The Teton mountain range, with its jagged peaks, rises majestically out of the valley, mesmerizing visitors from tiny toddlers to seasoned traveling adults.
Just try to drive through without falling in love with this magical place.
If you are traveling there this year, or have it on your list of places to go, make some notes as I have some tips for you. The Jackson Hole area is lots of fun for couples, families and photographers.
I spent many days out there as a kid, hiked and camped all the back country trails with my husband in our twenties, and have enjoyed many trips out there with our four young kids.
As a photographer, there are so many things to do and see in Jackson and Grand Teton National Park no matter what your age! Many of these are just perfect for kids of all ages as well!
1. String Lake
This lake gets its name from its long and thin shape, stretching along the valley of the Tetons. The pristine clear water is beautiful on its own but the reflections of the mountains in the water make this a location to put near the top of your list.
Not only can you take a leisurely hike along String Lake as far as the kids’ feet will travel, but you can also enjoy the wonderful picnic grounds along the lake near the trail-head. Picnic tables and the shore provide a wonderful area to enjoy lunch and let the kids wade into the lake.
Warm summer days are crowded with families enjoying the lake with toys, boats, floats, etc. For older children and adults, the trail loops around String Lake, or continues on a level trail along Leigh Lake. Both are gorgeous with incredible views of the Tetons.
2. Schwabacher’s Landing
One of the most picturesque spots in the park, Schwabacher’s Landing is a perfect spot for photographing, walking, and picnicking with or without young kids.
The area is flat and there are two parking areas, both with trails for exploring. The reflections of the sky and mountains in the water are incredible and the view of the Tetons doesn’t get any better than this!
If I could only choose one spot to photograph while in Jackson Hole, this would be it. I could spend hours photographing different perspectives of the mountains in this beautiful spot.
3. Hidden Falls
This beautiful hike leads you by Jenny Lake and takes you to a beautiful hidden waterfall. Not only is the destination a photographic opportunity you don’t want to miss, the view along the shore of Jenny Lake is amazing as well.
If the 4 mile round trip hike is too far, there is a boat from the Jenny Lake shore that takes you across the lake, making the hike from the boat dock only .5 miles. This is one of the most popular hikes in the park, so be prepared for busy trails and a crowded boat.
4. Rendevous Mountain at Teton Village
Head over to Teton Village and take the Tram to the top of Rendevous Mountain for a stunning 360 degree view of the valley.
Teton Village is the famous ski area of Jackson Hole. This is the perfect spot to photograph the expanse of the valley below the Tetons. The view seems to go on forever.
5. Colter Bay
Further north in the park is Colter Bay. There are a couple options for shorter hikes here that lead along the shore and provide beautiful views of Mt. Moran. This area is further north in the park, giving you another perspective from which to capture the Tetons and the view of Mt. Moran across the water is spectacular.
There is also a lovely spot for throwing rocks in the water…a favorite activity for my kids!
6. Oxbow Bend
Oxbow Bend is gorgeous spot between Moran Junction and Jackson Lake Junction. This is a famous spot for photographs as the reflection of Mt. Moran in the water is spectacular.
From the main road you can capture more of the Teton range and if you walk down closer to the water, Mt. Moran becomes the prime photographic focus. Spend time walking around and capturing the beauty in all directions.
At sunrise you can find the parking lot and roads packed with cars of photographers. Plan to get there early!
7. Taggart Lake
One of my absolute favorite hikes in the park, and a fairly easy one too.
You can hike up 1.5 miles and back down, or take the loop which makes it a bit longer. School age kids could probably do this hike pretty well. Preschoolers and toddlers may have more trouble.
Taggart Lake is a pristine lake at the foot of the Tetons. As you approach the lake, don’t miss capturing the Grand Teton standing tall and reflecting in the clear water.
8. Inspiration Point, Cascade Canyon and Lake Solitude
Looking for a longer hike in some of the most beautiful terrain of the park? Continue up from Hidden Falls, enjoy the view from Inspiration Point, and head into Cascade Canyon. Inspiration Point overlooks Jenny Lake and a stunning view over valley towards the east.
As you hike through Cascade Canyon, a gorgeous stream runs along the trail to your left. Keep an eye out for some waterfalls in the distance on the mountainside to the south.
If you are really ambitious, hike all the way to Lake Solitude, one of the most beautiful spots in the park. Looking south from Lake Solitude is a stunning view of the Grand Teton. Be sure to take the boat across Jenny Lake, as even shortening the hike with the boat ride, it is 14 miles there and back!
9. Snake River Overlook
Ansel Adams made this spot famous, and for good reason. This pullout has an amazing view of the Tetons and the Snake River winding below it.
Beautiful all day long, but especially at sunrise and sunset this is an easy photographic opportunity to take advantage of without having to hike.
10. The Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve Center and hiking trails
Not only will you find beautiful views of the Tetons to photograph at this location, but Phelps Lake and Death Canyon also provide stunning photographic opportunities.
11. Mormon Row
Take a right off the highway just north of Moose onto Antelope Flats Road. About a mile east you’ll come to a row of barns.
The Moulton Barn, south of Antelope Flats is the most photographed barn in America! This photographic opportunity presents a wide open view of the Teton range with a row of old barns to capture in the foreground.
12. The top of Signal Mountain
The view from the top is incredible and worth the short drive. Be sure to stop at a small parking lot before you get to the very top and take a walk along trail that heads south. This is the best spot to capture the Tetons from above and all the lakes in the valley below.
After coming down, stop at Signal Mountain Lodge for breakfast, lunch or dinner. If it is a nice day, they even have wonderful outdoor seating. The view of the Tetons across the water from the Lodge is another great photographic opportunity.
13. The cycling path
Shortly after you turn left at the Moose Junction, you’ll see a road to the right that leads you to Dornan’s, a small grocery store, collection of shops and cabins. There is a shop that rents out bikes and you can ride along a gorgeous bike path at the foot of the Tetons for 7 miles all the way to Jenny Lake and back.
The path also heads south toward Jackson paralleling the main highway. As you ride, there are multiple turnouts showcasing different perspectives of the Tetons. Capture your favorites along the way.
14. Cunningham Cabin
An old historic cabin along the main highway between Moose and Oxbow Bend, this is a fun place to stop and let the kids run around and explore.
The view of the Tetons is spectacular and kids love letting their imagination run as they play in the cabin as well as running in the surrounding fields. This is a great area to capture the expanse of the Jackson Hole valley and a wide open view of the whole Teton range.
15. White Water Rafting
If everyone in your group is old enough, there are many opportunities for white water rafting in Jackson. Bring along a waterproof camera to capture the fun and the views along the water.
16. The Rodeo
Spend an evening at the Rodeo for fun for all ages! This is a great opportunity to capture a western tradition.
17. The sunset at Blacktail Ponds Overlook
Take a left off the highway just north of the Moose Junction. This overlook provides a beautiful view of the mountains and the ponds below.
18. Jackson Lake Lodge for a view of the Tetons and Willow Flats
Jackson Lake Lodge sits just north of the Jackson Lake junction and hosts a beautiful Lodge and restaurants. The view from outside the lodge is stunning looking over the Willow Flats and Jackson Lake with a wide expanse of the Tetons.
P.S. Keep your eyes out for wildlife. Bear, Moose, Elk, and other animals are plentiful in Grand Teton National Park!