If you enjoy landscape photography and outdoor adventure, you need to visit Grand Teton National Park!
There are so many amazing Grand Teton photo spots to capture the jagged peaks of the mountains complimented by the surrounding landscape and wildlife.
Use this guide to create a Grand Teton photography plan for your next vacation.
- Camera Gear for Grand Teton Photography
- Grand Teton Photography Map
- Best Photo Spots at Grand Teton
- Where to Photograph Wildlife
- More Ideas of Pictures to Take at Grand Teton
- Best Places to Photograph Grand Tetons at Sunrise and Sunset
- Grand Teton Photography Tips
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CAMERA GEAR FOR GRAND TETON PHOTOGRAPHY
We’ve learned from past experience to utilize our Camera Gear Checklist to help us pack all the equipment we need – that way we don’t forget anything!
Be sure to pack the following items for taking photos at Grand Teton:
1. Camera: Yep, you’ll need a camera to take photos at Grand Teton! If you’re looking for something new → check out the compact travel cameras we recommend!
2. Tripod: Your Grand Teton photos will turn out much better if you use a tripod. → Check out the tripods we recommend!
3. Camera Bag: Transporting and protecting your camera and accessories is important. → Check out our camera backpack for outdoor photography.
4. Neutral density filter: There will be extreme differences in light during sunrise as the light illuminates the mountains and the valley is still dark. To compensate for this variance of light you’ll need to use a neutral density filter. → Check out the Kase magnetic filters we use!
5. Camera cleaning kit: A quick field cleaning is sometimes necessary to remove dust or water droplets on your lens. NOTE: this is not for cleaning the sensor. → This is the camera cleaning kit we use!
7. External hard drive: Don’t forget to copy the photos to a portable external hard drive ‘just in case’. → Check out these awesome portable external hard drives.
One question we get asked often is where do we buy our camera gear? We really like to buy from B&H PHOTO first, then Amazon.
GRAND TETON PHOTOGRAPHY MAP
Use the map to locate the best locations for photography at the Tetons.
GRAND TETON PHOTOGRAPHY
The different seasons at the park provide an added element to your photos of the Tetons.
Late Spring & Early Summer: the foliage is a vibrant green, the wildflowers are in bloom, the mountains are snow-capped and the wildlife is abundant.
Fall: there’s an explosion of bright colors on the trees, and the wildlife is active getting ready for winter.
Winter: the snow covered landscape and mountains are breathtaking.
No matter what time of year you visit, there are endless opportunities to photograph nature at its best.
BEST PHOTO SPOTS AT GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK
At Oxbow Bend, you want to get the reflection of the Teton mountains in the bend of the Snake River.
PHOTO TIP: The best time to get calm water at Oxbow Bend is usually sunrise/early morning or sunset/evening. If you’re lucky, you’ll have a colorful sky to reflect in the water as well!
We recommend you walk around the area to find different views and perspectives to photograph. We like to capture the view of Oxbow Bend just beyond the parking area.
PHOTO TIP: If the water isn’t too high, follow the trails to the water’s edge and take photos along the bank of the river.
At Oxbow Bend, everyone likes to face the Teton mountains hoping to get that perfect reflection in the water. BUT REMEMBER, always be aware of the scene in front of you AND behind you.
I wonder how many people missed this amazing show of color and reflection in the river behind them!?
There are numerous places along the river at Schwabacher Landing to photograph the reflection of the Tetons in the water.
If this is your first time here, we suggest going to the main parking lot at the end of the road first. There are a few areas along the trail that provide excellent reflections of the distant mountains, as long as the water is still.
PHOTO TIP: If the weather doesn’t cooperate and the water is choppy, take advantage of photographing a stunning landscape scene with water, trees and majestic mountains.
To reach the other photo spot at Schwabacher Landing, drive back along the road and turn into the smaller parking area to the right. Walk down to the river and look for various spots where the Tetons reflect into the water.
Many people stay in the area near the parking lot, but we prefer to walk along the river a bit farther along the river to the other beaver dam that has created a section of calm water.
PHOTO TIP: The morning light right after sunrise is ideal for photography. The soft light makes the mountains and the reflection stand out since the river and surrounding landscape are still in shadow.
We have photographed Schwabacher Landing during the day and at sunset, but feel sunrise is the best since it creates a ‘pop’ of color in the scene.
Snake River Overlook
The Snake River Overlook is the spot where Ansel Adams photographed the bend of the Snake River over 70 years ago, and brought attention to Grand Teton National Park.
The trees have since grown and obstructed the view so you can’t recreate the famous image.
PHOTO TIP: Sunrise and early morning at the Snake River Overlook is the perfect time to take pictures because the soft light on the Teton mountains makes a terrific background element.
PHOTO TIP: The Snake River Overlook is accessible year round so you can take photos here to showcase the different seasons at Grand Teton.
The landscape in the spring and summer is lush and green; in the fall the grasses and foliage change color; and in the winter the landscape is a beautiful snow-covered scene.
Mormon Row – Moulton Barns
Mormon Row is a popular place for photographers. Some of the most iconic images of Grand Teton National Park are taken here.
The historic homesteads here have one of the most scenic backdrops found anywhere in the world!
Mormon Row was established by Mormon settlers in the 1890’s who moved into the Jackson Hole Area from Idaho. There were 27 homesteads established here, and now only 6 homesteads remain standing.
In the 1990’s the cultural value became more apparent and have since been maintained so visitors can appreciate the fascinating past of Jackson Hole.
The two iconic barns at Mormon Row are the T.A. Moulton barn and the John Moulton barn. The T.A. Moulton barn (pointed roof) is south of Antelope Flats road, while the John Moulton barn (rounded roof) is to the north.
PHOTO TIP: Walk around to capture various compositions, angles, and elements of the barns with the surrounding landscape features.
WHERE TO PHOTOGRAPH WILDLIFE AT GRAND TETON
PLEASE FOLLOW the guidelines for viewing wildlife at the Grand Teton and listen to the rangers. Bears are emotional, with varied personalities and tolerance levels around their cubs and prey. Give them space.
- When stopping to view wildlife, pull over in a designated turnout – do not stop on the roadway.
- Maintain a distance of at least 100 yards.
- Help keep bears wild and humans safe – Never feed or approach bears!
It’s up to all of us to know how to enjoy nature and be a responsible visitor.
Where to Find Moose at Grand Teton
Many visitors to Grand Teton National Park hope to see and photograph a moose.
There are a few places we recommend to find and photograph moose at Grand Teton National Park:
- Gros Ventre Road
- Gros Ventre Campground
- Moose Wilson Road
- Willow Springs
Where to Find Bears at Grand Teton
The area around Pilgrim Creek Road is a good place to look for bears in the spring and fall.
PHOTO TIP: You CANNOT get a photo on your cell phone or tablet of a bear that fills the frame image at the designated 100 yard rule set by the National Park Service.
Images you see like the one above are taken with telephoto lenses, typically 400-600mm. When you encounter wildlife and don’t have a telephoto lens, simply enjoy the experience.
Bears can usually be found at these locations in Grand Teton:
- Pilgrim Creek
- Coulter Bay
- Willow Springs
- Signal Mountain
We like to drive around the Pigrim Creek area each morning. Even if we don’t see wildlife, we have wonderful scenery surrounding us!
PHOTO TIP: If you’re looking for a good photo spot for wildflowers, you’ll find there here in the flat open meadows around Pilgrim Creek.
MORE IDEAS OF PICTURES TO TAKE AT GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK
Photograph the Many Grand Teton Lakes
Grand Teton has many lakes that make great landscape subjects. If you can get a relfection of the Teton mountains in the water, that’s an added bonus!
Grand Teton Photos With Old West Elements
Capturing old-time scenes of western cowboy life adds to the story of Grand Teton National Park.
There are many locations with wooden fences, log cabins and old structures to photograph with the Tetons in the background.
Photographing the Red Hills Near Grand Teton
Take a picturesque drive along Gros Ventre Road for about 10 miles to reach Red Hills.
Enjoy the scenery as you travel along the road in the Bridger-Teton National Forest (no fees).
At the base of the hills is the Red Hill ranch that produces top quality horses. We would recommend you turn and go back once you reach the Red Hills. There was really nothing of interest past that point.
SUNRISE AND SUNSET PHOTOGRAPHY AT GRAND TETON
Best Places to Photograph Grand Tetons at Sunrise
When the sun rises at Grand Teton National Park, the light illuminates the Teton mountains. So bascially, anywhere in the park where you can see the Teton mountains, you’ll be able to capture that soft light on them.
Add an interesting foreground subject like a lake, barn, meadow, wildflowers, etc. and you’ve got all the elements you need to compose a beautiful photo in good light.
Here’s a few of our favorite Grand Teton sunrise spots:
- Schwabacher Landing
- Oxbow Bend
- Mormon Row, Moulton Barns
- Snake River Overlook
Best Sunset Photo Spots at Grand Teton
The sun will set behind the Teton mountains which can produce a unique sunburst photo at any location.
But, the magic seems to happen after sunset in the golden or blue hour when you get soft, even light on the landscape scene.
It’s an added bonus when the sky cooperates with colorful clouds at sunset, and even better when you capture that in a reflection.
We enjoy taking sunset pictures at these spots in Grand Teton, hoping for a fantastic reflection photo:
- Oxbow Bend
- Schwabacher Landing
- Jackson Lake
- Jenny Lake
GRAND TETON PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS
Do your research to find the best photo spots at Grand Teton
It’s important to know the best photo spots and best time to photograph each spot at Grand Teton before you arrive. We also like to ‘see’ the general layout of each location so we’ll search the internet, social media and Google Earth to help us plan our photography time before we arrive.
Look up sunrise, sunset and weather for Grand Teton
The best light is morning and evening so it’s important to know the current sunrise and sunset times for the days you’ll be visiting Grand Teton. It’s also important to know the weather forecast. There is an awesome local weather site we use: Mountain Weather.
Landscape and Travel Photography Gear
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- DSLR Cameras for Travel Photography
- Budget Vlogging Cameras
- Best Lightweight Travel Tripods
- Best Tripods for Heavy Lenses
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- Camera Gear Checklist
- Camera Accessories Every Photographer Needs
- Why Filters are Important for Landscape Photography
- Gift Guide for Vloggers: Equipment Every Vlogger Needs