Guide to Jackson Hole’s National Parks: Yellowstone and Grand Teton

The hotels, cabins and resorts of Town Square Inns serve as a convenient basecamp for two of the most awe-inspiring natural landscapes in the United States.

Popular to visit from May through September when park roads open to the public, Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park offer visitors a glimpse at the area’s unparalleled natural beauty. With mesmerizing vistas, adventurous explorations and remarkable wildlife encounters, both parks present budget-friendly outdoor experiences worthy of their place in any Jackson Hole itinerary — be it spring, summer, fall or winter.

Yellowstone National Park

Established in 1872, Yellowstone National Park is the nation’s inaugural national park and clocks in at a massive 3,500 square miles — encompassing land in Wyoming, Idaho and Utah.

Yellowstone is notably home to a large number of geothermal “hot” spots such as mud pits, geysers, and hot springs, such as the otherworldly Grand Prismatic Spring. It is also in Yellowstone where visitors can view the iconic eruption of Old Faithful — sending steaming water over 100 feet into the sky every 90 minutes. In addition to geothermal activity, Yellowstone National Park also features lush forests, alpine waterways and wondrous vistas to enjoy, such as those found at the breathtaking, 20-mile-long Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.

Two bison stand on a snowy mountain in a national park near Jackson Hole, WY

If you’ve come to Wyoming looking to catch a glimpse of local wildlife, Yellowstone National Park will surely deliver. In both parks you’re likely to spot eagles, bison, wolves, bears, moose and elk roaming around, but it is in Yellowstone where you can find the nation’s oldest and largest herd of bison. Local tour providers offer wildlife safaris in both parks throughout the year — including special snowcoach tours in the winter — that present visitors with some of the best opportunities to spot these majestic creatures.

Most park roads for Yellowstone National Park open for public travel annually around May and remain open through the middle of September. Local tour providers do offer guided excursions into the park during the winter months when specialized vehicles are required. For more help planning your visit to Yellowstone National Park, visit the National Park Service’s official website.

Grand Teton National Park

Easily identified by the jagged, snow-capped spine of the Teton mountain range, Grand Teton National Park is a picturesque locale just a 10-minute drive from our Old West town. The park is also home to the Jackson Hole Airport — the only airport in the country to be located within a National Park.

Though smaller than Yellowstone, Grand Teton impresses with its combination of calm sightseeing opportunities alongside a wonderful array of activities suitable for adventurers of all ages and skill levels, including hiking, biking, rafting and kayaking. Join a casual scenic float along the Snake River to admire the surrounding splendor, or kick things up a notch with a thrilling whitewater rafting adventure led by a local outfitter. Rent a kayak and peacefully paddle around Jackson Lake or Jenny Lake, or explore the area by foot along one of many scenic hiking trails, such as those leading to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point, both near Jenny Lake.

A kayaker in a blue kayak paddles in Jenny Lake in Grand Teton National Park, with a line of evergreen trees on the horizon.

Take a scenic drive or bike ride along the 42-mile Teton Park Road and stop to explore landmarks and historic areas along the way, such as Mormon Row. Observe bison, pronghorn, birds and other local wildlife on your own or during one of the wildlife safaris offered year-round. Refuel at one of several restaurants located throughout the park, combining mouthwatering menus with jaw-dropping views.

Grand Teton National Park is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, however some roads and visitor services are closed or operating at reduced hours from November through April. For more help planning your visit to Grand Teton National Park, visit the National Park Service’s official website.

Elk Country Inn

Hotels Near Yellowstone and Grand Teton

Located in the town of Jackson, WY, the four unique lodging options operated by Town Square Inns serve as an excellent basecamp for any park adventure. Located within a four block radius of one another in the heart of Jackson Hole, our four distinct properties are not only an ideal choice for park-goers, but also for those looking to explore the local shops, restaurants and attractions around Jackson Hole, many of which are within walking distance from our hotels.

Snowy exterior of the 49er Inn & Suites in Jackson Hole, WY

For an authentic Old West cabin vibe, but without sacrificing modern amenities, consider booking a room at Cowboy Village Resort, located just 10 minutes from Yellowstone and only 15 minutes from Grand Teton National Park. Antler Inn puts guests in the heart of downtown Jackson, just steps from dining, shopping and entertainment options. Newly renovated, Elk Country Inn blends contemporary accommodations with welcoming western hospitality found only in Jackson Hole. Just three blocks from Jackson’s Town Square, the recently remodeled 49er Inn & Suites is only 10 miles from Grand Teton National Park and 55 miles from Yellowstone, with spacious rooms, hot tubs and a swimming pool perfect for relaxing after a full day exploring the national parks.

While you’re visiting, don’t forget to explore our region’s other natural attractions, including the National Elk Refuge and Bridger Teton National Forest.