The Grand Tetons reflection in the still water of Jenny Lake in Grand Teton National Park
Jenny Lake Reflection

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

Grand Teton Geology

As Ansel Adams said: “The grand lift of the Tetons is more than a mechanistic fold and faulting of the earth’s crust; it becomes a primal gesture of the earth beneath a greater sky.” I prefer Ansel Adam’s “photographer speak” too “geologist speak” so I have done what I can to make geologic science intelligible because I also have a hard time deciphering what geologists say while speaking over our heads. ............. Learn more


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


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.

Jackson 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.

Chapel of the TransfigurationThe view out the window of the Chapel of the Transfiguration

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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.

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.

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

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.
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
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.


Wyoming History, Native Americans
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 homestead 1885

Cunningham homestead 1885

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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.

Oxbow Bend from above on a stunning Autumn day

Oxbow Bend from above on a stunning Autumn day

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Greater Yellowstone News

Will This Law Eliminate NPS Film Permits?

Attention videographers;

Those who would like to send a message to their elected representatives in the House and the Senate can now visit the Democracy IO link below, which provides a quick, painless method by which you can find and message your reps in a matter of seconds. Just go to the link below, as well as the Google Doc linked below that, copy the FLREA Letter to Reps in Google Docs, then paste that into the comment section in the Democracy IO link. This takes less than two minutes, and you'll rest well, knowing that you took action to affect change for the benefit of future generations of our people.!/

Googel Doc - FLREA - Letter to Reps:


Camping in YellowstoneLightning Flashes over Yellowstone Lake Campsite

Backpacking The Thorofare in Yellowstone – The Most Remote Place in the US Lower 48 ~

The logistics of planning a backpacking trip in Yellowstone are a bit tricky but manageable. The biggest challenge is the lack of commercial airline service in Wyoming. Cody, West Yellowstone, and Jackson Hole airports are all extremely expensive, offer few options, and almost always require a connection. Rental car availability and price can also be a challenge in those markets. I have opted for Salt Lake City for all my Yellowstone trips as the logistics, aside from a long drive, are easier to manage at a fraction of the price. ........ Rest of the story

Fire is good;

Yellowstone has long been shaped by fire and not just the cool, creeping ground fires often described as "good" for grass production. The natural history of fire in the park includes large-scale conflagrations sweeping across the park's vast volcanic plateaus.  Most Americans steeped in Smokey the Bear's "Only you can prevent forest fires!" mantra, the very thought that forest fires might have a positive side seemed preposterous. We all learned this as children and it is damned hard to change, as our indoctrination to this policy was total. ...... Learn More

Wildflowers growing after forest fireA forest reborn

Old faithful and friends


The Greater Yellowstone Bald Eagle:

Bald Eagles are again a common site along the rivers and lakes of the Greater Yellowstone Region, and they always bring a thrill to Yellowstone visitors when they set their eyes on one of these magnificent birds. The thrill of seeing our national bird soar above never fails to awe a spectator........ read more

Is social media ruining our nature excursions?

Social media, the curse and blessing of the twenty-first century. A focus on the evolution of the problem inflicted on nature, ways of to mitigate how it affects our beautiful places, our wildlife, our experience. Dichotomies and conundrums to ponder.  Since the advent of the digital photography and its ease of use and economy after initial investment, America and the world have hit the road and the road comes back to us on our social media. .................... rest of article Addendum, this is getting worse than ever.

Charging Mountain Lion
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Study: More elk killed by cougars than by wolves in Idaho: More elk are being killed by cougars than by wolves in Idaho, a study by the state Department of Fish and Game has found.The study found that wolves accounted for 32% of adult female elk deaths and 28% of elk calf deaths, while cougars accounted for 35% of adult female elk deaths and 45% of elk calf deaths. The study also found ............ rest of story

Return of the Yellowstone cutthroat trout by Kelsey Dayton

The water in Atlantic Creek in the remote Thorofare region of Yellowstone National Park was clear. So clear that Dave Sweet could see the fish before he even cast. They were everywhere: dozens of beautiful trout with distinctive red slashes under their jaws. Sweet had journeyed for two days on horseback to the major spawning tributaries of Yellowstone Lake for those fish. Over the next few days he and his daughter would see thousands of Yellowstone cutthroat trout and catch some as long as 25 inches. But just as exciting were the younger, smaller fish. They, Sweet realized, mark a turning point in a battle to save a species..................... Rest Of Story

Huge Yellowstone Cutthroat trout
Huge Yellowstone Cutthroat trout


Livingston Montana

The Resort Town Curse
by Daryl L. Hunter

In 1962 as a child my family went through Carmel California, and after my exclaimation how beautiful the place was, my mother explained to me that it was against the law to cut down a tree in the town and it was so beautiful. I wondered why every town didn't do that. A few years later my hometown, San Luis Obispo, did enact all kinds of restricted zoning like Carmel's as a part of an urban renewal plan, and now I couldn't afford to move back there if I wanted to. This town is now populated with what they call "Grey Gold", rich retired people that ran up the property values so high that native born could no longer afford to live there. I have lived in many resort towns since, and I have noticed a trend. I am attracted to them when they are still little, quaint and undiscovered, but it usually isn't long before word spreads about the next great place. ..............   Rest of story

A Protective Firewall For Grizzlies
By Daryl L. Hunter

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

Grizzly 399 and her quadruplets

Grizzly 399 and her quadruplets doing their part in Grizzly Recovery in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

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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.  

Huge Bull Moose unter the towering peaks of the Grand Tetons

Huge Bull Moose, dwarfed by the giant peaks of hte Grand Tetons.

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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

Fine Art Panorama Landscapes by Daryl L. Hunter
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