Snake River Overlook
Jackson Hole, WY
If you know anything about Ansel Adams, you have most likely seen his iconic image from the Snake River overlook. The very spot he took this famous picture is right off of the main highway US-191, with one important caveat. The location is there, the S in the river is there, and the Grand Tetons are there, but the trees have grown in the past 75 years and are much taller now, blocking the view for the lower left part of the S in the Snake River.
This is still a great place to visit. Under the right conditions, you can capture your own Snake River overlook.
Trail Difficulty (1 out of 5)
I would rate the difficulty of this trail as a 1 on a scale of 1-5 (with 5 being most difficult). The hike to the location for the classic Snake River overlook is an easy 40yd walk from the parking lot. To get the best view, you may have to stand on top of the rock fence or jump over the fence and walk down the path a short distance.
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 Snake River Overlook parking area.
From Jackson, WY - travel north on US-191 20.7 miles and then turn left onto the Snake River Overlook. The location of the classic overlook is just to the right of an outdoor landmark with an image of the famous Ansel Adams picture.
Best Time of Day to Shoot
The Tetons run north and south, so sunrise is most likely the best time to shoot here. However, I have seen a few late afternoon shots here with a storm over the Tetons.
Best Time of Year to Shoot
I believe you can capture a nice image any time of year. For me, the best time to shoot this location would be in the winter, with snow on the foreground trees and mountains. But most important, in the winter, the sun would rise in the southeast and would illuminate from the left of the image.
What Lens(es) Do You Need
Lens focal length from 20mm - 50mm can be used in this location.
There are no permits required.
Direction of the Shot
The direction of the shot is west @ 250°.
Special Nuances of Shot
The shot is fairly straightforward. As mentioned, you may have to stand on the rock fence or hop the fence and walk down the path a few feet.
Special Equipment Needed
Other than a tripod there is no need for any special photography equipment. 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
During the day, this location gets a lot of traffic from tourists. However, at sunrise and sunset, you will most likely see only a few other photographers.
The weather in the spring, summer, and fall is wonderful in the Jackson Hole area. Early morning before sunrise can be cold, and winter in the Jackson Hole area can be extremely cold.
I have Verizon and my cell service was fine in the Jackson and Jackson Hole area. However, outside of the valley cell service can be very spotty.
There is tons of nice lodging (1 star to 4 star hotels) in the city of Jackson, and multiple camp/RV sites in the Jackson Hole area. When I am in the area, I usually stay at either the Gros Ventre Campground or the Jenny Lake campground.
Nearby camping and lodging
Camping - click on the campground below for directions
Lodging - click on the lodging below for a TripAdvisor review
Elk Country Inn
480 W Pearl Ave, Jackson, WY
Hampton Inn Jackson Hole
350 US-89, Jackson, WY
Ranch Inn Motel
45 E Pearl Ave, Jackson, WY
The city of Jackson is one of the great small towns in American and has no shortage of good to great restaurants. My personal favorite places to eat are Cafe Genevieve for both breakfast and dinner (nice place, great food, cold beer, and good service) and MacPhail's Burgers (great Angus and Bison burgers).
Nearby Restaurants - click on the restaurant below for yelp review
135 E Broadway, Jackson, WY
399 W Broadway, Jackson, WY
200 W Broadway, Jackson, WY
The only self-service laundry mat in Jackson is Missing Sock Laundromat on the southwest park of Jackson. Nice easy access, with clean and new equipment. It is in the Smith's grocery parking lot, so you can shop while your clothes are washing.
South, 1325 US-89, Jackson, WY, WY 83001
Other Photography Opportunities Around
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
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.