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Backpacker Magazine – June 2011

National Parks: Grand Teton

Wade through wildflowers, listen to wolves, and escape the crowded trade routes in this secluded corner of the park.

by: Molly Loomis

Put Your Head In The Clouds. (Mark Fischer)
Put Your Head In The Clouds. (Mark Fischer)
View From Berry Creck Trail. (George Wuerthner)
View From Berry Creck Trail. (George Wuerthner)


Snap the Best Sunset Shot. Ever.

Two stupendous locations for extravagantly saturated photos

» Oxbow Bend
Sometimes an iconic image, like the one above, is just a few feet away from your car. For an alpenglow shot of the Tetons reflecting off lucent waters, head to Oxbow Bend, a U-shaped meander of the Snake River that got cut off from the main channel. Drive 2.5 miles east of Jackson Lake Junction on US 89. Pull off, and take in the surreal vista. To find sunrise and sunset times near Jackson, check the local newspaper or go to, which also offers a smartphone feature that retrieves your current GPS position, then gives you two days’ worth of times.

» Lower Saddle
The sweetest sunset image in the park—and maybe the whole region—takes some sweat equity. Backpack seven miles and 5,000 vertical feet on the Garnet Canyon Trail to the Lower Saddle, the popular high camp between the Grand and Middle Tetons. Start early to arrive by dusk, when the Grand’s scepter shadow extends across the rosy plains—giving you a true sense of the Tetons’ intimidating scale. If you didn’t lug a tripod, improvise with rocks or your lap. (See page 92 for tips on shooting sunsets.)

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