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Scenic Drives

3 Roadside Stops in Grand Teton National Park

See the best in the park.

Just south of Yellowstone is stunning Grand Teton National Park. From historic homesteads to breathtaking river valleys, here are our top stops for a fantastic scenic drive plus road-trip advice.

Visit Mormon Row

T.A. Moulton's barn on Mormon Row in Grand Teton National Park
T.A. Moulton’s barn on Mormon RowAdobe Stock
John Moulton's barn on Mormon Row in Grand Teton National Park, Wyo.
John Moulton’s barn on Mormon RowDepositphotos

Founded in the late 1890s by Mormon settlers, this community was once home to 27 homesteads, a blacksmith shop, a church, a school and multiple ranches. Today, photographers from all over the world visit at dawn or dusk to capture images of the Moulton brothers’ iconic barns framed by the Tetons behind. The John Moulton Barn is located near John and Bartha Moulton’s pink stucco home, which remains on site. T.A. Moulton’s Barn was built during a 30-year period. You’ll notice his barn roof is a steeply pitched gable roof while John’s is a gambrel roof. In 1997, Mormon Row was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Originally named “Grovant,” Mormon Row attracted settlers from the Salt Lake area and Idaho. They had to dig ditches to get water from the Gros Ventre River to their fields to grow hay and oats. When winter temperatures froze the water, the settlers had to walk to the river and carry water back in buckets. It was a hard life amid Jackson Hole’s severe winters and very short summers.

To see Mormon Row, drive north from Jackson on Hwy. 191 past Moose Junction, turn right onto Antelope Flats Road and drive for 1.5 miles. A trail brochure and interpretive sign can be found at the parking lot.

Snake River Overlook

The Tetons and the Snake River by Ansel Adams
The Tetons and the Snake RiverPhoto by Ansel Adams (1942), Public domain digital file created by U.S. government, Wikimedia Commons
Snake River Overlook in Grand Teton National Park with morning sun
The morning sun hits the Tetons viewed from the Snake River OverlookKarol Cooper

When Ansel Adams captured the Snake River in what would become one of his most iconic photographs, he was working on a project to shoot photographic murals for the Department of Interior building in Washington, D.C. In 1941, Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes hired Adams to take photographs that reflected the Department of the Interior’s mission to manage and conserve our national resources.

While trees have grown taller since 1942, you can still recreate Adams’ shot at the Snake River Overlook in Grand Teton National Park on US Hwy 26, 89, 191 about 8.5 miles north of Moose Junction. Interestingly enough, it took 68 years for his image to see the light of day in the hallways of the Department of the Interior. When Pearl Harbor was bombed, Adams’ project took a back seat to other departmental priorities. His 200 photographs sat in the National Archives until 2010 when Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar unveiled murals representing 26 of the 200 photos Adams took on the first and second floors of the building.

Oxbow Bend

Oxbow Bend with a reflection of Mount Moran in Grand Teton National Park
Oxbow Bend with a reflection of Mount MoranRobert Baker

Farther north, along Hwy. 89 and one mile east of Jackson Lake Junction, stop here for breathtaking views. You’ll understand why this stop got its name. An oxbow is a crescent-shaped section of river, and this bend in the Snake River is framed by the awe-inspiring Mount Moran to the west.

It’s a great place to see blue herons, bears, moose and even river otters. Often, photographers visit at dawn or dusk to get their iconic park shots. Afterwards, head to Jackson Lake for a scenic boat ride for a breakfast, lunch or dinner cruise where you’ll fuel up on great views and food on Elk Island. Or stop at the Pioneer Grill in the Jackson Lake Lodge for the best milkshake ever. After you take a sip, you’ll understand why bears seek out huckleberry bushes to feast.

Four Road Trip Tips1. Check Your Battery

Before your road trip, check your battery’s charge. Heat saps its strength, so make sure you have a full charge, especially driving through the vast, unpopulated stretches of Wyoming.

2. Inflate Your Tires

Avoid a tire blowout or wasting gas mileage by inflating each tire to your car’s recommended tire pressure. That number is usually located in your car’s owner’s manual or on a sticker inside your passenger door.

3. Examine Your Treads

Stick a penny in a tire tread with Lincoln’s head upside down. If you can see his whole head, you need new tires. The shallower the tread, the less responsive your tires are to wet, snowy or icy conditions.

4. Have a Spare

Pack a spare and make sure it’s properly inflated and has solid tread depth.