Best time to travel to Grand Teton National Park, WY

Fall Colors in Grand Teton National Park, WY 2024

Aspens ablaze with autumn colors are framed with rugged Teton mountains

Best time: late September–early October

Fall Colors
Fall Colors
Fall Colors
Fall Colors
Fall Colors
Fall Snow Storm in Grand Teton

Grand Teton National Park in northwestern Wyoming transforms into a vibrant canvas of fall colors each year, drawing visitors eager to witness its spectacular autumnal display. As the summer warmth fades, the park's diverse foliage—featuring golden cottonwoods, vivid aspen groves, and scarlet black hawthorns—creates a stunning contrast against the snow-capped Teton Range. Located between Jackson, Wyoming, and Yellowstone, the park offers an unforgettable experience for nature enthusiasts and photographers.

Peak Fall Colors

The fall colors in Grand Teton National Park typically begin to appear in early September and last until mid-October. Peak foliage usually occurs from the last week of September through the first week of October. The timing can vary annually depending on weather conditions, with cooler temperatures and ample sunlight enhancing the intensity of the colors.

Best Viewing Spots

Oxbow Bend

Oxbow Bend, a must-see for every leaf peeper, is located at a crescent-shaped section of the Snake River between Jackson Lake and Mount Moran. This scenic overlook is one of the most photographed spots in Grand Teton National Park, offering breathtaking views in the fall.

Snake River Overlook

Located off highway US-191, this overlook provides stunning vistas of the Jackson River Valley and the Teton Range, adorned with evergreens and seasonal colors.

Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve

Accessible via Moose-Wilson Road, this preserve features several picturesque hikes, including the 5.8-mile Aspen Ridge-Boulder Ridge Loop, which showcases brilliant fall foliage near Phelps Lake.

Schwabacher’s Landing

Schwabacher’s Landing, another scenic gem on the Snake River east of Grand Teton, is accessible via I-89 followed by a dirt road. Popular with anglers and river rafters, this area also features trailheads for several hikes. A walk along the Snake River here offers views of abundant cottonwoods and perfect reflections of the stunning Teton peaks.

Scenic Drives

Exploring Grand Teton by car offers spectacular views and the chance to spot wildlife, especially active in the fall. Drive along the scenic Moose-Wilson Road, connecting Moose and Wilson, where moose frequently cross. From Moose, continue on Teton Park Road, which runs along the base of the Teton Range to Jackson Lake, offering stunning mountain vistas. Another scenic route is the 12-mile Fall Creek Road, running from Wilson through the heart of the Teton Range. For a different perspective, take a float trip on the Snake River to enjoy the best views from the water.

Activities

Grand Teton National Park offers a variety of activities to enjoy the fall scenery. Numerous hiking trails remain open, allowing visitors to explore the park's vibrant landscapes, with popular hikes in the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve and around Jenny Lake. Boating rentals are available at several locations, including Jackson Lake, where visitors can appreciate the reflective beauty of the fall colors from the water. Additionally, fall is a prime time for wildlife viewing, as many animals, including elk, moose, and bears, are particularly active.

Operating Hours, Entrance Fees, and Parking

Grand Teton National Park is open 24 hours a day, year-round. Visitor centers and facilities have varying hours, with some closing or reducing hours after September. The entrance fee for a private vehicle is $35, while motorcycles are $30 and individuals on foot or bicycle are $20. An annual pass is available for $70, and the America the Beautiful Pass offers additional discounts and access to other national parks. Ample parking is available at key locations throughout the park, though popular spots can fill up quickly during peak seasons.

Nearby Accommodations and Infrastructure

Located just south of the park, Jackson offers a range of accommodations, dining options, and amenities for visitors. It's a convenient base for exploring Grand Teton and nearby Yellowstone National Park. Within the park, Colter Bay Village provides lodging, a marina, and other services, making it a great spot for extended stays.

Photography

Grand Teton National Park provides exceptional opportunities for photography enthusiasts, offering perfect backdrops for memorable photos, especially during the golden hours of sunrise and sunset. Visitors can participate in photo workshops like the Mountain Grandeur Photo Workshop, scheduled for September 23-27, 2024. This workshop includes field shoots at renowned spots such as Oxbow Bend, Snake River Overlook, Mormon Row, Jenny Lake, Schwabacher Landing, Jackson Lake, and String Lake. It also features sessions on image workflow, from RAW processing to finished prints, using Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. The workshop costs $3,990 and includes accommodation, buffet breakfast, and comprehensive photography instruction, ensuring a rich experience for all participants.

History

Grand Teton National Park, established in 1929, is a testament to the region's rich natural and cultural history. The park preserves the majestic Teton Range and the lush valley of Jackson Hole, an area long inhabited by Native American tribes. In the early 19th century, fur trappers, known as "mountain men," explored the area, followed by settlers and homesteaders in the late 1800s. Efforts to protect this stunning landscape were spearheaded by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., who purchased and donated significant land to expand the park. Today, Grand Teton National Park stands as a symbol of conservation and the enduring beauty of the American West, attracting millions of visitors annually to experience its breathtaking vistas and diverse wildlife.

Practical info

When should someone visit Grand Teton National Park to see the best fall colors?

Fall offers the best time to see beautiful colors in Grand Teton National Park. The best time to visit is from late September through early October, though the time may vary year to year based on weather factors like temperature and rainfall. During this five-week period, the higher elevations turn first, followed by the lower areas. Show more

Where are the best areas to witness fall colors in Grand Teton National Park?

Witness the brilliant fall colors in Oxbow Bend, where Snake River Overlook and hawthorn in aspen groves are available at Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve. Schwabacher's Landing features cottonwoods and stunning reflection shots of the surrounding landscapes, among the best spots for an unforgettable autumn sightseeing in Grand Teton National Park. Show more

What is the duration of fall colors in Grand Teton?

Fall colors in Grand Teton National Park extend for about five weeks from early September to mid-October with late September to the early October period being the peak viewing time. However, the duration varies annually based on temperature and rainfall, which determine when the fall foliage starts and how long it lasts. Show more

Which drives offer the most scenic views of Grand Teton in the fall?

Moose-Wilson Road provides a beautiful scenic drive connecting Moose and Wilson towns. Meanwhile, Teton Park Road offers wonderful views of the Teton Range base to Jackson Lake. Fall Creek Road showcases incredible vistas through Teton Range heart. Alternatively, you can also enjoy stunning perspectives of the area on a float on the Snake River or by the water. Show more

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