The Snake River Range

Snake River and Snake River Range Panorama

The Snake River Range starts at the southern end of the Grand Teton Mountain Range between Jackson Hole Wyoming and Teton Valley Idaho and is part of the Targhee National Forest. The range extends northwest to Victor Idaho, west to Swan Valley Idaho and south to Alpine Wyoming. The Snake River is the eastern boundary back up to the Tetons. This is rugged country, and has plenty of water; glaciers and running water shaped the numerous deep canyons. The lush vegetation will impress the visitor, the land is dynamic and unstable, rockslides and earth flows are common, landslides created both Upper Palisades and Lower Palisades Lakes a couple of jewels of the range. Mount Baird, at 10,042 feet, is the highest point in the Snake River Range.

Backpackers Snake River RangeThe Snake River Range includes the Palisades Roadless Area which is over 200,000 acres in size, which is an awesome pocket of wilderness in the Idaho/Wyoming border region; it encompasses most the Snake River Range. The Palisades Roadless Area is one of those rare places in eastern Idaho where the Forest Service does not permit the grazing of domestic livestock on public land. Much of the Wyoming portion of the Palisades Roadless Area was designated as a "wilderness study area" by Congress and The Targhee National Forest has recommended about 1/3 of the Palisades Roadless Area to be designated as a wilderness area.

The high alpine meadows have prolific wild flower displays in the summer months starting with the balsamroot in early June. Meadows along the Idaho/Wyoming border mountains contain little grass, but many tall perennials such as cow parsnip, penstemon, lupine, monkshood, and western coneflower. These plants grow so tall that they obscure lightly used trails by mid summer.

Black bear are relatively common, elk and moose are abundant, there is a population of mountain goats in the much of the middle and southern part of the range. The peregrine falcon has been restored to the cliffs above Palisades Creek. The Snake River Range is being considered as a possible dispersion place for grizzly bears and wolf expansion. Leading grizzly experts agree that the Snake River Range contains high-quality grizzly habitat, and they believe that bears will reoccupy this area. Wolves have been known to travel through the area.

cutthroat troutBlue ribbon trout fishing is to be found throughout the western drainages of the range in its many streams. Pine Creek, Rainey Creek, Palisades Creek and Big Elk Creek are prolific spawning areas for that enable the South Fork of the Snake River to be the number one wild trout fishery in the lower 48 states. On the east side Fall Creek provides some nice fishing, as does Mosquito Creek.

The hunting in the Snake River Range for elk, moose and mule deer is hard to beat; there is even a hunt for mountain goats. When hunting be aware of where the state line splits jurisdictions. If you are unfamiliar with the area you may want to hire a guide and there are many to be found in the region.

hiker Teton PassThe popularity of the Snake River Range is increasing rapidly. The major trails on the Idaho side of the range include Palisades Creek, Big Elk Creek, Indian Creek and Little Elk Creek these are closed to motorcycles, ATVs, and mountain biking. Burbank Creek, Pole Canyon, Pine Creek Pass and Mike Harris Canyon all provide access to the Snake River Range from the Victor area. In Wyoming Teton Pass is a popular backcountry skiing, mountain biking and hiking destination. Since the parking lot lies at an elevation of 8,400 feet, a short ski or hike along the scenic crest ridge provides easy access to powder laden bowls for the skier or rich sub-alpine vistas for the hiker and mountain biker. Mosquito Creek is popular with the locals, Fall Creek, Dog Creek, Cabin Creek, East and West Table Creeks and Wolf creek all provide trails into the heart of the Snake River Range.

Lower Palisades Lake horseback riderswinter hikers

horseback rider Big Elk Creekhorsebacke rider Big Elk CreekUpper Palisades Lake

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