Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming is part of a huge protected natural area, a virtually untouched ecosystem that amounts to almost 18 million acres (7.28 million hectares) when you include the nearby Yellowstone National Park and larger Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Grand Teton itself is more than 300,000 acres (121,405 hectares) in size and contains part of the Teton Range and Jackson Hole [source: National Park Service].
The Teton Range is part of the Rocky Mountains; in fact, the name supposedly comes from French explorers who likened the mountains to breasts. ("Grand Teton" means "large breast" in French.) The tallest, most impressive mountains of the range, known as the Cathedral Group, are all within the National Park. Grand Teton is the tallest peak; at 13,770 feet (4.2. kilometers) -- along with the other peaks in the Cathedral Group -- it dominates the scenery in Grand Teton National Park. Virtually every hiking trail in the park has panoramic views of the stunning, snow-capped crags jutting from the landscape.
There are hundreds of miles of hiking trails in the park. There are day hikes that take you out to breathtaking views. There are trails that circle lakes, climb peaks, stick to the valleys, skirt the Teton Range, or take long, looping paths across the entire park. Hardcore hikers can spend a week on the trail. Families can pack a lunch and still enjoy the scenery and Rocky Mountain air in an afternoon.
If you're planning a hike in Grand Teton National Park, this article will provide a good launching point. We'll direct you to trail maps, point out safety hazards, and mention some of the best hiking trails in the park.