And Now For Something Completely Different

January 06, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

More than one monthly attendance record was shattered in Grand Teton National Park during 2020. September's year-over-year increase was 17%, while October's was a whopping 88%.  

To give you an idea what that means in real numbers, there were nearly 603,000 visitors during the month of September and more than 350,000 in October. (Nearly 711,000 dropped by in August.)

That might not sound very appealing if getting away from crowds is what you're after.  

There's a remedy for all those people, though, and it's called Winter. The park is wonderfully empty this time of year. It's also wonderfully beautiful; the winter months offer excellent opportunities for outdoor photographers.

Racing StripesRacing StripesBeautiful bands of low fog are suspended beneath the Teton Peaks (Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming) Sound inviting? It is - but be prepared for a different kind of experience.

Many park roads are closed in the winter. Those that remain open can be treacherous, especially if there has been recent snowfall. Areas that are easily accessible during the summer months may be reachable only on foot with snowshoes or cross country skis. Others, like much of the Snake River flood plain, are entirely off-limits to humans. That means no hiking in to Schwabacher's Landing. Or down to Blacktail Ponds.

It's often bitterly cold. You need to be dressed properly.

But the days are short, the shadows are long, the light is soft (you can work all day), and the alpenglow can be spectacular. 

There are still plenty of animals out and about if you're into wildlife photography. The elk refuge is packed. Bison have moved to the south end where the conditions are a little less harsh. Bighorn sheep hang out around Miller Butte. Moose can be found around Antelope Flats and near Kelly.

Also it might interest you to know you can find lodging in Jackson during the winter months without taking out a second mortgage on the house to pay for it. What's not to like about that? (I exaggerate. However, if you've visited in the summer or autumn you know what I'm talking about.)

For me, this time of year also means I put less mileage on the vehicle since I generally focus on the southern half of the park during the snowiest months. 

A winter visit to Grand Teton National Park is completely different and something special. As long as you're well-prepared, you will most certainly enjoy it.

 


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