The Best Time to Visit Grand Teton National Park

The Best Time to Visit Grand Teton National Park

When is the best time to visit Grand Teton National Park?

The best time to visit Grand Teton National Park is in September.

In September, the crowds are relatively small, yet the daytime temperatures are still generally quite comfortable. The majority of the trails and roads in the park are still open and there’s often a beautiful dusting of snow on the highest peaks.

Moreover, September brings the start of the pronghorn migration and the elk rut, which are fantastic experiences to witness for wildlife lovers.

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Best time for camping

Camping in Grand Teton

The best time for camping in Grand Teton is from July to September.

Throughout the late summer and early fall, most campgrounds and backcountry campsites are free of snow and easy to access. Of course, summer is the busiest time of year for camping in the park, so you’ll want to make a reservation or arrive as early in the morning as possible to snag your spot.

Looking to beat the mosquitos? Consider camping in the park during the end of August or early September when the mosquito nuisance level is comparatively low.

Read More : Guide to Camping in Grand Teton National Park

Best time for hiking

Hiking in Grand Teton

The best time for hiking in Grand Teton is from July to September.

During these months, the trails in the park are mostly snow-free, except at higher elevations. This means you can enjoy a comfortable summer hiking experience without worrying about post-holing throughout your entire route.

Keep in mind that afternoon thunderstorms are common during this time of year. So, plan your hiking days wisely to avoid being on the top of a ridge in the late afternoon.

Read More : Hiking trails in Grand Teton National Park

Best time to avoid crowds

The best time to avoid crowds in Grand Teton National Park is in the spring, particularly in April and May.

Throughout the spring, the weather is quite variable and most of the trails are still covered with a sizable amount of snow. Lower elevation trails can be quite muddy during this time, as can those at higher elevations as the snow starts to melt.

However, if you’re prepared for the trails and have the right gear, like a sleeping bag liner, for the chilly nights, spring is a great time for solitude in the Tetons.

Best time for mountaineering

Mountaineering in Grand Teton

The best time for mountaineering in the Tetons is from June to August, when the weather is generally at its best.

Although you’ll certainly have to face snow at the higher elevations during the early part of the summer, the warmer weather and generally dry mornings make for excellent climbing conditions.

However, afternoon thunderstorms are very common. Therefore, be sure to plan your route so you’re off of any exposed ridges by the early afternoon, and don’t forget to pack a rain jacket.

Best time for boating

Boating in Grand Teton

The best time for boating in Grand Teton is from June to August.

During the summer months, the flatwater boating on Jenny Lake, Jackson Lake, and other big lakes in the park is at its finest. This is because the weather is usually quite sunny and warm during this time, which makes boating a great way to spend your day.

Do keep in mind that you’ll need a permit for the use of any boat (except inflatable boats under 10ft/3m) in the park, which can be purchased at the Moose and Colter Bay visitors centers.

Best time for biking

The best time for biking in Grand Teton is late August to September.

By the late summer and early fall, the daytime temperatures are comfortable enough for a long bike ride through the park. Plus, by this time, all of the park’s roads should be completely snow-free, giving you a seemingly endless series of choices for exploring Grand Teton on bike.

Again, be aware that the park’s roads can be busy, so be sure to use the multi-use pathways for biking to avoid the traffic during the summer and fall months.

Best time for fishing

Fishing in Grand Teton

The best time for fishing in Grand Teton is either March to April or July to September.

Before the snowmelt, from March to April, the rivers are usually crowd-free and flowing just at the right speed for quality fishing conditions. Meanwhile, late summer and early fall bring nice weather for casting lines and reeling in fish within the park.

Best time for scenic drives

Scenic Drives in Grand Teton

The best time for scenic drives in Grand Teton is from July to early September.

Between July and early September, most, if not all, of the park’s roads should be completely snow-free, allowing for easier driving in the region. That being said, the roads can get fairly crowded, particularly in July and August. Therefore, early September is ideal if you want a mix of good weather and smaller crowds.

Best time to see wildlife

Wildlife in Grand Teton

The best time to see wildlife in Grand Teton is during September.

September is a wildlife lover’s paradise in the park because it brings the annual elk rut and the start of the pronghorn migration. Both of these events provide visitors with an excellent possibility to see some of the region’s largest mammals in large groups.

Moreover, early September is a great time to visit if you’re looking to do a bit of birding. During this time, you have a chance to see some of the last summer residents before they leave for the winter, plus an opportunity to see any migratory birds that stop over in the park in the fall on their southbound journey.

Grand Teton National Park Seasons

Visitors to Grand Teton National Park can experience this magical place during all 4 seasons. Here’s what you can expect if you visit during each season in the park.

Summer

Grand Teton National Park - Summer

Summer is by and large the most popular season in Grand Teton. From June to August, temperatures are well above 70ºF (21ºC) in Jackson during the daytime, which provides the perfect conditions for hiking and camping in the park.

At night, temperatures are generally quite cool and you can also expect afternoon thunderstorms on a fairly regular basis. Moreover, snow usually sticks around until about the end of June or even July on some of the higher elevation trails.

You’ll also have to combat the mosquitos in the mountains, which you should come prepared for with a headnet. However, in terms of overall access to all of the park’s roads and trails, summer is hard to beat.

Read More : 12 Essentials to Bring for Summer Camping

Fall

Grand Teton National Park - Fall

Fall (September to November) is a truly majestic time of year in the Tetons. Although the temperatures start to drop by the end of August and you can expect snow at the highest elevations by mid-September, the fall colors are a wonder to behold.

For wildlife lovers, autumn in Grand Teton is not to be missed. Fall brings the annual elk rut, which is an exciting event. The elk will start to bugle (a special type of call) and the males often engage in some stellar fights over potential mates.

You can be certain, however, that there will be substantially fewer crowds in the park during the fall than in the summer. Oh, and you can usually camp without those pesky mosquitos flying around camp. What could be better?

Winter

Grand Teton National Park - Winter

The winter months (November to mid-April) in Grand Teton National Park are a special time of year. While you’ll certainly need to brace for cold temperatures, anyone that loves snowsports will find plenty of adventure in the park.

Winter in the Tetons is the perfect time to ski, snowshoe, or just take in the scenery. However, big snowstorms are common in the region and cold temperatures require adequate preparation. So, don’t forget your winter sleeping bag or your heated jacket when you pack.

Also, keep in mind that avalanche awareness is critical for anyone traveling in the Teton backcountry in the winter. Check the weather and bring tire chains, too, if you plan to drive on the park’s roads in the winter.

Read More : Winter Camping Checklist – 11 Gear to Bring with You 

Spring

Grand Teton National Park - Spring

Spring is short-lived in the Tetons, usually lasting only from mid-April to mid-June. However, it’s important to note that spring weather in the region can still bring lots of cold and snow, so you’ll want to be prepared with your winter boots.

Most park trails are covered with snow until at least the start of summer, so snowshoes are a must if you want to go on a hike.

You’ll also get to enjoy the park without the crowds, which tend to be at their lowest during the spring months. Of course, this comes at the expense of muddy trails, but if solitude is what you seek, spring is your go-to time to visit Grand Teton.

Gaby Pilson

Gaby is a professional mountain guide with a master’s degree in outdoor education. She works primarily in the polar regions as an expedition guide, though she can be found hiking, climbing, skiing, sailing, or paddling in some of the world’s most amazing places when not at work.