As the days grow shorter and the nights longer, we start to notice our surroundings change. Small changes at first, like tips of leaves losing their green hue in favor of yellow, or the extra crisp mornings that lend themself to a warm coffee. Autumn grabs hold of Grand Teton National Park like a painting, brushing vibrant strokes of red, orange, and gold across the landscape. Elk are bugling, birds are migrating out of the valley, and leaves are falling from deciduous trees as the season sets into place. To get the most out of your visit to the park this fall, you're going to want to know our top 5 places to see fall colors in Grand Teton National Park.
Fall colors in the Tetons start at the beginning of September, with peak colors historically happening around early October. Trees in Grand Teton that display changing fall colors include cottonwoods and willows that line the banks of the Snake River; aspens on hillsides and alongside creeks and streams; and numerous species of shrubs— such as serviceberry and mountain ash— that can be found along lake and canyon trails throughout the park. Autumn can be a fairly short season here because of the high elevation of the area, so make sure to experience it while you can.
Listed below are our top 5 places to see fall colors in Grand Teton National Park. Be prepared for cooler temperatures by carrying a warm jacket, hat, and gloves. Check the local weather before you leave home. Always be prepared for the possibility of encountering wildlife as many of them are currently busy consuming calories to carry them through the long winter months. Keep your distance, carry your bear spray, and know how to use it!
1. Schwabacher Landing
This landing is located along the Snake River so the cottonwoods and willows are magnificent. There is a four-mile hiking trail that meanders along the banks of the Snake past significant beaver activity including dams, a huge lodge, and chewed trees and shrubs.
2. Oxbow Bend
This spot is always beautiful, regardless of the time of year, but especially breathtaking in September and October when the leaves are changing. This is one of the most photographed places in the park during the fall.
3. Aspen Ridge-Boulder Ridge Loop
This 5.8 mile round-trip hike is in the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve. The trail wanders through beautiful aspen groves and boulder fields to the shores of Phelps Lake and is a wonderful way to spend a morning or afternoon.
4. Jenny Lake
An absolute staple of the park, Jenny Lake boasts some of the most inspiring views of the Tetons. Get there early to experience calm waters and the morning glow as the sun starts to bathe the mountains.
5. Signal Mountain Summit Road
The Signal Mountain Summit Road climbs 800 feet to panoramic views of the Teton Range, Jackson Hole, and Jackson Lake. If you’re looking for a short drive through a forest of changing colors to an unforgettable view of the landscape, this dive is a must. The Signal Mountain Road is a narrow, winding road with two pull-offs to provide viewing opportunities.