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Autumn in Grand Teton National Park: Simply Gorgeous!
Autumn is a very special time in Grand Teton National Park, and is one of our favorite places to be during the fall season. The fall colors, the animals, the electric blue sky and the cool crisp days and nights all make Grand Teton National Park a wonderful place to visit during the fall season.
Grand Teton National Park is world famous for its magnificent fall colors, and if you hit it just right, you will understand why. There are a high concentration of aspens throughout the park, and when they turn, they turn a bright yellow. This bright yellow is jaw-dropping, especially when the aspen trees are in direct contrast to the dark green of the evergreen trees. And what’s also a really treat are the aspens that turn a copper color and sometimes even red. These vivid colors reflecting in the Snake River at Oxbow Bend, and the incredible Teton Mountain Range as the towering back drop, makes for a perfect image. That’s probably why Oxbow Bend is one of the most photographed spots in Grand Teton National Park, and probably in the entire country.
What date the colors actually change is slightly different from year to year, but usually the colors start to really turn the third week of September through the first week in October. And of course there are several factors that can affect the outcome of the color change. For example, if there is an early freeze, sometimes the leaves simply die without really showing off a vivid yellow. And other times if there are high winds, the leaves are blown off before visitors really get to enjoy them. And sometimes the colors change all at once which is really amazing to see, and other years it happens in sections. But if you hit it right during the perfect year, you will be absolutely astounded over what you’ll see!
Fall is also the mating seasons for pronghorns, elk and moose in Grand Teton National Park. This is known as “the rut”, and is a fascinating time to watch these animals in action. The males are trying to “get friendly” with the females, and they have to fight other males for this privilege. Watching these rituals is always fascinating and quite memorable. And during the rut, these animals are out in the open more, so you have a much better chance of seeing them as opposed to mid summer. That is why you’ll see a lot of photographers out in the field during this time of year.
Cool Crisp Days and Nights
An added bonus to fall in Grand Teton National Park is that the days are very pleasant. The temperature is cooler but the sun is warm on your face… kind of like a campfire. It’s hard to describe but it’s wonderful. And when the sun goes down, it gets quite cool, which makes campfires feel even better.
Fresh Snow on the Peaks
Another nice feature of a Grand Teton National Park autumn is the fresh snow that falls on the tall peaks of the Teton Mountain Range. This snow really makes the mountains even more breathtaking, and this along with the fall colors make for a wonderful scene.
Electric Blue Sky
It’s hard to describe to someone who hasn’t seen it in person, but the sky above Grand Teton National Park (as well as Yellowstone National Park and Glacier National Park) becomes “electric blue” in color. You won’t see this vivid color any other time of year, and it’s absolutely amazing. It’s due to the polarizing effect from the specific angle of the sun during this time of year, and because the forest fires are finished for the year (usually). There is also less UV haze in the air this time of year which helps create this unique color.
So adding the “electric blue” sky to the white fresh snow on the mountains, and the incredibly vivid yellow aspen leaves…. you’ve got yourself one of the prettiest images your eyes will ever see. Oh, and add a harem of cow elk with a herd bull bugling…. it just doesn’t get better than that! But no matter how hard we attempt to adequately describe it, and no matter how we try to capture it in photos, actually seeing Grand Teton National Park during the peak of the autumn season with your own eyes is the only way to do it justice. You’ll then understand why we get so excited about this special place during this special time of year!
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