The Grand Tetons National Park is unlike any national park. From swimming, biking and hiking in the summer to some of the best snow for skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing, the Tetons truly have any outdoor activity you can think of. Only six hours from Boise and five hours from SLC, the Tetons have the most epic mountains and rivers. No matter what amount of time you have, there are four main campervan-friendly pullouts you can’t miss to view the Tetons. The park itself is massive, and knowing the best spots to pull off can seem overwhelming, so I’ve listed the top spots to park your van, grab your camera, and bask in the grandiose landscape. Added at the bottom are two-day hike recommendations if you have additional time. Are you ready to embark on a photography trip in a Campervan?
Schwabacher Landing is the perfect spot for sunrise. It is swarming with photographers, so if you’re looking to get the best shots, make sure to arrive at least 30 minutes before the sun rises to secure your spot. There is a great viewing spot right near the parking lot, or you can walk a few minutes in for the more popular location. The reflection off the Snake River makes for a surreal shot matched with the glow of the sun hitting the mountains from behind.
Mormon Row Barns
Mormon RowBarns is one of the most iconic photo spots in all of the park. Mormon settlers established 27 homesteads, and it is now recognized as a historic place as of 1977. The old barns lined with a mountain backdrop says it all. This spot is always crowded with people getting their shots, as all of the four spots are. I tried to shoot Mormon Row at sunset expecting the same luminous glow I found at sunrise, however, since the sun is directly going down the mountain, the shadows are very harsh. This made for either too bright of highlights, or too dark of shadows. I quickly learned the best time to shoot the mountains is sunrise. The sun being behind the mountains gives the perfect backlit image. Across and farther down the road is a less trafficked and photographed barn, with arguably similar structure and a majestic view of the mountains.
Snake River Overlook
Snake River Overlook is another favorite spot for photos. Ansel Adams took his famous shot of the river bend, however, the trees have grown to cover the winding river. You can stand in the exact spot Adams took his photo and learn more about his background. Still an amazing shot and the perfect place to get a panoramic shot of the overlook.
Oxbow Bend is the last place on the list to get recognition and for good reason. It is known as the best place to get the perfect reflection of Mount Moran due to the calmness of the water. There were people kayaking on the water, so not only can you pull your van over for a photo, but you can also get out on the water yourself. This would also be another amazing sunrise spot.
Jenny Lake Trail in Grand Teton National Park
If you have the time, make sure to check out Jenny :ake and make the 7.7-mile hike around the lake. I recommend going counterclockwise to have the views of the Tetons in front of you. Make sure to check out Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point for some worthy views. This does make the hike closer to 9 miles, but definitely worth the extra mileage. After your hike, feel free to swim, canoe, kayak, take a boat ride across the lake, or consider a relaxing vanlife nap.
Delta Lake Hike in Grand Teton National Park
If I were to recommend any hike in all of the park, it would be Delta Lake for the beautiful blue alpine water. Start at Lupine Meadow trailhead with your campervan and arrive before 9 a.m. because the parking lot fills quickly. It is not an official trail, so it is marked as difficult. There are wooden steps that are unmarked and lead to the lake right off the amphitheater trail. If it weren’t for a local pointing it out, I would have missed the off-trail portion to the lake. The six switchbacks climbing through fields of boulders, and the last descent is what makes this hike more strenuous. The hike is a total of 7.4 miles, so plan around four to five hours to complete it. The end result is unlike anything I’ve seen, and for that it makes the hike beyond worth it. Bring a hammock and lunch to reward yourself after.
Where to Camp with a Campervan in the Teton National Park
Now that you have figured out where to go during the day, you probably need a place to sleep in your campervan overnight. If you’re looking to get an early start on either a hike or to wake up for sunrise to view any of the four locations, staying overnight at a campground in a campervan in the park is the best option. Most campsites are a first-come, first-serve basis besides Colter Bay RV Park and Headwaters RV Park. Unfortunately, Jenny Lake would be the ideal location, however, they are tent only.
Signal Mountain is in a convenient location, making the northern and southern sections of the park accessible. It is located right on Jackson Lake, so many of the spots have lake views. Twenty-four of the campervan sites have electrical hookups, and there are also restrooms.
Up farther north is Colter Bay campground, which is also located right on Jackson Lake. The campervan-friendly campsites have all the amenities including showers, hookups, laundry, convenience store and a visitor center. (reservations here)
If you’re wanting a less crowded campervan-friendly site, Gros Ventre is the best option. It is located just 9 miles from the town of Jackson, so there is close access to the restaurants and shops. You are more likely to find a spot here during the day, unlike the other sites that fill up by morning. Thirty-six sites offer electricity, and there are bathrooms with toilets at the campsite.
The first map on the left shows all of the four locations plus the two hikes. The next map on the right shows all of the campervan campsites previously mentioned to get a better view of the proximity to the must-see spots and hikes. Book your next Campervan, and enjoy your photography trip.