Grand Teton National Park is a photographer’s paradise. Every corner and every stop, gives jaw-dropping views of the mountainous terrain. At over 13,000 feet, the V-shape mountains carved by glaciers, are a photographer’s dream. With Snake River in the foreground, the valley between the mountain range and the river gives the most majestic scenery. Here are the top list of stops you must make while visiting Grand Teton National Park:
Starting from the northern entrance, from Greater Yellowstone, your first stop should be Jackson Lake. There are several overlooks along the John D. Rockerfeller Jr. Parkway, but the best among them all is the Jackson Lake Overlook. With towering mountains right behind the lake, this spot gives you the best 180 degree views. Along the way there are several other stops that are worth seeing. If you’re interested in any boating activities, Colter Bay Village Marina is highly recommended. Services are only available during certain times of the year. Make sure to contact the visitor center, prior to arrival. With calm reflective waters, this stop is definitely worth making. On the other hand, if you’re looking to take a short hike, stop at the Jackson Lake Lodge. Look for Lunch Tree Hill, a short walk from the lodge, and enjoy a picnic with a view. If you didn’t bring a packed lunch, grab a bite at the Jackson Lake Lodge. Lunch is served between 11:30am – 1:00pm inside the Mural Dining Room. Ask for a window table for the most incredible views of Willow Flats.
Continue south from John D. Rockerfeller Jr. Parkway onto highway 89. About 1.5 miles from Teton Park Road is a pullout called Oxbow Bend Turnout. You’ll want to scramble down to the river to get the best photo of the river bend. With the mountains in the background, this spot is a popular spot for photographers. As you continue towards Moran, you’ll want to make a right onto US Highway 191. As you drive down this road, you’ll notice the mountain right in front of you. Make frequent stops here. The one stop worth mention along this road is the Schwabachers Landing Road. There are no signs directing to this dirt road. You will notice an open gate, so make sure to drive slow. If you’ve reached Glacier View Turnout, then you’ve gone too far. Turn around and drive about half a mile. The dirt road will be on the left. Drive pass the first parking lot and get to the end of the road to the second parking lot. Once you’ve parked, there is a trail leading along the Snake River. Don’t forget the cameras. This will be the most scenic trail you’ll hike in all of Grand Teton.
Once you get back to the highway, make a quick stop at the Antelope Flats Road for the classic iconic postcard photo of Grand Teton. Here, you will find the infamous Morman Row Historic District. Continue onward towards Moose. Just a few minutes pass Moose, is the Grand Teton National Park Entrance. Drive towards Jenny Lake, and make a left on Jenny Lake Road. You’ll want to make a stop at the Cathedral Turnout as well as the Jenny Lake Overlook. If you’re up for an adventurous hike, park your car at the Jenny Lake Trailhead parking lot via Lupine Meadows Road. Take the Jenny Lake Trail towards Hidden Falls. This is a 4 mile hike, so make sure to bring some water. You’ll get amazing views of the lake as you hike the perimeter. As you continue, you’ll start to cut back into the canyon, and from here, it is only about a quarter mile until you’ve reached the falls. After your hike through Jenny Lake, continue on Teton Park Road and head up Signal Mountain. The Signal Mountain Road is extremely narrow. On-coming traffic will not be visible on some turns, proceed with caution. Make sure to stop at both viewpoints up here.
After Signal Mountain, backtrack towards Jenny Lake, and notice the majestic mountains in front of you. Head towards Moose, and take the Moose Wilson Road. This 7.7 mile dirt road is closed during winter. A 4X4 is recommended if the roads are muddy. Do not take this road, if rain or flash flooding is predicted in the forecast. 4 miles south of Moose, on the Moose Wilson Road, is the Rockerfeller Preserve. Take a short hike to Phelps Lake. Once you’ve reached Teton Village, take the gondola up for the most amazing aerial views of the Jackson Hole.
Where to Stay. Booking a lodge inside the park may be quite difficult during the summer. If Jenny Lake Lodge and Jackson Lake Lodge are unavailable, try you luck either in the Teton Village or Hatchet. Although it’s a little further, we highly recommend the Hatchet Resort. Gas, lodging, and food are all available on the property. The restaurant serves exquisite food. If the Caribou Medallions are available, order it! This restaurant exceeded our expectations. If Hatchet is too far, try the Alpenhof Hotel in Teton Village. Even though the rooms are a bit outdated, the fancy breakfast served complimentary was well worth our stay. If possible, eat dinner at the fine dining bistro. Again, the food exceeded our every expectations.