TRAVEL: Jackson Hole’s 5 Best Travel Photography spots
Jackson Hole, Wyoming is one of the most beautiful, yet pricey places you might consider visiting. It’s a popular spot for wealthy millionaires and billionaires to spend a few days in their second home during summers and ski seasons, as well as ordinary folks who love the skiing and national park touring.
While winter is what Jackson is known for, more people actually visit in the summer, despite the expense. Fall is an even better time to visit, before the snow starts to drop.
So what’s the attraction for Jackson?
It’s a really fun, classic western town that wears its history on its sleeve, (“The last of the Old West” is the town motto) with live shootout recreations in the center of Jackson Square, the classic Million Dollar Cowboy Bay right in the heart of town, where patrons can sit at the bar on a saddle, and dozens of western wear shops lining the streets.
And it’s near not just one amazing, major national park, but two. Jackson is a ten-minute drive to the Grand Tetons National Park, and 40 minutes from Yellowstone National Park. The Tetons is arguably even more impressive, at least in the summer and fall. Both parks attract just under 4 million visitors yearly.
The area has “exceptional wildlife” said Zeb Hermanson, a local photographer who works at the Jackson camera store, Wyoming Camera Outfitters. “Outside of Africa or Alaska, we have some of the most diverse wildlife you’ll find anywhere.”
Wildlife and smartphones? Yes, it can be done! As always, I filmed the latest episode of #PhotowalksTV on two iPhones, the 13 and 14 Pro Max models, the Samsung Galaxy S23+, a GoPro Hero 11 and my DJI Mavic Air 2S drone.
The Galaxy really came in handy for the moose shots, as it has a stronger, 10x optical zoom that just knocks the 3x of the iPhone out of contention in these types of situations. (Note the close-up of the moose below!) The iPhones did great for the traditional wide-screen landscape scenes one would associate with visiting a national park. I couldn’t fly my drone in the park (a no-no) but I got great shots in Victor and Teton Valley, over the hill.
Did I miss having the big camera and huge zoom lens? Sure, but my body appreciated not having to lug them. And besides, how much closer did I really need to be to the moose? If I zoomed in any closer, I wouldn’t catch the antlers.
Top 5 Jackson Hole photo spots
—Schwabacher’s Landing. About 16 miles from Jackson, this is a popular place for picnickers to sit and watch the moose graze in the mornings and early evenings. It’s a pretty safe bet you’ll find the moose if you come during those times.
—Mormon Row. Dating back to the 1870s, these old barns belonging to settlers still look incredible today against the backdrop of the Tetons.
—Jenny Lake. Known as the centerpiece of the park, here you’ll get your best view of the Tetons themselves. If you want to go beyond your basic sighting, you can hop a boat here (for a fee) and take a little ride to another part of the lake, where a short hike will bring you to a wonderful, huge waterfall.
—Jackson. Downtown is a fun old western town for walking around—but hold onto your wallet! Everything is pricey. Ice cream cones at the popular Moo’s start at $7.50!
—Ansel Adams. The Snake River Overlook is where the legendary photographer captured the image of the Teton Range meeting the waters. But when he did it, he had an un-obstructed view, which today is covered in trees. A drone would solve the issue, but that’s a no-no! If you can get high (like on a step-ladder) when you visit you’ll get a better shot.
How to get to Jackson:
There is an airport, believe it or not, right within the National Park. Alaska and American fly non-stop, while United stops through Denver. Average fare is around $450. Driving from the Los Angeles takes about 14 hours, up route 15, through Las Vegas and Salt Lake City. The drive is five hours away from Salt Lake City or eight hours from Denver.