You’ll find many amazing sunrise photography spots in Grand Teton National Park to capture the jagged peaks of the mountains complimented by the surrounding landscape and wildlife.
Use this Grand Teton National Park guide to help you plan taking sunrise photos at the park.
We share our tips to help you photograph Grand Teton National Park at sunrise. This guide includes a list of sunrise locations, where to photograph wildlife and recommended camera gear to take photos at Grand Teton National Park!
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Camera Gear for Landscape Photography
- Camera: check out the compact travel cameras we recommend!
- Tripod: take a look at these compact and lightweight travel tripods!
- Camera Bag: protect your camera from sand and water → We use Lowepro camera backpacks for outdoor photography.
- Neutral density filter: to compensate for variance of light you’ll need to use a neutral density filter. → Check out the Kase magnetic filters we use!
- Camera cleaning kit: remove dust or water that WILL get on your lens. NOTE: this is not for cleaning the sensor.
- Memory cards: purchase name brand memory cards since you’re trusting your images to the card! → We use Lexar and Sandisk!
- External hard drive: copy photos to a portable external hard drive ‘just in case’.
- Headlamp: use when taking sunrise and sunset photos!
A Photo Tour of Grand Teton National Park
Take a visual tour through Grand Teton National Park to see the stunning landscape and wildlife you’ll find in the park!
Grand Teton Seasonal Photography
Keep in mind the various Grand Teton National Park weather and seasonal elements can enhance photos.
- Grand Teton National Park in the Spring: late spring the foliage is a vibrant green, the mountains are snow-capped and the wildlife is abundant.
- Grand Teton National Park in Summer: early summer is a great time for wildflowers!
- Grand Teton in the Fall: colorful fall foliage on the trees and more wildlife sightings as they are getting ready for winter.
- Grand Teton National Park in the Winter: the landscape and mountains covered with snow are breathtaking.
Time of year is important when deciding the Best Time to Visit Grand Teton National Park for landscape photography.
Be sure you’ve looked up the right time for sunrise and the weather forecast for Grand Teton each morning.
Map of Grand Teton Photo Spots
Here’s a Grand Teton photo spots map to help you navigate through the park.
Sunrise Photography Spots in Grand Teton National Park
As you research the best photo spots at Grand Teton for sunrise, it helps to ‘see’ the general layout of each location. You can search the internet, social media and Google Earth to help plan your photography time before you arrive.
When the sun rises at Grand Teton National Park, the first light illuminates the tops of the Teton mountains. Anywhere in the park where you can see the Teton range, you’ll be able to capture that golden hour light on them.
Here are some helpful tips for taking Grand Teton National Park sunrise photos:
Oxbow Bend at Sunrise
The goal at Oxbow Bend is to photograph the reflection of the Grand Teton mountains in the bend of the Snake River when the water is calm so you get that perfect still water reflection.
Looking at Oxbow Bend from the parking area, the best light you find near sunrise illuminates the mountain peaks.
There are many vantage points to capture different views and perspectives. If the water isn’t too high, follow the trails to the water’s edge and take photos along the bank of the river.
Oxbow Bend is also a great place to capture sunset photos at Grand Teton! The image below was taken at Oxbow Bend, but looking the opposite direction of the mountains.
Schwabacher Landing at Sunrise
We really enjoy capturing sunrise images at Schwabacher Landing. It’s a popular spot to photograph the reflection of the Tetons in the water, especially at sunrise.
There are many areas at Schwabacher Landing to get great photos! Here’s where we like to go.
From the main parking lot at the end of the road, walk along the trail to look for reflections of the distant mountains in the water.
If the light and weather don’t cooperate and the water is choppy, you can still capture stunning landscape photos!
We found a perfect spot at Schwabacher’s Landing especially for sunrise. Drive back along the road and turn into the smaller parking area to the right.
Many people stay in the area near the parking lot, but we suggest you walk a bit farther down the river to the other beaver dam that has created a section of calm water.
It’s now one of our favorite spots to photograph the Grand Teton sunrise. The mountains and reflection stand out since the river and surrounding landscape are still in shadow.
The soft light at sunrise makes this a fantastic Grand Teton photo spot! 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 at Sunrise
The Snake River Overlook has been made popular by Ansel Adams, but the trees have since grown from 70 years ago when Ansel took his photo so you can’t get the exact shot he did.
At sunrise and early morning here you’ll catch the soft light on the peaks of the Teton mountains.
It’s fun to photograph the different seasons at this location since it’s accessible year round.
In the spring and summer months the landscape is lush and green. In the fall the grasses and foliage in the scene showcase autumn colors. In the winter the snow-covered scene displays a unique landscape that’s so beautiful!
Mormon Row – Moulton Barns at Sunrise
Mormon Row was established by Mormon settlers in the 1890’s who moved into the Jackson Hole area from Idaho. At the time there were 27 homesteads here, but now only 6 remain standing today.
This area is one of the popular places at Grand Teton National Park because the iconic Moulton barn and homes have the most amazing background found anywhere in the world!
To avoid the crowds, we recommend sunrise and early morning to take pictures here.
The T.A. Moulton barn has a pointed roof, as seen above, and is located south of Antelope Flats road.
The John Moulton barn has a more rounded roof and can be found to the north of the road along with the other homestead buildings.
Grand Teton Wildlife Photography at Sunrise
Before you head out to take photos of the wildlife, be aware of the guidelines for viewing wildlife at Grand Teton and always listen to the rangers.
- When stopping to view wildlife, pull over in a designated turnout – do not stop on the roadway.
- Be aware of, and keep, the recommended distance from wildlife.
- Help keep bears wild and humans safe – never feed or approach bears!
- Carry bear spray! You can easily buy a can in Jackson Hole.
We’ve put together some tips and resources for Grand Teton Wildlife photography:
- Best cameras for wildlife photography
- Best tripods for wildlife photography
- Best tripod head for wildlife photography
- Best lenses for wildlife photography
Photographing Moose at Sunrise
Remember to respect their space and keep a distance of 25 yards when you want to photograph moose. It’s also important to understand the size of moose. A bull moose can be as tall as 7 feet and weigh as much as 1800 pounds! You do not want to have a moose running at you at 30 miles per hour!
You’ll need to be extra careful around moose if there’s a baby moose in the area (in the spring) and during rutting season (in the fall).
Be aware of these warning signs that a moose is stressed and may attack:
- Stops normal behavior and makes eye contact with you
- Ears are laid back and hair on the back of neck, back or hips is raised
- Head is lowered
- Smacks lips or teeth
- Whipping of head back and forth or stomping on the ground
Sunrise is the perfect time of day to photograph moose because they can bed down for the day as early as 9 am. There are a few places we recommend for wildlife viewing to photograph moose at Grand Teton National Park:
- Gros Ventre Road
- Gros Ventre Campground
- Moose Wilson Road
- Willow Springs
Photographing Bears at Sunrise
The grizzly bears and black bears at Grand Teton are active in the morning so we usually take our sunrise landscape photos, then head out to look for wildlife right after.
When photographing wildlife, you CANNOT get a photo on your cell phone or tablet of a bear that fills the frame if you’re at the designated distance of 100 yards set by the National Park Service.
Images like that are taken with telephoto lenses, typically 400-600mm.
We really like this affordable 500mm lens for photographing wildlife! You can also rent a large lens for wildlife outings – we rented an 800mm lens for our Yellowstone and Grand Teton trip and loved it!
Bears can usually be found at these locations in Grand Teton:
- Pilgrim Creek
- Coulter Bay
- Willow Springs
- Signal Mountain
You can also book Grand Teton wildlife and photography tours. We recommend a private tour so you are in control of where you stop and how long you stay at each photo spot.
Plan a Grand Teton Vacation
- Grand Teton National Park Guide
- Things to do in Grand Teton National Park any time of year
- Best Time to Visit Grand Teton National Park
- Photograph Grand Teton National Park
- Grand Teton TOURS
Where to Stay in Jackson near Grand Teton:
Here’s a list of our favorite places to stay:
- Elk Refuge Inn – this is right across from the refuge and the closes hotel to the park entrance – our favorite place to stay!
- Elk Country Inn – awesome property if you want to be in town.
- Vacation Rentals near Grand Teton – we LOVE having a kitchen to prepare our meals!
- Hotels in Jackson Hole