Grand teton or Yellowstone? DEBATE! (friendly)
I’ve only done a drive through on both parks as we had limited time so I’m prob not the best to answer… The mountains in the Tetons were very impressive and I absolutely love hiking! Yellowstone seems more vast with a large variety of features and more tourist traffic… I suppose it matters which you prefer or are looking for!
We spend time in both, and the answer is: the park you’re in at the time…
My personal preference is heavily biased towardsYellowstone. Much more to see, more history, more varied ecosystems. Down side is more people during peak season.
We actually stayed outside of Yellowstone, between Yellowstone and Cody. We enjoyed uncrowded hiking with our dog and saw enough wildlife and scat to keep us entertained. The campgrounds in the National forest are nice and again, not crazy crowded.
The Firefighter hike is a challenging 5 miles uphill to the spot on the ridge where they were overtaken by the 1934 fire, and then a fast 5 miles back. We saw grizzly tracks and fresh scat, and only one other group on horseback.
We have actually started to go to National parks, without actually going in them. Zion is another easy park to stay near, but has tons of amazing hikes around it, where you can take your dog or mountain bike easily. BLM lands are primarily where the hikes are located there.
I would say, to sum up, Grand Teton is a hiker’s park vs Yellowstone as a spectator’s park. That’s not to say you can’t spectate in GTMP and can’t hike in YNP, as people obviously do! The highlights of Yellowstone lend themselves to particular points that are driveable and they are wondrous and otherworldly. The abundance of wildlife is amazing, all you need is a spotting scope, a turn out, and some time.
I live pretty close to Grand Teton, and I probably go several times over the course of the year, vs Yellowstone which is not much further but I only visit once or twice a year, if that. Grand Teton seems to be more of a “do-er” park where the emphasis is on activities. You can cross country ski in the winter to Jenny Lake, you can paddle it in the summer, float the Snake, go hiking on numerous trails, etc.
I think if you had to pick only one, Yellowstone should be it. The features and wildlife are simply indescribable. But really; they are both special in their own ways.