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  • Craig Cooper Photography

5 Unbelievable Winter Photography Spots in Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park boasts a growing reputation of being one of the most beautiful and prominent locations for outdoor and adventure photographers around the world. With an abundance of wildlife and towering views of the Teton Mountains, opportunities for creating stunning art lie right at your fingertips.

Grand Teton National Park offers photography opportunities during all months of the year, with each season being unique in its own right. The foliage during spring and summer is stunning and flourishing. During fall, the impressive landscapes turn vibrant colors of red and orange, and wildlife is abundant as they begin to prepare for the harsh winter ahead.

Although all seasons in the park are beautiful, winter is incomparable. The valleys fill with blankets of snow, while the snow-capped peaks are on full display.

Most of my favorite locations in the park are conveniently located. These locations are a short drive from Jackson, are easily accessible and most are located off Highway 89, the main highway from Jackson heading to Yellowstone National Park.

Photography Essentials in Grand Teton National Park

Other than your camera, it is essential to have certain items before venturing out into the park to capture nature's beauty:

  • Tripod - I always carry my tripod to ensure high quality images without camera shake.

  • Varying Lenses - I like to have options when photographing nature, especially wildlife.

  • Camera Bag - If carrying more than one lens, I recommend having a camera bag for easy access.

  • Filters - I consistently use a neutral density filter to ensure desirable lighting, especially during sunrise and sunset shoots. UV filters are also a good idea to use during shoots with a high percentage of UV rays.

  • Cleaning Kit - Dust spots can ruin an image. It is important to have a camera kit that includes tools such as a blower and cleaner to ensure all dust is removed from the sensor before and during a shoot.

  • Memory Cards - It is never a bad idea to have memory card backups!

5 Unbelievable Photography Spots in Grand Teton National Park

I have assembled a map, below, of the 5 locations covered in this blog post:

  • Mormon Row - T.A. Moulton Barn

  • Snake River Overlook

  • National Elk Refuge

  • Anywhere Along Highway 89

  • Jackson Lake

Mormon Row - T.A. Moulton Barn

Some of the most infamous images of Grand Teton National Park are taken at Mormon Row, featuring a number of historic barns and landmarks with some of the most magnificent backdrops in the park.

Established in the 1890's by Mormon homesteaders from Idaho, Mormon Row features John Moulton Barn and T.A. Moulton Barn, which have easily become two of the most famous barns in North America.

Mormon Row can be reached by car during most months of the year. Driving north on Highway 89 from Jackson, Mormon Row can be accessed by turning right onto Antelope Flat Road soon after reaching Moose Junction. During the winter months, a short hike might be required if the road is closed.

Snake River Overlook

The view from Snake River Overlook is also one of the most desired views in the park, made famous by Ansel Adams in his iconic 1942 image.

Snake River Overlook is one of the finest locations for photographers who desire to capture the sun rising over the peaks of the massive Teton's. The view is stunning during all months, but the beauty is heightened during winter, providing an accentuated view of the snow-covered valley and impressive peaks.

Snake River Overlook provides stunning views of the Teton Mountains and is the perfect location for sunrise photography opportunities.

National Elk Refuge

The National Elk Refuge was established in 1912 in order to provide a sanctuary for one of the largest elk herds on the planet. Today the refuge is home to not only elk but an abundance of wildlife such as moose, coyote, bison, bald eagles, and even wolves.

During winter, thousands of elk descend into the valley and can easily be spotted in the snow, especially in the morning and evening hours. Sleigh rides allow visitors to see the elk up close, which are offered from December - April and can be purchased at the Jackson Hole & Greater Yellowstone Visitor's Center on N. Cache street in Jackson.

During these winter months, bull elk also lose their antlers, resulting in antlers being scattered throughout the refuge. The antlers are then gathered and used to provide the famous arches that are located in Jackson's town square downtown.

The winter months also provide an opportunity to spot big horn sheep that gather along Elk Refuge Road and up onto Miller Butte, seeking protection from the harsh winter wind and temperatures.

Coyote hunting in the snow.

Coyote can be seen during all months in the National Elk Refuge.

Big horn sheep gather along Miller Butte during the winter months.

Bull elk shed their antlers during the winter months, which are then gathered to provide the famous arches in Jackson's town square.

Highway 89

There are ample opportunities to capture stunning images along Highway 89 from Jackson, heading towards Yellowstone National Park.

There are numerous places to pull over along the way and overlooks to take advantage of, which provide a great opportunity to capture some of the beauty that the park has to offer.

The frosted, winter landscapes also provide an opportunity to spot wildlife along the way. During my trip I was able to spot a bison along the highway before reaching Jackson Lake. Moose are often spotted grazing in the valley near Moose Junction during the morning and evening hours, and can sometimes be spotted resting in the brush during the daytime hours.

Views of the Teton Mountains are impressive along Highway 89.

Sunrise on the Teton Mountains, taken along Highway 89.

Be on the lookout for charming photo opportunities along the route.

A bison, viewed along Highway 89 heading towards Yellowstone National Park.

A moose resting in the valley along the highway.

Jackson Lake

Jackson Lake is located in the northwestern area of the park and can be enjoyed during all months of the year, especially during the summer months. Summer allows for outdoor recreational activities such as boating or kayaking, but winter also provides some opportunities to enjoy the lake as well.

During the winter months the lake freezes, becoming a winter wonderland full of activities for the more adventurous photographer or visitor. Jackson Lake is a popular location during winter for snowshoe hiking, skiing and even ice fishing for those with a fishing license.

The shores of Jackson Lake, even during the winter, provide some of the most vast, panoramic views in the park of the entire Teton Mountain Range.

To reach Jackson Lake from Jackson, drive north on Highway 89 towards Moran. Upon reaching Moran, turn left onto John D. Rockefeller Jr Parkway and continue until you reach Jackson Lake.

Panoramic views of the Teton Mountains, viewed from a frozen Jackson Lake.

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