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I love mountains, so it is no surprise that Grand Teton is one of my favorite national parks in the US. With its jagged in-your-face peaks that are reflected in lakes and streams, it’s a scenic candy jar whose beauty is easy to experience. I am sharing 25 of my favorite photos from this park to inspire your next Grand Teton itinerary. The scenery is so point-and-shoot gorgeous, that narrowing the list down to only 25 photos was quite a challenge.
Inspiration for a Grand Teton Itinerary
Grand Teton National Park is not a particularly large park, especially compared to Yellowstone, its neighbor to the north, but it packs a big scenic punch. I have been fortunate to be able to visit it twice in the last few years, both times in the month of September. I found this to be an ideal time of year to be there since the park was not as crowded and the weather was generally pleasant. The end of September has the added advantage of being able to see the aspens and cottonwoods in all of their golden autumn glory.
Grand Teton National Park has three entry points: on the north from Yellowstone National Park, on the east on Hwy 26/287 from Dubois, WY and on the south coming from the town of Jackson, WY.
I am listing my favorite sights in Grand Teton National Park as a driving loop starting in the town of Jackson and heading north on Moose Wilson Road to Teton Park Road to Jackson Lake and then back toward the town of Jackson via US HWY 191.
You could see the major sights in Grand Teton on this loop drive in one day, but I recommend spending at least two days in the park and taking the time do some of the activities available. The many hiking options, biking along the easy bike trail or a rafting trip on the Snake River will give you different perspectives of this beautiful park.
Moose Wilson Road
In this case, the name of a road is quite appropriate. Both times that I drove this stretch of road in Grand Teton NP I was fortunate to see moose (and glimpses of black bears). The scenic Moose Wilson Road is accessible off US HWY 22 which is about 7 miles west of the town of Jackson. Once inside the park, the road snakes its way past marshes and wetlands, a favorite spot for grazing moose. This is a two lane road however, with few parking pull offs, so stopping to take photos could be a challenge. Early morning and late afternoon are good times to try and spot wildlife.
Teton Park Road
At the Moose Junction, the Moose Wilson Road ends and the Teton Park Road begins. I don’t know if there is any other national park road that provides such spectacular mountain scenery with so little effort. The road parallels the Teton Range and has many pull offs and parking areas to stop for photos or just gawk at the majestic scenery. There is also a well paved level bike path that goes along the road which provides another option for slowly taking in these views.
There are many small lakes in Grand Teton National Park, but Jenny Lake is the easiest to get to-the large parking area is just off the Teton Park Road. You can choose to hike the full two mile trail around the lake, or just a small section of it.
When the Teton Park Road ends at US HWY 191, continue north to Jackson Lake Lodge. Even if you are not staying here, it is worth a stop. This is one of my favorite spots to take a break and take in the views of Jackson Lake and the Tetons. On a warm and sunny day, I love to sit out on the Blue Heron Lounge patio and get a snack or a drink while taking in the stunning scenery. If it is not so warm and sunny, the views from the lodge lobby or the Mural Dining room are equally breathtaking.
A little further north on US Hwy 191 is the Leeks Marina on Jackson Lake and past that, the Jackson Lake Overlook, both of which have great expansive views of the mountains reflecting in the lake.
To finish the loop drive, go back south on US Hwy 191 and continue toward the town of Jackson.
Oxbow Bend is a beautiful and popular spot for both sunrise and sunset photos and is one of my favorite spots in the park. It can also be a good spot for wildlife viewing. There is no better place to have a picnic and a bottle of wine with your loved one and watch the sun set over Mount Moran.
You will find Oxbow Bend on US HWY 191 just past the Teton Park Road junction. The road here has a long pull out for parking which fills up during the prime hours of the day.
Snake River Overlook
This view of the Tetons was made famous by Ansel Adams in his classic 1942 photograph. The trees are much bigger now than in his black and white photo of the Snake River, but the Teton Range has not changed. This is another popular early morning photo spot when the sun rise casts an orange glow on the peaks. The viewpoint is easily accessible from a roadside overlook and parking area on US Hwy 191.
Further south on US Hwy 191 is Schwabacher Landing, another great spot for both early morning and sunset photos. There is an easy trail here that meanders along one of the offshoots of the Snake River.
Mormon Row Historic District
Mormon Row, and specifically, the Moulton Barn, is one of the most photographed spots in Grand Teton National Park. At the end of the 19th century, Mormon settlers established 33 homesteads in this area of the valley. By the 1950’s the settlers moved on and the homesteads were sold to the park district.
To get to Mormon Row, turn left on to Antelope Flats Road just before Moose Junction as you are driving south on US Hwy 191. The historic building are about one a a half miles after you turn.
Where to stay in Grand Teton National Park
There are a lot of accommodation options both in and around Grand Teton National Park. I found the following three options to be very convenient in their location. My stays here was clean and comfortable and I can recommend all of them.
I like the Hatchet Resort for its convenient location. It is only a short 15 minute drive from Oxbow Bend on US Hwy 26 which makes it a great spot for starting and ending the day with sunrise and sunset views at the Oxbow Bend overlook.
The historic resort has been recently renovated so that you get the look of rustic log cabins with all the modern amenities. I especially appreciated having a walk in shower. There is also a convenient on site restaurant and bar that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner or just a cooling drink at the end of the day.
Please note that my stay here was hosted by the Hatchet Resort. All content and opinions are my own.
Dorman’s Spur Ranch Cabins
Dorman’s is also conveniently located at the Moose Junction where Teton Park Road meets US Hwy 191. The cabins here are one and two bedroom duplexes with kitchens which makes them a practical option for longer stays or for families. The complex has two restaurants, a store/deli and a wine shop which makes it a good spot to stop if you need to pick up any supplies while in the park.
Headwater’s Lodge and Cabins at Flagg Ranch
This large complex is about 30 minutes north of Jackson Lake Lodge and is a a good option for visiting both Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park. Accommodation options run the full range from cabins, RV sites, tent sites and camper cabins. I had a room in one of the cabins which was quite modern and spacious. The Flagg Ranch also has a restaurant, a gas station and store for basic supplies.
A visit to Grand Teton national Park is often combined with a trip to Yellowstone National Park . I think in one’s eagerness to see Yellowstone, it is easy to short change the amount of time spent in the Teton’s. Hopefully, these photos will convince you to give this beautiful park the time it deserves.
For the most up to date information on visiting Grand Teton National Park please visit https://www.nps.gov/grte/index.htm
Thanks for visiting.