Visiting one of the best spots for sunrise in Grand Teton National Park is one of the best ways to appreciate the park’s extraordinary beauty. The morning glow brings some of the most striking features of the park alive.
From the epic snow-capped Grand Teton Mountain Range to the vast lush landscapes, there is no better thing to do in Grand Teton National Park than watch the sunrise.
Below we have listed 5 of the best places to see the sunrise in Grand Teton, as well as tips for photography and how to get there!
Where to Watch the Sunrise in Grand Teton National Park?
Thousands of landscape and nature photographers flock to this viewpoint every year in the hopes of getting that perfect shot. Located directly east of the Grand Tetons on the Snake River, Schwabacher Landing is an easy entry point to the river for fishers and kayakers alike.
From here, the river opens up to give you a full, unobstructed view of the mountains so you can watch the sunrise colors play onto Grand Teton in all its morning glory, with the jagged, snow-capped mountains glowing like a scene from a movie.
With the central Teton Range framed by the spruce and cottonwood trees, it is as if this spot is made for photographing the Grand Tetons.
The Snake River serves as a mirror for the Grand Tetons at this time of day because the water is so still you can see the reflection of the mountain range on the river. Remember to pinch yourself because this isn’t a movie scene; this is your real life.
Dawn is the best time of day to spot wildlife in Grand Teton National Park. The freshwater of the Snake River attracts different wildlife. Keep an eye out for elk, osprey, moose, wolves, and even bears.
- Tips for Photographing the Sunrise at Schwabacher Landing
To photograph this luminous view of Grand Tetons and her sister peaks, arrive at least 45 minutes before sunrise. You want to come before the crowds and have time to find the exact spot to set up your gear.
The best sunrise location will be where you have a full view of the unobstructed mountain framed by the surrounding trees. There are only a few spots that provide a symmetrical frame, so get here early.
At first light, the Grand Tetons will first glow red, then yellow, then fade to deep blues and purples to reflect the colors of the sky. You don’t want to miss this spectacle.
- How To Get There
Getting to Schwabacher Landing is very easy. From Jackson Hole, drive north on HWY 89/191 for about 16 miles until you see a gravel road to your left with a sign that says ‘Schwabacher Landing Rd’. Turn onto this road and drive for about a mile.
You will soon arrive at a gravel parking lot. From here, the stunning sunrise spot you seek is located only a short distance away. Note that during winter, this gravel road is closed so you will have to park safely on the street and hike to the landing with snowshoes.
Snake River Overlook
The Snake River Overlook is made famous by the legendary photographer Ansel Adams who snapped a photo here in 1942 on black and white film. Each year, thousands of photographers visit Snake River Overlook to try to recreate this photo for themselves.
Note that today this photo is impossible to exactly replicate because the trees have grown too tall but it will still be a worthy shot.
Snake River winds through clusters of tall, lush trees at the base of the towering Grand Tetons to bring you a spectacular view at sunrise. Snake River Overlook is one of the four most photographed and iconic sights in Grand Teton National Park and it’s clear why.
The river guides the eyes from the foreground of the photo all the way to the background where they are met with the dramatic Grand Teton range.
- Tips for Photographing the Sunrise at Snake River Overlook
Arrive at least an hour prior to sunrise to scout a good location among the crowds and set up your gear. Because the trees have grown a lot since then, we recommend getting a monopod or tripod and then lifting it up as high as possible so the trees aren’t obstructing the photo.
First, the moon will descend behind the Grand Tetons, casting its gorgeous moonlight above and behind the mountain range. The sun will start to rise behind you in the east and cast its shine onto the Grand Tetons in front of you, lighting them up from the top down.
- How To Get There
From Jackson Hole, drive north on HWY 89/191 for about 20 miles, then turn left onto the street marked Snake River Overlook. Park up and walk to the viewing platform to enjoy the sunrise.
Mormon Row Historic District
Settled in the late 1890s by a community of Mormons from Salt Lake City, Mormon Row Historic District, formerly named Grovont, is one of the places on the National Register of Historic Places. The settled land was acquired in the mid-1900s to expand Grand Teton National Park.
The most famous features of Mormon Row are the two Moulton Barns – T.A. Moulton Barn and John Moulton Barn.
T.A. Moulton Barn is perhaps the most photographed location in any US National Park. With its traditional Gable roof shed barn and the magnificent Grand Tetons looming behind, it is a representative image of the Old West. This is one of the best places to watch the sunset in Grand Teton National Park.
John Moulton Barn has been renovated into a modest pink stucco frame house and a 2-story gambrel barn. Though both are amazing, the other barn is more impressive from a photography point of view.
- Tips for Photographing the Sunrise at Mormon Row
Since this is one of the most photographed locations in the park, make sure you arrive at least an hour early. Decide which barn you want to photograph because they are about 500 meters away from each hour.
It is recommended that you have a zoom lens here. A wide-angle lens offers stunning views of the vast Teton Range and a telephoto lens will bring the Grand Tetons closer to the forefront. Just be careful that once the sun is high enough, it creates long shadows of all the visitors which could ruin your image.
Make sure you are respectful and don’t get into other people’s shots!
- How To Get There
If visiting during summer or early fall from Jackson Hole, travel north along HWY 89/191 for about 14 miles. Turn right onto a gravel road called Antelope Flats Rd and continue driving for another 1.5 miles to reach Mormon Row.
If coming between November and May, Antelope Flats Rd is closed. Instead, travel north along HWY 89/191 for about 7 miles. Turn right onto Gros Ventre Rd, then take a left onto Mormon Row to reach the barns about 7.5 miles after leaving the main highway.
We highly recommend you make a stop at Mormon Row even if you just have a Yellowstone itinerary, this place is incredible!
An oxbow is a crescent-shaped section of stillwater lying adjacent to the main flow of the river. It’s caused by erosion changing the river’s course over time. Named after its shape, Oxbow Bend sits at the base of Mount Moran and is one of the best sunrise locations in the Grand Tetons.
On a calm day, Snake River serves as a mirror for the Grand Teton Range on the water, adding another layer to your photos. If you’re lucky, you’ll even spot some wildlife such as moose, elk, or even a Great Blue Heron.
- Tips for Photographing the Sunrise at Oxbow Bend
For the most beautiful photos of this scene, it’s best to visit in autumn when you have the autumn foliage to complement your photo.
Arrive well before sunrise to capture the alpenglow that occurs before the first light. Mount Moran glows red like a beacon, showing off its beauty for everyone to see.
A zoom lens is best for photographing at Oxbow bend. A wider shot allows you to capture all the surrounding greenery. With a closer shot, you can get a close-up of the mountains’ reflection on the Snake River. No two photos at Oxbow Bend are the same, although it has been photographed millions of times!
- How To Get There
From Jackson Hole, travel north along HWY 89/191 for about 21 miles until you get to Moran Junction. There, you will have the option to continue on HWY 191 to the left or start on HWY 287 to the right. Go left. After about 3 miles, you’ll see signs indicating the turnoff for Oxbow Bend.
It is one of the easiest locations in Grand Teton National Park to get to for sunrise!
Jenny Lake Overlook
Jenny Lake, named after a Shoshone Indian woman called Jenny in 1872, sits between the Grand Tetons and Snake River.
The lake is one of the most popular destinations in Grand Teton National Park because of its view of Cascade Canyon, a canyon known for its dramatic U-shape carved by historic glaciers.
The glacial lake surrounded by the Grand Tetons creates a truly stunning atmosphere for visitors to watch the sunrise. The sun will slowly start to rise behind you, lighting up the range in front of you. On a slightly cloudy morning, the clouds will glow pink as the soft colors of the morning sun dance through them.
- Tips For Photographing The Sunrise At Jenny River Overlook
Arrive well before sunrise to scout your spot and set up your gear. The view from the overlook is great, but you’ll get better photos from down by the waterline. Although the official path to the shore is closed, there are several unofficial paths you can take to the water’s edge.
Use a wide-angle lens for shots of Mount Teewinot, Mount St. John, and Mount Moran, but a telephoto lens will be needed for close-ups of Cascade Canyon. On a calm day at Jenny Lake, reflections of the mountains can be seen in stunning colors playing across the water, making this one of the best sunrise spots in the park.
Wildlife is quite abundant in this part of the park. Make sure you pack some bear spray with you.
- How To Get There
From Jackson Hole, travel north along HWY 89/191 for about 12 miles until you get to Teton Park Rd, then turn left. Continue on this road for 11 miles until you get to Jenny Lake Rd, then take another left. In about 3 miles, you’ll reach your destination.
Note that between November and May, Teton Park Rd is closed so you can’t get to Jenny Lake Overlook by car during this time.
Visitors can also consider camping at the nearby Jenny Lake Campground. From there, the sunrise photo location is only a few minutes’ walk away!
Map of the Best Sunrise Locations in Grand Teton National Park
Above is an interactive map of all the best locations to watch the sunrise in Grand Teton NP. To save that map, there is a small star icon next to the title of the map. Once it is saved, you can easily use this on your Google Maps to guide you to the best spots for sunrises in Grand Teton!
Before You Go
There is no better way to experience the magnificent of Grand Teton National Park than watching a sunrise at one of its iconic sights. We hope that with our guide, you can make the most out of your Grand Teton trip!
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