The godlike guardians of the West, the Teton peaks rise high above the plains with awe-inspiring prominence. At the center of America's Rocky Mountains, the Tetons served as a backdrop for the Oregon Trail and Wild West. Summers are hot and winters are harsh, but these glorious mountains bear witness to it all.
When you approach the Tetons from the west, their peaks are visible for hundreds of miles. The intermontane west - the high desert between the Cascades and Rockies - are endlessly flat, making the appearnce of the Tetons seem almost miraculous. And when you finally see them up close, that wonderment doesn't fade in the slightest. With serene lakes, abundant wildlife and the colorful town of Jackson, the Tetons are an explorer's paradise.
For most visitors to Grand Teton National Park, Jackson, Wyoming is the home base. With trendy restaurants and shops, Jackson is a great place to enjoy the mountain atmosphere, without having to spend too much time in the woods. At Adventure Cascadia, we are more interested in exploring dirt roads where there's no cell service and no people. To the park's east, off Highway 287, the Bridger-Teton National Forest is a vast expanse of largely vacant, public land.
And given the notoriously high prices of lodging in Jackson during peak season, camping for free on BLM land, surround by elk and eagles, can be an incredibly appealing alternative to staying in town.
While sitting out in the woods with a book and some whisky is always a good time, the true draw of the Tetons are indeed the mountains themselves.
Inside the park, Grand View Point, Inspiration Point, Lake Solitude and Amphitheater Lake are each especially stunning, high-elevation hiking options.
For an even more immersive back country experience, consider hiking the Teton Crest Trail. While most of the park's hikes attack the mountains from its east side, the Teton Crest Trail spans the western flank of the mountain range, traversing 40 miles at high-elevation, through untouched mountain wilderness.
Regardless of where you hike, you're bound to encounter abundant wildlife. In most cases, this will be harmless deer, chipmunks, eagles and elk. But in this wild country, bear and moose sightings are frequent. Keep your distance. Wildlife are fantastic for photographing, but unwise tourists are often injured or killed when they get too close. While backpacking, make sure to store your food properly, hung up in a tree, so bears are unable to get into it.
With some of the most imposing peaks, tranquil lakes and abundant wildlife in the United States, Grand Teton National Park is a nature-lover's dream.
Been to Grand Teton? Tag us on Instagram: @adventurecascadia