Grand Teton National Park guide

Relax under purple mountain majesties, where quite literally the buffalo roam and the deer and the antelope still play

Plan your Grand Teton activities

Go on a hike, tour the Snake River by wooden boat, or relax on a beach at Leigh Lake

Wooden River Boat Tours on Snake River

Glenn Oakley

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Here are our top picks for things to do when visiting Grand Teton National Park:

HIKING

Cascade Canyon. The most popular and simplest access into the Tetons, it offers easy hikes and backpacking options. A great longer day trip is the 9-mile round-trip to Forks of Cascade Canyon. Access the canyon via a 10-minute boat ride (8–6 daily; $10 round-trip; 307/734-9227) from South Jenny Lake.

Heron Pond and Swan Lake. A family-friendly 3-mile loop begins at the Colter Bay Marina and offers lake views and good bird-watching. For area map and info: Colter Bay Visitor Center (off U.S. 89; 307/739 3594).

Colter Bay Lakeshore Trail. This level trail follows the bay's shoreline, providing great views of lake and mountains. Distance: 2 miles. Difficulty: Easy.

LSR Preserve. Opened in 2008, the preserve is the largest addition to the park in decades. Educational hikes lead from its state-of-the-art visitor center through forests to Phelps Lake. The Preserve offers various hikes ranging from easy to moderate in difficulty. nps.gov/grte or 307/739-3300.

RIVER AND LAKE ACTIVITIES

Kayaking and river rafting. Ten-mile Snake River float trips offer chances for wildlife viewing and photography; experienced kayakers enjoy the Snake's challenging spots. Outfitters include Solitude Float Trips (daily through Sep 30; from $55; solitudefloattrips.com. For a complete list of rafting outfitters, visit  nps.gov/grte/planyourvisit/boat.htm or oars.com for kayaking trips.

Wooden Boat River Tours. Take private tours by wooden boat on the Snake River with guide A.J. DeRosa. Plan a customized trip according to your interests from romantic Sunset Tours to Fishing Tours. Each of the tours includes beverages, snacks, and/or full meals with prices ranging from $400. woodboattours.com or 307/732-2628.

Relax on the beach at Leigh Lake. For a strangely tropical setting beneath the Tetons, canoe or kayak north up String Lake until a short portage brings you through the forest to Leigh Lake. On Leigh, bypass the first island you come to and head north about a half-mile, to where a peninsula on the western shore juts out to form a tiny beach. (There's a campground nearby too.) Where it is: From the Grand Teton National Park entrance at Moose, take Teton Park Rd. 10 miles north, turn left at N. Jenny Lake Rd. for about a half-mile, then follow signs to the String Lake trailhead. $25 per vehicle; 307/739-3300. Campsites from $19; gtlc.com or 800/628-9988.

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