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Welcome back to my things to do that aren’t hiking series! This time we’re focusing on Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, one of my personal favorites, especially in the winter. But, for this post I’ll be focusing on a summer visit. So, if you’re planning on visiting Grand Teton National Park but don’t have time for hiking, don’t want to hike, want a break from hiking, don’t like hiking, or can’t hike, this is for you.
As usual, everything included is either not hiking at all, or a short, easy walk, under one mile round-trip. Because sometimes you just want to do something other than hike. I don’t include it as a specific item, but we always stop at the visitor center and all the lookouts along the scenic drives, too.
My favorite thing to do in the Tetons is look for wildlife. We didn’t see any on our trip there in the summer, but we saw sooooo many moose over the winter we worked there. We also saw coyotes, bison, a wolf, bears, bighorn sheep, and elk. Gros Ventre is a great place to look as well as the Moose-Wilson Junction, any of the open plains, and the Elk Refuge.
This is a nice, short walk to an old cabin with a great view of the Tetons behind it. It’s especially great at sunrise and sunset. I really enjoyed seeing this with the sun glowing on the mountains behind it. It’s not quite like the barns on Mormon Row, but it’s still worth seeing and makes for good pictures.
Kayak on Jackson Lake
This is a great way to see the park, and lake, from a new perspective, plus it’s a pretty good workout. This is one thing I really wish we did when we were there in the summer. You can rent kayaks in Coulter Bay or you can use your own. Jackson Lake is huge so you’ll be able to kayak all day to stay busy. Or you can keep it close and just go for a couple of hours.
Do some paddling on String Lake
If you want to get on the water but want to be on a smaller lake, try doing some paddling on String Lake or Leeigh Lake. We saw tons of people out paddling when we were there and it looked like a great lake for it since it was small, but not too small, and the water was super still. I would also like to do this in the future.
Take the Jenny Lake shuttle
This is also a great way to make the hike to Hidden Falls shorter. If you don’t want to hike all the way to the falls, you can just take the shuttle across Jenny Lake and back. It’s $18 round-trip and can make the hike to Hidden Falls and Cascade Canyon a lot shorter (like, two miles shorter) if you still want to hike but not too far.
There are also scenic cruises and rental boats available if you would prefer that. The scenic cruise might be a better option if you just want to see the lake and not rent a boat.
Do some biking
You can bike on all the paved park roads as well as Two Ocean Lake Road and Grassy Lake Road. Both of those are gravel. Biking isn’t allowed on any of the hiking trails in the park. For that you’ll have to head over to the Bridger-Teton National Forest. There is also a multi-use pathway you can bike on through the park. Don’t have a bike? Rent one in Jackson!
You know that picture you always see of an old barn in front of the Tetons? Yeah, that one. That’s on Mormon Row. This is outside of the main area of the park and in Gros Ventre, down Antelope Flats Road. This is where Mormon Pioneers settled and formed a community, but now it’s represented by two picturesque barns.
If you like horses or have always wanted to try horseback riding, this is a great place to go! Headwaters Lodge, Grand Teton Lodge Company, and Triangle X Ranch are the only operators allowed to lead horseback trips in the park. This could be a fun way to see the park that not tons of visitors get to (or decide to) do.
Stargazing is always a good idea and what better place to do it than the Tetons? Whether you’re camping or staying in Jackson, try and spend some time outside one night to admrie the stars and Milky Way.
Always wanted to try rafting? Good news! You can do that on the Snake River in the park. This is a great way to see the park from a totally different perspective. Plus, it’s an adventurous way to see the park. I haven’t tried this and won’t lie, I probably won’t, but if you like water and have always wanted to try it, this is a great option.
Visit the Chapel of Transfiguration
Even if you’re not religious, this can be a cool stop. It’s a small log chapel in the community of Moose at the end of the park closer to Jackson. I still haven’t been here, but remember driving past it a few times. Someday I’ll stop!
Have you been to Grand Teton National Park? What is your favorite thing to do there?