Goosewing Ranch

What to Expect on a Jackson Hole Wildlife Safari

One of the most memorable experiences while visiting Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park is a wildlife tour. We recommend wildlife safaris because guests will learn so much more about the national park’s history, wildlife, and the area than if they had driven through on their own. 

Expect wildlife if you are patient on a Jackson Hole wildlife safari; pronghorn are especially plentiful!

When in Jackson Hole, we highly recommend exploring Grand Teton National Park. And one of the most memory making ways is to do a wildlife safari. These guided tours give guests a wonderful way to learn about the natural history of the park along with sightings of its wild residents.

What to Expect on a Jackson Hole Wildlife Safari

Plan for at least 3-4 hours minimum touring time as well as travel time from the departure location for partial day tours. These tips will help you know what to expect of this wildlife encounter.

Choose What Time of Day Works Best for You (Usually Dawn or Dusk).

If morning people, go with a dawn tour; if not, stick with one at dusk. And have a camera at the ready all the way through to the very end of the tour. Animals are especially active at dawn and at dusk.

One of the best finds on a Jackson Hole wildlife safari: a moose.

Dress for the Outdoors.

Check the company website to see what is recommended for clothing. Most encourage that guests wear long pants, closed toed shoes, and bring a jacket. Shorts or capris are appropriate for summer months.

Most companies use open air vehicles and pair up groups. For private tours or more personalized service, private vans are available. So dress accordingly as temperatures fluctuate. Layers are key!

Expect to See Some Wildlife…But No Guarantees.

While safari goers will most likely see wildlife, keep in mind it IS wild animals, not animatronics.  There are no guarantees on what species will be seen. Actually, that’s part of what makes the experience so exciting! Guides do communicate via radio with one another on sightings, so that helps everyone to share in the wildlife spotting.

Be prepared on what to expect on a Jackson Hole wildlife safari by doing your homework-pick a reputable company and keep eyes peeled for wildlife.

Some of the potential animals include elk, moose, mule deer, pronghorn, bison, bighorn sheep, grizzly and black bear, and wolves can all be seen within the park boundaries.

Be prepared to use the tools of the trade.

Binoculars and spotting scope are tools of the tour during a wildlife safari. It may just mean glimpses of animals like wolves or bears, but still exhilarating! 

What to expect on a Jackson Hole wildlife safari: using spotting scopes to see animals like this moose.

Know What’s Included and What’s NOT.

Read the fine print to see what’s part of the tour and what costs extra. Most tours include snacks and refreshments; some dawn tours include breakfast and all day tours usually include meals. However, many do not include the park entry fee. The park entry fee is $20.00 per adult (16 and up), good for seven days. Guests who have a “Golden Age Pass” or an “Interagency Park Pass” can use these passes on the tour. Park passes can be purchased at the park entrance during the tour.

Recommended guide gratuity is also not included and roughly 10-15% of the tour price.

What to Expect on a Jackson Hole Wildlife Safari? Great scenery, tons of park history, photo worthy spots, and oh yeah, probably some wildlife! Whether a half day or full day tour, learn all about the ins and outs of these animal-centric tours and why you want to try one while visiting Grand Teton National Park. #JacksonHole #wildlifesafari #wildlifetour #nationalpark #GrandTeton #findyourpark

Why Jackson Hole: Yellowstone, Tetons, and Ranches

Winter is one of the best times to make plans for a vacation destination.  Whether a young couple, mature couple, large family or small, the Jackson Hole area has something offer each diverse traveler.  Make this year’s vacation an adventure filled with new experiences while exploring this educational and historic area. Here’s why Jackson Hole (hint: Yellowstone and Grand Teton might have something to do with it).

 

Why Jackson Hole

Yellowstone National Park

Wyoming is home to our nation’s first National Park, Yellowstone National Park, founded in 1872.  However, Yellowstone is not the only park that neighbors Jackson Hole-there is also Grand Teton National Park.  Jackson not only has two historic and magnificent parks in its backyard, but is also home to many guest ranches and summer attractions.

Black Pool Hot Spring in Yellowstone National Park

 

Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park has much to offer as well.  This is a great area to enjoy the water or spend the day hiking.  Grand Teton has hiking trails suitable for those looking for an easy family picnic and hike to the more adventurous climber and backpacker.  Grand Teton has many great opportunities to view wildlife and is a photographer’s dream.

Dude Ranch as Home Base for the Parks

Guest Ranches such as Goosewing Ranch are a great way to visit the area with the ease of an all-inclusive package.  While staying at a ranch you can enjoy many different activities from hiking, horseback riding, line dancing, spa treatments, rodeos, cookouts, off-roading, and more.  But, make sure you save some time to visit Jackson Hole for some shopping, rodeo, rafting and a quick history lesson, and then head into Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks.

There are many outfitters that will guide you through the parks in all fashions, but if you are a do-it-yourself kind of person here are a few tips.  I would suggest leaving your accommodations early in the morning and hitting the trail.  You should allow for a full day or more in each park, 12+ hours.

If you only have one day I suggest driving the Lower Loop of Yellowstone.  You will see such features as Old Faithful, boiling paint pots, hot springs and swimming holes, waterfalls, grand canyons, and hopefully some wildlife.  There are many different boardwalks taking you safely around various features of the park, and you may find park rangers on site to answer questions.

Remember obey all warning and safety postings and keep a vast distance between yourself and ALL wildlife. Yellowstone might have park behind its name but that doesn’t mean it is safe to play or recreate anywhere.

 

Between Jackson, the national parks of Yellowstone and Grand Teton, the Jackson Hole area has a lot to offer a diverse group of travelers.  With a history, adventure, and science rich environment, you will return home with more than a vacation. You will return home having had an experience.  When visiting Jackson Hole, expect to experience the Wild West!

Grand Teton National Park Things to Do

Grand Teton National Park is one of the major draws to a trip to Wyoming and the Jackson Hole area. Besides stunning scenery, there are so many outstanding activities and attractions-more so than most guests have time for! We break down the massive list of things to do in Grand Teton National Park along with some tips and basics to know before you go.

Grand Teton National Park things to do include animal watching, scenic floating, hiking, and photographing views like this one of the Tetons.

Grab your binoculars and set your sights on a Grand Teton National Park trip! With a little bit of planning and an open mind to exploring, Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons will potentially be the best vacation ever. Get ready with our suggestions of things to do in Grand Teton National Park.

With wildlife and mountains and activities galore, Grand Teton National Park has more things to do than most people have days to visit. Make the most of this national park experience with our guide to all the activities in Grand Teton-from hiking, boating, eye spying for animals, and best photo worthy spots. #GrandTeton #GrandTetonNationalPark #nationalparks #Wyoming #guide

Things to Do in Grand Teton National Park

Take a Scenic Drive

This is the best way to cover a lot of ground or if pushed for time.

  • The 42 Mile Scenic Loop: This is a loop, so start wherever is convenient for you. Our recommendation is to start in Moose and travel north along US-89 to Jackson Lake and return to Moose via the Teton Park Road.
  • Jenny Lake Scenic Drive: Follows the east shore of Jenny Lake and provides spectacular views of the peaks.
  • Signal Mountain Summit Road: Signal Mountain is the only mountain to be climbed by car. 5 miles to Signal Mountain’s 7,720-foot summit, from which you have 360-degree views of the valley below.

Snake River Scenic Float

Most of the major companies offering scenic floats glide down 10 miles of the Snake River. All the while, guests are soaking in all the majestic views of the Tetons and wildlife at close range. With an average round trip time of 2.5 – 3 hours, these trips are an ideal length, long enough to be considered a full river adventure yet short enough to allow other Jackson Hole activities the same day.

Scenic float trips down the Snake River are one of the most breathtaking Grand Teton National Park things to do.

List of companies offering float trips:

  • Barker-Ewing Scenic Tours
  • Grand Fishing Adventures
  • Grand Teton Lodge Company
  • Headwaters Lodge & Cabins at Flagg Ranch
  • Heart 6 Ranch
  • Lost Creek Ranch
  • Signal Mountain Lodge
  • Snake River Angler
  • Solitude Float Trips
  • Teton Whitewater
  • Triangle X / National Park Float Trips

Jenny Lake

Lakes and hike are two of the main draws for Jenny Lake. Most noteworthy hikes include Hidden Falls Trail including Inspiration Point, a moderate 4.9 mile loop trail; String Lake Loop-easy at 3.9 miles; and Paintbrush Canyon, 16 miles categorized as strenuous.

Interesting Fact: Jenny Lake formed during the ice age when glaciers flowed down canyons and carved out depressions on the valley floor. Today, water fills these depressions forming lakes. Jenny Lake is over 250 feet deep!

Inside the Park Activities

They don’t call it the great outdoors for nothing! Grand Teton National Park has so many activities to be enjoyed outdoors, there may not be enough days in the vacation.

Park Tours

Wildlife safaris are incredibly popular as a combination of education and wildlife sightseeing. There are multiple touring companies offering a wide range of excursions that teach visitors about the wildlife, geology, and natural history of the park. Book in advance because they will fill up fast.

Things to Do in Grand Teton National Park include wildlife safaris to see moose, elk, and other animals.

Horseback Riding

While we love for guests to do their horseback riding with us, we can say that it’s an awesome activity no matter where you experience it.

For inside the park rides, there are 1 and 2 hour horseback rides departing from Jackson Lake Lodge and Colter Bay Village, and 1 hour rides from Headwaters Lodge. While on the rides, wranglers share insight into the area’s history, wildlife and flora. Horseback riding at Jenny Lake Lodge is available to guests staying at the Lodge.

Commercial companies offering rides in the park include: Headwaters Lodge at Flagg Ranch, Grand Teton Lodge Company, and Lost Creek Ranch.

Hiking

The National Park Service has a great guide on all the hiking trails in the park.

Be Bear Aware: If planning on hiking, we recommend purchasing bear spray. Also it is vital to carry drinking water. Dehydration is common and can be serious. Most visitors will need to drink considerably more here due to low humidity and high elevation.

The marina at Signal Mountain Lodge overlooking Jackson Lake has boat rentals, one of the fun things to do in Grand Teton National Park.

Boat Rentals

From canoes to kayaks and motorized boats are plentiful in the park. Just be wise which lakes allow which types of vessels. On Jenny Lake, you can rent a canoe or kayak or launch your own boat (less than 10 horsepower) to enjoy the lake at your own pace. A boat permit is required. Sailboats and wind-surfers are not allowed on Jenny Lake, but may be used on Jackson Lake.

Where to Rent:

Fishing

Fishing fans might be angling to try some fishing inside the park. As such, purchase a Wyoming fishing license at marinas and tackle shops.

These companies provide commercial fishing trips licenses by the NPS:

  • Grand Fishing Adventures
  • Grand Teton Lodge Company
  • Headwaters Lodge & Cabins at Flagg Ranch
  • Grand Teton Fly Fishing
  • Lost Creek Ranch
  • Signal Mountain Lodge
  • Snake River Angler
  • Triangle X/National Park Float Trip

Ranger Programs

Join a ranger for a scheduled program to learn about the wild communities, history and geology of the park.

Grand Teton National Park General Information

Visitor Centers

Need information? Then check out one of the 5 visitor centers:

  • Craig Thomas Discovery & Visitor Center (open March to October)-Located in Moose 12 miles north of Jackson.
  • Colter Bay Visitor Center (open mid-May to October)-Located 25 miles north of Moose, adjacent to Jackson Lake.
  • Flagg Ranch Information Station (open June to early September)-Located 16 miles north of Colter Bay on Highway 89/191/287.
  • Jenny Lake Visitor Center (open May to September)-Located 8 miles north of Moose at South Jenny Lake.
  • Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve Center (open June to September)-Located four miles south of Moose on the Moose-Wilson Road.

Entrance Fees 

  • $35 Grand Teton-Private Vehicle (good for 7 days)
  • $30 Grand Teton-Motorcycle (good for 7 days)
  • $20 Grand Teton Hiker/Biker (good for 7 days)
  • $70 Grand Teton Annual Pass
  • $80 America the Beautiful Annual Pass (recommended if you’re going to multiple parks)

Things to Do in Grand Teton National Park include scenic drives to do wildlife spotting like these bison.

Tips from the National Park Service

Here are some of the rules that NPS has come up with to help protect the delicate balance between parkgoers and wildlife:

  • DO NOT approach wild animals. Whether in a car or on foot, stay at least 100 yards away from bears and wolves and 25 yards away from other wildlife.
  • Use binoculars, spotting scopes or long lenses for close views and photographs.
  • Never position yourself between an adult and its offspring. Females with young are especially defensive.
  • It is illegal to feed wildlife, including ground squirrels and birds. Feeding wild animals makes them dependent on people, and animals often bite the hand that feeds them.
  • Do not harass wildlife. Harassment is any human action that causes unusual behavior, or a change of behavior, in an animal. Repeated encounters with people can have negative, long-term impacts on wildlife, including increased levels of stress and the avoidance of essential feeding areas.
  • Nesting birds are easily disturbed. For wildlife, raising young is a private affair. If an adult bird on a nest flies off at your approach, or circles you or screams in alarm, you are too close to the nest. Unattended nestlings readily succumb to predation and exposure to heat, cold, and wet weather.
  • Allow other visitors a chance to enjoy wildlife. If your actions cause an animal to flee, you have deprived other visitors of a viewing opportunity. Use an animal’s behavior as a guide to your actions.

Photo Worthy Spots

Oxbow Bend

Don’t miss Oxbow Bend, possibly the most iconic Grand Teton National Park sight and also the most photographed. The appeal? Capturing Snake River as it approaches the Teton Range with Mount Moran reflected in the water.

Oxbow Bend in Grand Teton National Park is one of the key places to see and photograph.

Located just a little over a mile straight east of the Jackson Lake Junction on Highway 89, this spot will jump out because of its beauty and also the crowds!

Schwabacher’s Landing 

Schwabacher’s Landing is a launch site on the Snake River for anglers and river rafters and is one of America’s most spectacular viewpoints.

From Jackson, WY – travel north on Highway 191 for 16 miles and then turn left onto Schwabacher’s Landing Road.

Mormon Row

This area gets it name because Mormon settlers once established 27 homesteads here. It’s a photographer’s dream; two historic barns are the backdrop to some of the most iconic landscape shots in the US.

Driving north on highway 191, turn right onto Antelope Flats road just past Moose Junction. In a little over a mile, turn left at a small dirt road. Parking area provides access to the John Moulton barn, and turning right goes to the T.A. Moulton barn.

Moulton Barn is one of the most majestic views, making it one of the Grand Teton National Park things to do.