A visit to Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park is the ultimate two-for-one. The Tetons are a lofty, classic alpine paradise, while Yellowstone is a smorgasbord of surreal landscapes like no other place in the world. The combination of the two is like peanut butter and jelly. So different, so good together.
While working on a dream assignment for REI last October to photograph fall landscapes in the American West, I had the opportunity to explore them both. Here are some of my favorite moments.
Early mornings can be cold and painful; this one was. But they can also deliver scenes like this full moon setting on the Tetons and lighting the surface of the Snake River.
A notch in the south ridge of the Grand Teton cradles the full moon as it makes its way to the western horizon in the minutes before dawn.
The Tetons mirrored in the surface of the Snake River from Schwabachers Landing, a paradise of glassy pools and immense vistas.
Fall foliage lit by the last light of the day as the Grand Teton basks in soft alpenglow. Taken on the west side of the Tetons near Tetonia, Idaho.
The sunrise paints a swath of color across the face of Mt. Moran and the rest of the Teton range. Taken at Oxbow Bend on the Snake River near Jackson Lake.
Driving north from the Tetons into Yellowstone, it’s tempting to think that the most dramatic landscapes are behind you, until you get a taste of the endlessly varied and fascinating sights to be found in America’s first national park, including the Grand Prismatic Spring.
Whether seen from afar in the context of the larger landscape, or viewed as a microcosm, the colors, shapes and textures of the Grand Prismatic Spring will render any nature-lover speechless.
In addition to the geothermal phenomena that draw so many to the park, there is also the immense and equally striking Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, where the raging river continues to carve a deep swath through the park.
At the top of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, you’ll be stopped in your tracks by the massive Lower Yellowstone Falls. At twice the height of Niagara Falls, this one’s not to be trifled with.
Though not as reliable as Old Faithful, the mirrored pools and vast western exposure make the Great Fountain Geyser a perfect place to end your day or your trip, and to contemplate when you can manage another trip to Wyoming.