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Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park - BEST Places to Picnic

P.O. Drawer 170
Moose, WY 83012

Visitor Information
(307) 739-3300
Road Conditions
(307) 739-3682

Welcome to the Grand Teton!

Located in northwestern Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park preserves a spectacular landscape rich with majestic mountains, pristine lakes and extraordinary wildlife. The abrupt vertical rise of the jagged Teton Range contrasts with the horizontal sage-covered valley and glacial lakes at their base, creating world-renowned scenery that attracts nearly four million visitors per year.

Grand Teton National Park is a National Park located in northwestern Wyoming, south of Yellowstone National Park. The park is named after the Grand Teton, which, at 13,770 feet, is the tallest mountain in the Teton Range.

The name "Tetons" originally was intended to describe several hills near the town of Arco, Idaho. They were named by a French trapper who thought that they resembled the female body. (Ergo t�tons, the French word for "nipples" or "teats".) Many years later the name was mistakenly applied to the mountains of present day Grand Teton National Park due to the poor map-making and map-reading standards of the time.

Grand Teton National Park was established on February 26, 1929. The park covers 484 square miles of land and water.

There are nearly 200 miles of trails for hikers to enjoy in Grand Teton National Park.

Part of the Rocky Mountains, the north-south-trending Teton Range rises from the floor of Jackson Hole without any foothills along a 40 mile long by 7 to 9 miles wide active fault-block mountain front system. In addition to 13,770 ft high Grand Teton, another eight peaks are over 12,000 ft above sea level. Seven of these peaks between Avalanche and Cascade canyons make up the often-photographed Cathedral Group.

Jackson Hole is a 55 mile long by 6 to 13 mile wide Graben Valley that has an average elevation of 6,800 ft with its lowest point near the south park boundary at 6350 feet. The valley sits east of the Teton Range and is vertically displaced downward 30,000 feet from corresponding rock layers in it, making the Teton Fault and its parallel twin on the east side of the valley normal faults with the Jackson Hole block being the hanging wall and the Teton Mountain block being the footwall. Grand Teton National Park contains the major part of both blocks. A great deal of erosion of the range and sediment filling the Graben, however, yields a topographic relief of only up to 7,700 feet.


Native American hunting parties from the northern Rocky Mountains camped along the shore of Jackson Lake around 12,000 years ago while following game. For thousands of years Jackson Hole was used as a neutral crossroads for trade and travel routes in the area. One route followed the Snake River to its source in the Yellowstone area where abundant obsidian could be found. Another major route traversed the Teton Pass at the southern end of the range, providing a shortcut to the Pacific Northwest region of what is now the United States. Also, a southern route led to the Colorado Plateaus region and the Great Basin.

The Tetons were named by French explorers who called the three highest peaks of the range Les Trois Tetons (the three breasts). In the 18th and 19th centuries, Caucasian fur trappers and fur traders called deep valleys rimmed by high mountains "holes." One such fur trapper was named David Jackson and his favorite place to 'hole-up' was named after him in 1829.

John Colter, a member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, is the first white American known to have visited the area now know as Jackson Hole as early as 1805-1806. Geologist F.V. Hayden visited the area in 1860 as part of the Raynolds expedition. In the summer of 1871 he led the first government-sponsored scientific survey of the Yellowstone area just to the north. One part of that survey, led by geologist James Stevenson, traveled into Jackson Hole via the Teton Pass before meeting up with the other half of the expedition in Yellowstone. While passing through, the team, which included Yellowstone's first superintendent N.P. Longford, photographer William Henry Jackson, and artist William Henry Holmes, among others, mapped the area and surveyed its geology and biology. These data were later included in the Hayden Survey set of reports.

Homesteaders moved into Jackson Hole after the reports were published but the short growing season along with weeks of being snowed-in each winter kept all but the hardiest individuals away. One of those settlers, a rancher named Pierce Cunningham, circulated a petition to have Jackson Hole saved for the "education and enjoyment of the Nation as a whole."

Places to Picnic

  • Chapel of the Sacred Heart
  • Colter Bay Visitor Center
  • Jackson Lake 1
  • Jackson Lake 2
  • Jackson Lake 3
  • Jackson Lake 4
  • Jackson Lake Dam
  • Leigh and String Lakes Trailhead
  • Taggart Lake Trailhead
  • Two Ocean Lake

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