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Foliage Reports September/October 2017

Jackson Hole & Grand Teton National Park

Changing LeafDuring September, I’ll work on two pages simultaneously. This September Foliage 2017 post will contain more specific information about the ever changing foliage status in the area. The September 2017 Daily Journal for JH and GTNP Page will contain some foliage information, but will focus more on wildlife and landscapes. You’ll want to go to both regularly.

Note: Think of this page as a day to day or week to week resource containing mainly “record shots”. The photos are not intended to be “wall hangers”, but more documentary in nature. Also, this page will grow in size and scope as the month progresses. Check back regularly!

Archived Resources:

You can go back to the September Daily Updates and Photos pages for the previous few years and probably get a good idea of how the entire month unfolds.

September 2017 | September 2016  |  September 2015   | September 2014:  | September 2013: It will probably be apparent that not all areas change at the same time and some of the fall foliage can go well into October.

Foliage Scale 2015

Foliage Scale 2017

This scale should help with visualizing the approximate color hues. On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 1 being summer green and 10 being peak), I will give a three part number. The first one is an average of the least changed. The middle number is the overall average and the last number is the status of the most advanced trees in an area. Note: Some aspens and some Mountain Maple turn orange and red, while many aspens, cottonwoods, and willows peak at something in the 8 or 9 range before the leaves fall or turn brown.

Remember, peak Fall foliage is not a one day event! It evolves over several weeks. Some areas go first, then lose leaves while others are just beginning. You should be able to find colorful foliage anytime from around the 10th of September to the first week in October.

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October 25, 2017

Jackson Lake

Jackson Lake: Remnant color and distant burned mountains.

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October 18, 2017

Old Patriarch

I drove by the homesteads at Mormon Row yesterday. The Aspens in front of the peach house are still greenish. The Cottonwoods are generally past prime near the barns. As I mentioned earlier, most of the “native” Aspens, Cottonwoods, and Willows are past prime around the valley, but there are many trees in and around Jackson that are bright yellow. The area is effectively turning a new chapter at this point in October. This is the time of the year that I start returning to landscape opportunities that do not are not dependent on changing foliage.

The clock is ticking towards the closure of a couple of the important roads in GTNP. At midnight on October 31sth, the Inner Park Loop road closes between the Taggart Lake Trail Head parking lot and the base of Signal Mountain. The closure cuts off vehicle access to Jenny Lake, String Lake, Signal Mountain, Leigh Lake, Hidden Falls, Inspiration Point and BarBC Ranch. Another important section of road closes at the same time between Death Canyon road and Granite Canyon trail head on the Moose-Wilson Road.

Today, I’ll officially end the 2017 Foliage Reports page, but if you found this page via a search, you’ll want to switch to the September 2017 Daily Journal for JH and GTNP for animal sightings, comments and news.

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October 14, 2017

Black Hawthorn Bushes

Black Hawthorn Bushes on the Moose-Wilson Road. 4″ of overnight snow accented the red leaves.

TA Moulton Barn

TA Moulton Barn: This was taken yesterday afternoon at the TA Moulton Barn. The cottonwoods still have leaves on them, but are not as bright as in some years.

John Moulton Homestead

John Moulton Homestead: Taken as a late evening storm passed through. Aspens there are turning, but not bright this year.

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October 13, 2017

Aspens

Aspens: Some Aspens have been protected by the wind and still have leaves. These were near Triangle X Ranch. Most exposed Aspens have been stripped now.

Aspens

Aspens: I was on the phone with the car running when I snapped this image, but I wanted to show there are still some colorful trees. This group was along Spread Creek.

Cottonwoods and Aspens in the Town of Jackson are turning.  Some are fairly bright, but others a generally “dull” this year.

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October 12, 2017

 Moose Cow Feeding on Willows

Moose Cow Feeding on Willows: Like photographers, Moose, are still looking for leaves. This Moose was feeding along the Gros Ventre river bottom.

Moose Cow Feeding on Willows

Moose Cow Feeding on Willows:

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October 11, 2017

Gros Ventre Trees

Gros Ventre Willows and Cottonwoods.

Mormon Row

Mormon Row: As you can see, the trees at Mormon Row still have leaves, but I can’t say they will turn bright yellow this year.

TA Moulton Barn

TA Moulton Barn: I snapped these two Mormon Row photos to show the foliage status there. Instead of turning bright yellow this year, many are changing to brownish-orange.

Cinnamon Black Bear

Cinnamon Black Bear: Some of the leaves along the Moose-Wilson Road have been changing to red and orange, while other Black Hawthorn bushes turned reddish and then dull to brown.

Remember, there are lots more photos on this sister page: October Daily Updates for Grand Teton National Park and Jackson Hole

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October 10, 2017

Owbow Bend

Owbow Bend: There are yellow aspens around the Jackson Lake Junction area, but the wind has already stripped the aspens at the “bend”.

Schwabacher Landing

Schwabacher Landing: Some zones of the Snake still have leaves, while others are already well past prime.

Schwabacher Landing

Schwabacher Landing: Valley wide foliage season may be over, but there are still pockets of good color. Mormon Row should be good over the next few days.

Late Evening Moose

Late Evening Moose: Captured along the Gros Ventre. There are still a few cottonwoods with color along the river.

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October 8, 2017

The relentless winds took its toll on the region’s foliage. The upper parking lot at Oxbow is essentially stripped clean and the traditional strip of aspens at the far west corner of Oxbow is half gone, with yellow leaves remaining only on the right side. The normally beautiful stand of aspens at Arizona Meadows (near Arizona Creek) has lost all of their leaves.

Pronghorns

Pronghorns near Elk Flats:

Storm Clouds

Mormon Row: Most of the aspens and cottonwoods along Mormon Row are intact, many of which are still green.

Foliage Season is not over! The iconic shots at Oxbow Bend were a bust this year—with cloudy days part of the time and heavy winds during the rest of the prime time. There are plenty of yellow zones left! We may have great foliage opportunities for another week or longer. Get out and be creative!

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October 7, 2017

Moose-Wilson Road Pano

Moose-Wilson Road Pano: Click this image to see it much larger. This photo was taken along the road while waiting for a bear to start feeding. The Black Hawthorn bushes are turning red and maroon while Aspens are turning yellow.

The Cottonwoods and Aspens around the Mormon Row Barns are still fairly green.

As I mentioned on the October Daily Journal, wind was a big player in today’s morning sunrise shots. Wind ruffles water spots like Schwabacher Landing, Oxbow Bend, and Jackson Lake, and the gusty wind is knocking leaves off the trees.

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October 6, 2017

Buck Rail Fence

Buck Rail Fence: Taken along Antelope Flats Road.

Aspen Trunks

Aspen Trunks: Taken along the upper Gros Ventre Road.

There are lots of yellow trees, yet there are still a lot of trees that have hardly changed. You can also find trees that have lost all of their leaves. Call it a “mixed bag” of opportunities at your disposal.

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October 5, 2017,

Aspen Stand

Aspen Stand: Taken along the Moose-Wilson Road. I drove up the road from Wilson. The gravel section is getting almost impassable.

Boyle's Hill

Cottonwoods along the Snake River at the Wilson Bridge are either past prime or stayed brown as seen in the distant cottonwoods above. This was taken at the Boyle’s Hill Swan Pond just West of Jackson.

Moose Pond

Moose Pond: This is a common scene right now. There are a few bright yellow aspens with others still showing some green.

South Park Barn

South Park Barn:

I received a report from Oxbow Bend this afternoon. The lower section is still a few days away from prime. I’m not sure if they will turn their typical orange this year.

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October 4, 2017,

Oxbow Pano

Oxbow Pano: Nikon D500 and Tamron 18-400mm Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

Foliage Comments: Oxbow looks like it will reach prime in the lower section over the weekend…or so. The upper lot looks pretty good right now, but those trees typically turn orange at their prime. When sunlight hits pre-prime leaves, they can look much more yellow, but on overcast days, show their true state. Right now, the cottonwoods along the Snake River are still slightly green and probably several days, or possibly even a week from prime. Still, there are lots of bright yellow trees around the valley.

Golden Reflections

Golden Reflections: Taken near Leek’s Marina. Nikon D500 and Tamron 18-400mm Lens, Handheld, VC On.

Oxbow Bend Pano

Oxbow Bend Pano: Taken from the water’s edge. This pano was shot in “portrait” orientation, using about 9 captures stitched in Lightroom. Nikon D500 and Tamron 18-400mm Lens, Tripod, VC Off.

The stand of Aspens at the West end of Oxbow still needs a few more days. Aspens in the Jackson Lake Junction are very close to prime.

Hillside Barn

Hillside Barn: Around the valley, aspens are finally kicking in. This was taken in Buffalo Valley. Nikon D500 and Tamron 150-600mm Lens, Handheld, VC On.

If you are interested in taking a One-On-One Photo Tour with me, click the links below! For inquiries, send an email to info@tetonimages.com.


Teton Photo Excursions

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October 3, 2017, Tuesday

Ditch Creek

Ditch Creek: This photo shows the snow on the valley floor, rapidly changing cottonwoods, and low morning clouds.

Ditch Creek

Ditch Creek: Another view which includes a bit of Blacktail Butte and distant Teton Range beneath the moody, low hanging clouds. Over the next few days, expect to see less of the green leaves and more of the yellow and deeper orange leaves.

Shadow Mountain had a lot of color when viewed from the valley floor this morning. I didn’t travel North.

Aspen Stand

Aspen Stand: Taken from the Moose-Wilson Road, just north of Teton Village Resort.

Moose Wilson Foliage

Moose-Wilson Foliage: The aspens along this zone still need a couple of days.

Black Hawthorn Berries

Black Hawthorn Berries: Along the Moose-Wilson Road.

Black Bear

Black Bear in Black Hawthorns

Sleeping Indian

Sleeping Indian and Gros Ventre: There’s still a lot of green along the river.

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October 2, 2017, Monday

Snow and Berries

Snow and Berries: Taken along the Moose-Wilson Road. The Black Hawthorn bushes are beginning to radiate color in oranges and red.

Warm Springs Road

Warm Springs Road: I usually photograph this stand of aspens and spruce near the Welcome to GTNP sign. This year, they are near prime condition about two weeks later than in the past few years.

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October 1, 2017, Sunday

Oxbow Bend Upper Lot

Oxbow Bend Upper Lot: Let foliage season 2017 begin! When the current snow storm clears and the mountains reappear, it looks like JH is in for a stellar foliage season. The mountains will have a fresh blanket of snow at about the same time the valley wide leaves are turning yellow. The lower lot at Oxbow Bend is probably still a couple of days before it begins to peak, while the upper lot will be ready right away. Those Aspens usually turn orange, but they still have a tinge of green in them today.

Grizzly

Grizzly: Low shrubs are more colorful in many areas of the region.

Aspens

Aspens: Don’t let the snow photos scare you! Early season snow on the valley floor usually melts quickly.

Aspens near Taggart Lake are near peak. Aspens along the East Boundary Road are nearing peak, along with Aspens near the Shane Cabin. Willows along the Gros Ventre are well behind normal. Cottonwoods along the Gros Ventre and Snake River are changing now. They need a few more days to peak. Watch for great color up Pacific Creek Road. Aspens in the Buffalo Valley are changing at a fast pace. The Snake River Canyon and the road along Palisades Reservoir are as beautiful as I’ve seen in years. Mountain Maple dominate the hillsides, with mixtures of near peak aspens thrown in.

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September 30, 2017, Saturday

Gros Ventre River

Gros Ventre River: Slow but steady changes along the river bottoms.

Morning Pano

Morning Pano: Taken near Kelly. These Cottonwoods are just beginning to turn.

Tomorrow will be the First of October…When driving around, it is now looking and feeling like Fall. There is still a log of green in the trees, but the Fall color shift is finally beginning to take hold.

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September 29, 2017,  Friday

Mtn. Maples and Aspens

Mtn. Maples and Aspens: I did a mid-morning trip down the Snake River Canyon and across the north side of the Palisades Reservoir. Mountain Maple are near peak in most areas.

Hog Island Aspens

Hog Island Aspens: One the way down, I stopped to take this photo at Hog Island…just south of the Snake River bridge.

Gros Ventre Steam

Gros Ventre Steam: I spent my morning looking for Moose along the Gros Ventre. I snapped this early photo to shot the status of the river bottom. That area still needs a few days.

Big Elk Creek

Big Elk Creek: This photo was taken along Palisades Reservoir. Big Elk Creek feeds into it.

Mountain Maples

Mosaic of Aspens and Mountain Maple: There are a lot of Mountain Maple in the Canyon as you near Alpine Junction. A power line runs down the middle of some of the most scenic zones. The better opportunities are along the reservoir.

Mtn. Maples

Mtn. Maples:

Mtn. Maple Pano

Mtn. Maple Pano: Click this image to see it much larger! For this image, I used a painter’s pole, a Nikon D810, a CamRanger and the PTHub. Over the past 10 years, the close trees are beginning to block the view of the little valley. I controlled the camera with my iPad. At least six different “Best of the Tetons” readers stopped by to say hi!

Interagency Fall Burning Projects to be Implemented in Grand Teton National Park and Bridger-Teton National Forest

MOOSE, WY-Teton Interagency Fire personnel will be burning piles of slash created from fuels reduction and hazard tree projects within Grand Teton National Park and Bridger-Teton National Forest.  Firefighters will burn these piles under low fire behavior conditions as colder temperatures and wet conditions exist.

Pile burning in Grand Teton National Park will take place in several locations, including:

  • Along the Signal Mountain Summit Road,
  • Along the north side of Pacific Creek Road, after the road junction to Pacific Creek Trailhead,
  • Near the White Grass Dude Ranch,
  • Near the Bar B C Dude Ranch,
  • East of Antelope Flats area, south of Shadow Mountain,
  • Near the South Landing campsite on Jackson Lake south of Signal Mountain, and
  • Southeast of Phelps Lake.

Additional fuels reduction work will take place this fall north of the Pacific Creek Subdivision access road.

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September 28, 2017,  Thursday

Bar B-C Dude Ranch

Bar B-C Dude Ranch: ..there are quite a few Aspens turning around this old Dude Ranch. Bar BC Dude Ranch

Bar B-C Dude Ranch

Bar BC Dude Ranch

Bar B-C Dude Ranch

Poet’s Privy: That title will make more sense if you read this Feature Post. Bar BC Dude Ranch

Oxbow Bend Aspens

Oxbow Bend Aspens: Still early! Peak foliage at Oxbow could be October 2, 3, or 4? Other trees in the area are changing.

If you are in Jackson Hole right now, you can find colorful Aspens. The Cottonwoods on the Snake River Bottom is still turning…maybe 3, 4, 5 on my scale at the top of the page.

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September 27, 2017,  Wednesday

Teton Range Pano

Clear skies, snow capped peaks, and hillsides beginning to change colors. Taken from Elk Flats near Elk Reservoir. Click this image to see it much larger.

I didn’t take any photos there, but Pacific Creek Road has a lot of yellow Aspens in the 6, 7, & 8 range.

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September 26, 2017  Tuesday

Snake River Canyon / Palisades Reservoir: I received a recent message saying the Canyon and areas around Palisades Reservoir is on “fire” right now…meaning the Mountain Maple leaves are prime. Today should be beautiful with a few morning clouds and lots of sun. The regional snow and rain appears to have knocked down most of the smoke and haze. Happy viewing!

Oxbow Bend

Oxbow Bend taken this morning. Needless to say, it is still early there!

Upper Lot at Oxbow Bend

Upper Lot at Oxbow Bend is a little ahead of the stand of Aspens on the West end of the Bend.

Mt. Moran

Mt. Moran and aging stand of Aspens taken near Elk Flats.

Shadow Mountain is changing now, but not peak.

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September 25, 2017  Monday

Cub

I feel like a broken record! Foliage is changing, but it seems when you want it to hurry, it slows down. You can find color, but it’s spotty. Low ground cover and small shrubs are ahead of the larger trees in most zones. A couple more days should make a big difference,

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September 24, 2017

Snake River Bottom

There may be people in the Park at this time expecting a foliage season that mimics last year’s season, but most areas are still at least a full week behind the last couple of years.

Arizona Meadows

Taken today at the meadows just west of Arizona Creek. I often call it Arizona Meadows, but it might correctly be called Kamas Meadow for the flowering plants there.

Arizona Meadows

This photo was taken on Sept. 21, 2014 at the same place.

Oxbow Bend is still four or five days away from being ready. The upper parking lot is farther along. There are a few yellow aspens near Jackson Lake Lodge.

Sprad Creek

Spread Creek is progressing, but not ready. The best color is on the West side of the valley.

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September 23, 2017

Togwotee

Aspens in Buffalo Valley are beginning to turn, but are scarce atop Togwotee Pass. As in yesterday’s post, many areas still need 3-7 days. The aspens behind the Chapel of the Transfiguration are barely showing changes. The area around Moose is usually bright yellow, but is also behind some years.

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September 22, 2017

Oxbow Aspens

Oxbow Aspens: Far from peak!

Oxbow Hillside Aspens

Oxbow Hillside Aspens: These are a little farther along.

Aspens

Aspens: A bright stand of Aspens near Spread Creek.

General Comments: I drove about 160 miles today, covering a lot of the park. Oxbow is still behind last year….probably prime Sept 29-Oct 3. The Cottonwoods near Schwabacher Landing advanced some in the past few days. If you want to find yellow and orange trees, just keep driving around. They are not dominant features yet. The leaves on the Black Hawthorn bushes are just beginning to turn, but are mostly green. In short, most of the valley is only at level 3 with a few 4 and 5 intensities if you compare it to the chart. Even with that said, there is still a lot of 1 and 2 values. I also drove up Togwottee Pass to the Lodge. That area also has a few yellow trees, but today most of the upper portions were covered in snow.

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September 21, 2017

David Langendonk Oxbow

David Langendonk took this photo at Oxbow Bend yesterday. Using my chart, it looks like there are some 1, 2, and 3 trees. David also included a photo of the hillside above the road at Oxbow. Those Aspens are more yellow, which is typical for that area.

https://i0.wp.com/www.bestofthetetons.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/OxbowTreeStand_Aug14.jpg

August 14, 2016: I’ll include this photo today showing a similar photo from last year. I’d suggest that it will take another couple of days relative to David’s photo to reach this stage. In other words, it looks like this year is roughly 7-9 days behind last year. Last year, peak at Oxbow was between the 19-21 +/-.  If using the same timing, I’d “suggest” peak should be around Sept. 27-30 this year at Oxbow Bend. The left tip of the Aspen stand usually goes off first and sometimes blows off before the right side peaks. Without heavy winds, peak could go into October. Compare the previous years: Foliage Reports September/October 2016 :  and Foliage Reports September/October 2015:

Mountain Bluebird

Mountain Bluebird: We are having a “Wintery Mix” today, meaning the upper mountains are probably getting pounded by snow. Great! Some people stay home when the weather is not “Bluebird clear”, but I like being out for the possibilities of unique shots. The Mountain Bluebird was on Mormon Row this morning.

Washakie with Snow Flakes

I heard reports of Yellowstone road closures, but as far as I know, the main roads in the Tetons are open. Part of Mormon Row Road is closed, but that is because of muddy conditions and not heavy snow pack.

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September 20, 2017

East Side

This photo was taken on the Gros Ventre Road after you turn towards Slide Lake. At the bottom of the hill is the Shane Cabin.

Shane Cabin

Old timers might recall there used to be a stand of old Aspen trunks in the opening, but they have all but one fallen down. The trees would have been visible in the 1950s Shane movie. Generally speaking, most of the foliage changes are on the East side of the Park and the South end of the valley.

Mormon Row

The cottonwoods and aspens along Mormon Row are often some of the last to change…usually in the first week of October. Note the snow on the peaks!

Chambers Homestead

Chambers Homestead from Mormon Row. You can see some of the Aspens beginning to turn on the hillsides above Kelly.

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September 19, 2017

Gros Ventre Willows

Gros Ventre Willows: Finally…the leaves on the willows along the Gros Ventre River basin are changing! Cottonwoods are not as colorful, and as you can see on the distant hillside, Aspens are just beginning to turn.

The next few days may include periods of rain and snow for much of the Northwest. That’s great news! Early season snow in the high country should make this year’s Fall Foliage season unique and potentially stunning compared to years with no snow. The snow and rain in the NW should also help firefighters and help us with clearer Fall skies.

In the mean time, this page might help during foggy and rainy days: Making the Best of a Rainy Day:

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September 18, 2017

Schwabacher Pano

Schwabacher Pano: This is a two frame Pano taken this morning at Schwabacher Landing. As you can see, the cottonwoods are just beginning to show any hints of changes in areas of the river bottom. The cottonwoods are farther along south of Moose Junction and around the Wilson Bridge. Reports still suggest the Aspens at Oxbow Bend are not turning much in the two big stands. (Click the image to see it larger)

Washakie

Washakie: Late evening along the Gros Ventre.  Changes…but not prime!

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September 17, 2017

Cottonwoods

Cottonwoods: Taken along the Gros Ventre River. The temperature dropped to around 28°F overnight, frosting the back of the Bull.

Careful Approach

Careful Approach:

East Boundary Road

East Boundary Road: There are several zones of yellowing aspens along the East Boundary Road. They seem to turn early each year. Aspens on Shadow Mountain appeared to be just beginning to turn.

Snow Capped

Snow Capped Tetons: A quick shot showing the fresh snow across the mountain peaks.

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September 16, 2017

Cottonwoods

This was taken in the spruce and cottonwoods along the Gros Ventre River. Depending on where you are in the valley, you might have experienced the first snow storm of the year. The mountains definitely have snow now, but I can’t say if it will last through the entire foliage season. It typically melts quickly. There are a few light flakes in the photo above. I haven’t been north in a while, but I have been hearing the trees are mostly green around Oxbow.

In the past day or two, I’d suggest there has been a switch has been flipped.  More of the trees are in the 2 or 3 stage of my chart above. In some areas, you might even say there are 4 and 5 stages, but there are very few areas with large patches of peak leaves.

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September 15, 2017

Black Hawthorn Berries

It was cool, dark and rainy this morning. I took this photo along the Moose-Wilson Road.

Misty Morning Cow Elk

Shot through a thin layer of drizzle at a high ISO near Cottonwood Creek.  A few trees will be colorful, a few mixed, and a lot just starting to turn.

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September 14, 2017

Changes

Changes: It’s almost the middle of September and I’m still struggling to find clumps of colorful trees. This photo was taken across from the GTNP entry sign at the south edge of the park. There are changes, but the zone is still more green than yellow.

Berry bushes along the Moose-Wilson Road are definitely changing. Some are orange and red! A few Aspens are beginning to change there. A few of the Cottonwoods along the Snake around Meadow Road are starting to have a yellow cast.

Ground Cover

Ground Cover: You can find a lot of color if you look down!

Choke Cherries

Choke Cherries: Look for berry bushes and then listen for Cedar Waxwings and other birds. They’ll likely be nearby.

Flat Creek

Flat Creek runs through the Town of Jackson. Some of the trees and bushes along it are beginning to turn.

Orange

These bushes near Karns Meadows should be vivid soon.

On my way to the Moose-Wilson Road, (see the Great Gray Owls on the daily report) I drove across the Snake River near Wilson. The Cottonwoods near the bridge are far advanced compared to Cottonwoods farther north in the Park. They are not peak, but will get there soon.

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September 13, 2017

East Gros Ventre Butte

East Gros Ventre Butte: I pulled off the highway to take this quick photo of a stand of Aspens above Flat Creek Motel and Elk Refuge Inn. The Cottonwoods and Aspens around the Mormon Row cabins and barns are still deep green. They usually change after October 1st.

Consider a trip down the Snake River Canyon now, then continue on to the Palisades Reservoir Dam for Mountain Maple color.

Gros Ventre

Gros Ventre Cottonwoods: Taken late in the evening along the Gros Ventre Road, with steel blue skies from a passing thunderstorm. Some of the Cottonwoods are beginning to turn.

If you are driving up from Salt Lake or from the South, consider Intermittent Springs: Another Lesser Seen Regional Waterfall near Afton.

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September 12, 2017

Fall at Oxbow Bend Each year, the big question is “When will it be peak at Oxbow Bend”. In earlier years, you could almost mark your calendar to be here for peak on October 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. In fact, during the Government Shutdown, they locked us out on the peak day of October 1st. The past couple of years have been earlier, but it appears this year might be back on the old regular schedule. I keep driving around looking for pockets of bright color and I am not finding it yet. Check last year’s Foliage Reports September/October 2016 : for Sept. 12. You will see a lot of yellow by this date!

Aspens are turning some in and around Wilson and some cottonwoods are shifting in color along the Snake River. There is not much changing on Teton Pass nor on the Idaho side of the range. I received a report that most trees are still green at Oxbow, but a few are beginning to change on the hillside above the road.

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September 11, 2017

Service Berries

Berries: I spent the morning hiking a nice section of the Gros Ventre looking for Bull Moose and yellow leaves. Across the GV zone, the cottonwoods and willows are now turning to a 2 or maybe a 3 on my chart. In other words, there’s a shift, but only a few trees actually have much color.

Weather: If you believe the weather forecasts, we are in line for a few days of rain towards the end of the week. The forecast also calls for low temps in the valley around 29-30°F, so there might be a chance of mountain snow. We had rain in parts of the valley yesterday with mostly clear skies this morning.

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September 9, 2017

Spring Gulch Aspens

Aspens on Spring Gulch Road: Of the areas I’ve driven, the aspens on Spring Gulch Road have the most yellow color. JH still has some haze, but as seen below, the sky has cleared considerably.

Teton Range

Cottonwoods on Spring Gulch Road: The bridge over the Gros Ventre River is closed, so Spring Gulch Road isn’t getting a lot of traffic this year. The cottonwoods are still green in most areas.

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September 8, 2017

Willows GV

Willows along the Gros Ventre are starting to change.

Another photo taken along the Gros Ventre. Yellows leaves are not dominant, but each day I see more of them.

Mountain Maples

Mountain Maples: Taken in the Snake River Canyon west of the Wolf Creek Campground. Overall, I’d say it is still early down there, but if you feel the need for some color, there’s a fair amount of reds, oranges, and yellows. The Aspens are far behind in almost all areas.

Mountain Maples

Mountain Maples: A few trees are in peak form, but they appear to be far from the norm.

Mountain Maples

Mountain Maples: There was a lot of haze when I went down, as seen in this layered image. This little canyon near the Palisades Dam typically explodes with color, and it even better if the Aspens and Mountain Maples are prime at the same time. I’d suggest giving this area three or four days.

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September 7, 2017

Choke Cherry Leaves

Welcome to the 2017 Foliage Report! Last year, I started it in late August, but last year was early. Even now, the 7th of September, you’ll find very few stands of yellowing aspens or cottonwoods. There are a few random trees in near peak color, but they are randomly scattered. With that said, things are changing! It usually doesn’t take long, and quite a few zones have begun to shift.

Mt. Moran Sunset

The last time I heard, there were at least 88 major wildfires in the “West”, but I am unaware of any wildfires in our immediate vicinity. The smoke is finding its way into the Jackson Hole Valley, and barring a huge regional rain or snow storm, expect your 2017 Fall photos to have a golden color shift.  There may be days when the Teton Range or Sleeping Indian is barely visible. The same smoke my also give you some striking sunrise and sunsets if you get up early or stay out late.

Black Hawthorne Berries

Berry bushes, like this Black Hawthorn tree can have advanced color. Berries are thick on most Black Hawthorn trees and a few Black Bears are finding them. 399 and her two cubs have been seen munching on them along Pacific Creek Road, but photography there is limited to only a few seconds if rangers are around.

Mid-Sized Moose

Underbrush is bright yellow in a few zones like the Moose-Wilson Road, and a few of the low willows are changing along the Gros Ventre River. The Snake River bottom is still mostly bright green, but I see evidence of changes on the horizon. The Aspens around Oxbow Bend are still green as of yesterday.

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If you are interested in taking a One-On-One Photo Tour with me, click the links below! For inquiries, send an email to info@tetonimages.com.
Teton Photo Excursions

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Comments (8)

  1. Mike, how is the smoke/haze situation?

  2. William, right after making the original post, I added a section about the smoke. check it out!

  3. John Patton

    The Mountasin Maples are really starting to color up through the canyon.

  4. jeff c birmingham

    We are shooting for the old dates we will be there the evening of the 28- hoping 8th . We r hoping to hit the peak. You just never know kind of like rolling the dice!!!! Hope we run into you out there mike!!!!!!

  5. Barb Cassel

    We got some nice foliage shots in Snake River Canyon on Friday the 15th of Sept, but there is much more to come!

  6. Samantha

    Hi Mike,
    First, your photos are beautiful! I looked at a number of your posts from fall in the Tetons over the years and found it really helpful as I’m planning a trip there next weekend. Based on what you’ve seen over the years do you think a few areas will be in peak September 23/24? I know it’s hard to predict, I’m just wondering your opinion on it.

  7. Samantha, Some areas will probably be peak. I’m guessing Oxbow Bend will be a bit later. The cottonwoods around the Mormon Row barns may be into October.

  8. Your latest posts give me some optimism. Saturday sunrise at Oxbox had good clouds but the trees were still mostly green with some yellow, otherwise it would have been perfect. I’ve been a bit discouraged by the weather so I’m hopeful that you are correct that this present weather won’t destroy the potential color.

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