10 Breathtaking reasons to go to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks

Oct 27, 2015 at 12:00 p.m. ET
Image: Claire Gallam/SheKnows

You are guaranteed to be short of breath the first time you see the towering Teton Range’s snow capped and jagged peaks or watch Old Faithful erupt hundreds of feet into the air. Offering stark and beautiful views around every glistening lake, multi-hued cliff and aromatic geyser, there’s no shortage of incredible photographic moments and enchanting natural experiences to be had.

There is truly no place quite like Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park in the world. If you haven’t been there, these photos will make you wonder why the heck not — and it may even encourage you to click “book” on that travel site.

The incredible sunrises

You won’t find any better place in the west to capture the bright pinks, purples and yellows of a western sunrise than at Yellowstone. The clouds and mountains reflect the light, creating an iridescent — and rather enchanting — landscape.

The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone

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We have thousands of years of erosion, the mighty and rushing Yellowstone River and the unpredictable weather of Wyoming to thank for one of Yellowstone's most harrowing sights — the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. The sloping, multi-hued, terra-cotta cliff walls create a stunning contrast to the lush forests and billowing river below. During sunrise and sunset, the light gives the canyon walls an almost glowing gold hue, making for a truly ethereal view.

The roaming bison

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When in these National Parks, be respectful of the locals, who are often found grazing all around the parks parameters. Easier to spot than the parks other famed wildlife — like the moose, black bears and wolves — the bison are really the icon of both Wyoming parks. Although it might seem like a great idea to get as close as possible for selfies and photos, keep your distance. Park rangers recommend staying at least 25 feet from the animal so you don't startle, scare or intimidate it.

The quaint and cozy lodges

Park Gate Lodges
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If you're looking for an authentic, rustic-but-luxurious National Park experience, stay in one of Delaware North Resorts Park Gate Lodges' cozy Explorer Cabins right outside of Yellowstone. Each family cabin comes equipped with a kitchenette, spacious living room, comfortable bedrooms, a delicious s'mores kit, free Wi-Fi, a porch with stunning views and access to a roaring, year-round fire pit. Plus, you'll be just a few miles from the West Yellowstone, MT park entrance. I stayed

The waterfalls

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Rushing, plummeting and surprisingly powerful — the waterfalls that make up Yellowstone National Park will completely astound and overwhelm you. Although the Upper and Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River are by far the tourist favorites, the park is home to a staggering 292 waterfalls ranging in sizes, intensity and visibility. For a breathtaking image without all the tourists, visit the chastely beautiful Tower Fall, which climbs to a height of 132 feet and is surrounded by trees and flora.

The rugged, mysterious peaks of the Tetons

Teton Range
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What makes the Teton Range so spectacular are all of its rugged, snow-capped peaks. Every viewpoint is unique, making each view starkly different. During fall, the trees around the park are decorated in hues of gold, red and yellow — while the winters coat each angle in a soft blanket of snow.

The hot spots

Hot spots
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Thinner-than-normal crusts and giant magma chambers beneath Yellowstone's beautiful facade cause the many abundant geysers throughout the park. Old Faithful, the most famous and largest of the geysers, is joined by hundreds of smaller ones, hissing fumeroles and bubbling mud pots that are just as stunning. Although they are born from the same underwater system, each and every hot spot erupts and decorates the landscape in a unique and astounding way.

The breathtaking wildflowers in spring

You go for the mountains, but stay for the flowers. In spring and early summer, the parks erupt in vibrant speckles of yellow, purple and gold as the wildflowers start to bloom. They give a delicate touch to the rugged and mysterious peaks, valleys and lakes.

The very epic (and unpredictable) weather

Storm brewing
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Although not everyone will have dark, stormy and moody skies like these on their Grand Teton trip, you’re guaranteed to have incredible weather hanging around the mountain peaks. Whether you get a bright sunny day, an amazing thunderstorm or even a blizzard, the weather is certainly not predictable — but always amazing.

The iconic barns

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Although many flock to the “the” barn (the one made famous by National Geographic and NPS photographer Ansel Adams), the park is actually home to a multitude of other amazing barns and buildings in an array of shapes, sizes and colors. If you can’t find the famous one, just keep driving. You’re bound to stumble upon another one that is just as spectacular.

The never-ending photo opps

Image: Claire Gallam/SheKnows

Every turn in these beautiful National Parks will be met with incredible photo opps everywhere you go. From crystal-clear lakes with staggering mountain peak reflections to lush forests decorated with bright and ever-changing leaves and roaming wildlife, every turn brings with it an amazing moment to capture.