Jackson Hole Area, WY

Image by Don Metz @ www.donmetzphotography.com


Oxbow Bend is the most photographed location in the Grand Teton National Park.  The iconic view of the Snake River with Mt Moran's reflection is easily the most recognized image of the area. This classic location has been photographed thousands of times - and when you first drive up this spot you will quickly understand why.

You can always get a great shot here, but this location at peak fall season is special. The brisk early morning air looking out over the mirror reflection of the golden aspens with Mt. Moran in the background is completely breathtaking. A sight to be seen...

Trail Difficulty - EASY

I would rate the difficulty of this trail as 1 on a scale of 1-5 (with 5 being most difficult). The shot at Oxbow bend is an easy 100yd walk from the parking lot. You can shoot from the road, or most people walk down the slope to the water’s edge. 

Download KMZ Trail File

Click Here to download the KMZ file for this location.

GPS Coordinates & Elevation

Google Maps Birds-Eye-View

Click link above to view location in Google Earth


CLICK HERE to get driving directions to the Oxbow Bend parking area.

You can get to Oxbow Bend either from Jackson, WY, or Yellowstone National Park. The directions here are from Jackson, WY.

From Jackson, WY - travel north on US-191 30.1 miles and take the left on US-191 N/US-287 N/US-89 until you get to the Moran Entrance Station (0.3 mile). From the entrance station, stay on US-191/US-287/US-89 for 2.6 miles. On the left is the Oxbow Bend visitor’s parking lot, which holds about 15 cars.

The shot above was taken about 100yds north of the parking lot and down the slope to the water level. 

Best Time of Day to Shoot

You can get a great picture at Oxbow Bend either at sunrise or sunset. Most shots are taken at sunrise, but either time is fine. The sun rises behind you and to your left. The sun sets behind Mt. Moran and to the right. 

Best Time of Year to Shoot

The classic shot from Oxbow Bend is in the fall, when the trees on the north part of the bend are in peak color (yellow, orange, and gold). However, in the fall it is rare to have snow on Mt. Moran. Other times of the year (spring, summer, and winter) can also provide a great image from here. 

What Lens(es) Do You Need

The shot above was made by stitching together 4 shots vertically with a 24mm lens and panoramic tools. Most shots I have seen from this location are with lenses ranging from 16mm - 35mm.


There are no permits required.

Direction of the Shot

The direction of the shot is west at around 250°.

Special Nuances of Shot

There are many ways to shoot Oxbow Bend. You can stand on the road or walk down the slope to the water level. If you are going to shoot this location as sunrise, you most likely will not be alone, so I would suggest scouting out your composition the day before. 

Special Equipment Needed

Other than a tripod and a polarizer, there is no need for any special photography equipment unless you plan on doing a panoramic shot. If you arrive pre-dawn at this location in the fall, it is most likely to be bitter cold, so be sure to bring appropriate clothes, hats, and gloves.

Number of Other Photographers to Expect

Depending on the time of year and the time of day, there can be as little as a few photographers up to 100+. Sunrise during peak fall season, this location can be completely packed. If you want the classic sunrise with the golden aspens in the distance, you should arrive 1 or 2 hours before sunrise to get your spot. 


Current Weather

The weather in the spring, summer, and fall is wonderful in the Jackson Hole area. Early morning before sunrise can be very cold. Winter is the Jackson Hole area can be extremely cold. 

Cell Service

I have Verizon and the cell service is good around the Oxbow Bend area. 

Overnight Lodging/Camping

Oxbow Bend is on the northern part of the Jackson Hole area (about 35 miles north of the City of Jackson). There are some nice campgrounds and lodging around Oxbow Bend or you can also travel back to Jackson. 

Nearby camping and lodging

Camping - click on the campground below for directions

Grand Teton - Colter Bay Campground
Signal Mountain Campground
Jenny Lake Campground


Lodging - click on the lodging below for a TripAdvisor review

Jackson Lake Lodge
(307) 543-2811
101 Jackson Lake Lodge Rd, Moran, WY

Signal Mountain Lodge
(307) 543-2831
1 Inner Park Road, Moran, WY

Nearby Restaurants

Again, the Oxbow Bend is in the northern part of of the Jackson Hole area. Restaurants and other eating places are few and far between. That being said, I have enjoyed a hearty breakfast after shooting sunrise at Oxbow Bend at the Trapper Grill (Signal Mountain Lodge). For dinner, the Peaks Restaurant at the Signal Mountain Lodge is also good. 

Nearby Restaurants - click on the restaurant below for yelp review

The Peaks Restaurant @ Signal Mountain Lodge
(307) 543-2831
1 Inner Park Road, Moran, WY

Trapper Grill @ Signal Mountain Lodge
(307) 543-2831
1 Inner Park Road, Moran, WY

Laundry Mat

The closest laundry is next to the general store at Colter Bay Village. There is also a shower at the Laundromat.

Other Photography Opportunities Around

Click on an image below to move to that location

Airport Options

Jackson Hole (JAC) is the nearest airport for this area. It is a very nice, small, clean airport just 11 miles north of the city of Jackson. 

Area Guides and Workshops


Other Resources

The Photographer's Ephemeris is a very valuable tool for landscape photographers to determine the direction of the sunrise/sunset & moonrise/moonset from any place on earth on any day (past and future). Click here to take you to The Photographer's Ephemeris for this location. 

Grand Teton National Park (U.S. National Park Service)

Visit Jackson Hole