If you are wondering where to see moose in Grand Teton National Park, I wrote this article just for you! As I am writing this post, the date is Saturday, June 12, 2021. I recently completed a two-week photography trip to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.
Before you read further, you will see some pictures of moose in this article. These pictures are from my personal collection, taken over several years and a number of separate trips. I don’t approach close to moose, period. All of my moose pictures were taken with telephoto lenses from safe distances.
Map courtesy of National Park Service
Moose are commonly seen along Moose-Wilson and Gros Ventre Roads, both located north of the town of Jackson WY
I have always found moose to be a reclusive animal. My first sighting of moose was a mile or so north of Teton Village on Moose-Wilson road. I would never have seen this bull and cow moose on my own. A few cars had pulled to the side of the road and I could see a few long lenses on tripods, so I pulled over too.
Approaching the photographers, I noticed that no one was making a sound. I was relatively new to wildlife photography in those days, so I mostly ‘lurked’ at first by pointing my binoculars in the same general direction the lenses were pointed. I had no idea what these people were looking at! After a while, a guy standing next to me took pity on me.
“You’ll have to look down in the grass,” he leaned close and whispered. And, so I did.
“Oh, geez,” I barely whispered, “it’s a pair, and the bull is huge!” And so went my first moose sighting. To this day, I have not seen another mating pair of moose. The bull was an absolute monster that might have stood seven-feet tall, or more. If only I had the patience in those days to wait for that magnificent moment when they stood up. I’m pretty sure those who were more patient than I was were treated to a ‘wall-hanger’ of a shot.
Over the years, I have had mixed experiences when it comes to spotting moose in the Tetons. I remember one particular year, when my photography buddy Eric Curby and I were leaving a favorite store just south of Grand Teton National Park. The store is called Dornan’s, and they always seem to be open and well-stocked. We had just left Dornan’s parking lot and turned left toward Moose Junction. Before we got to Highway 191, Eric spotted two bull moose who appeared to be about to get into a rutting battle.
Bull Moose spotted just south of Moose Junction
We turned right (south) on Highway 191 to see if there was a turnout where we might get a better look. We found a ranch road within a short distance, but there was a “Private” sign posted a few hundred yards down, so we pulled over at that point. Now that we were closer to the jousting pair, we could see that one of them was fairly young and the older one, although much larger, seemed to lose interest in the contest…he seemed to be more interested in us than rutting.
“I think that big bull is going to walk right over here,” I said to Eric, as I started walking back to the car. Within a few minutes I was back inside the car, as was Eric, because the bull did exactly that. Luckily for us, we turned out to be not that interesting, and he walked on down the road.
Another great area to spot moose is anywhere along Gros Ventre Road. From Highway 191, locate the relatively new Gros Ventre roundabout just south of the Jackson Hole Airport Road on Highway 191. Take the Eastbound exit from the roundabout and follow that road, which runs parallel to the Gros Ventre River (a tributary that joins the Snake River). There are several convenient turnoffs along the road at points where is the river is quite close. We have had the best luck spotting moose along this road when we have a lot of time to stop and watch what is going on, even driving back and forth several times between the roundabout and the turnoff at Gross Ventre Campground (private).
I’ll close by sharing my best advice for moose-spotting along both Moose-Wilson Road, between Teton Village at the south end and Moose Junction at the north end, and Gros Ventre road between the roundabout and the campground road. I can say from experience over a number of trips that both areas can be exhilarating and disappointing, depending upon the time of day, the season, and frankly, luck.
Here are a couple more images I have been fortunate to get over the years at various points along Moose-Wilson Road. One key to success in moose-spotting is to spend a good bit of time slowly cruising the road. Early in the morning and last light near dusk are probably the best times, but I have seen moose along this route at all times of the day.
Bring along some snacks, water, a good pair of binoculars, and a camera with telephoto lens. Having patience and keeping a safe distance from the animals will win the day! Drop a comment below to let me know about your moose-spotting experience!