Are you planning a trip to Grand Teton National Park in winter? While most flock to the US national park in summer, it is truly magical during the winter months.
This guide details everything to know before visiting Grand Teton in winter – including things to do, what to expect, and travel tips. It also lists items to bring on your Grand Tetons winter trip!
If we left anything off of this guide, please leave a comment! And if Yellowstone is next on your travel list, be sure to check out our guide for visiting Yellowstone in winter.
In this post...
- Reasons to Visit Grand Teton National Park in Winter
- When is it Winter in Grand Teton?
- Things to Know Before Traveling to Grand Teton in Winter
- Things to Do in Grand Teton During Winter
- Grand Teton National Park Lodging Options
- Should You Book a Winter Trip to Grand Teton National Park?
- Pin This Winter in Grand Teton National Park Guide
Reasons to Visit Grand Teton National Park in Winter
As winter takes its cold icy grip, the idea of visiting Grand Teton National Park can be somewhat daunting. However, with the snow and frigid temperatures, a new world is created and a trip to Grand Teton in winter is spectacular!
The brunt of winter lasts from the beginning of December right through to the beginning of March.
During this period, some of the park becomes inaccessible due to high snowfall levels and protective areas set up for the wildlife, which are pushed down from the mountain tops by the temperamental weather.
The main advantage of visiting Grand Teton National Park during winter is the lack of crowds, who are put off by winter challenges despite there being plenty to do.
This guide will take you through everything you need to know about visiting Grand Teton National Park in winter, along with some fantastic things that you can do there.
When is it Winter in Grand Teton?
True winter is between December and March. However, many of the roads, facilities, and all the campgrounds shut down between November and April.
As the snow falls on the higher grounds, the roads and hiking paths become perfect trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
How Cold Does it Get in Grand Teton? (Temperatures & More)
The weather stays consistently cold during winter, with average temperatures staying below freezing throughout December to the end of February.
During the winter, the snowfall is relatively heavy, with frequent blizzards whiting out the park. Between blizzards and lighter snowstorms, there is often a decent amount of sunshine.
|Month||Average high||Average Low||# Rainy days|
|December||-4C / 25F||-16C / 3F||12|
|January||-4C / 25F||-18C / 0F||12|
|February||-1C / 30F||-16C / 2F||10|
Does it Snow in Grand Teton National Park?
Yes! There is plenty of snowfall in Grand Teton National Park. Snowfall depends on the month but on average, December and January are the snowiest months with around 40 inches (1 meter) of snowfall each month.
There are often blizzards, which dump vast amounts of snow and will usually close some of the roads that are open year-round.
Higher up in the mountains, there tends to be far more snow, which will also arrive earlier in the year.
While the snow can be a hindrance, it is great for those hoping to spot some of the park’s local residents with the icy conditions pushing the animals down into the mountain valleys.
Things to Know Before Traveling to Grand Teton in Winter
Traveling to Grand Teton National Park in winter is not an easy undertaking and I have to assume you have some prior information or experience before deciding to undertake this trip.
Much of the park is shut due to snow levels and to protect the wildlife within that has been forced to live in more concentrated areas.
However, there is still plenty of park to explore, which can be done on your own or with one of the incredible tours available.
Unlike nearby Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton Park is slightly more accessible, with various roads remaining open, depending on the snow levels.
Both the main highways through the park are plowed throughout the winter and stay open.
Granite Canyon Entrance, Moose Entrance, and Moran Entrance are open all year round, and during the winter months, provide access to some areas of the park as well as cross-country skiing and hiking trails.
To make the most of your trip, I recommend a mix of self-exploration and guided tours. This will allow you to experience some of the park’s more inaccessible areas while enjoying some solitude along the hiking trails close to the entrance.
The main difficulty of planning your Grand Tetons trip is that the weather is unpredictable, and it is well worth having a Plan B and Plan C in case the weather conditions are less than ideal.
Facilities Open at Grand Teton
While some of the park is open during winter, most of the facilities and all the campgrounds shut from November to April.
The Jackson Hole and Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center in Jackson remain open throughout the year. You can talk to a ranger from the visitor center, along with various other services, including a winter park guide.
For those wanting to stay within the park limits, the Triangle X Ranch is open throughout the winter and is the only accommodation option within the park itself.
Things to Do in Grand Teton During Winter
Surprisingly, despite the adverse weather conditions during winter, there is still plenty to do in and around Grand Teton National Park. This guide will take you through some of the best things to do in Grand Teton National Park in winter, along with some great guided tours.
One of the best ways to get around the trails in the park is by snowshoe. Snowshoeing is one of my all-time favorite winter activities and Grand Teton National Park is perfect for it.
As the snowfall covers the roads and they become inaccessible to cars, the routes make incredible trails that wind through the park.
Some of the trails through the park are groomed regularly, but some paths will involve a little more work to forge a path through the snow.
For beginners, I recommend walking Teton Park Road from Taggart Lake Trailhead, which is normally groomed, with compacted snow.
As you walk along the trail, keep an eye out for animal tracks as they wander the lower ground in search of food. On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, you can go on a guided snowshoe experience with one of the park’s rangers. These need to be booked in advance through the park services.
Alternatively, you can embark on an amazing 4-Hour Easy Snowshoeing Tour with an expert guide. You will be picked up from Jackson and head to the national park where you will embark on a 4-hour walk.
As you walk through the snow trails, your guide will teach you all about the area’s ecology, pointing out any interesting animals or animal tracks you may encounter along the way.
Along the route, you will make plenty of stops to enjoy the views of the park and the imposing Teton Mountain range; your guide will also provide some beverages and local organic snacks. The snowshoeing trail is considered to be one of the easiest, so it is therefore suited to all abilities.
2. Cross-Country Skiing
There is a network of cross-country skiing trails throughout the park, known for being some of the most impressive in the world. The beautiful trails carve their way through the snow, where you can effortlessly glide through the powder and enjoy the tranquility of the park.
For those looking for something a little adrenaline-inducing, the Teton Mountains are perfect for backcountry skiing and snowboarding.
Head into the mountains and tackle some of the most challenging backcountry skiing in the USA. Experienced backcountry skiers and boarders can head off on their own into the wilds, or seek out an experienced backcountry guide who can help you explore the expansive wilderness.
For those planning to backcountry ski, you will need to check avalanche reports and make sure people know where you will be in case of an emergency.
For those looking to experience cross-country skiing for the first time, I highly recommend taking a 4-Hour Beginner Cross-Country Ski tour.
Departing from Jackson, your tour will start off with learning the basics of cross-country skiing, which is distinctly different from downhill skiing.
Once you have grasped the basics of skiing, you will embark on the perfect beginner’s trail, taking in the stunning scenery and learning all about the wildlife and ecosystems of Grand Teton National Park.
The activity is suitable for beginners, and there will be plenty of stops with snacks along the route, although I recommend having a minimum level of fitness to complete the tour.
3. Wildlife Watching
When winter arrives in Grand Teton National Park, the snow falling the higher ground pushes the diverse range of wildlife down into the valley and forests at the base of the mountains, where they are forced to live in much more confined areas.
The park is home to plenty of wildlife, including wolves, elk, bison, and birds, all of which can often be spotted if you know the signs to look out for.
One of the best ways to spot the local residents is to go on a wildlife tour. The 4-Hour Wildlife Safari Adventure is an incredible tour, where you will head out into the depths of the park to search for elusive animals.
As you make your way through the park in a specially designed vehicle, your guides will teach you all about the park’s history and how to spot and track the park’s various inhabitants.
Along the way, you will make stops, and a high powered scope will be set up so you can see far off animals, especially if you encounter a pack of wolves in the distance.
Along with the high-powered scope, each person will have their own set of binoculars to use for the duration of the tour. This is one of the best tours to take in Grand Teton National Park in winter.
Unlike Yellowstone National Park, snowmobiling is less prevalent in Grand Teton Park due to strict rules regarding where you are allowed to ride.
For those looking to snowmobile on their trip, there are several areas where it is permitted. Grassy Lake Road is open to all snowmobilers, without any limit on snowmobile types or the need for a professional guide.
Snowmobiling is also allowed on Jackson Lake, which freezes over winter, although this is mainly to provide ice fishing access, and you will need to have a snowmobile that meets the BATs standard.
For those looking to take a snowmobile tour, the Heart Six Snowmobiling tour is an amazing day tour where you can take in beautiful views of the Teton Mountain range and the surrounding snowy landscapes.
After a morning of exploring nature and learning about the area’s wildlife, you will make a stop at Buffalo Valley Cafe for lunch, which is only accessible by snowmobile during winter.
After lunch, you will head back on the snowmobiles for a few more hours of fun before the tour ends, and you are taken back to Jackson.
5. Check Out Ancient Petroglyphs
To the north of Grand Teton National Park in Dubois, you’ll find some fantastic examples of ancient petroglyphs carved into the rocks by the Shonsho Native Americans.
The petroglyphs detail early life in the American west and depict the vast array of wildlife that roamed the plains and mountains.
The best way to visit the petroglyphs is with an organized tour, as along with the fantastic petroglyphs, you will get to experience Grand Teton National Park in winter and some of the wildlife that is featured in rock carvings.
The Grand Teton National Park and Petroglyph Tour is the perfect way to experience both Grand Teton National Park and the Shoshone Petroglyphs.
After being picked up from Jackson, you will head to Grand Teton, where you travel through the park, keeping a watchful eye out for wolves, elk, bison, and other local animals.
After traversing through the park with plenty of stops, you will head to the National Big Horn Interpretive Center to learn all about the largest wild sheep in North America.
You will also get to see the sheep in their overwintering grounds, where more than 200 individuals gather each year.
After a warming lunch in the town of Dubois, the tour will visit the petroglyphs, and your expert guide will teach you all about the history of these ancient drawings before heading back to Jackson.
6. 4-Day Grand Teton and Yellowstone Tour
The beauty of visiting Grand Teton is that you can visit Yellowstone on the same trip. Both parks are incredibly beautiful and distinctly different, with plenty to see and do in each of them.
While visiting both parks during the warmer months is relatively easy, winter poses several challenges as many areas are shut due to high volumes of snow.
You will need to be booked on multiple tours to witness the full beauty of the parks.
Thankfully, there is a 4-Day Grand Teton and Yellowstone Winter Tour, which includes the highlights from each park and takes the hassle away from having to arrange everything yourself.
On the first day, you will depart from Jackson and spend the day wildlife spotting in Grand Teton NP, with the hopes of seeing moose, wolves, and elk. That evening, you will spend the night in Jackson before waking up early for the second day.
The second day will start off with a visit to the National Elk Center, where over 5,000 elk live. The second part of the day will be spent traveling to West Yellowstone via the continental divide.
Once in West Yellowstone, you will have some free time to explore the historic town where you will spend the night.
Day three will be spent exploring more of Yellowstone Park with a snow coach tour to Old Faithful, where you will get to watch the geysers erupt.
Travel back towards West Yellowstone in the afternoon, with plenty of stops to take in the park’s natural beauty and hopefully seeing some of the animals that inhabit the park.
On the final day, you will depart West Yellowstone, visiting the Hebgen Lake Earthquake site and the surrounding areas before the tour finishes in Jackson Hole.
The tour includes three nights of accommodation, but you will need to book a night in Jackson prior to the tour and one in Jackson Hole at the end of the tour.
Grand Teton National Park Lodging Options
There are a few different options for where to stay in Grand Teton during winter. You can camp at one of the designated sites in the park, stay a camp nearby, or find lodging near one of the entrances.
Below are some recommendations for where to stay in Grand Teton National Park in winter.
Staying in the Park
If you’re opting to stay inside of Grand Teton National Park, you have a couple of options. They are listed below:
Staying near Grand Teton National Park
If you’re not looking to stay inside the park but rather close by, here are soem of our top picks (and the locations they are in):
- The Virginian Lodge (Jackson, WY)
- The Alpenhof (Teton Village, WY)
- Bentwood Inn (Wilson, WY)
- Elk Country Inn (Jackson, WY)
Renting an RV
Another unique alternative for your trip to Grand Teton National Park in winter is to rent an RV. While I definitely wouldn’t recommend doing this without feeling comfortable driving one or on roads during winter, it is a viable option for many adventurous travelers.
This RV located in Greybull, Wyoming is an affordable (from $98/night) option that sleeps 4 people and will give you a nature experience out in one of the country’s most beautiful spots. Click here to check availability with Outdoorsy.
Should You Book a Winter Trip to Grand Teton National Park?
Absolutely! You will encounter far fewer crowds during the Grand Teton winter months and it will be a magical and ethereal experience!
We hope that this guide to Grand Teton National Park in winter has helped you plan your trip and know what to expect before traveling there. Please share your Grand Tetons winter tips below.
- Best national parks to visit in December
- Best national parks to visit in January
- Best national parks to visit in February
- Airbnbs near Grand Teton National Park
- Yellowstone in winter
- Yellowstone 2-day itinerary
Pin This Winter in Grand Teton National Park Guide
Megan is a travel blogger and writer with a background in digital marketing. Originally from Richmond, VA, she now splits her time between Frankfurt, Germany and Arctic Finland after also living in Norway, Armenia, and Kazakhstan. She has a passion for winter travel, as well as the Nordic countries, but you can also find her eating her way through Italy, perusing perfume stores in Paris, or taking road trips through the USA. Megan has written for or been featured by National Geographic, Forbes, Lonely Planet, the New York Times, and more. She co-authored Fodor’s Travel ‘Essential Norway’ and has visited 45 US states and 100+ countries.