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Early May in the Tetons

Sunrise at Schwabacher Landing

May is one of the least busy months at Grand Teton National Park but I think it’s still one of the better times to visit, especially for photography. The snow is usually still thawing out and most of the trails will be snow covered but road access will be opening up throughout the park and wildlife will be abundant. Many of the lakes will be frozen / covered in snow and that makes for a different experience too.

Here are some reasons why I think May is a great time to visit the Tetons:

No Crowds

If you’ve visited Grand Teton over the summer and during the fall you’ll know how busy it can get. Accommodation can be hard to find (and expensive) and camping sites will be impossible to get unless you booked it well in advanced or get lucky with some of the free camping options. The trails will be busy, viewpoints crowded, and it’s generally a pretty hectic place. Not quite as crazy as places like Yosemite or the southern Utah national parks but definitely a spectacle for Wyoming.

If you visit the Tetons in May you’ll be enjoying the place with nobody except the local wildlife! Even the popular spots like sunrise/sunset at Oxbow Bend and Schwabacher Landing will be devoid of people.

Reflection on the snake river
Reflection on the Snake River. Sony A7R III & 70-200 F4.

Different Scenery (Snow!)

The mountains will be completed covered in snow and depending on your luck you’ll get fresh snow on your feet at lower elevations as well. It’s different than the winter as it’s usually just a couple of inches. Enough to really add character to a scene but not turn it into a complete winter wonderland. You’ll get some snow in the fall too but by that time of the year the mountains won’t have much snow covering them.

Oxbow Bend Sunrise in May
Sunrise at Oxbow Bend. Sony A7R III & 16-35 F4.

It’s always fun to go back to the same spots in different seasons and see how different they look.

Lots of Wildlife

Spring is a great time to spot wildlife in the Tetons. It’s the perfect time to see little wildlife babies as it’s peak birthing season. The herds of Elk, Bison, Moose, etc will all be migrating north as the snow melts so there’s always plenty of activity. The best times to see them are early in the morning and late afternoon, so around golden hours.

Some Random Tips

  • Most of the roads within the park will be open. The road to Yellowstone usually doesn’t open until the 2nd of week May. Check the park website for yearly updates.
  • Services in the park will be operating for a slower schedule. However, most will start opening up for the summer season.
  • A lot of hikes won’t be open yet but usually you’ll be able to do Taggert Lake and Jenny Lake by this time.
    • Snowshoes, skis, or even microspikes really help if you want access to more trails before waiting for snowmelt.


What’s your favorite time to visit Grand Teton National Park? Personally, my favorite is fall. But early spring is quite beautiful as well. I definitely prefer it over the summer when it gets hot and crowded! Interested in learning about more places to travel and get epic landscape shots? Check out my other travel guides!

Sunrise at Schwabacher Landing
Sunrise at Schwabacher Landing. Sony A7R III & 16-35 F4.


Hey there, I’m Jon! I love landscape photography which is why I travel all the time! On my blog I’ll share all the best spots for epic sunsets and sunrises as well as some photography tips and tricks. I also have a interest in game design so you’ll find the occasional post about that too. Thanks for visiting!

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