Explore WY {Colter Bay – Grand Tetons}

I’ve had a few requests for more details on our trip itinerary and general tips regarding doing a trip like this with 5 kids. I am going to go ahead and keep posting as I go and then at some point I will add in a few posts answering all those broad topic questions. Internet is really spotty – right now I am doing laundry and have wifi. Soon, I’ll head back to the trailer and will be off the grid again. So, if you have any specific questions, feel free to ask them and I will try to answer them later.

Chris has always wanted to visit Jackson Hole, WY. Instead of staying in town, we camped at Colter Bay on Jackson Lake. This location is in the Tetons and gave us access to Jackson Hole and West Yellowstone. We spent five days at Colter Bay and really loved our time there. One night we went into Jackson Hole. I think if it were just Chris and I we might have explored there a bit more, but with 5 kids in tow it just didn’t sound fun to me. The antler arches at the town square were the highlight for the kids.

ISO 100, 1/320, f/2.8

This was on Father’s Day πŸ™‚ ISO 100, 1/320, f/2.86.14colterbay1-2

From Colter Bay we explored the Tetons – stunning. ISO 100, 1/125, f/4.06.14colterbay1-3

Colter Bay at Jackson Lake. ISO 100, 1/160, f/106.14colterbay1-4

My oldest daughter came alive on the dock…singing and dancing like it was her very own stage. I attempted to get pictures of her performance, but a certain brother had other plans. ISO 250, 1/100, f/106.14colterbay1-5ISO 250, 1/100, f/106.14colterbay1-6

The trees were a dream come true for this climber…so many branches so close together. ISO 100, 1/200, f/2.8 ~ both


I’m pretty sure even if you paid us, we couldn’t take a ‘normal’ family photo. That is fine with me though. This is us and I love us. (the youngest doesn’t like cold!) ISO 100, 1/800, f/2.86.14colterbay1-16

ISO 100, 1/400, f/8.06.14colterbay1-15

ISO 160, 1/60, f/9.06.14colterbay1-14

This guy sat motionless for several minutes as a prairie dog (I think that is what it was!) kept popping its head out and looking at him. ISO 100, 1/100, f/8.06.14colterbay1-7

The Grand Tetons. ISO 100, 1/320, f/8.06.14colterbay1-8

My oldest grabbed a book one day and told me he found the “perfect place to read a book.” Hard to disagree. ISO 100, 1/320, f/8.06.14colterbay1-9ISO 100, 1/250, f/8.06.14colterbay1-10

I dared him to walk across the log without getting his shoes wet. I think he made it about 4 times before he had soggy shoes. Then it snowed for two days and I couldn’t get his shoes dry. Mom fail. ISO 100, 1/200, f/8.06.14colterbay1-11ISO 100, 1/200, f/8.06.14colterbay1-12

I mean really…it almost looks fake! Breathtaking….the girl and the backdrop. ISO 100, 1/250, f/8.06.14colterbay1-13

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  • danielle - Beautiful. You are making me anxious to set out on my own adventure. My husband and I went to Glacier last year but I am hoping to head west again with the boys next year!

  • isabel - Right, this last picture take my breath away !!!
    A kiss from Paris !

  • Lisa | Winter Heights - Wow, absolutely stunning. Our upcoming adventure involves a completely different environment (a beach) but these photos and your family make me excited for the adventures to come with my little family. Your blog is like a ray of sunshine in the morning, thank you so much for sharing it with us!

  • Michelle Hill - What a breathtaking part of the country. You have motivated me to explore areas of America that you don’t often hear about, but are stunning nonetheless. I am loving all of your photos from your trip. Thank you for sharing them with us.

  • Amanda - Absolutely stunning! What beautiful memories you are making with your family! πŸ™‚

  • Paige - So beautiful! My favorite is the flowers blooming and snow capped mountains in the same shot. God is showing off and I love it!

  • Isabell - Your pictures are stunning, I look forward to them everyday, just beautiful!!!

  • Tiffany - These are all so beautiful, but I especially love the one of Chris and the kids and the last one! Hearing your stories are fun too. What great memories!

  • Dana - Amazing! I’m with little one about the cold, but the view is more than spectacular!

  • Amanda @ Click. The Good News - Simply stunning! It’s on our bucket list of places to go & I love that you family had such a wonderful adventure there.

  • Debbie C - My heart yearns to be there! It is just so beautiful and clear. Reminds me of “How Great Thou Art” and all the hymns and songs about all that God has made. Gotta add this to the vacation list!

  • Emiles - le sigh. We got engaged at sunrise near the Snake River Valley. So amazing. Took pictures under the antler arches that night. Enjoy!

  • Jen H - We just returned from a trip to Jackson, Yellowstone and Henry’s Lake. Isn’t it such beautiful country?! It’s so amazing to see, it almost doesn’t feel real like you said! I’m guessing this is a first, since you are from the Midwest? We love this area. It’s so refreshing for the soul. If you have a chance and haven’t done so, Jenny Lake in the Teton National Forest is beautiful too. We also just happened to see a pack of baby wolf, foxes or cyotes (not sure) in an abandoned building on Mormon Row. This is an old settlement on the road leaving Teton National Forest and headed to Yellowstone. Maybe they are still there:) Best wishes on the rest of your family trip. I’m enjoying reading about your adventures and was excited yesterday to see that you were headed to the Tetons. Have fun!!!

  • Heather Johnson - You are taking my dream vacation. I look forward to the “broader” email in the future–would love to plan this sort of thing next year with my kiddos!

  • Lori - Wow! How beautiful! Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

  • Melissa - Gorgeous photos! What a great trip

  • kassondra - It might be because I am a hormonal pregnant lady but these pictures have me crying! God created such a beautiful place! My question is some of your kids and husband are wearing long sleeves and some shorts….what was the temperature like?

  • kimberly oyler - ummmm. these are beautiful. like really really beautiful. which lenses do you have with you? i’d be tempted to take every one i own on a trip like this.

  • Julie - Wow. Beautiful! I always leave your blog feeling a little happier. Thank you!

  • Jenny - I love your family picture down by the water. It’s perfect. You are going to have so many fun pictures and memories from this trip. So fun!

  • Kaitlyn - Love the family picture! What beautiful memories you are making!

  • Cassie - I have been loving reading your blog recently. My husband and I love to camp and we both really want a large family. Usually people tell us that camping is exhausting and not worth it with kids so seeing your pictures are encouraging! I’m sure it is exhausting…but I just want it to be worth it! I think getting some of these photos alone look worth it to me! Love the fathers day one!

  • Sarah - Saw this at Cracker Barrel last night and thought of your sweet family and all the memories you’ll make in your camper.


  • Natalie - Your blog is so inspiring and I’m so glad I found it. I have enjoyed your posts and look forward to more.

    Thank you for your pictures and your blog.

  • Naomi - What beautiful photos. You’re giving your children such a gift both the memories and experiences and the photos to remember them by. I wondered, do you use a graduated filter to get the skies so perfect? And also, do you use a tripod or shoot hand-held?

  • Teresa - We were there on Father’s Day! What a lovely weekend in the Tetons.

  • Karen - Beautiful! and I might be a little bit jealous of the traveling. It’s hard for me to wrap my head around the idea that at the same time of year it is cold and snowing there when here in Mississippi the heat index is almost to 100!

  • Brielle - Hi Ashley, I love reading your blog and I’m so happy to see these photos of your family in my backyard! Hope you had a nice stay. Too bad the weather has been a little chilly. Happy trails!

  • Jolene - Wow!Beautiful photos of God’s awesome creation!!

  • Mitch Zeissler - Beautiful. I love the Tetons and the area around there. Here’s what Colter Bay looked like in late April of last year: http://zeissler.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/20130428-03633.jpg

  • Izzy - I love these posts. The mountain scenery does look almost unreal, so beautiful!

  • Jenna Lou - Wow stunning!! My family visited these sights when I was firecrackers age… I don’t remember it as beautiful, but we sure had fun and now that I’m older I want to go back as my appreciation for nature has developed. Absolutely stunning photos. And thanks for sharing the exif details… they always fascinate me as I’m trying to better my photography.

  • hili - the photos are great . I love that you’re taking the time to add the photo settings, it’s so educational . thank you

  • Kristin - Love, love, love the Tetons! It has been a destination for our family for years. In fact, my grandparents’ ashes are at Jenny Lake. So glad you enjoyed it too.

  • Tiffany - Your pictures are so beautiful. Thanks for sharing! Are they SOOC?? If so…can you give me some “in-camera” tips on keeping pictures vibrant? Beautiful photos move me and I have a desire to learn all I can about bettering my photography skills. God bless your travels!! My boys and daughter would love to do something like this!! πŸ™‚

  • Karen - Stuff newspaper into wet shoes – it’s amazing! The newspaper draws all the moisture out of the shoes and they dry in hours. You might need to change the newspaper a couple times, so keep an eye on them. I’m loving the photos of your trip, by the way! Safe travels x

  • Kerri - My husband and I LOVED the Tetons and Yellowstone. We can’t wait to take our kids there (once we have some!). Really enjoying your photos and stories of your trip. Your son probably saw a Uinta ground squirrel. We saw tons of them in the Tetons.

  • Katie - Looks like you guys are having an amazing time!! Love love the pictures…breath taking!!

  • Kristi rediske - Loving your pictures-enjoying your fun family times-sure wish my family would have been able to do this -I am a grandma now! I do have a question- are your pictures straight out of the camera or with some adjustment? They are beautiful! I have taken your class and loved it.

  • erin - i’m following along on your magical journey, friend!!! what a fabulous opportunity…and the memories!!! keep posting here and on IG as much as possible…i’m eating it all up! xxx

  • Ashley Lemaster - Beautiful! The place and the pictures! I need a family vacation with a photographer since hubs and I are not.

  • candy - Your vacation looks amazing! I’m curious how you feed your family . . . how do you eat healthy and on a budget while traveling? Thanks for any tips.

  • Erica Baker - Wow. That backdrop is just stunning!! What amazing memories you are making. Such a gift. Keep soaking it in πŸ™‚

  • Lauren - My family and I went to Jackson Hole for a family reunion a few years back! The town and the Grand Tetons are my favorites.

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - AAGH! Every single one of the pictures puts a huge smile on my face. And now I want to go see WY. Thank you, Ashley! Hugs. Prayers for continued safe travels coming your way.

  • christina larsen - These pics look amazing. I have never wanted to camp across the US, but you are making it look more inviting. Thanks for sharing.

  • Stoich91 - Breathtaking, your family, the photos, the land…such beautiful photos of a place I have not such good memories about. Thanks for the cheerful brightening! πŸ˜€

  • D'On M - I absolutely LOVE, love, love these photos. Perfection!!

  • Diana - These pictures are incredible! Your skills and the scenery! And love the family portrait!! Looks like a wonderful trip!

  • elizabeth H - breathtakingly beautiful! that’s all.

  • Randi - That last one! It’s like a scene from sound of music, but NOT fake! Wow. Just wanted to say thanks for posting all of your settings! Always so helpful πŸ™‚ and I’m having fun reading through all of your travel posts … looks so fun. What an adventure!!

  • Marissa - Newspaper stuffed into your shoes will dry them out even in a damp place.

  • Kristin - The last pic makes me want to start singing “The hills are alive…” for some reason. It just reminds me of the movie The Sound of Music. I’m really enjoying your travels!

  • Krystin Robertson - Oh my goodness. This place is so gorgeous, and the photos are beautiful! That father’s day picture is too cute! You should get it framed!

  • Grand Teton National Park | Preparing the Soil - […] have to say, this is one of the parts of the trip I was most looking forward to. I had seen some beautiful photos byΒ Ashley Ann Photography when they were on their big trip a few weeks prior, and I was blown away […]

  • Shirley - I’m 75 now, but when we were younger my husband an I traveled to most of the of the places you’ve shown. What a great time we had.
    You are making beautiful memories for all of you and educating your children at the same time.
    Beautiful pictures. You are very talented with the camera.
    Wish I were there. Thanks for posting your trips. Takes me back