Grand Teton is one of the most stunning places in United States, with a range of landscapes that will captivate your eyes and heart. Whether you are looking for mountains, valleys, lakes, rivers, or forests, Grand Teton has something for everyone. But what are some of the most beautiful features of the Grand Teton landscape that you should not miss? Here are seven of them:
- The Teton Range: This is the centerpiece of the park, a majestic mountain chain that rises abruptly from the valley floor. The highest peak, the Grand Teton, reaches 13,770 feet above sea level and is the tallest mountain in the range. The mountains are composed of ancient rocks that are more than two billion years old and were uplifted by tectonic forces about 10 million years ago. The mountains offer spectacular views and challenging hikes for adventurers.
- Jenny Lake: This is one of the most popular and scenic lakes in the park, formed by glacial action about 12,000 years ago. It covers an area of 1,191 acres and has a depth of 423 feet. You can enjoy boating, fishing, swimming, or picnicking on its shores or take a boat shuttle to the west side to access some of the best trails in the park4. You can also admire the reflection of the mountains on its clear water or visit the nearby Jenny Lake Visitor Center.
- Snake River: This is one of the longest rivers in North America, flowing for more than 1,000 miles from its source in Yellowstone National Park to its mouth at the Columbia River. It runs through Grand Teton National Park for about 50 miles, carving a wide valley and creating wetlands and riparian habitats for wildlife. You can explore the river by rafting, kayaking, canoeing, or fishing or enjoy its scenic views from various overlooks and bridges.
- Oxbow Bend: This is one of the most iconic and photographed spots in the park, where the Snake River makes a sharp turn and forms a calm pool surrounded by cottonwood trees and willows. You can see Mount Moran and other peaks reflected on its surface or spot various birds and animals such as bald eagles, ospreys, beavers, moose, and bears. The best time to visit is early morning or evening when the light is soft and colorful.
- Colter Bay: This is a large bay on Jackson Lake that offers stunning views of the mountains and water. You can enjoy various activities such as boating, sailing, fishing, swimming, or camping at its marina or campground. You can also visit the Colter Bay Visitor Center to learn more about the park’s history and culture or explore some of the trails that start from here. One of them leads to Indian Pond, where you can see Native American artifacts displayed along the shore.
- Cascade Canyon: This is one of the most scenic and popular canyons in the park, carved by glaciers and waterfalls. You can access it by taking a boat shuttle across Jenny Lake and hiking up to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point. From there, you can continue into the canyon and enjoy views of towering cliffs, lush meadows, wildflowers, and wildlife. You may see marmots, pikas, deer, elk, and even black bears or grizzly bears along the way.
- Schwabacher Landing: This is another great spot for photography and wildlife viewing, where the Snake River slows down and creates a series of ponds and channels. You can see the reflection of the Teton Range on the water or watch for birds and animals such as ducks, geese, swans, herons, otters, and moose. You can also fish or picnic here, or hike along the riverbank.
These are just some of the amazing features that make up the Grand Teton landscape. There are many more to discover and enjoy in this incredible park.