Grand Teton National Park’s raw beauty, diverse wildlife, and tranquil scenery have made it one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in the country. People from all over the country come here to engage in outdoor activities, get portrait sessions done, or even just take a scenic drive. But there is one thing that a lot of tourists tend to miss out on, which are the stunning sunrises the park has to offer. Imagine waking up in the dead of the night and watching as the first rays of light infiltrate the sky to slowly reveal the domineering peaks and flora surrounding you.
In order to get the best experience of the sunrise in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, there are several factors you should take care of: timing, weather, and, of course, the spot you choose to view it from. Generally, one of the best time of the year to view the sunrise in Jackson Hole are the summer months. You might have to wake up at around 5 to 5:30 a.m. to make it in time for the sunrise but, trust us, the experience will be worth it. Of course, it’s best to be extra prepared with warm gear and checking on road conditions during the winter months when heavy snowfall, frigid temperates, and road closures can make it challenging to enjoy the view of the sunrise over the Grand Tetons.
Choosing a fantastic spot from which to view the sunrise is essential. Grand Teton Park is beautiful all around but there are some spots that will take your breath away and leave you staring in wonder as the world wakes up around you. Here is a list of the 9 best sunrise spots in Grand Teton National Park.
The Oxbow Bend sunrise is one that most travelers to Jackson Hole are likely familiar with or have, at the very least, heard of. This turnout is located at a huge bend of the Snake River where the water is still and the grass is teeming with all kinds of wildlife, from moose to muskrats. As such, this spot is often lauded as the best place to watch the sunrise in Jackson, WY. In the early morning, as the first rays of the sun illuminate the peaks of the Tetons, the still water perfectly reflects the mountains, and the fauna slowly emerges, it really is the perfect place to be.
Another very popular destination, Schwabacher Landing is a beautiful spot to witness the sunrise in Jackson Hole. Located on the east side of the Snake River and accessed by a somewhat bumpy road, Schwabacher Landing offers a view similar to that of Oxbow Bend but with an even fuller view of the Tetons and an equally clear one of its reflection.
Popularized by photographer Ansel Adams who took the renowned picture of the Tetons from this point, Snake River Overlook offers a clear view of the Tetons with the Snake River meandering along at their base. If you visit in the fall months, you could find yourself looking at some vibrant fall foliage and listening to the sounds of the elk herds roaming nearby as you witness the Snake River Overlook sunrise. All in all, this is one of the most picturesque and tranquil places to watch the sunrise in Jackson Hole.
4. Mormon Row
Being among the top attractions among the entire Grand Teton National Park, Mormon Row is not the place for you if you’re looking for a solo experience. It is, nevertheless, a classic destination. Established in the 19th century as a settlement by Mormon ranchers, this spot incorporates history with the breathtaking beauty of watching the sunrise onto the Grand Tetons and slowly casting its warm rays on the iconic Moulton Barn. This is a spot generally favored by photographers and historians.
Signal Mountain is located in the northern Jackson Hole valley. Its summit offers an arresting panoramic view of the Tetons in all their glory and can be easily accessed through Signal Mountain Road both by hike, if you’re feeling adventurous, or by car. Once at the top, you can sit back and watch the sky display an array of colors from pink to red to yellow as the sun rises. For good reason, this spot is often claimed to be one of the best places to watch the sunrise in Jackson, WY.
Willow Flats is a quintessential spot to view the sunrise in the Grand Teton Park and among the more popular tourist destinations due to its easy accessibility and diversity of wildlife. You can simply curl up with a blanket at the overlook and watch as the sun casts its light on the Tetons in front of you. Maybe you’ll even see some elks wandering by to graze on the willows, sagebrush, and other vegetation that grows here. Be careful not to wander too far from the overlook, however, because grizzly bears are also present around the area, particularly in spring.
Located very close to Mormon Row but far less crowded, the Blacktail Ponds Overlook consists of old and new beaver ponds and marshy grasslands that attracts the attention of herds of elk and moose. It is the ideal spot for those who actively search for off-the-track destinations and prefer peace and quiet. It has a dedicated following of its own that proclaims it to be among the best places to watch the sunrise in Jackson Hole as you can really get a view of that widely sought-after “alpenglow” from here.
Jackson Lake Dam is popular at all times of day because it is easily the largest lake in the Grand Teton National Park, it offers a view of the entire range of the Tetons, and there are many outdoor activities that take place here. However, the view of the sun lighting up the peaks of the Teton range as the rays bounce off the sparkling lake in the early throes of morning is one that you should definitely see if you’re excited to watch a sunrise in Jackson Hole.
Finally, Jenny Lake is a centerpiece of the Grand Teton National Park, from which visitors can get an unobstructed view of the Teton range and engage in a range of outdoor activities. In the early morning, Jenny Lake is a sight to behold as the sunrise in the Grand Teton Park casts its first rays on the crystal-clear lake. It’s a particularly popular spot amongst families due to its easy accessibility and the availability of many activities.
Regardless of which one of these spots you choose, sunrise in the Grand Teton Park is bound to be an exquisite and breathtaking moment. However, I strongly recommend that you try your best to pick the right time and season for going because that will only serve to enhance your experience!