Grand Teton National Park is located north of the town of Jackson in northwestern Wyoming and is only 10 miles away from Yellowstone National Park. Lodging options in the park include hotel/motel rooms, rustic cabins and tent cabins, and five campgrounds are open during the summer months on a first-come, first-served basis.
Grand Teton is so wildlife-diverse that it makes you feel like you’re entering a different world. The breathtaking mountain range is straight out of a fairy tale. The closer you get to it the more surreal it seems—like spires from another world. Contrast this with the beautiful river, ponds, grassland and animals, and it makes for an unbelievable experience.
One of the most popular landscape photography spots in the park is Schwabacher’s Landing. Located on the Snake River, this location is easily accessible from a dirt road off Highway 89. A four-mile hiking trail along flat terrain offers numerous photo opportunities, and otter, deer, coyote, antelope and eagle sightings are common, just to name a few.
The weather in the Tetons is just as diverse as the wildlife. You certainly have all four seasons. My favorite experiences in the park are during the fall, when the trees are a bright yellow and the weather is just cool enough to be enjoyable without it being too hot. You get just about everything you would ever want during the fall in the Tetons. Snow is expected in the valley and mountains through the winter months and into May, and roads may be closed during severe storms. The summer months offer warm days and cool nights with the occasional thunderstorm, so rain gear is recommended.
The best part for me about exploring the Teton Valley is navigating the areas that can potentially have big animals. I was hiking down the path near Schwabacher’s Landing when I noticed a female moose walking down the same path I was taking, except walking directly toward me. I had enough time to back away and keep a safe distance as to not seem like a threat. She then went into the water, and that’s when I noticed two of her calves following behind her. She stayed in the water while her calves were on the riverbank on the other side. The most unique thing about this picture is that I used my widest angle—not very typical in wildlife photography!
The best times I have in Teton Valley are when I wake up to a cool fall morning, slip out of my tent, grab some coffee and hit my favorite spots for morning sunrise pictures. There aren’t many things more beautiful than watching the sun rise over Teton Valley during a crisp autumn morning. Even if you don’t get that once-in-a-lifetime picture, it’s certainly worth it for the experience alone.