Grand Teton National Park is home to towering mountains, cascading waterfalls, lakes and islands, woods and plains. You may be hoping to see moose, bison or elk; to go hiking, boating or fishing; to go snowshoeing or cross-country skiing; to enjoy fall color, summer sunshine or winter snow… All of these are possible.  Depending on when you go. 

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When to Visit Grand Teton_ Wildlife and Weather
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So, you are trying to decide when to visit Grand Teton National Park.  Grand Teton National Park is technically open all year, though not all roads are.  The best time to go to Grand Teton National Park depends on what you want to do. Let’s take a look at the main seasons of the year. 

What is the best time of year to visit Grand Teton National Park?

Grand Teton in Spring (May) 

Because winter is so long, spring is extraordinarily short. May sees things start to open up, the weather starts to warm up and the snow start to melt.  But this is very much a transitional period and things may not be open or accessible.   

The inner Teton Park Road usually opens May 1 but other roads in the area that you may want to access such as Antelope Flats, Moose-Wilson Road and Signal Mountain Summit don’t usually open until mid-May at the earliest.   

The campgrounds and hotels in the park open mid-May and they usually have lower rates at this time of year. 

There is still lots of snow on the ground and what you are able to do will be somewhat limited.  The average high is usually in the low 60s F / mid-teens C.  

Visiting Grand Tetons in May/ spring is (together with fall) the best time to see wildlife, as the animals are becoming more active.

This is also when the annual antler auction is usually held in Jackson’s Town Square.  Thousands of elk antlers are collected from the neighboring areas (the elk shed them) and they are sold by the Scouts.  

Read More: How to Get to Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton spring flowers

Grand Teton in Summer (June-August) 

By June, the snow has usually melted from most areas, though it can still be on the ground in the back country until well into July.   

These are the warmest and driest months and it is possible to enjoy hiking, boating, fishing, wild water rafting, kayaking, cycling and even swimming in summer.

The weather in Grand Tetons in August is especially lovely, with temperatures often in the low 80s F/ mid-late 20s C.  Everything is open and there is lots to do. 

However, the downside to these months is that they coincide with school summer holidays, so they are also the most crowded and expensive.  July – August especially can see clogged roads, crowded trails and expensive accommodations. 

If you plan to visit then, check out my one-day, two-day and three-day itineraries, to help with your planning. 

If you are planning to visit Grand Teton National Park in spring, summer or fall, make your planning easy and stress free with a detailed itinerary. I have 1-, 2-, and 3-day itineraries for Grand Teton that include all the park highlights, give you choices based on your preferred activity level and take all the stress out of planning your trip.

Check out the three Grand Teton itinerary options

Although these are the driest months, afternoon thunderstorms are common in July and August, so consider packing rain gear (find a rain jacket on Amazon here). 

Alternatively, there may well be wildfires in the area, with smoke and some areas closed.   

That being said, these are definitely the most popular months to visit Grand Teton National Park. 

Check out my guide on How Long to Spend in Grand Teton National Park to help you decide if you aren’t sure.


Grand Teton in Fall (September-October) 

The campgrounds and lodgings in Grand Teton National Park remain open for most of September (but at cheaper prices than the summer), the roads and hiking trails are still open (but less crowded), and the weather is cooler (but still typically in the late 70s F / mid-20s C). 

Fall is also when the wildlife is more active, making this a good time to see animals like moose and bison. 

The aspens in the park turn a blaze of yellow, usually peaking the 3rd week of September. 

All of this makes September, in my opinion, the best time of year to visit Grand Teton National Park. 

However, the weather can be changeable, and it is possible to experience all four seasons in a day or week.  The campgrounds, lodges, restaurants and activities close throughout September and by the start of October, winter is coming.  

Grand Teton Fall Snake River Overlook

Grand Teton in Winter (November – April)  

There is a LOT of snow in winter; there can often be as much as 14 feet of snow at Moose, the southern part of the park. 

Temperatures are very cold, averaging between 2°F / -16.5°C and 28°F / -2°C in December through February. 

Most of the park is shut down, including all of the lodges and campgrounds inside the park.  The inner Teton Park Road is closed to traffic November to May, although the outer road (highway 191) is open all year. 

This does not mean that you cannot – or should not – visit during the winter months.  The park and surrounding areas are a winter wonderland and this is the best time to visit Teton National Park if you love winter activities. 

The inner road may be closed to traffic, but it is groomed frequently for cross country skiing and snow shoeing. 

The nearby towns of Jackson and Teton Village are downhill ski centers, so are especially busy in the winter months. 

You can also do dog sledding and snow mobiling in winter.

In addition, this is a great time to see elk in the National Elk Refuge just south of the national park, and you can even take a sleigh ride through the refuge to see elk.  About 7,500 elk congregate there in winter.  Book a sleigh ride tour here

Taggart Lake Grand Teton National Park winter

Tips for visiting Grand Teton National Park and Jackson Hole in winter:   

1. Book winter activities in advance

You can book them here: 

2. Dress appropriately 

If you are looking for new gear, read by detailed guides to the best: 

3. Read my Guide to Visiting Grand Teton in Winter 

4. Check out the Best Things to Do in Grand Teton in Winter 

5. Pack appropriately

Check you have everything on my: 

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

  • The best time to visit Tetons to see wildlife: Mid-late May or September 
  • The best time to avoid the crowds when everything is still open:  September 
  • The best time to travel in summer: June 
  • The best time to see the fall color in Grand Teton National Park: 3rd week of September 
  • The best time to travel on a budget: May, September, October 
  • The best time to have a winter adventure in Grand Teton National Park: December – February 

Enjoy Grand Teton National Park whenever you go! 

What do you think is the best month to visit Grand Teton National Park?  Join my private Facebook group National Parks Collectors and comment and let me know.

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Are you just starting to think about taking a national parks trip? Get Inspiration
Are you starting to plan a trip to Grand Teton National Park? Read my Guide to Grand Teton National Park
Are you looking for a detailed itinerary for Grand Teton National Park? Get a one-, two-, or three-day Grand Teton Itinerary
Are you looking for a place to stay near Grand Teton National Park? Find a vacation rental near Grand Teton National Park
Are you ready to book your trip? Use these Planning and Booking Resources
Do you want to read a book about Grand Teton National Park? Check out my Recommended Reading List for Grand Teton National Park

If you are also planning to visit Yellowstone in the same trip, read my Yellowstone National Park Guide and detailed Yellowstone itineraries.

About the author 

James Ian Yosemite

James Ian has traveled to 82 countries and all 7 continents.  He has visited all of the main national parks in the United States, as well as many national monuments and state parks.

He has rafted through the Grand Canyon; rappelled down slot canyons near Zion and Arches; hiked among the hoodoos in Bryce and the enormous trees in Sequoia; admired the waterfalls in Yosemite and the colored hot springs in Yellowstone; seen moose in Grand Tetons and seals in the Channel Islands, and much more.

Read more…

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