My Top 10 National Parks: #2

My Top Ten National Parks of North America so far…

10.  Grand Canyon National Park

9.  Yoho National Park

8.  Zion National Park

7.  Bryce Canyon National Park

6.  Yosemite National Park

5.  Olympic National Park

4.  Banff National Park

3.  Yellowstone National Park

2. Grand Teton National Park

The Statistics

Date established: February 26, 1929

Annual visitation (2014): 2,791,392

Size: 309,994 acres

Location: Northwest Wyoming

 

My Experience

Number of visits: Three

Total days in the park: Eight days

Where I stayed: I have split my time between two campgrounds. I spent four nights in the hard-to-get Jenny Lake Campground and four in the much larger Gros Ventre Campground. The Jenny Lake Campground and Kalaloch Campground in Olympic National Park are my two favorites.

Can’t miss sight: The Teton Range. The best thing is that you literally cannot miss them if you are in the park. You can see the Tetons from everywhere.

Grand Teton

My favorite view: Schwabacher Landing. It requires a very short and easy walk to spot where you can see an immaculate reflection of the Cathedral Group (the most famous mountains in the Tetons).

Tetons reflected

Wildlife seen: Moose, bison, elk, and a black bear cub.  Read about when I saw these moose here.

Moose

Favorite hike: The Cascade Canyon Trail. You can hike this trail in many ways and connect it to different trails for a nice backcountry trek. I took the boat shuttle across Jenny Lake and then hiked to the forks of Cascade Canyon, which was about nine and a half miles roundtrip. The trail takes you up above Jenny Lake and into a beautiful canyon in the heart of the Teton mountains. This is one of my all-time favorite hikes.

Cascade Canyon

 

Bonus Points: Grand Teton National Park is home to my favorite National Park visitor centers. The Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center in the southern end of the park is very cool. I have also spent a decent bit of time at the Jenny Lake Visitor Center. The one in Jenny Lake is much smaller, but cozier. I sat in there, beside a fire, while a storm raged outside.

Another bonus for Grand Teton National Park is its proximity to Jackson, Wyoming which is one of the nicest mountain towns in the country.

 

If I Return

There’s no doubt in my mind I will return to the Tetons. When I do, I’d like to spend more time photographing the iconic mountains in the magic hours encompassing sunrise and sunset. I also want to hike up to Amphitheater Lake. That is supposed to be a great hike into the mountains. I considered the trail in the past, but have yet to try it.

 

Why You Should Visit

These mountains are magical. The lack of foothills and the jagged peaks make them a stunning sight. The Snake River provides great boating opportunities and there are many great trails to experience within the park. The wildlife viewing is another great aspect of this park.

 

The Bad

I can’t think of anything.

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