Oxbow Bend is the site of Grand Teton National Park’s most photographed scene - the iconic reflection of Mt. Moran in the clear, calm waters of Snake River. Early morning is the perfect time to experience (and photograph!) this remarkable sight first-hand; while the rest of the day can be spent exploring everything else the area has to offer.
Mt. Moran is easily recognised by its colossal height and flattened summit. The mountain rises 3,842 m (12,605 ft) above sea level and has two distinctive features; Skillet Glacier and Black Dike – a striking basalt intrusion. Moran is named after Thomas Moran; an American landscape painter whose art was responsible for the designation of Yellowstone as the world’s first national park.
The mountain’s reflection is not the only photographic opportunity Oxbow Bends presents - it is one of the best places for wildlife spotting in Grand Teton National Park. This peaceful backwater provides an ideal habitat for trout and suckers, which in turn attract predators such as black bears, beavers, river otters and dazzling birds of prey. The area is also home to moose and elk; and wildlife enthusiasts may even be rewarded with a glimpse of the elusive grizzly bear.
The landscape and wildlife community of Oxbow Bend changes with the seasons and visitors can enjoy charming sights, year-round. In spring, Oxbow becomes the temporary home of migrating white pelicans, many of whom stay through summer. By autumn, the peaceful, green landscape has been transformed by the gold, red and amber leaves of the turning aspen trees.
Activities at Oxbow Bend include hiking, sight-seeing, wildlife watching, photography and canoeing in the tranquil waters. The serene landscape offers a fantastic retreat in an authentically rural environment to local residents and tourists alike.