Showcasing the major peaks of the 40-mile-long Teton Range as well as most of the northern sections of the valley known as Jackson Hole, Grand Teton National Park is located 10 miles south of Yellowstone in northwestern Wyoming. Grand Teton National Park is named for the tallest mountain in the Teton Range. At 13,775 feet, Grand Teton abruptly rises more than 7,000 feet above Jackson Hole. The park includes over 200 miles of hiking trails and is world-renowned for trout fishing.
The park averages 450 inches of snow annually in the mountains. Winter temperatures are cold, ranging between 26 °F during the day to 1 °F at night. During the Summer months, the daily temperature range is 80 to 41 °F (27 and 5 °C). Temperatures above the valley in the mountains during the summer average 1 °F cooler for every 1,000 ft of altitude gained, so high altitude passes may remain snow-covered until mid-July. Thunderstorms are common during the summer, especially over the mountains.
Note: Just like Yellowstone, Grand Teton National Park is bear country so special safety measures must be taken when running! It is recommended to run in groups, make noise going around corners, carry bear spray, and choose trails that are well established and have good visibility (like the ones featured below).
Grand Teton has a lovely multi-use path, beginning at the Jenny Lake Visitor Center, continuing through the community of Moose and ending in Jackson. The beginning of this paved route parallels Teton Park Road, offering beautiful views of the famous mountain peaks and providing access to the many park scenic overlooks. After crossing the Snake River, the trail closely parallels US Highway 26 as it heads southwest from Moose to Jackson under a wide open sky. As you approach Jackson, the trail passes the National Elk Refuge. Trail’s end is just a little farther south at Mercill Avenue. Depending on where you are staying and what distance you would like to run, pick up the path at any point and create your own route. If you are staying for multiple days, try different sections of the path. Because this route is highly used, this might is your safest option when trying to avoid bears or other dangerous wildlife. Note: this route is not plowed in the winter.
The Taggart Lake Trail is a relatively easy route with great views of the Tetons. It’s a favorite for many runners. The well-packed dirt surface and minimal elevation gain (400 ft.) make it a great run. From the trailhead parking lot, the first 1.5 miles are flat and lead you through an open alpine meadow to Taggart Lake. As you continue, the path gains some elevation as it enters a forested areas, with colorful aspens and evergreen trees. When you see a turn off for Valley trail, you have completed all of your elevation gain. Continue on the Taggart Lake Trail to loop around back to the start. Longer Option: Can continue further past Bradley Lake, where the trail intersects with the Valley Trail.
Two Ocean Lake
6.0 mile loop Start: Two Ocean Lake Trailhead MAP
Away from some of the more crowded areas in Grand Teton National Park, lies a 6 mile loop around Two Ocean Lake. The path is well-packed dirt and rock with rolling terrain. As you begin, pass through a large field that offers good views of Grand Teton and Mt. Moran in the far off distance. Along the route, there are openings along the lakeshore, with great mountain views. Pass several sagebrush, grassy meadows, aspen groves, and keep an eye out for common loons, osprey, and trumpeter swans.
Just before the 3.5 mile mark, the trail reaches the South Two Ocean Lake Trail junction, which branches off to the left. Here, there is a highly recommended side trip (about 1 mile one-way climbing 635 ft) from the west end of the lake to Grand View Point, with great views of the surrounding area.
The loop continues through some dense forest. Throughout this section remember your bear safety and make noise to announce your presence. Toward the end of the run is a large meadow that arguably offers the best views of Two Ocean Lake from its southern shore. Note: This route is known for high bear activity. Make sure you are prepared!
Jenny Lake Area
There’s some good, relatively flat trail running in the Jenny Lake area, with beautiful views. Note it’s possible to run on Jenny Lake Rd. — there is a decent shoulder, often used by cyclists. Map of area.
Multi-Use Path. Paved and gravel multi-use path that heads south to Jackson. Great views, and very runnable. From the Jenny Lake Visitor Center, the trail parallels Teton Park Rd. for 8 miles to Highway 191, then continues to Jackson. Running from Jenny Lake to Taggart Lake would be a good 8-mile out and back.
Jenny Lake Loop. 7.1 mile loop around Jenny Lake, great for running. Note this is a trail run, with rocks and some challenging footing. The section on the east side, for example to the Jenny Lake Overlook, has easier footing.
Leigh Lake/String Lake. The String Lake Trail is a moderate trail run in terms of elevation and footing. One option is a 4.2 mile loop around String Lake, crossing to the west side at Boulder Island. Or, you can also follow the String Lake Trail along the east side of Leigh Lake for ~4 miles (fairly flat).
Leigh Lake/String Lake.