The Grand Teton National Park is located in west Wyoming about forty minutes from Idaho and just south of Yellowstone National Park. Teton National Park is named after the three mountains that tower over the surrounding valley. The name “Trois Tetons” or the “Three Breasts” was given by French-Canadian trappers who prized the rich, fertile land for the excellent beaver streams. Today, the mountain range continues to grow and attract visitors from all over.
At one point or another, visitors often stop at the historic town of Jackson Hole just outside the park to gas up tanks, grab food, or shop around. One particular favorite spot is Persephone Bakery for the best croissants. Furthermore, a plethora of places to stay are in the Jackson Hole area, but just over the hill in Victor, Idaho is a wheelchair accessible home rental that can accommodate up to six guests.
The major overlooks with informational panels have curb cuts and designated parking but not always, and in general, many overlooks can be seen from the road. Getting out at a few is recommended. In addition to the number of overlooks mentioned in the “Trails” section below, here are some additional details about two overlooks:
- Mount Moran Overlook: An easy, worthwhile stop along the main road to get a photo of Mount Moran and its glacier, where even in the summer, icy snow is present.
- Potholes Overlook: Located off the main road, this quick overlook features large, natural potholes.
Grand Teton National Park has over 235 miles of maintained trails. The surfaces range from level, compacted soil to uneven, broken rocks and roots. Slopes range from level up to 20% grade, but most trails do not exceed 10-15% grade. Hiking in this park can be a challenging experience due to the rugged nature of the landscape, high altitude, steep, uneven trails, and extreme and sudden weather changes. Talk to a ranger for suggested hikes and safety recommendations.
A few trails are accessible, with asphalt surfaces, appropriate grades, and good views including Colter Bay headwall, Jackson Lake Dam overview, Menors Ferry Historic District, and the Jenny Lakeshore trail.
A 20.5-mile (one-way) paved multi-use pathway parallels US US 26/89/191 from the town of Jackson Hole north to Moose Junction and then follows the Teton Park Road to Jenny Lake. This bike path is ideal if you want to enjoy the outdoors and mountain views both in and out of the park. Along this bike path, some long stretches are almost flat while some have significant hills, but there are decent parking access points.
Weather is a serious consideration as summer afternoon thunderstorms are a real risk and some stretches have no cover. It is open to e-bikes with pedals under a certain power range from dawn to dusk. The pathway from Jackson to Gros Ventre Junction is closed from October 1 to April 30 for wildlife activity. More bike trail resources.
Near the Craig Thomas Discovery & Visitor Center, the Menors Ferry Historic District has 0.3 miles of interweaving paths that wind around the historic buildings. Besides one portion where the path is steep and narrow, the path is overall level and made of chunky asphalt and sometimes packed dirt. Nonetheless, I was able to complete the trail in my power wheelchair. There are no ramps to access Menors General Store or Maud Noble’s cabin.
The Chapel of the Transfiguration in the Menors Ferry Historic District is accessible to wheelchairs, including parking and a barrier-free path to and inside the chapel. The door is standard, but I was able to enter in my power wheelchair.
Mormon Row features two picturesque barns that can best be seen on the southern side of the road. From a dirt parking lot, visitors have the option of wheeling up the flat dirt road.
At the Moose Lodge, visitors will have access to food, beverages, and wheelchair accessible toilets in addition to handicapped parking.
Jenny Lake Area
The network of paved trails around the South Jenny Lake visitor services area meets ABBA standards. Connecting the visitor center to the lakeshore and east boat dock, the trails include a viewpoint where a wheelchair can roll to the edge of Jenny Lake overlooking Mount Teewinot.
The Discovery Trail is a 0.35m/0.56km smoothly paved, 5-foot-wide pathway that runs along Jenny Lake with mountain views. A stone border parallels the edge and various interpretive panels about the surrounding area.
Take a ride on the Jenny Lake Shuttle Boat at the East Boat Dock. Manual wheelchairs are the best for boarding on and off the boat due to a 4–5-inch gap between the ramp and the boat; power wheelchairs are much more challenging. Across the lake, there’s little access or accessible activities, so consider just taking the scenic boat ride. The shuttle boat runs every 10-15 minutes, so reservations are not required.
Many wheelchair accessible parking spots are around Jenny Lake, including van accessible, but they tend to fill up during peak times. Near the main entrance are accessible flush toilet stalls as well as one family-size accessible toilet. Accessible drinking fountains are also in the area along with a gift shop selling some food and drinks too.
String Lake Area
Just above Jenny Lake is String Lake. A 0.5-mile uneven and compacted dirt trail follows the eastern shore of String Lake to the picnic area with a few rustic benches along the way. Continuing north from the String Lake Picnic Area the path climbs a few steps and then has other challenging terrain like rocks and roots. Two vault toilets at the picnic area are accessible, and designated accessible parking is really limited, so come early to get a spot.
Jackson Lake Area
At Jackson Lake Dam a paved overlook trail at the southwest end of the dam offers tremendous views of Jackson Lake and the Teton Range. A few designated parking spots are at one end of the dam, and from them, a paved pathway leads down to the water and also across the dam. Try to avoid the large cracks from the parking area to the trailhead. Signs indicated that the pathway from the parking area to the dam has a grade of 8% and to the lake is 5%. The width and slope of this path do not meet ADA standards. The 5% pathway winds through the trees down to a gazebo and a few benches overlooking Jackson Lake and mountains.
Jackson Lake Dam is also in view, but to wheels across, go back up to the top where the trailhead splits and take the 8% pathway. The 8% paved sidewalk leads down to the paved level pathway across the dam, which will likely be very windy. Across from the handicapped parking spots is an accessible vaulted toilet.
Fishing at Jackson Lake Dam on the Snake River side is also possible. Designated handicapped parking is located along the river. From the parking lot is a wheelchair accessible paved path leading down to the fishing area with multiple spots. Boats can launch into Jackson Lake at Leeks Marina where there’s also handicapped parking and an accessible vaulted toilet.
The beautiful Jackson Lake Lodge has a big outdoor patio with great views of the lake and mountains. Ramps provide barrier-free access inside the scenic log cabin lodge with tall a-frame ceilings and wildlife on display, including a stuffed grizzly bear. Different dining options are possible and a gift shop is also onsite. The Jackson Lake Lodge has wheelchair accessible flush toilets too. A gas station is located near Jackson Lake Lodge.
Colter Bay Area
At the Colter Bay Marina, the 0.3-mile Lakeshore Trail is an asphalt mostly level path that follows the eastern shore of Jackson Lake. After the asphalt portion ends, some people, especially those with power-assisted wheelchairs, may continue on the firm dirt and rock path. Access to the Lakeshore Trail is easiest through the amphitheater north of the Colter Bay Visitor Center, look for two handicapped spots near the start of this entrance.
A general store is also located by the Colter Bay Visitor Center, along with an accessible drinking fountain and flush toilet. The Colter Bay Visitor Center has automatic push-button openers and a gas station is located in the area.
Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve Area
From the Preserve Visitor Center, the compacted dirt trail meanders through trees, a meadow, and over small bridges to an overlook of a small waterfall by the creek. Overlooks of the creek and benches are also along the trail. The accessible portion of the trail ends after a longer bridge when the trail becomes too narrow and rocky.
The round-trip distance from the parking lot to the waterfall is 0.5 miles (0.8 km). At the Preserve Visitor Center are restroom stalls with vaulted toilets, and one on each side that’s wheelchair friendly. Two designated handicapped spots are on a dirt surface outlined by stones.
Signal Mountain Area
Wildlife is often seen along the water from the top of Signal Mountain at either of the two overlooks. Neither overlook has handicapped parking but the parking area and pathways are paved asphalt. During the winter and wet months, Signal Mountain Summit Road is closed to visitors. At the Signal Mountain Overlook is a vaulted toilet marked as accessible but a step prevents accessibility.
The Signal Mountain Overlook is on the tallest point and has an incredibly steep portion on the paved path to the top, which is far from ADA. At the top is a paved platform with views of the valley and Snake River. On the return route with a power wheelchair, I went down the hill backward for more stability, but only experienced hikers should attempt this. The pathway to the Jackson Lake Overlook is a more gradual climb. At the top of the overlook is a level platform but beyond this point the trail becomes inaccessible to an additional viewpoint of Lake Jackson.
The area around Signal Mountain Lodge remains open throughout the year as a spot where visitors can get food and gas. The Chapel of the Sacred Heart is a Catholic Church also located in the Signal Mountain area with a ramp to get inside the building. Two designated handicapped parking spots are closest to the entrance on dirt surfaces, and both are not van accessible. In the parking lot is an accessible vaulted toilet.
Teton Adaptive is located just outside the Grand Teton National Park in Jackson Hole near the Jackson Hole Resort and offers a variety of outdoor activities for people who use wheelchairs or need accessibility.
- Please consider bringing bear spray on any hikes with your dog, as much to defend against ornery moose or bears, as bad dogs.
- Some concessions are offered in the park and there are a few picnic areas. Regardless, always have plenty of water.
- Jackson Hole Mountain Resort features Concerts on the Commons with a variety of performers. Other locations in Jackson Hole offer various music concerts.
- In Downtown Victor on Thursday evenings, there is the Teton Valley “Music on Main” where musicians play on a stage surrounded by local vendors and artwork. There’s a small donation to attend an inviting community event.