fantastic overlook. No matter how long you have during your one day in Grand Teton, you’ll want to stop here.
Vistas of Snake River winding its way up to the Grand Teton attracts a ton of visitors hoping to snap an iconic shot to match Ansel Adam’s classic picture.
Unfortunately, the view has changed considerably in the 75 years from that famous photo. Trees have grown to form a barrier between you and the expansive views. But it is still a dreamy stop on your grand Teton one-day road trip. And there are a few short trails from the viewing point from where you can get different perspectives of the river and mountains.
Equip yourself with an amazing camera and try your hand at getting the perfect shot.
Mormon Row & Moulton Barn
Mormon Row got its name from a Mormon homestead from the 1890s. It is a favorite Teton spot of all who visit the park and is one of Grand Teton’s famous four.
There are two things that you are sure to be taking out of the Grand Tetons: memories and unbelievable photos. One of these pictures will probably be of the most photographed barn in the world – T.A Moulton Barn.
The picturesque barn is at the forefront of Mormon Row, against a backdrop of dramatic mountains. It is an iconic image associated with Grand Teton National Park and one that you’ll want to see in Grand Teton in 1 day.
Introducing one of the best views in America and another of Grand Teton’s four favorites, next up is Schwabacher’s Landing. The road sign is tiny and easy to miss if you’re not concentrating. If you’re coming from the north, it’s the turn after Glacier View Turnout. From the south, it’ll be after the Teton Point Turnout.
It is a landing spot on the Snake River, allowing easy access to the river as the land flattens. Not only is the view of the mountains and the rivers epic, but the wildlife surrounding the freshwater makes it even better.
There is a small 1.8-mile hiking trail at Schwabacher’s Landing that is easy and rewarding. The woods open up to an incredible sight of the Tetons and the river.
If you’ve packed your fishing rod, the landing is a great spot to cast a quick line and is famous for rafters and anglers.
Chapel of the Transfiguration
Who can resist a rustic, historic chapel standing in a charming log building? The altar is perched in front of a large window with the beautiful mountain range in its frame. The almost 100-year-old chapel is a popular sightseeing stop in Grand Teton in 1 day.
Your one day in Grand Teton is all about the views, and the summit of Signal Hill has some of the best. Doing Grand Teton in a day requires a drive up to the summit rather than a 10-mile hike. While it’s different from the hikes of Zion National Park, you’ll love how scenic it is.
It’s a quick 5-mile drive up to the summit. You’ll have incredible panoramic views over the Teton mountain range, the Jackson Hole Valley, and the Snake River below – truly a spectacular image.
You can stop at the Jackson Lake and Jackson Point viewing spots on the way up. Look out for moose and elk amongst the pine trees on the way up!
Colter Bay Village
This stop is not actually on the loop but is up the road from Jackson Lake Junction and well worth the small detour. The drive from Jenny Lake is unbelievably scenic. You’ll pass by Spalding Bay and can make a pit stop at Signal Mountain.
Colter Bay Village occupies prime real estate in the park – right on the shores of Jackson Lake. You’ll want to stop here when deciding what to see in Grand Teton in one day.
Of course, gorgeous hiking trails are what attract visitors to this area. If you only have one day in the park, the Lakeshore Trail is a gentle and easy hike winding around the high-altitude lake.
Look for the plethora of wildlife that inhabits this area, namely moose, beavers, river otters, and herons. You’ll love the breathtaking views of Mt. Moran, Grand Teton, and Teewinot Mountain.
Had enough of hiking? Skip out on the lakeshore trail and visit the Colter Bay Visitor Center for a spot of souvenir shopping. Or, take a seat in the amphitheater and enjoy an educational talk given by expert park rangers.
Grand Teton One Day Itinerary
Planning the perfect road trip, even if it’s a short one, is always exciting. This sample one day in Grand Teton itinerary is adjustable according to where you begin the loop and which direction you choose to drive.
The loop follows Teton Park Road, and there are three entry points: Moose Junction, Jackson Lake Junction, and Moran Junction. This itinerary enters and exits at Moose Junction. Of course, you can add more stops or skip some out, tailoring the ideal route for Grand Teton in one day.
Your first two stops will be the Chapel of Transfiguration, where the morning light will be gorgeous, and the Menor’s Ferry District. Time it well so that you can experience a ferry ride.
Head on to the Jenny Lake District. Here you can enjoy a pre-packed breakfast or snacks on the lake. Otherwise, Jenny Lake Lodge is a great place to grab a bite. The amount of time you spend here is dependent on the activities you choose. Don’t miss out on the short Hidden Falls hike!
From Jenny Road, head to Signal Mountain to enjoy the unbelievable views from the top. After the summit, take a small detour from the loop up to Colter Bay District. Lace up your hiking shoes for the Lakeshore Trail or peruse the visitor center. If you’re hungry, you can choose from Signal Mountain Lodge, Jackson Lake Lodge, or Colter Bay Village to grab something to eat.
Joining back on the loop after Colter Bay Village, you’ll stop by the first of the famous four, Oxbow Bend. From there, you will carry on to the next two icons, Snake Overlook and Schwabacher Landing. These stops are photography hot spots that you’ll want to see during your one day in Grand Teton National Park.
Catch the sunset at Mormon Row for the perfect opportunity to snap pictures of the barn in golden light. This was one of my favorite parts for my Grand Teton 1 day itinerary when I went.
Before you head home, stop for a meal at Dornan’s. With sublime views, sipping on a drink on the upper deck is the perfect way to end off the day.
If you decide one day isn’t enough in the general area, you can head up to Yellowstone for 4 days to explore that park as well.
As you can see, there are plenty of things to do in Grand Teton in a day. You can copy this itinerary or pick and choose to create your own itinerary for one day in Grand Teton!
4 thoughts on “How to Spend One Day in Grand Teton National Park”
Thanks for such great research! We are planning a 4-5’day trip in May to Grand Tetons. Do you have an itinerary for a stay longer than a day??
You’ll love that trip! I don’t have a longer itinerary right now (although I hope to write one in the future), but I would encourage a day or two for hiking or renting a canoe. You can also go up to Yellowstone for one of the days since it’s so close.
Hey Merrisa, this is superhelpful. I was wondering where did you take the picture that you have attached as cover to this blog?
It’s a view from off the main road through the park.