Grand Teton National Park: Oxbow Bend


Day 3 began with more sunshine than Day 2, thankfully.  Blue skies made the trip through Grand Teton National Park much more enjoyable.  I had to travel the same route as the previous day in order to reach the south entrance of Yellowstone National Park, but this time, there was plenty more to see.

Perhaps one of the most beautiful and photogenic spots in Grand Teton National Park is Oxbow Bend, an appendage of the Snake River that was left behind, when the river cut a new path, just slightly to the south.  US 26/89/191 runs right by here, and if conditions are perfect, you’ll get a nice reflection of the mountains on the water.  On this day, conditions were not perfect, but still pretty darned beautiful.

I didn’t drive by Oxbow Bend on my first trip through the park, because on that day, I opted to take Teton Park Road instead of the US highway.  Teton Park Road is slower, and takes you closer to the mountains, while US 26/89/191 is slightly faster (still only 45 mph), and travels further to the east.  The two roads meet near Oxbow Bend, and no matter which road you take, you’ll still have to pay admission to Grand Teton National Park–even if you’re just passing through.

Just a few hundred feet from the Oxbow Bend parking area, a large crowd had gathered, including dozens of photographers with ridiculously long lenses all pointed in the same direction.  Someone had spotted a moose in the brush between the water and the road. Unfortunately, this moose had no idea that scores of shutter-happy humans were patiently waiting for it to move out of the thicket and into plain view.  It seems a moose does whatever a moose wants to do, and there’s no specific schedule it has to keep.  Everyone patiently waited, including me, for quite a while, but this was the best photo I could get.

Continue on US 26/89/191, past Jackson Lake, and on into Yellowstone National Park.  When you reach West Thumb, take a right for the trip to Yellowstone Lake and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

Note: This trip was first published in 2007.

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