So, you are thinking of visiting Grand Teton in winter. It’s a great decision. Grand Teton National Park and the surrounding Jackson Hole are truly magical when they are covered in snow.
However, it’s especially important to carefully plan your winter trip to Grand Teton National Park. Winter is beautiful, but also cold and the snow can be deep, and many parts of the park are closed. This guide tells you everything you need to know about Grand Teton in the winter so that your planning is easy and your trip amazing!
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Should You Visit Grand Teton National Park in Winter?
Yes, there are plenty of great reasons to take a winter trip to Grand Teton National Park.
For one thing, the Grand Teton mountains and Jackson Hole are incredibly beautiful when covered in snow. In addition, the park gets very crowded in summer, but in winter you’ll have it virtually to yourself.
There are also lots of fun winter activities to do. Plus, this is a great time to see some of the wildlife, especially elk, which come down from higher altitudes and congregate in Jackson Hole for the winter.
It’s important to be aware that much of the park, including all of the lodges, campgrounds and visitor centers inside the park, as well as a large section of the main road inside the park, are closed between November and April.
That doesn’t mean there’s nowhere to stay or nothing to do, though. Read on for all you need to know about what to do, what is open (and what isn’t), where to stay, what to wear, and more. And be sure to check out my general Guide to Teton National Park for additional specific information about the park.
Grand Teton winter tours
While it is definitely possible to visit the area by yourself, there is something to be said for taking a tour to make things easy.
Here are the main tours available, from a four-day trip to a four-hour tour:
4-day winter trip to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park
- Wildlife and views in Grand Teton National Park
- Sleigh ride in the National Elk Refuge
- Snow coach tour in Yellowstone
- Old Faithful
8-hour Wildlife and Snowshoe Tour in Grand Teton National Park
- Half-day snowshoeing adventure (all equipment provided)
- Naturalist guide
- National Elk Refuge
8-hour Bighorn Sheep and Petroglyph Tour in Grand Teton National Park
- National Bighorn Sheep Center
- Prehistoric petroglyphs carved by the Shoshone Indians
8-hour Grand Teton National Park and National Elk Refuge Tour
- Morning wildlife tour
- Horse-drawn sleigh ride in National Elk Refuge
4-hour Snowshoeing in Grand Teton National Park Tour
- Easy snowshoeing good for beginners
- Experienced naturalist guide
4-hour Cross-country Skiing in Grand Teton National Park Tour
- Easy cross-country skiing good for beginners
- Naturalist guide/ certified professional ski Instructor
Practical Information for Visiting Grand Teton National Park in Winter
Because the winters are quite full-on and much of the park closes down in winter, any trip to Grand Teton National Park in the winter requires some advance planning and realistic expectations. Here is the practical information that you need to know in order to have a great trip.
Grand Teton National Park Entrance Fee
The Grand Teton entrance fee is $35 per private vehicle for seven days. Motorcycles are $30 and hikers and cyclists are $20, also for seven days. If you plan to also visit neighboring Yellowstone National Park, you will need to pay a separate entrance fee for that park.
If you plan to visit more than two national parks a year, then I recommend getting an America The Beautiful Pass. It costs just $80 for an entire year and includes access to more than 2,000 federal recreation areas in the US including all national parks and US Fish and Wildlife sites, as well as day-use fees for Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, US Forest Service, and US Army Corps of Engineers sites. It covers up to four adults.
Grand Teton Winter Weather
To quote the National Park Service, winters in Grand Teton National Park and Jackson Hole, which is the valley around the park, are “long and cold”. It can snow as early as September, though the first heavy snow is typically around the beginning of November. Deep snow soon accumulates and typically stays until April.
This chart gives you an idea of temperatures and snowfall (numbers are averages based on aggregate data from previous years).
|Snow Depth |
Grand Teton Visitor Center Winter Options
In winter, the Grand Teton National Park Visitor Centers and facilities are closed, typically from November to March.
However, the Jackson Hole and Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center is open all year except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. It’s located at 532 N. Cache Street on the northern edge of Jackson, just inside the National Elk Refuge.
In addition to Grand Teton National Park, the Visitor Center also serves the Bridger-Teton National Forest, Grand Teton Association, National Elk Refuge, Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce, and Wyoming Game & Fish, so it’s a great resource for information when you arrive.
For winter trip planning and information, you can also call a park ranger on 307-739-3399, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, Monday – Saturday.
Grand Teton National Park Winter Facilities
While most facilities inside the park are closed in winter, there are a few options still available.
There are restrooms or portable toilets at Taggart Lake Trailhead, Signal Mountain Lodge, Colter Bay Visitor Center, and Headwaters Lodge at Flagg Ranch. There are gas stations at Signal Mountain, Jackson Lake Lodge, and Headwaters Lodge at Flagg Ranch. There is a convenience store at Headwaters Lodge at Flagg Ranch December to February.
In addition, the nearby towns of Jackson and Teton Village are both ski towns and are open for business all winter. These are both great options for places to stay (see below).
Grand Teton Winter Road Closures
There are several major Grand Teton road closures in winter. Note that several of the roads that are closed to regular vehicular traffic are actually open to snow traffic (cross country skiing, snow shoeing, hiking and sometimes snowmobiles).
Winter road closures include:
- Teton Park Road (the inner park road) is closed between the Taggart Lake Trailhead parking area in the south and Signal Mountain Lodge in the north November 1 to April 30. The closed section of the inner park road is open for cycling from November 1 until it is snow covered. It is then groomed for cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and hiking from mid-December to mid-March.
- The Moose – Wilson Road is closed November 1 until mid-May and is unplowed between Granite Canyon trailhead in the south (near Wilson) and Death Canyon Road (near Moose). Like Teton Park Road, it is open to cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and hiking.
- Grassy Lake Road, which goes from Flagg Ranch at the northern tip of Grand Teton National Park out to the west, is closed when it is too snowy. However, as soon as there is enough snow, it opens up to snowmobiles, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and hiking.
- Antelope Flats Road, Schwabacher Landing, Deadmans Bar, Pilgrim Creek, and Two Ocean all close when they get snowed in. There is no set date for their closing and opening, but they typically close by mid-December.
Grand Teton Winter Road Openings
This may make it seem like nothing is open, but that is not the case. There are still plenty of roads open for vehicular traffic. These include:
- The main Highway 191 between Jackson to the south and Flagg Ranch to the north. This is the park’s Outer Road and runs the entire length of Grand Teton Mountain range. It is regularly plowed. Along this road is the National Elk Refuge, Snake River Overlook, Cunningham Cabin, Oxbow Bend, and upper Jackson Lake.
- Jackson to Taggart Lake Trailhead parking area. This southern section of the inner Teton Park Road is open. There are great views of the Tetons, and you can hike into Chapel of the Transfiguration at Moose.
- Jackson Lake Junction to Signal Mountain Lodge. This northern section of the inner Teton Park Road is open. You can see Jackson Lake Dam and Jackson Lake on this road.
- Moran Junction to Togwotee Pass (route 26). Passes through Buffalo Valley and has views of the Tetons from part of the drive.
- Jackson to Granite Canyon Trailhead. The lower section of the Moose – Wilson Road is open. It passes through Teton Village.
- Gros Ventre Road from Highway 191 to Kelly and Lower Slide Lake.
Getting Around Grand Teton National Park in the Winter
You will need a car to get around Grand Teton National Park in winter, unless you limit yourself to the tours above. There are shuttles from central locations and many accommodations to the ski lifts in Jackson and Teton Village, so if downhill skiing or snowboarding is your main activity, then you probably won’t need a car for that either.
However, if you plan to explore the area by yourself, you will need a car. Be sure to read the section above on road closures/ open roads.
Keep in mind that there will definitely be snow around, and although the main roads are plowed, it is best to have a four wheel drive or all-wheel drive vehicle or snow chains for your tires.
Vehicles are available for rent in Jackson. There are free shuttles from the airport to the car rental offices in town.
To find a rental car, I recommend searching Discover Cars here. They have a huge database with all the car rental agencies in Jackson, so they can find the best price for you.
Where to Stay
You can stay inside the park or near the park.
Where to stay inside Grand Teton National Park in winter
There are two Grand Teton winter lodging options inside the park.
This is a classic dude ranch inside the national park. There are 20 log cabins. They are open December 26 to mid- March for their winter season. Located just off Highway 191 about halfway between Moose and Moran Junction.
There are 8 one-bedroom and 4 two-bedroom cabins furnished with handcrafted lodge pole pine furniture. They are open most of winter, except they are closed in November and April. Located in Moose.
Where to stay near Grand Teton National Park in winter
There are also plenty of options outside the park, but nearby.
Jackson is the major town in the area and is a great place to base yourself in winter. There are plenty of accommodations, restaurants, bars and stores. Teton Village is primarily a downhill ski resort and also has plenty of places to stay.
I recommend staying in one of these towns in winter, as they have the most amenities and make a great base to explore the whole area.
Where to Stay in Jackson
Luxury Option: The White Buffalo Club
With a spa and wellness center, restaurant, and 42-inch cable TV, this is a great place to stay and warm yourself up after a day exploring. The downtown location is hard to beat.
Mid-Range Option: Inn on The Creek
This cozy inn is just 3 blocks from the downtown main square. Get comfortable around the lobby lounge fireplace, enjoy breakfast in bed or watch a movie in your room. There is free WiFi and they even have storage space for skis.
Budget Option: Antler Inn
The Antler Inn has motel style accommodations with a log cabin décor. Rooms are basic but clean and comfortable and include cable TV and free WiFi.
The inn is just across from the main square. I stayed here and enjoyed my stay a lot – the location + price combo is hard to beat if you’re on a budget. They also have a large hot tub and a gym. There is a free shuttle service to the ski resorts in winter.
Vacation Rentals/ Airbnbs in Jackson Hole
If you’d prefer to stay in an Airbnb/ vacation rental, read my Guide to the Best Vacation Rentals in Jackson Hole/ Near Grand Teton National Park for reviews and recommendations for places to stay in Jackson and Teton Village.
What to Wear in Grand Teton National Park in Winter
Winter is cold, especially at night, but if you’re going to be active during the day, you may warm up quite a bit. So, you should wear layers (and lots of them!)
Essential winter gear includes:
Good winter boots
Nothing can make you more miserable than cold feet in winter! So much so, that I have written detailed guides about winter boots to help you choose the best ones.
A Jacket for extreme cold weather
A really good jacket is essential in Grand Teton in winter because it can get very cold. Check out my Guide To The Best Winter Jackets For Extreme Cold for detailed information on exactly what to look for, as well as reviews and recommendations.
You will definitely need a really good pair of warm winter gloves for your winter trip to the Tetons. For men’s gloves for extreme cold, check out these Kingsbom unisex gloves.
For women’s winter gloves for extreme cold weather, take a look at these Tough unisex gloves.
A warm hat
I love this soft Botack beanie that is ideal for skiing, hiking or just being outside in the area in winter. Check out the color options on Amazon.
Winter hiking gear
If you’re going to be doing any hiking, be sure to check my Winter Hiking Essentials List to make sure you are adequately prepared.
Although the days are short in winter, the sun is low in the sky all day, which makes nice for photos. The glare off snow can be challenging though. Here are some tips for photography in the snow.
Cold weather can drain your batteries very quickly, so take some extra batteries for your camera with you. Try to keep them warm by putting them in a pocket rather than leaving them in a camera bag.
Winter Safety in Grand Teton National Park
There are some basic precautions you should take when traveling in Jackson Hole/ Grand Teton National Park in the winter.
Keep in mind that most facilities outside of the towns are closed in winter, so always set out with a full tank of gas and have plenty of water and food with you. I strongly recommend making reservations in advance so that you don’t arrive somewhere and have nowhere to stay.
The area gets a lot of snow, so, if possible, have a 4WD or AWD vehicle. At the very least, make sure you have all-weather tires. Snow chains are also a good idea.
Be prepared for road closures – always check with the current local weather service.
Drive carefully – don’t be afraid to drive below the speed limit if it is snowing heavily. Also keep an eye out for wildlife crossing or using the road.
You should always have travel insurance when you travel, but in winter, I think it’s especially important, because of the increased chance of something happening to your vehicle.
A great insurance option is World Nomads. You can find out more about it here or get a quote right here:
If you’ll be heading into the park’s backcountry, be sure to check the local avalanche forecast. If you’re going to be traveling in an area where avalanches may occur, you should have an avalanche beacon, probe pole and shovel.
For current conditions call 307-733-2664 for the U.S. Forest Service avalanche report or go to their website.
Things to Do in Grand Teton in Winter
There are so many things to do in the winter, that I have written an entire guide just about that! Read my detailed Guide to the Best Things to Do in Grand Teton NP in Winter for more information on all the amazing activities available in winter in the Tetons and Jackson Hole.
FAQS: Grand Teton National in Winter
I have actually answered most of these questions above, but as a quick reference guide, here are frequently asked questions about visiting Grand Teton National Park in the winter.
Is Grand Teton National Park open in winter?
Yes, the national park is open all year. However, most of the facilities, including all of the lodges and campgrounds, as well as one section of the inner road through the park are closed in winter.
What is there to do in Grand Teton in winter?
There is plenty to do in Grand Teton National Park and the surrounding area in winter. Read my Guide to the Best Things to Do in Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park in Winter for more details.
Can you drive through Grand Teton in winter?
You can drive through the outer road (Highway 191) and parts of the inner Teton Park Road. The section of Teton Park Road from the Taggart Lake Trailhead to Signal Mountain Lodge is closed in winter.
Is Teton Park Road open in the winter?
The section of Teton Park Road from Moose to Taggart Lake Trailhead is open year round. The section from Jackson Lake Junction to Signal Mountain Lodge is also open year round.
The section between Taggart Lake Trailhead and Signal Mountain Lodge is closed to vehicular traffic in winter. However, it is groomed for skiing, snow shoeing and hiking in winter.
How do you see the Grand Tetons in winter?
You can drive through the outer Grand Teton National Park road. The inner Teton Park Road is closed to vehicular traffic, but open for cross country skiing, snowshoeing and winter hiking. There are also some roads that are open to snowmobiling. In the nearby National Elk Refuge, you can even take a horse-drawn sleigh ride!
Is Grand Teton worth visiting in winter?
Yes, absolutely. It does take some extra planning, but there are few people, stunning winter scenery, and lots of fun winter activities to do. Plus, it’s the best time of year to see elk.
How many days do you need in Grand Teton?
This depends on what you like to do, but I would recommend at least a couple of days in Grand Teton National Park and Jackson Hole. If you love winter activities, you could easily spend a week.
You can also combine a winter trip to Grand Teton National Park with a trip to Yellowstone National Park.
How cold is it in Grand Teton in winter?
January is the coldest month in Grand Teton National Park and Jackson Hole. The average temperatures in January range from a minimum 0.9°F to a maximum of 26.1°F.
For more details, check out this table with Jackson Hole weather.
Does it snow in Grand Teton in winter?
Yes! It snows a LOT in Grand Teton National Park in winter. The average snow depth in February is 33 inches!
For more details, check out this table with Jackson Hole weather.
What to wear when visiting Grand Teton in winter?
You should dress for extreme cold weather and wear lots of layers. For more details, read the section above on what to wear in Grand Teton in winter.
Where should I stay in Grand Teton in winter?
The towns of Jackson and Teton Village are both ski resorts and are open in winter. They have plenty of accommodations options. Discover some great vacation rentals in Jackson Hole here.
Have an amazing winter trip to Grand Teton National Park!
Do you have any other tips for visiting Grand Teton National Park in winter? I’d love to hear them. Comment below.
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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.
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