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Grand Teton National Park is a photographer’s dream! The scenery is so dramatic with the craggy peaks rising above the flat plains and Snake River winding its way through the pine forests and lush meadows. If you love taking photos, you will not be able to stop! Here are the best photography locations in Grand Teton National Park.
Are you planning a trip to Grand Teton? The best way to get started exploring Grand Teton is to take the 42-Mile Scenic Loop Drive in Grand Teton National Park (24 Stops You Can’t Miss), which winds around the park and takes you to some of the best viewpoints.
- 1. Grand Teton National Park At-A-Glance
- 2. 6 Best Photography Locations in Grand Teton
- 2.1. Mormon Row - The Most Famous Sunrise Photography Location in Grand Teton
- 2.2. Oxbow Bend Turnout - The Most Iconic Photography Location in Grand Teton
- 2.3. Schwabacher Landing - The Best Sunrise Photography Location in Grand Teton
- 2.4. Snake River Overlook - The Most Famous Photography Location in Grand Teton
- 2.5. Hermitage Point - The Most Spectacular View of the Grand Tetons
- 2.6. Signal Mountain - The Best Sunset Photography Location in Grand Teton
- 3. How to Take the Best Photos at Sunrise or Sunset in Grand Teton
- 4. Intrepid Scout's Tips on Best Photography Locations in Grand Teton
6 Best Photography Locations in Grand Teton
Mormon Row - The Most Famous Sunrise Photography Location in Grand Teton
Mormon Row is a famous spot for sunrise photography in Grand Teton National Park. I have to honestly say that it is one of my favorite spots to photograph the Teton Mountain Range bathed in the morning sunlight!
Thomas Alma Moulton Barn with the pointed roof is no doubt one of the most photographed barns in the world!
Thomas Alma Moulton Barn with the pointed roof / Best Photography Locations in Grand Teton
John Moulton Barn with the rounded roof in front of the towering Tetons is one of the most iconic sights.
And, when the first rays of sun start peeking above the horizon, they bring out the most beautiful shades of gold of the historic barns. The barns create a stunning image with the Tetons in the background!
Mormon Row in Grand Teton / Best Photography Locations in Grand Teton
How to Get to Mormon Row in Grand Teton
To get to Mormon Row in Grand Teton National Park, start driving north from Jackson on Hwy 191/89/26 past Moose Junction and turn right onto Antelope Flats Road.
Follow the road for about 1.5 miles until you see a north-south running dirt road marked by a distinctive pink stucco house on the left with a small dirt parking area. A trail brochure and interpretive sign can be found in the parking lot.
Oxbow Bend Turnout - The Most Iconic Photography Location in Grand Teton
Oxbow Bend is one of the most iconic photography locations in Grand Teton National Park.
You get to photograph the Grand Tetons and Mount Moran reflected in the Snake River.
Oxbow Bend Turnout / Best Photography Locations in Grand Teton
Oxbow Bend is a great location to capture both great sunrises and awesome sunsets. My recommendation is to be at Oxbow Bend about 30 minutes before sunrise. You will get to see how the light gradually changes the view. It is pretty spectacular!
If you miss the sunrise, then get to Oxbow Bend as early as possible to make sure that the waters of the Snake River are perfectly still. It usually gets windy later on in the day and it is hard to capture these reflections. Also, if you are visiting in the fall, then you will get a chance to photograph the gold, yellow, and orange colors of the trees, which contrast beautifully with the mountains in the background.
If you are visiting in the fall, then the colors of the changing leaves contrast beautifully with the mountains in the background / Best Photography Locations in Grand Teton
Oxbow Bend is a great place to see bald eagles, trumpeter swans, and osprey. In addition, you might get a chance to see otters, beavers, and muskrats swimming in the waters of the Snake River.
Fingers crossed, Oxbow Bend is a perfect location to see and photograph moose!
How to Get to Oxbow Bend Turnout
Oxbow Bend Turnout is located on highway 191/89/26 between Jackson Lake Junction and Moran Junction. Specifically, it is located about 3 miles from Moran Junction, and about 2 miles from Jackson Lake Junction.
Schwabacher Landing - The Best Sunrise Photography Location in Grand Teton
Schwabacher’s Landing is another very popular spot to photograph the Grand Teton Mountains.
My recommendation is to take time and find your perfect spot. There is a trail that starts at the parking lot and goes along Snake River. So, plenty of great photo opportunities to photograph Tetons reflected in the water.
At about two-tenths of a mile from the parking lot, you will get to a beaver dam. This spot is the best place to see some wildlife. Be on the lookout for moose, elk, and bison that like to graze in the grassy meadows along the river. It is a perfect place to see bald eagles, osprey, and great blue herons.
Schwabacher Landing is a very popular place to photograph the Grand Teton Mountains at sunrise. You will have a lot of company at that location! Make sure to arrive early so you can claim the best spot.
How to Get to Schwabacher Landing
Schwabacher’s Landing is located about 4 miles north of Moose Junction on HWY 191/89/26.
It is easy to miss the turn-off HWY 191/89/26 that leads to the trailhead. So, make sure to slow down and be on the lookout for the sign pointing to Schwabacher Landing.
Once you make the turn, continue for about 1 mile. Unfortunately, it will be just a dirt road, so slow down and watch out for potholes.
The parking area is a good size, so you should have no problems finding a spot to park your vehicle.
Snake River Overlook - The Most Famous Photography Location in Grand Teton
Snake River Overlook was the shooting location for Ansel Adams’ famous black-and-white photo which he took in 1942. It is one of the best-known and most critically acclaimed photographs.
Now, the tree growth obstructs the view of Snake River. However, no matter whether the view of the river has changed since 1942, it is still one of the most iconic views of the Tetons.
Again, it is a very popular spot at sunrise. So, make sure to arrive early and get the best view. Also, plan on staying for a while, because the colors are constantly changing as more sunlight hits the mountains.
View of Tetons from Snake River Overlook / Best Photography Locations in Grand Teton
It is amazing how the view changes from before sunrise to during sunrise.
View of Tetons from Snake River Overlook during sunrise / Best Photography Locations in Grand Teton
How to Get to Snake River Overlook
Snake River Overlook is located just off Hwy 191/89/26 between Moran Junction and Moose Junction. Specifically, it is located about 11.3 miles south of Moran Junction, and about 9 miles north of Moose Junction.
Hermitage Point - The Most Spectacular View of the Grand Tetons
Hermitage Point offers unsurpassed views of the Teton Range. It is a bit of a hike to get to Hermitage Point. However, it is a fairly easy and fun hike with lots of opportunities to take great photos along the way.
To top it off, Hermitage Point Trail passes by Heron Pond and Half Moon Bay Overlook.
Heron Pond is quite a sight when it is covered with lilies. Moreover, it is an awesome area to spot some wildlife.
And, Half Moon Bay Overlook offers some best views of the Teton Mountains. When you are hiking between Half Moon Bay Overlook and Hermitage Point, you will have endless opportunities to capture the most incredible photos of the Teton Range!
The view of the Teton Range on Hermitage Point Trail / Best Photography Locations in Grand Teton
The Teton Range from Hermitage Point Trail / Best Photography Locations in Grand Teton
How to Get to Hermitage Point in Grand Teton National Park
The hike to Hermitage Point begins from the Hermitage Point Trailhead.
The Hermitage Point Trailhead is located at the south end of the Colter Bay Visitor Center. To get to the trailhead, drive about 5.4 miles from the Jackson Lake Junction to the Colter Bay Visitor Center.
Now, if you are going to do this hike, then make sure to check out my post 11 Fun and Easy Hikes in Grand Teton with Stunning Views. Hermitage Point Trail is described in detail.
Signal Mountain - The Best Sunset Photography Location in Grand Teton
The observation area at Signal Mountain Summit offers some incredible views of the Tetons at sunset.
By the way, there are two parking lots. I always head straight to the second one and then, I make my way down to capture some awesome photos!
View of the Teton Range from Sunset Mountain at sunset / Best Photography Locations in Grand Teton
How to Get to Signal Mountain in Grand Teton National Park
First of all, turn left off Teton Park Road into Signal Mountain Road. Next, drive for about 5 miles to the summit where there is an observation area.
Signal Mountain Road is a narrow two-way traffic road with no painted lines and lots of curves that create poor visibility of incoming traffic and even wildlife. However, it is in good condition and well-maintained.
Please make a note that trailers and RVs are prohibited on this road.
How to Take the Best Photos at Sunrise or Sunset in Grand Teton
Sunrise is the best time to photograph Grand Teton National Park. However, sunsets can be as spectacular!
Actually, to be specific, the best light is about 15-30 minutes before sunrise or 10-15 minutes after sunset. It is the proverbial “golden hour” during which the daylight is softer and redder. Needless to say, it is the time during which the Tetons start to glow.
So how do get the best photos of the Tetons at sunrise or sunset? Here are some recommendations:
- Choose a Low to Mid-Range ISO
When shooting a sunrise or sunset, you’ll generally want to use a low to mid-range ISO setting, like 200, 400, or 800. During sunrise or sunset, there’s less available light than in the middle of the day, so going with one of these ISO settings rather than the lowest possible (which is typically 100 on most cameras) will give you some leeway when choosing your aperture and shutter speed while still providing a high-quality image.
- Choose a High Aperture
Most people will choose to use a high aperture, such as f/11, f/16 or higher when taking sunset photos. This allows for greater depth of field (the zone within a picture that appears in focus) so that everything from the foreground to the background will be sharply in focus. However, there’s no rule against lowering the aperture to achieve a certain creative effect.
- Determine a Shutter Speed
With your ISO and aperture set, it’s time to choose the shutter speed that will give you the proper exposure. Keep an eye on your light meter while adjusting the shutter speed and when it reads “0,” it’s telling you the exposure is correct. To make this really simple, put your camera in aperture priority mode (if it has it) and your camera will automatically select the shutter speed that will work best for proper exposure.
Also, consider that if your shutter speed gets too low you may need a tripod to prevent blurring caused by the shake of your hands. The general guideline for determining the lowest usable handheld shutter speed is to look at your lens focal length and use a tripod for any shutter speeds lower than that number. For example, if your lens has a focal length of 50mm, you should be able to shoot at 1/50 of a second without getting handshake blurring, but you’ll want to use a tripod for speeds slower than that.
- Bracket Your Exposures
Relying on your camera’s light meter to get the best shot can sometimes produce mediocre results, especially during sunrise or sunset when you’re trying to expose the bright sun on the horizon and darker subjects in the foreground. To get the best exposure, try a technique called bracketing. Bracketing involves taking several pictures exposed above and below what your camera suggests.
- Expand Your Subject Matter
When you’re out taking pictures of a sunrise or sunset, it’s natural to be captivated by a vibrant horizon line and let that be the only thing you include in your photo. But, when you look at the photos later, you might find that while the colors cast by the sun are stunning, the images lack the splendor of the scene that you saw with your own eyes. This is often because the images don’t include elements that provide a sense of scale, depth, and originality. Next time, try taking a step back and incorporating things like trees, people, rocks, water, or other natural features in the foreground and middle ground. Also, consider that sometimes a beautiful photo of a sunrise or sunset doesn’t even include the sun itself. While you’re shooting, take a moment to look around and notice how the golden light of sunrise spreads across the valley below or how the pink hues of sunset are painted on the surrounding peaks. Force yourself to look beyond the burning orb in the sky and find creative ways to add interest to your images.