Best of the Tetons

Tetons in Pink

Fall On Shadow Mountain

Shadow Mountain runs parallel to the Teton Range on the eastern side of the valley. While it is technically not part of Grand Teton National Park, Shadow Mountain is still a dominant feature and a big player for sunrises.

Click Here to see a Map of Shadow Mountain via The Photographer’s Ephemeris

Shadow Mountain Sunrise

Shadow Mountain Sunrise: Sunrises are usually good in both directions from the southern backbone. The road leading to the top is located at the edge of the Bridger-Teton National Forest. The road is a bit rough and winding, but most vehicles can make it to the top without much problem. In the Spring, I’d suggest a 4-Wheel Drive vehicle with some of the ruts getting sloppy and deep. Most of the road has a good gravel and rock base. Without rushing, it should take you about 12-15 minutes to drive to the ridge line. There are numerous good shooting spots on the way up or down, too.

Pink and Sunrise

Pink and Sunrise: It you are lucky, you can catch pinks, amber, lavender, and magenta clouds. This shot was taking looking back towards the Town of Jackson from the backbone of the ridge.

Tetons in Pink

Tetons with Pink: This was taken a few minutes after the image above. It was still technically “dark”, but a bit of color filtered through the clouds to light a few clouds in the West.

Checkerboard of Color

Checkerboard of Color: I like Shadow Mountain in the early summer for wildflowers, but it really lights up in the fall with stands of beautiful aspens set against the spruce and lodge pole pines.

Aspen Stands

Aspen Stands on the Back Side: I always like catching the variety of angles and slopes on the back side of the ridge.

Country Road

Country Road: This is the road running across the top of the ridge. You can follow it North and it will eventually spit you out near Lost Creek Ranch, however, at some point, the road heads into the lodge pole pine forests and you lose views of the Tetons.

Fall Sunrise

Wavy Clouds: I took this photo from the ridge at about the last good are before it changes to pine forests.

Shadow Mountain and the South Vista

Shadow Mountain and the South Vista: An afternoon shot with Mt. Jackson on the distant ridge.

Shadow Mountain Hillside

Shadow Mountain Hillside: Another afternoon showing the variety of trees on the side of the mountain.

Shadow Mountain

Glancing Light: Evening light catching just the tops of a stand of aspens. In the distance, you can see part of Sleeping Indian mountain and Mt. Jackson. On the far left, you can see the scar from the landslide that formed Slide Lake.

Vista View at Shadow Mountain

Vista View at Shadow Mountain: I took this image on the way back down the road after spending the morning on the ridge. The West side of the ridge will be in shadows for the first part of the morning, so I like to wait to catch this area on the way back down. You won’t see many large mammals on Shadow Mountain, especially at this time of the year. You’ll more likely see a few deer hunters and occasionally a hunter with a black bear permit. The animals learn where to go this time of the year. There are unimproved camping spots at the base of the mountain and several more located along the climb and along the ridge line.


General Photography and Travel Comments: I mentioned earlier, I like to go to Shadow Mountain in the early summer for the wildflowers and again in the fall for the foliage. I like sunrises better, but it is possible to capture nice sunsets from there, too. It can be a good place to capture the setting moon. I believe it is a good location to do night photography for the Milky Way and stars. There are very few lights to spoil the shots. Shadow Mountain is a good option at times of the year to get above a layer of fog and catch the tips of the Tetons. There are numerous opportunities for panoramic images on Shadow Mountain. I tend to use a 24-70 mm most often there, but will use the 70-200 mm and even a 200-400 for isolating areas. Lightning strikes the top of this mountain with regularity, so it might not be the safest place to be during a storm. Many of the aspen trees are mature on either side of the road on the climb and house a variety of woodpeckers and sapsuckers, along with no telling how many other species of birds. All of Shadow Mountain is in the national forest, so you can bring your dog and let it run. My golden retriever has a blast up there when I take her.


Check on this page. I’ll likely add a few more photos from over the years. All images above were taken this year. MJ


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Comments (3)

  1. Jackie Ireland

    Nice shots, looks like it’s peak foliage. Thank you for sharing this blog.

  2. Craig K

    Howdy Mike,

    Love all the photos you post and being an amateur photographer enjoy the detail you give about how you “planned” the shot and the lens you use for various shots. Keep it up.

  3. Lowell Schechter

    Mike, wonderful fall images of this place. enjoyed looking at all them.

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