It is hard to imagine something as breathtakingly beautiful as the Teton Range. Popping up seemingly out of nowhere, these glacier capped mountains will surely leave you in awe.
Grand Teton – The Basics
Grand Teton National Park covers roughly 500 square miles, encompassing the largest peaks of the Teton range as well as the Jackson Hole valley. There are several waterways within the park including a main stem of the Snake River and about a dozen lakes.
Established in 1929, it is one of the top 10 most visited parks in the nation, with 2.5 million annual visitors.
Where is Grand Teton National Park?
Grand Teton National Park is located in Northwestern Wyoming, just outside of the town of Jackson. It is also roughly 10 miles south of Yellowstone, making the two parks ideal for a combined trip.
Are Dogs Allowed in Grand Teton National Park?
The short answer is yes, but like so many National Parks, their access is restricted.
Dogs are allowed on park roads (and within 30 ft. of them) but not on hiking trails or in park facilities. While we would of course love to be able to hike with the dogs, it really is for their own safety. Grand Teton is very much a wild place; home to predators like wolves, black bear, mountain lions and grizzly bear.
Additionally, dogs are permitted in park campgrounds and on boats in Jackson Lake. Needless to say, dogs must be controlled and on a 6 ft. leash at all times.
With so many rules and restrictions, you may be wondering if it is still worth the visit while traveling with dogs?
Grand Teton Admission
The cost of admission for a single vehicle is $30. This pass is good for 7 days and allows access to Grand Teton and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway.
It is important to note that if you plan on visiting Yellowstone on this same trip, you can purchase a dual park pass for $50. If you forget to do this up front (like we did!) you can still save the money by showing your pass from the first park at the entrance to the second one!
Travel Tip – Another option, which is particularly viable if you are in the midst of a larger road trip, is purchasing an America the Beautiful National Park Pass. For $80, this pass gives you access to thousands of places including: national parks, forests and recreation areas, for 365 days! An amazing bargain!
Planning Your Visit
Where to Stay – Grand Teton Pet Friendly Lodging
By far, the most popular answer of where to stay when visiting Grand Teton or Yellowstone is Jackson, Wyoming. Jackson is a beautiful, upscale town located in the valley between the Teton and the Gros Ventre Ranges.
The town is loaded with hotels, shops, restaurants and hotels (many of which are dog friendly) and is a great spot to spend an afternoon walking around. The only problem with staying here…
Jackson is Expensive!
While we did expect it to be a bit pricey as a resort town, we were shocked to find most rooms sitting between $300-400 per night! Even the Motel 6 that we ended up staying at was almost $200/ night! (By the way – it was NOT worth it!)
Other Nearby Towns
When you run a Priceline search, not many other options come up in the area, but take a look at a map (zoomed way in) and you will find a few small towns close by. Alpine, Hoback Junction and even Idaho Falls all have small motels and bed & breakfasts that are pet friendly. We had a particularly great experience at the Bull Moose Lodge in Alpine, Wyoming – which had great rustic charm and an adjacent saloon.
What to Do at Grand Teton
While Grand Teton is home to almost 200 miles of hiking trails, you will not be able to explore them with your dog, unless you are willing to leave your dogs in someone else’s care. If you are looking for a more intimate experience with the park, there are a large number of dog boarding facilities nearby which would be happy to watch your dog for the day.
In our case, we chose to tour by vehicle, with the dogs alongside.
Driving the Grand Teton Loop
The easiest and quickest way to get a feel for the park is by driving the Grand Teton Loop. This 44 mile roadway has absolutely incredible views and can be reasonably tackled in just a few hours. There are dozens of pull offs where you can admire the natural beauty, take photographs, and learn more about the park.
We also found that these were adequate for walking the dogs around a bit to keep them from getting stir-crazy!
If you are starting out in Jackson, head North on Route 191. Shortly after leaving town, you will see the Teton Range pop up on the left. While technically a part of the Rocky’s this range is unique as it has no foothills leading up to the dramatic peaks! Take advantage of some of the early pull-off for spectacular panoramic views of the mountains.
When you reach Moran, make a left onto Route 191 (also known as the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway) to head into Grand Teton proper. It is near this point where you will pass through a ranger station and pay the park entrance fee.
As you head West and get closer to the Tetons, you will travel along the famous Snake River. Make sure to turn left when you reach Teton Park Road – continuing along highway 191 will lead you up to Yellowstone!
Teton Park Road will bring you right alongside the Eastern edge of Jackson Lake. While it is a natural alpine lake it was greatly enlarged by the construction of the Jackson Lake Dam in the early 1900’s. It now sits at roughly 15 miles long and 7 miles across at its widest point.
Jackson Lake is a popular spot for boating and fishing. It is important to note that dogs ARE allowed on boats in this lake.
Taking a Detour up Signal Mountain
Across from Jackson Lake is Signal Mountain – which can be explored via a windy (somewhat narrow) paved road. Upon reaching the top you will find a small parking lot with a walkway to a vantage point at the summit.
The views from here are incredible as you can look across the entire Jackson Hole Valley and toward the Gros Ventre Range. You will even get a glimpse of the Tetons behind you – although this view is partially obstructed by trees. While standing atop Signal Mountain we also could see Bison roaming and what we believe were Moose bathing in a small pond.
Travel Tip – Don’t be like us and bring along a good set of binoculars!!
Due to a cell tower directly on top of this point, This is one of the best areas in the park for cell reception! We were even able to do a successful Facebook Livestream from way up here!
Wildlife at Grand Teton
As we mentioned before, Grand Teton is home to a number of large mammals including:
- Black Bear
- Grizzly Bear
- Bighorn sheep
- Mule deer
On our trip we saw plenty of Bison, and also a Black Bear dining on an Elk carcass just off the side of the road!
National Elk Refuge
Along the Southern border of Grand Teton National Park lies the National Elk Refuge which was formed in the early 1900’s as a safehaven for one of the largest elk herds in the world. While the herd is free to come and go as they please, they primarily spend Winter’s here. As we visited in the Summer, we unfortunately didn’t catch any glimpses of Elk.
Every Spring the local Boy Scouts are recruited to collect the thousands of antlers which were shed during the previous season. Large numbers of these antlers are auctioned off, put up for sale at local shops and also used to build the iconic arches located throughout Jackson.
While originally intended for Elk, a large number of Bison have also made their home in this refuge. The herd seen above seemed particularly content on these protected grasslands of the valley!
Why MyDogLikes Grand Teton National Park
Although in some regards sitting in the shadow of its more well known Northern neighbor (Yellowstone), Grand Teton is without a doubt one of the most beautiful parks in the country. While it is tough to describe the park as being particularly “dog friendly,” we don’t feel like those with dogs should be discouraged from visiting.
We would highly recommend taking advantage of some truly dog friendly hiking in the nearby Bridger-Teton National Forest in the morning (to sufficiently tire your dogs out) before hitting up Grand Teton in the afternoon. This is how we tackled the area and it was a perfect day!