Grand Teton National Park sits just south of its larger, better-known neighbor, Yellowstone, but the Tetons offer around 310,000 acres of beauty all their own. The purplish-gray, jagged peaks of the Teton Range jut into the sky above the flat Snake River valley called Jackson Hole. Mountain trails lead hikers and horseback riders through a forest of rustling aspens and past glassy Jenny Lake. In higher elevations, bighorn sheep clatter over the rocks, while down below elk graze alongside the road.
Delve deep into the wilderness, hiking Inspiration Point Trail alongside Jenny Lake and past the splash of Hidden Falls. Mountaineers relish the vertical challenge of climbing the rocky faces of the Tetons. The plodding of horses' hooves and an occasional whinny accompany horseback riding trips through aspen forest at Colter Bay and Jenny Lake Lodge. River rafting companies escort adventure enthusiasts down the sometimes smooth but always brisk Snake River.
Flora and Fauna
Animals seldom seen outside the zoo frequent the roadsides, mountain trails and riverbanks in the Teton Range. The largest elk herd in North America grazes just outside Jackson Hole, while the only population of grizzlies south of Canada feeds in remote forest areas. Large moose cows nurse their calves in open meadows and alongside alpine lakes. If you're lucky, you may spot the elusive, regal-looking bighorn sheep skitter over rocky precipices toward the top of the Tetons.
Silvery cutthroat trout, lake trout and whitefish draw anglers to the park's crystal-clear rivers and lakes. The Teton Range towers over Jackson Hole and is reflected in the smooth surface of Jenny Lake -- the serene scene of a thousand postcards. Campers know that the stars shine a little brighter and coyotes are a little easier to hear on an overnight stay in the heart of the forest. A favorite campground is Signal Mountain, with its Jackson Lake beach access.