Grand Teton and Yellowstone are undoubtedly two of America’s most beloved National Parks. (Move over, Yosemite.)
Spanning over 3,500-sq.-miles of almost pure wilderness and stretching across Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho, Yellowstone holds the title of the first National Park in the world.
Its lush landscape has been shaped by geothermal activity, including the action of the active Yellowstone Caldera, the biggest supervolcano on the continent. Beneath Yellowstone Lake the caldera’s forceful eruptions have shifted lava over almost every square inch of the park. Flora and fauna have flourished, from the most primitive life forms thriving in the park’s hot springs to the endangered Canadian lynx, bald eagles, grizzly bears, and bison.
The landscape of Grand Teton is dominated by the Teton Mountain Range, extending a more compact 480-sq.miles than its Yellowstone neighbor.
Amongst the peaks are lush valleys that shelter wildlife year-round, including coyotes, otters, cougars and wolverines. Owls, falcon and osprey can be spotted nimbly diving for prey while gentle moose raise their calves in the high summer grass. Located only 10 miles south of its sister Yellowstone, the two parks cumulatively make up one of the biggest intact ecosystems in the world.
Visitors flock to these parks to behold the power Old Faithful, to steal a glance at a roaming wolf and to soak in America at its most wild and most beautiful. Experiencing these parks is less an optional getaway and more a fundamental duty of being an American.
Patriotism aside, landscapes this vast and wild can be difficult to navigate — both as a first-time visitor and a veteran wilderness buff — so enlisting the help of local experts is key to a successful visit.
To truly experience the best of Yellowstone and Grand Teton, let Scenic Safaris lead you through these unparalleled natural wonders. (All without breaking the bank…or an ankle.)
Step 1: Choose Your Season
Summer in the parks is a full-spectrum rainbow of adventures. From hiking to ATV trips or hiding out bird-watching, both Grand Teton and Yellowstone are alight with lush greenery and the thrill of spotting animals. Getting your perfect above-the-fireplace photo is easy with perfect lighting and animals almost waiting to pose for that perfect shot.
What many don’t realize is that our National Parks don’t close for the winter. The parks are decidedly less packed with visitors, making your visit altogether quieter, but no less memorable.
Step 2: Choose Your Adventure
Summer In Yellowstone and Grand Teton
A Day Hiking the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone
The Yellowstone River has cut through granite to create the rifts building into the Yellowstone Falls. For the Grand Canyon day hike you’ll chart the river’s course, heading through the Teton Range. You’ll be driven in a luxury van to a variety of hiking points ranging from beginner to advanced and stop off to take photos and marvel at the beauty of this topography. Keep your eyes sharp and your camera ready for bears, bald eagles, and baby moose.
A Half Day in Grand Teton
If the monumental spectrum of animals of this area is the strongest magnet for your trip, the Grand Teton Wildlife Tour with Scenic Safaris will satisfy your desire to get in touch with nature. Rising early in the morning, you’ll be taken by wildlife experts to corners dense in animal sightings. From the bountiful Elk Refuge to the moose, eagles, antelopes, and bison who call this area home, these tours are organized according to migration routes. This is your best chance to experience wild animals without having a run-in with a grizzly.
The Summer Tour Details
Dates: Spring through Fall
- Lunch and snacks
- Hotel pick-up
What to Bring
- Comfortable shoes
- Extra layers or a jacket
- Park entrance fee
Winter In Yellowstone and Grand Teton
Winter Snowmobile Tours
Hop aboard a Ski-Doo 4-Stroke Machine and take to the snowy alleys for a full day of Yellowstone magic. The Old Faithful Snowmobile Tour includes the rush of witnessing a mid-day Old Faithful eruption and stops along the 45 miles of groomed trails at places like Moose Falls, Lewis Canyon and Falls, and the West Thumb Geyser Basin for ample photo opportunities and mini-history lessons.
On the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone Snowmobile Tour, you’ll head 55 miles to Yellowstone Falls, chasing the same landscapes that charmed decorated American photographer Ansel Adams. Along the way, you’ll likely run into a host of big game animals that shelter in the valley come winter.
Winter Tour Details
Winter Dates: December 15th through March 15th.
- Breakfast and lunch
- Snowmobile gear: boots, one-piece suit, helmet, and gloves
- Hotel pick-up
What to Bring
- Winter clothing
- Driver’s license
- Park entrance fee
Step 3: Choose Your Hotel
Hotels in Jackson under $175
Why stay at a hotel instead of roughing it in the woods? The obvious reason is that a good night of rest in a comfy bed is essential to anyone needing energy for a big day out.
A complimentary breakfast and a cup of great coffee sure beats dry sandwiches and a thermos of instant java in the cold morning dew. Plus, when the sun sets, you can take to the streets of Jackson instead of twiddling your fingers or trying to make up games to keep the kids in check from the confines of a tiny tent.
Scenic Safaris offers pick-up directly from many Jackson area hotels, including the following trivago recommendations. If you plan on booking elsewhere, please give Scenic Safaris a ring at their office (307-734-8898) to enquire about pickup before booking.
The Family Stay: Cowboy Village Resort
Teton Village, WY
trivago rating: 89/100
Four acres of forest and individual log cabins make the Cowboy Village Resort the perfect Jackson Hole budget-friendly family hotel. Cabins include kitchenettes and plenty of living and sleeping space. The free WiFi means kids can stream on digital devices. During the summer you can grill onsite, and come winter, the whole family gets a solid day’s start with the complimentary breakfast.
The Eco-Friendly Stay: The Alpine House Lodge & Cottages
Teton Village, WY
trivago rating: 86/100
With a commitment to sustainability, any eco-enthusiast will be delighted by their choice of lodge room or cottage at the Alpine House. The Scandinavian-inspired decor is complimented with down duvets to keep you cozy at night and some rooms are fit with toasty fireplaces. A freshly cooked breakfast comes compliments of the lodge and with delectable options like the fluffy lemon-ricotta blueberry pancakes or the smoked salmon omelets, you’ll want to rise early to sample it all.
The Couple Stay: Wyoming Inn of Jackson Hole
Jackson Hole, WY
trivago rating: 90/100
Adventure meets romance with a stay at the Wyoming Inn of Jackson Hole. Stone fireplaces, glass-encased showers, and moose antler chandeliers help set the romantic tone for an evening in, all while bringing in elements of the beautiful Wyoming surroundings. The breakfast menu has bountiful options like the Teton Scramble which sets you up with plenty of energy to take on the parks.