Grand Teton Road Trip Oxbow Bend
National Parks,  Travel Guides,  USA

Our Grand Teton Road Trip: Oxbow Bend, Colter Bay & Jackson Lake

After a therapeutic snowshoe trek out to Taggart Lake, we decided it was time to explore some of the gorgeous surrounding wilderness with a one-day Grand Teton road trip. This impromptu driving adventure turned out to be the most wildlife rich day of our 4 days in Jackson Hole, blessing us with amazing shots of river otters, pronghorn antelope, fully-grown hawks, a baby bald eagle and our one-and-only moose.

If you’re looking for a picturesque road trip that offers a diverse mix of wildlife outside of Jackson Hole, then hop in the driver’s seat and enjoy the highlights from this incredible Grand Teton road trip. It’s 120 miles total, so you can knock it out in a half day, or do what we did: take your time and stretch it to 6-8 hours.

Our advice: pack a cooler full of food for the day, bring some blankets, fold-up chairs, binoculars and plenty of memory cards for your cameras, and make a day of it. You could easily spend half a day just relaxing in Oxbow Bend—our favorite stop along the way, and possibly one of the most picture-perfect corners of the USA.


Grand Teton road trip itinerary

The famous antler arches of Jackson Town Square mark the beginning of this Grand Teton road trip. From here, it’s about 60 miles to the Yellowstone South Entrance.

Before your trip, check road conditions here.

Grand Teton Road Trip Jackson Hole Square
Jackson Town Square

Main stops, south to north

  • Moose Junction
  • Teton Point Turnout
  • Oxbow Bend
  • Willow Flats Overlook
  • Colter Bay Village
  • Jackson Lake Overlook
  • Flagg Ranch
  • Yellowstone South Entrance

travelhelix tip: Oxbow Bend was the undisputed highlight of the day. If your time is limited, stop here, soak it all in, and then head south again. This will cut your road trip down to 70 miles roundtrip (vs. 120 miles roundtrip for the complete route).

Grand Teton Road Trip Map Jackson Square to Yellowstone South Entrance

Accommodation along the way

There are several places to stay along this beautiful stretch of wilderness, from Jenny Lake all the way up to Flagg Ranch. Be sure to check opening and closing dates if you want to stay in any of these areas. During our visit in mid-April, all of them were closed.

Search all Jackson Hole accommodation here


Highlights of our Grand Teton road trip

Here are some visual highlights of this unforgettable Grand Teton road trip.

Moose Junction

Grand Teton Road Trip Moose Junction Sign

Fittingly, Moose Junction was home to our one-and-only moose sighting! We happened to catch a glimpse of this dark figure while driving along the 191, and immediately pulled over. He/she was over 100 yards away, and we weren’t 100% sure it was a moose at the time.

Post-production, we feel fairly confident in confirming: we have a moose.


Grand Teton Road Trip Moose Sighting
Moose @ Moose Junction!

Teton Point Turnout

Grand Teton Road Trip Teton Point Turnout Sign

Consider this an optional stop along the way. Nice view of the Tetons, but if your time is limited, skip it and keep driving.

Grand Teton Road Trip - Tetons in the Offseason

Oxbow Bend

Grand Teton Road Trip Oxbow Bend Turnout Sign

The undisputed highlight of the day, filled with wildlife. We stopped here for 30 minutes on the way up and another 30 minutes on the way back.

In hindsight, we could have spent all day soaking in the sights & sounds around this serene corner of the Snake River.


Grand Teton Road Trip Oxbow Bend
Oxbow Bend
Grand Teton Road Trip Oxbow Bend
Otter sighting @ Oxbow Bend!
Grand Teton Road Trip Oxbow Bend
Could have watched these guys all day.

Grand Teton Road Trip Oxbow Bend

Grand Teton Road Trip Immature Bald Sighting Oxbow Bend
“Immature” (baby) Bald Eagle sighting @ Oxbow Bend.

Colter Bay Village

Colter Bay is a hotspot that’s full of activity in the summer. In mid-April—somehow charmingly—it felt like a snow-filled ghost town.

Grand Teton Road Trip Colter Bay
Colter Bay covered in ice & snow.
Grand Teton Road Trip Colter Bay

Yellowstone South Entrance

We made it! And this time of year, we literally cannot go any further. Time to turn around and begin heading south toward Jackson Hole.

Grand Teton Road Trip - Yellowstone National Park South Entrance Sign

Jackson Lake Overlook

About 20 minutes south of the Yellowstone South Entrance, we pulled over on the side of the road to capture this incredible scene: a thick blanket of white covering Jackson Lake, with those majestic Tetons in the background. Simply gorgeous.

Grand Teton Road Trip Jackson Lake Overlook
Jackson Lake Overlook

Willow Flats Overlook

Oxbow Bend was the overall wildlife highlight of the day, but nearby Willow Flats Overlook comes in a close second, thanks to some surreal hawks circling overhead.

Grand Teton Road Trip Willow Flats Overlook
Willow Flats Overlook
Grand Teton Road Trip Willow Flats Overlook
A majestic hawk circling overhead @ Willow Flats Overlook

Somewhere between Moose Junction & Jackson Hole

In much the same fashion that we found our moose friend, a quick pull-over to the side of the road blessed us with our first and only pronghorn antelope encounter!

Grand Teton Road Trip Pronghorn Antelope
Pronghorn Antelope!


Where to re-fuel after a long day

That night would be our last in Jackson Hole, and for dinner, we managed to save the best for last. The house-pulled mozzarella and melt-off-the-bone short ribs at Bin22 offered a mouthwatering ending to a gorgeous day.

Check out our guide to eating in Jackson Hole during the offseason for some other great dining options after your own Grand Teton road trip.



PS—tomorrow we’ll head to Yellowstone for the ultimate feat: bridging the gap of offseason by bike and on-season by car!

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