In October, Stephanie and I packed up our favorite travel and photography gear and headed on a much-needed vacation to Wyoming with the Schloe Travels family! Our goal was to hike as many miles as possible. We did approximately 32 miles in two days (my pregnant wife has no quit in her!). And, watch the sunrise in stunning locations in the Grand Tetons.
The Grand Tetons are full of amazing locations to watch the sunrise. Although, after a lot of research, little sleep, and a few unforgettable cold mornings, we are convinced that these 4 stunning sunrise locations in the Grand Tetons are some of the best sunrise vantage points in any national park.
1. Mormon Row
If you want the iconic stunning Grand Tetons sunrise shot, you HAVE to go to Mormon Row. Mormon Row is two perfectly preserved barns built in the early 1900s located in the Antelope Flats region of the Grand Tetons. Located just 23 minutes from the lovely Mountain Modern Motel in Jackson, WY, the TA Moulton Barn was our first sunrise location. This barn is the most photographed barn in America and probably the world. And, it’s easy to see why. Watching the alpenglow on the majestic Tetons was something I will never forget. Also, be aware of large animals, a bull moose walked right up towards us before it was chased off by some excited tourists.
2. Schwabacher Landing
Located just 12 minutes from Mormon Row is Schwabacher Landing (say that name 5 times fast). Drive down a windy dirt road to this off-the-beaten-path location on the Snake River and also just 20 minutes from Jackson. It is easy to miss the turn-off, however, Google Maps had no trouble finding it.
Schwabacher’s Landing offers numerous stunning sunrise locations throughout the area. Venture along the trails on the riverbank, and you are sure to find unobstructed views of the Tetons with beautiful reflections on the Snake River. Apparently, this is also a beautiful sunset location as well. Guess we will have to go back!
3. Snake River Overlook
Snake River Overlook is the location of Ansel Adams’s iconic image from 1942 that is the photo mural for the Department of the Interior Building in Washington, DC. Unfortunately, the trees have grown up to obscure the view that Ansel photographed, but it is still absolutely amazing. The overlook is located 27 minutes from Jackson. Get there early to set up your tripod, and enjoy the sound of the bull elk bugle in the distance as you prepare for a beautiful panoramic shot. Keep your eyes open, you may see the elk crossing the river below.
4. Oxbow Bend
Oxbow Bend is the last of our 4 stunning sunrise locations in the Grand Tetons, and some would say we saved the best for last. Located 45 minutes from our cozy motel room on the way to Yellowstone, we decided to save this location for last. Oxbow Bend of the Snake River is one of the most popular places in the Grand Tetons. The location offers another stunning reflection of Mount Moran and the Tetons. Visit in the fall, and be blown away by the fall foliage reflecting in the river. Unfortunately, we did not make it here for sunrise. But, if you are planning for a sunrise photo session, make sure you get there early.
Grand Tetons Photography Tips
2. Know sunrise times and the weather forecast. I like to be prepared and early to everything (which my wife hates). However, it’s worth it to add some extra time to make sure you can find the perfect spot before the sun rises while beating the crowds.
3. A neutral density filter would be helpful to compensate for the exposure difference of the dark valley and first light on the Tetons. Don’t be like us, and forget it at home.
4. Bring a tripod. Also, accidentally left at home.
5. Meet people. We had a blast talking with and learning from other adventurers and photographers.
6. Be animal aware and be smart about it. Chasing a moose to try and get a selfie is an easy way to get yourself injured and make everyone else angry when the moose runs away. This happens.
These are just 4 stunning sunrise locations in the Grand Tetons, however, we are sure there are more. Let us know your favorite spots to watch the sunrise in the Grand Tetons in the comments below!
If you have been following along with my latest book recommendations, then you know that I have been obsessed with all of Jack Carr’s books. I read his latest book, Savage Son, during our Wyoming adventures. It was epic.