Spring -- a time of renewal, of wildlife migrations, and of growth in animal populations -- is a great time to be in Grand Teton National Park if you want to see wildlife.
Elk and bison currently are moving from the National Elk Refuge near Jackson, Wyoming, back into the park and are highly visible along U.S. 89. In winter the refuge is home to about 5,000 elk, and it also boasts the largest wintering bison herd -- about 800 animals -- in the entire U.S. Fish and Wildlife Refuge system.
Moose, looking more than a little mangy as they lose their winter coats, also are fairly easy to spot in Grand Teton along the Snake River and marshy areas of the park, such as Willow Flats.
Grizzly bears also are on the prowl, some with cubs in tow. A good area to look for the bears is Willow Flats, as that's a calving area for elk.
However, because of that increased wildlife presence in the Willow Flats area, the park closes it to human visitors from about May 15 to mid-July to give the wildlife some solitude and to protect visitors from getting too near the animals.
While Oxbow Bend might be another good area to look for bears, it's a great place to look for birdlife, such as white pelicans, trumpeter swans, bald eagles and osprey.