10 of the Best Places to Spot Wildlife in the Grand Tetons

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Grand Teton National Park is nestled along the eastern side of the rugged Grand Teton Mountains in northwestern Wyoming. This park is known for its incredible hiking and backpacking opportunities as well as the chance to spot the wildlife that calls the park home.

From moose to bear to wolf to elk to bison, there is no shortage of big game animals to spot roaming throughout the park and its bordering lands. And let’s not forget the fox, porcupine, beaver, owl, and numerous other critters that you can spot on any given day.

Some spots within the park are very well known for their wildlife spotting opportunities, while others are hidden gems where you can put out a chair and glass the hillsides for hours uninterrupted.

Let’s take a look at some of the best places to see wildlife within Grand Teton National Park. Just remember to keep your distance and don’t block the roads when you encounter wildlife in and around the park.

Moose-Wilson Road

Female moose (cow) emerges from the woods in Grand Teton National Park near Moose-Wilson road
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Moose-Wilson Road is a rough stretch of single-lane road that connects the park entrance town of Moose to nearby Teton Village to the south. The road is a well-known spot to catch a glimpse of moose and bears as they like hanging out in the marshy lands and thick trees that line the road.

Due to the narrow nature of the road and frequent wildlife sightings, you’ll often see rangers posted up to direct traffic so wildlife watchers don’t keep traffic at a standstill. We like driving the road in the early morning and late evening hours as that tends to have the best success.

You can take a detour up the very rough road to the Death Canyon Trailhead for a chance to see owls, foxes, and elk.

Oxbow Bend

Moose crossing the Snake River at Oxbow Bend
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Oxbow Bend is one of the most photographed locations in the entire park, especially during the fall when the trees that line the river turn yellow and orange. This is also a great spot to catch a glimpse of moose that make their way down to the riverbanks to nibble on trees and cool off in this calm stretch of the Snake River.

While most people pull directly off the road to catch a sunrise photo of the alpenglow on the mountains, you can also continue on to a dirt road that takes you out onto the oxbow and offers closer views of the riverbanks.

Schwabacher Landing

A moose makes its crossing at an iconic view of grand teton national park, Schwabacher landing.
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Schwabacher Landing is located right off the main road that runs north and south through the park, so this location can get busy with tourists taking pictures of the mountains and glassing for wildlife. The parking lot is located along a marshy area adjacent to the Snake River, and there are trails that wind through the aspen and cottonwood trees down to the rocky river plains.

Keep an eye out for moose in the marshy areas or hiding amongst the trees near the river. We have also seen beaver working on their lodges in the nearby ponds.

Willow Flats Overlook

Four Elk Bulls Stand At Attention in Willow Flats of Grand Teton National Park
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Willow Flats Overlook is a great place to stop and look for bears, elk, and even wolves in the early morning hours. Located just north of the Jackson Lake Dam, these flats provide excellent cover for wildlife, so patience is key when glassing for animals.

Listen for bugling elk during the early fall months as their eerie calls echo throughout the flats.

Jackson Lake Lodge

Grand Tetons, autumn, Jackson Lake, from Jackson Lake Lodge, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, USA
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Jackson Lake Lodge provides one of the most comfortable wildlife-viewing locations. The lodge’s deck has seating where you can grab a drink and lunch while gazing out over the flats that extend for miles beyond the lodge. Most wildlife here is quite a ways away, so it’s key to keep an eye out for small movements amongst the willow on the flats.

Bears can occasionally be seen at the base of the bluffs directly below the lodge, so make sure to look down on occasion! There are also trails that will take you down to the flats if you want an up-close look at the brush that so many animals call home.

Mormon Row

Closeup View Of Large Bison Wildlife Along Mormon Row Historical District In Grand Teton National Park.
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Mormon Row is one of the most popular parts of the park for the picturesque barns that were built by the original settlers of the region. The barns are perfectly framed by the rugged Grand Tetons and are frequently visited by the herds of bison that roam through this area.

We have seen numerous tourists get way too close to these massive animals in this area, so make sure to keep your distance. They can be unpredictable and deceptively fast!

Jenny Lake

Grizzly in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
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Jenny Lake is home to some of the best trails in the park that lead you to Inspiration Point and up the South Fork Cascade Canyon into the heart of the Tetons. Black bears can frequently be seen on the hillsides along the trail that wraps its way around this stunning lake.

There is also a boat that shuttles hikers and sightseers across the lake in case you want to save your legs for the rugged South Fork Cascade Canyon trail, which can be home to any number of animals, although sightings are a bit rare.

Gros Ventre River

Bull Moose standing in the Gros Ventre River  at Grand Tetons National Park, Wyoming
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The Gros Ventre River provides the perfect moose habitat with its thick cottonwood and alder stands and slow-moving water braiding across the rocky bottom. In the early morning hours, moose can frequently be seen directly from the road, grazing in the low brush in front of the river.

Later in the day, it is worth a hike down to the river, especially along the Gros Ventre Campground area, as moose are often spotted grazing along the riverbanks.

Snake River

Bull Moose Crossing the Snake River in Grand Teton National Park in Autumn
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If you want a unique wildlife viewing experience that takes you off the beaten path, book a float trip along the Snake River. Numerous outfitters offer these trips for both wildlife viewing and fishing. You can float for anywhere from a few hours to an entire day through untouched sections of the river, where wildlife is free to roam and graze without the distraction of nearby cars and people.

Early morning floats may bring chillier weather, but they can offer a lot more opportunities to spot wildlife before they hunker down for the day.

Gros Ventre

Great Horned Owls
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Gros Ventre lies to the southeast of the park and is dominated by aspen, and cottonwood stands intermixed with fields of low brush. This habitat is perfect for the smaller animals of the region, like porcupines, foxes, coyotes, and owls. Drive slowly through the backroads that crisscross the region, and odds are, you’ll come across a few of these critters going about their day without a care in the world.

Bison occasionally roam over to this section of land as well, so scout any area before venturing too far from your car.

About the author
Derek Carlson
Pacific Northwest native, cross-country skier, hiker, mountain biker, wannabe fly fisherman, writer and owner of Roam the Northwest