Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park it truly one of the National Park systems crown jewels. It is located in northwestern Wyoming and preserves a spectacular landscape rich with majestic and famous mountains, pristine lakes, and extraordinary wildlife. The abrupt vertical rise of the jagged Grand Teton Mountain Range contrasts with the sage-covered valley bottom and glacial lakes at their base, creating world-renowned scenery that attracts nearly four million visitors per year.

autumn color, golden aspen, grand tetons, grand teton national park, wyoming
Fall is a beautiful time to visit Grand Teton National Park, the crowds of summer are gone and it comes alive with color and migrating wildlife.

Rising more than 7,000 feet above the valley of Jackson Hole, the Grand Teton Range serrate Grand Teton Park’s skyline in a very dramatic. The mighty Snake River winds its way down the valley providing stunning views of the mountains around every bend. The elevation of the park ranges from 6,400 feet on the sagebrush covered valley floor to 13,770 feet on the windswept granite summit of the Grand Teton. Natural processes, wind, snow, ice, and rain, continue to shape Grand Tetons Mountains and valleys. 


During summer, blankets of wildflowers such as lupine, columbine, balsamroot and Indian paintbrush paint meadows in vivid colors. Stunningly beautiful alpine lakes fill glacial cirques once occupied by ice, and noisy streams cascade down rocky canyons to larger lakes at the foot of the range. These lakes, impounded by natural dams of glacial moraine, mirror the mountains on calm days and are often captured forever by the thousands of photographers that show up every year to do just that.

Long, snowy, and bitterly cold winters make the climate of Grand Teton Park unforgiving. The coldest temperature ever recorded in the Park was –63°F, and snow blankets the landscape from early November till April. Brief, relatively warm summers provide a respite from the rigors of winter and a time of renewal and rebirth. Somehow the plants and animals adapt to this harsh climate and dramatic elevation change as each finds ways to survive. Fall often brings a bit of snow punctuated with lots of Indian summer.

Grand Teton National Park is world-renowned for its wildlife viewing opportunities. Some of the most sought-after animals that can be found inside the park include: moose, black and grizzly bears, pronghorn, elk, bald eagles, gray wolves, coyotes, and bison. Always stay a safe distance of at least 300 feet from large animals; wild animals are unpredictable and can cause personal injury or even death if not respected.

Yellowstone may be famous for its geysers, but Grand Teton National Park is infamous for the endless amount of outdoor activities. There is so much to do that even the locals have a hard time getting it all in each season. Best of all, there is something for everyone—from the most extreme outdoor sports to leisure activities such as wildlife viewing or simply soaking in the surrounding natural beauty. Climbing, hiking and backpacking, camping, fishing, wildlife and bird watching, horseback riding, boating on Jackson and Jenny Lakes, rafting on the Snake River, bicycling, and photography are all common activities in the area.

Buckrail fence, snow capped mountains, Grand Tetons, Grand Teton Park, Wyoming
A buckrail fence adds ambiiance to this Grand Teton Scene and reflects the western heritage of the area.

The Battle to Create Grand Teton National Park

It was a 70-year battle to create Grand Teton National Park and as a resident and tour guide of the Greater Yellowstone Region I am damn glad many dedicated people went through the trials and tribulations to make it to the finish line to preserve this wonderful corner of earth.

The idea of protecting the Grand Tetons and Jackson Hole started in 1882, when General Phil Sheridan toured Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons; he became concerned that settlement expansion was threatening the wildlife of Greater Yellowstone so Sheridan proposed extending Yellowstone's borders south to Jackson Lake, north of Jackson Hole. The proposal went nowhere, but 15 years later, in 1897, Col. S.B.M. Young, Yellowstone's acting superintendent, revived Sheridan’s idea. Young believed that the only way to protect Greater Yellowstone’s migrating elk herd was to protect their wintering ground, Jackson Hole, the valley below the Grand Tetons. For the next two decades, the possibility of protecting the valley was regularly raised, Charles D. Walcott, director of the U.S. Geological Survey, suggested in 1898 that Jackson Hole could form a separate "Teton National Park" but the idea found little support in Congress.-------------> Rest of Essay

Where to look for photos

Shane Cabin, cowboy hat, grand tetons, Jackson Hole, wyoming
Grand Teton Park's western heritage lurks around every corner

Grand Teton National is one of the most photographed parks in the National Parks System, and for good reason, Grand Tetons’ embarrassment of riches of beautiful mountain peaks, surrounded by pristine lakes and wide-open spaces makes it an excellent choice to take some award-winning images. Grand Teton is also considered the best national park to photograph wildlife as well.

The park is nestled along the Teton Range, a sub range of the Rocky Mountains and Jackson Hole; the valley that the Snake River meanders through. There are numerous turnouts throughout the park for scenic and wildlife viewing. Most are built to handle everything from bicycles to large busses. The Teton Range is often called America’s most spectacular. It is a very young range (10 million years old) and therefore still has very sharp features. Incredible landscapes abound, as does wildlife ------------------> where to find photo opportunities

Hiking

Grand Teton National Park has over 200 miles of trails, ranging from easy day hikes to hardcore backpacking trips. One of the most popular hikes goes to Cascade Canyon from the shores of Jenny Lake. If you are looking for a challenge, not much can top the Teton Crest Trail, which runs 39 miles and encompasses all the park's major sights. From an easy hike around Jenny or String Lake to a strenuous climb straight up the Teton Range, Grand Teton National Park is renowned for its hiking. The National Park Service offers trail information, including length, difficulty, and accessibility. ---------------------------> more hiking information

Grey wolf, grand tetons, alpha female, grand teton national park, wyoming
Wolf of the Pacific Creek Pack checking out things under the Grand Tetons

Grand Teton Wildlife

Grand Teton Park's abundant and diverse wildlife are as famous as Yellowstone's geysers just to the north. Nearly all of the wildlife species that inhabited the park when it was first explored over 100 years ago survive today qualifying Yellowstone as the only intact eco-system in the lower 48 states. Early morning and evening hours are the best times to view wildlife but during the evening is another productive time for wildlife viewing.

Habitat preferences and seasonal cycles of movement determine where a particular animal may be at a particular time. Early morning and evening hours are when animals tend to be feeding and thus are more easily seen. But remember that the numbers and variety of animals you see are largely a matter of luck and coincidence; however always remember we make our own luck.-----------------> More about Grand teton wildlife

Fishing

When most people think of Grand Teton National Park, they think of the park's outstanding mountains. However, Grand Teton National Park is also a water rich park. Fishing variety and opportunities are second to none. In very few places can you fish for trout in pristine environments with such an amazing scenic backdrop.

The famous Snake River hosts one of North America's premier native cutthroat trout fisheries. A unique feature of the Snake is casting to the native, Snake River Fine-Spotted Cutthroat Trout. These wild and indigenous trout, found nowhere else in the world, are renowned for their fondness of the dry-fly.

Jenny Lake, Grand Teton National Park, reflection, grand tetons, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Jenny Lake and the Grand Tetons reflection in her waters

Jackson Lake is more than 16 miles long, has a shoreline of about 80 miles and covers almost 26,000 acres. Its elevation is 6,770 feet and it is up to 445 feet deep; filling a depression scooped out by a great Ice Age glacier. The mountains rise dramatically along the west shore and soar 7,000 feet above the lake. The only game fish native to the lake is the cutthroat trout. Other game fish that have been introduced include mackinaw, brown and brook trout. Doris Budge wrangled a 51-pound mackinaw out of its deep waters a couple of decades ago.

Jenny Lake, the second largest lake in the park, Jenny Lake has an elevation of 6,783 feet and a maximum depth of 256 feet. It was named for a Shoshone Indian woman who was the wife of an early day trapper and guide, Richard “ Beaver Dick” Leigh, for whom Leigh Lake was named. There is a, must see, scenic overlook on Jenny Lake that sure is worth seeing.

Leigh Lake is located in Grand Teton National Park, in the U. S. state of Wyoming. The Grand Tetons loom over this 1,229-acre lake. Sandy beaches and swallow water dominate the eastern shore. The natural lake is 2 miles wide and slightly longer in length from north to south. Situated just southeast of Mount Moran. Leigh Lake provides sweeping views of the Grand Tetons and often reflect the peaks in its waters doubling the beauty of the area.

horseback rider, lake solitude, grand tetons, grand teton national park, cowboy, wyoming
There is nothing like a trail ride into the backcountry of Grand Teton National Park.

Phelps Lake views are incredible, from the south shore; you see the lake set against the Tetons. From the north shore, you see the lake set against the Gros Ventre Mountains. Sit on a bench or boulder beside the lake and take in the majestic views, or make a detour and hike around the lake to sandy beaches on the opposite shore. Watch for pelicans skimming the water's surface and ospreys fishing for trout.-------------------------> More fishing information

Chapel of the Transfiguration

This little log chapel was completed in 1925, mostly through donations from a California family who summered on dude ranches near Moose. Above the altar, a large window frames the Grand Tetons, an altarpiece unsurpassed by any of the world’s great cathedrals. An Episcopal church, it welcomes visitors of all faiths. Many Jackson Hole area families were started with a wedding ceremony in this little church.

Horseback Riding

Grand Teton Park has numerous ways to see the park on horseback or in horse-drawn wagons. Guided rides can be found through several local outfitters and dude ranches. A breakfast or dinner ride on horseback or in a horse-drawn wagon is a wonderful way to spend time in the park. Rides offer breathtaking views the Teton Range. Well-trained guides offer information about the history and geology of the park and present tips on ways to preserve the park. Lucky riders may see elk, swans, moose and other wildlife.---------------- More horseback riding information

Grand Teton Tours

There are numerous park tour options available from bus tours, wildlife safaris, private tours, and photo tours. -----------------------> More about tours

River Float Trips

Float trips on the Snake River is a great way to view the wonderful scenery of Grand Teton Park and also provides some great opportunities to see wildlife

Scenic float trips down the twisting Snake River are a perfect way to get acquainted with the park’s backcountry and to experience the thrill of spotting abundant wildlife up close. Visitors can enjoy the spectacular views of the Teton Range while sitting on comfortable river rafts. Alongside the serene natural beauty of the Grand Tetons is the savage ruggedness of some of its features. The Snake River is a perfect example. The Snake River has a long stretch; perfect for rafting that runs straight through Grand Teton National Park. With trips ranging from beginner to difficult, trips down the Snake River offer excellent opportunities to observe Grand Tetons’ plethora of wildlife while experiencing the challenges of rafting a beautiful but sometimes dangerous river. Before rafting the Snake check with rangers to find out changing conditions on the river. -----------------------------> More on Scenic Floats

Jackson Lake Cruises

Visitors will enjoy views of the towering Teton Range and the breathtaking Waterfall Canyon from the comfort of a Scenic Lake Cruise on Jackson Lake, around the tip of Elk Island. A captain delivers a talk on the geology, wildlife, and history of the park.

History

The Shoshone People were one of many tribes too use Jackson Hole as a hunting ground an crossroad.

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 crossroad 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 Grand 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, 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. This data was later included in the Hayden Survey reports.

cunningham cabin, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Cunningham homestead 1885

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."

One of Jackson Hole’s first residents was Nick Wilson. There was a movie made about him running away from his family in Utah to live with the Shoshone Indians in the Wind River Valley. The Move is called Win River and is well worth seeing. Nick Wilson Returned to his family but soon moved to Jackson Hole, a place he passed through to the Wind River Valley. Jackson Hole trapped him as it does us all.

Grand Teton National Park was established in 1929; Jackson Hole National Monument was created in 1943. The two units were combined to become present-day Grand Teton National Park in 1950. John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway was established in 1972 to commemorate the philanthropic activities of John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and his generous donations of lands to the National Park System. The Parkway is managed as a recreation area under the administration of Grand Teton National Park

Yellowstone News

Big water this runnoff,

Here Mark Bryson  of  Snake River Photo, captured a raft that met the wrath of the Snake River at 27,000 cubic feet per second.  If you are running the Snake River Mark Bryson likely has a photo of you, check out Snake River Photo

Capsizing whitewater raft, Snake River, Jackson Hole Wyoming

Grizzly Bear and cub, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Bridger Teton National Forest

Most of the Yellowstone gates are open for 2017 and grizzly bears are being seen

White female of the Canyon Pack has been killed.

Park staff investigated the situation and concluded the wolf was in shock and dying from the injuries. “Staff on scene agreed the animal could not be saved due to the severity of its injuries. The decision was made to kill the animal and investigate the cause of the initial trauma,” said P.J. White, Chief of the Wildlife and Aquatic Resources Branch. At this time, the nature of the initial injuries is unknown. An investigation into the cause of the injuries has begun which will include a necropsy.
 
Park staff identified the wolf as the white alpha female of the Canyon Pack, one of three known white wolves in the park. This wolf lived to 12 years, twice the age of an average wolf in the park and had a broad range that extended from Hayden Valley to the Firehole River area to the northern portion of the park. For these reasons, the wolf was one of the most recognizable and sought after by visitors to view and photograph.

Wolves eating bison carcass at the Gibbon River
Wolves sharing a meal

Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to call the Yellowstone National Park Tip Line at 307-344-2132 or e-mail us. For more information, visit http://go.nps.gov/tipline.
 
The park will provide more information about the investigation when it is available.  

Wolf haters around the region are sipping champaign and toasting each other, I though will no longer be able to share the joy  showing this wolf to my Yellowstone visitors who have always dreamed of seeing a wolf in the wild.

I get it, wolves eat elk outfitters would like to sell to tourist hunters, and they eat some cows; hoever, these loses don't compare to the losses of the revenue grizzlies and wolves bring to their own neighbors in the tourst industry.  Oh well.

Montana, Wyoming and Idaho Game ad Fish's plan to screw the grizzlies

Wyoming, Montana and Idaho officials contend that federal wildlife managers are overstepping their authority by requiring that grizzly bear hunting regulations be put in place before final “delisting” of the species. The directors of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Idaho Department of Fish and Game and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks jointly urged the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to do away with a focus on hunting in a proposed grizzly delisting rule that’s now on the table. ....... Jackson Hole News and Gude article here.

Montana, Wyoming and Idaho Game ad Fish's protest to get rid of federal oversight so they can kill grizzlies as they see fit...........  Read PDF Here

Momma grizzly, baby grizzly, swimming, grizzly sow, and cub
Grizzly 399 and her cub swimming in roadside pond
http://www.grizzlytimes.org/#!Partisan-Scientists-in-Public-Service-I-The-Strange-Case-of-the-Interagency-Grizzly-Bear-Study-Team/c1ou2/56fd9f780cf2b279cdbaa208
Yellowstone Grizzly Bear

Partisan Scientists in Public Service I: The Strange Case of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team

(Pull Qoute) Interestingly enough, Chris Servheen has a doctorate in wildlife ecology. Moreover, the IGBST scientists at the time, led by Dr. Charles Schwartz, were deeply involved with and fully complicit in, not only putting together the 2007 delisting Rule, but also in crafting court briefs. In other words, ignorance or lack of education can't be plausibly invoked as an explanation for why the government scientists involved in authoring the 2007 Rule so egregiously misrepresented the relevant science................. rest of article

A Protective Firewall For Grizzlies

The delisting of the Yellowstone Grizzly Bear is imminent and this we should celebrate (''''dancing''''). Now that our happy dance is complete, we must ensure the grizzlies' recovery is permanent. To ensure "continuity of achievement," the grizzlies need a firewall to protect the success of this achievement from human foible.

The Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee was formed in 1983 to help ensure recovery of viable grizzly bear populations and their habitat in the lower 48 states through interagency coordination of policy, planning, management, and research. Many people have been working on this recovery for decades, for some; it has been most of their career. I can understand why the delisting of the grizzly before their retirement is their goal. A metaphorical gold watch if you will.

Many will argue differently,............................. Rest of Article

Blondie the Grizzly Bear and her three cubs
Blondie the Grizzly Sow and her three cubs, where these four bears roam in the Teton Wilderness is likely to open to hunting someday soon, this must not happen.

Yellowstone roadside grizzlies worth rangers' hassle???

Yellowstone visitors would pay an additional $41 to ensure seeing roadside grizzlies, a study shows, and the attraction creates 155 jobs and more than $10 million a year for the regional economy. The $41 visitors would pay is on top of the $25-per-vehicle entrance fee. If Yellowstone no longer allowed grizzly bears to use roadside habitat — and instead chased, moved or killed them — the regional economy would lose more than $10 million a year and 155 jobs according to the paper "The economics of roadside bear viewing."............................Rest of story

Helpful ebook for photographers

The Grand Teton Photo and Field Guide is an encapsulation of the flora, fauna, and photography of Jackson Hole Wyoming and Grand Teton National Park. Also included are thumbnails of the history and geology of the valley. This book is for all visitors with a desire to seek out wildlife, photograph the landscape, or merely learn about the history, geology, and lay of the land of Grand Teton National Park. The author provides general overviews including hot links with more in-depth descriptions of subjects of individual interest.

In the “Lay of the Land” section, includes the obvious highlights along the loop through Grand Teton Park. Hot links to side roads will give you more in-depth description of side roads and feeder roads and their highlights. Also included are descriptions of all two-rut roads that are legal to travel on in Grand Teton Park. GPS links to Google Maps are provided throughout.

As a field guide, profiles of most of animals and birds in the area are described. Jackson Hole is full of wildlife but there are places where animals are, and there are places where they are not. It is a waste of time to scrutinize a landscape devoid of what you are looking for, so this guide narrows options down to the hot spots. I provide maps of the likeliest places to find the popular critters of Grand Teton National Park. I also touch on trees, shrubs, and wildflowers with minimal explanations.  

The grandeur of Grand Teton Park has made it one of the most photographed places in the world. The opportunity to harness multiple juxtapositional elements has drawn photographers for over a century since William Henry Jackson took the first photos here in 1878. Grand Teton Park’s plethora of famous vistas are profiled as well as many which are less clichéd that can bring new perspectives of a well-documented landscape. Grand Tetons’ iconic landscape photo opportunities are described in detail; however, they barely scratch the surface of opportunities as it takes a photographer with an artist’s eye to unveil as they follow their own intuition and vision.  The author who shies away from clichéd landscapes provides a chapter of his favorite places that aren’t landscape clichés.

In the photography section the author includes chapters on composition, exposure basics, when to shoot and why. Daryl has summarized what he teaches in his, half day, Grand Teton workshops in a simple concise way.

If you are only in Grand Teton Park for a day there is a chapter called the “Portfolio Packer Morning Trip,” that does just that, all the icons and several favorite places in a five our blitz.  But it is better to spend more time and dig deep into the embarrassment of riches of Grand Teton National Park................. More Info

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