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A Guide to Hiking at Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton Hiking: Hiking and Camping

If you're planning a longer hike -- one that will require you to camp for one or more nights in the back country -- you'll need to know some additional park regulations. You can reserve a permit ahead of time for a $25 fee, but the National Park Service has a clear policy on backcountry camping:

"All backcountry camping requires a permit. Backcountry camping permits are issued free of charge to walk-ins on a first-come, first-served basis. Permits can be obtained at the Colter Bay and Craig Thomas Discovery and visitor centers, and at the Jenny Lake Ranger Station. Permits involving overnight camping while climbing or mountaineering may only be obtained at the Jenny Lake Ranger Station during the summer."

Wildlife is a major draw at Grand Teton. However, it can also be a serious safety issue. There are more than 50 grizzly bears and a few hundred black bears within Grand Teton National Park, as well as a dozen wolf packs that range from a single adult pair to 12 adults and their pups. You can also find hundreds of moose and bison and thousands of elk, and these animals can be very dangerous if proper care isn't taken [source: Grand Teton Association]. The National Park Service requires that all backcountry campers take bear-proof containers with them. The park can provide bear-proof canisters if you don't have your own.

In addition to other regulations common to wilderness areas (bury human waste properly, carry out all trash, etc.), Grand Teton does not allow pets on trails.

Finally, be aware that the Tetons make for rugged country, susceptible to dramatic shifts in weather, unexpected snow storms, frequent rain, and very cold nights. Particularly at higher elevations, snow doesn't fully melt until late spring or even early summer. Be prepared with the gear and clothing to deal with a lot of variables [source: National Park Service].

For more information on hiking trails, explore the links on the next page.