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Title: Grand Teton - A Guide to Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
Author: Service, National Park
Language: English
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                              Handbook 122

                              Grand Teton

                               A Guide to
                       Grand Teton National Park

                        Division of Publications
                         National Park Service

                    U.S. Department of the Interior
                         Washington, D.C. 1984

                         _Using This Handbook_

Grand Teton National Park offers the startling and abrupt scenic
grandeur of the Teton Range and the colorful history and natural history
of the valley called Jackson Hole. Other major attractions include the
Snake River, Jackson Lake, and surprisingly good opportunities for
viewing wildlife, including such larger mammals as elk, moose, and
pronghorns. This handbook is published in support of the National Park
Service’s management policies and interpretive programs at the park.
Part 1 introduces the park through the eyes of a beloved, longtime
Jackson Hole resident, the nationally known conservationist Margaret E.
(Mardy) Murie; Part 2 outlines the natural history, geology, and history
of the mountains, valley, and river; and Part 3 presents concise travel
guide and reference materials.

National Park Handbooks, compact introductions to the great natural and
historic places administered by the National Park Service, are designed
to promote understanding and enjoyment of the parks. Each is intended to
be informative reading and a useful guide before, during, and after a
park visit. More than 100 titles are in print. This is Handbook 122.

  _Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data_
  Main entry under title:
  Grand Teton National Park.
  (National Park handbook; 122)
  Includes index
  Supt. of Docs. no.: I 29.9/5:122
  1. Grand Teton National Park (Wyo.)—Guide-books.
  I. United States. National Park Service. Division of Publications.
  II. Series: Handbook (United States. National Park Service. Division
          of Publications): 122.
  F767.T3G7 1983 917.87’550433 83-600157
  ISBN 0-912627-19-0

★GPO:1983—381-611/302 Reprint 1992

  Part 1 Welcome to the Tetons                                          4
      What Gratitude We Owe                                             7
      _By Margaret E. Murie_
  Part 2 Teton Country                                                 22
      The Mountains                                                    25
      The Valley                                                       39
      The Snake River                                                  49
      Wildlife and Wildflowers                                         59
  Part 3 Guide and Adviser                                             70
      Approaching Grand Teton                                          72
      Map of the Park                                                  74
      Visitor Centers and Museum                                       76
      Ranger-led Activities                                            78
      Camping and Accommodations                                       79
      Hiking                                                           81
      Backcountry Basics                                               82
      Mountaineering                                                   85
      Boating and Floating                                             86
      Fishing                                                          89
      Winter Activities                                                90
      Management Concerns and Safety                                   92
      Nearby Attractions                                               93
      Armchair Explorations                                            94
      Index                                                            95

                    Part 1    Welcome to the Tetons

    [Illustration: _The Grand Teton, the heart of the range, rises to
    13,770 feet in elevation._]

    [Illustration: _The Teton Range’s sharp rise off the valley floor
    provides spectacular scenery and easy access. A day hike puts you
    right in the mountains._]

                         What Gratitude We Owe
                         _By Margaret E. Murie_

A bronze plaque at the doorway of the Maude Noble Cabin on the banks of
the Snake River at Moose, Wyoming, recounts a notable meeting in 1923.
It was a meeting at which “... Mr. Struthers Burt, Dr. Horace Carncross,
Mr. John L. Eynon, Mr. J. R. Jones and Mr. Richard Winger, all residents
of Jackson Hole, presented to Mr. Horace Albright, then Superintendent
of Yellowstone National Park, a plan for setting aside a portion of
Jackson Hole as a National Recreation Area for the use and enjoyment of
the people of the United States.”

The plaque commemorates both the beginning and the end of a stormy
period—from 1918 on into the 1950s—in Jackson Hole’s history. Those
meeting at Miss Noble’s simple log cabin wanted to devise a way to save
the valley’s natural beauty from commercial exploitation. They wanted it
protected by a public agency. These few people recognized the need for
safeguarding a meaningful segment of our country from the uses of
commerce. Their idea did not catch on immediately.

In 1926 Horace Albright escorted John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and family
into Jackson Hole, and a bright hope for this valley was born. Albright
imparted to Rockefeller his vision of the whole valley as a national
park. Rockefeller said nothing then but later admitted that Albright’s
vision had set his own dreams in motion. A land company was formed to
shield Rockefeller’s involvement, and it began to purchase valley
parcels. Unaware of this, Congress voted to create a Grand Teton
National Park in 1929. The park was only about one-third the size of
today’s park, protecting only the immediate mountain range, and very
little of the valley floor.

    [Illustration: _Broad, cupped antlers—in velvet here—and an
    oversized muzzle positively identify the moose._]

    [Illustration: _The world of winter comes to the range and valley
    with indescribable grace and stillness._]

The 150 square miles of mostly mountain land then comprising Grand Teton
National Park were not enough to safeguard the complete ecosystem of the
valley. Through his agents, Rockefeller quietly purchased ranches and
other private lands in upper Jackson Hole, where the soil was not good
for ranching and some ranchers were having a hard time. In the avowed
purpose of later turning them over to the Federal Government,
Rockefeller was carrying out the aims of those who had met at Maude
Noble’s cabin. And through all the following stormy years; through the
establishment by proclamation of Franklin D. Roosevelt of the Jackson
Hole National Monument to contain the Rockefeller-purchased lands;
through all the opposition to it; through the eventual negotiated
“peace” and the addition of all the monument lands to Grand Teton
National Park by Congress in 1950, the Rockefeller family held to its
goal of “a complete project.”

So now, after all the years and all the tumult, the cattlemen have their
grazing rights on the national forest lands and the right to drift their
cattle across national park lands to reach those permits: people still
have their homes, dudes still come to the dude ranches. No one, Oldtimer
or Newcomer, would now deny that the national park has vitalized the
economy of the valley a thousandfold. These material results are quite
obvious. Our problem now is not the amount of lands that are under
State, private, or Federal jurisdiction, but whether or not we can keep
our souls receptive to the message of peace these unspoiled lands offer

In my many years living in this valley called Jackson Hole, I have
sometimes had half-waking fantasies about how such a very special place
came to be. One could almost imagine that 50 or 60 million years ago
some great force purposely set about to create a valley as beautiful as
any valley could be. A step further into fantasy, one might imagine this
great force saying: “Let us start, of course, with mountains. I shall
raise up a block of granite from the Earth planet’s interior; over the
centuries it will become a magnificent 14,000 feet high; time and the
winds and waters will sculpt it. Looking across to it will be other
hills and mountains, and glaciers will form the valley and then melt
away and there will be waters and streams flowing through. But with only
the winds and waters singing, it will be too quiet, it will not be
alive, so there must be animals—mammals, birds, fish, frogs, toads,
butterflies, and all the rest.”

    [Illustration: _For many birding enthusiasts the park’s scenery
    proves merely a dividend. They come to see the stately trumpeter
    swan, the largest waterfowl species in North America, which nests in
    the park. Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks provide
    essential habitat for this bird’s survival._]

Fritiof Fryxell, the first ranger naturalist of the park, has described
the forming of these peaks: “With continued uplift came a stage when the
passing air currents, in surmounting the block, were compelled to rise
so high that their moisture condensed. Precipitation over the elevated
region was thereby increased. The streams, ever gaining in volume and
velocity, now flowed along with the fine enthusiasm and vigor of youth,
and like a group of skilled artisans singing at their work, went about
their business of sculpturing the range.”

Within this space the Creator must have intended to bring man in
humility to his knees. Imagine traveling into the range from either
south or north, toward its center. The peaks loom ever higher and
steeper and more dramatic until, as Fryxell points out, with the 6.5
kilometers (4 miles) between Avalanche and Cascade, two of the canyons
piercing the range, there stand in close ranks the South, Middle, and
Grand Teton, Mt. Owen, Teewinot, Nez Perce, Cloudveil Dome, and many
spires. These form an overwhelming Gothic assemblage of peaks, a
concentrated and unforgettable mountain experience for anyone. And it
all goes on, and on, and on, north or south, from there.

This is the Teton Range, but it is not the whole picture. The glaciers
that during the Ice Age came through the whole valley left lakes as a
row of jewels at the feet of the peaks: Phelps, Taggart, Bradley, Jenny,
Leigh, and then finally Jackson lakes, through which the Snake River
travels for some 17 miles southward. From the lakes the flat glacial
floor extends to meet the river in mid-valley and beyond to all the
other beautiful, though not quite so spectacular, mountains and hills
that form the north, east, and south walls of the valley known as
Jackson Hole.

Those “other mountains” are the Yellowstone Plateau to the north, the
Absaroka, the Washakie, and Gros Ventre, merging southward into the
Hoback and Snake River Ranges. It is immediately clear why the first
mountain men called this type of valley a hole. As the Snake winds its
way south from its source in a high mountain meadow in southern
Yellowstone National Park, into and out of Jackson Lake, it is joined by
other streams: Pacific Creek, the Buffalo River, the Gros Ventre. All
are bordered by cottonwood and aspen and spruce and fir forests. The
scene is one of infinite variety, and in summer it is aglow with
wildflowers of every hue. When I first entered the valley in mid-July of
1927, I thought surely I was entering a fairyland.

We know that for many hundreds of years the Indians came to this valley
to hunt and fish, but not to stay. They left the land nearly untouched.
Then in the early 1800s came the mountain men to harvest the beaver. And
the valley became the favorite of one David Jackson, for whom it was
named by his fur trade partner, William Sublette, in 1829, 100 years
before Grand Teton National Park was established.

The first white settlers came to the hole about 1884, settling first in
the southern part of the valley. Grass grew there and hay could be
raised. Cattle could live there. But it was a demanding environment. The
settlers worked hard all summer and battled cold and deep snow in
winter, feeding their stock by horse-drawn sleigh or on snowshoes. Much
could be written about their survival techniques, but what interests us
here in connection with the national park is that the life they led
nurtured a bold and independent spirit. They believed in their “first
rights” to this part of the world, and resisted anything threatening
their independence and proprietary feelings. Most of what is now the
national park was part of Teton National Forest in 1929, and cattlemen
had grazing rights on the forest. Naturally they were flamingly opposed
to anything that might change their privileges. This was the human
background for the long drama of saving a good portion of Jackson Hole
in its natural state, for the benefit of untold generations of people
from all over the world.

    [Illustration: _Author Mardy Murie and her late husband, Olaus, came
    to Jackson Hole for his now world famous elk studies. Her home base
    is still in Jackson Hole, although she travels across North America
    in the cause of conservation._]

Teton country was a part of the West where, thankfully, gold was not an
issue. An oldtimer once left this notice on a Snake River gravel bar:

  _Payin gold will never be found here
  No matter how many men tries
  There’s some enough to begile one
  Like tanglefoot paper does flies._

That left cattle as the only “gold,” with their owners ready to fight
for what they considered their rights. The puzzling yet invigorating
diversity among people is part of the long evolution of the human
spirit. Jackson Hole was and still is a fascinating microcosm reflecting
these diversities, and they all played roles in the long controversy
that colors the history of this great national park.

    [Illustration: _Aspens gone golden for autumn stand reflected in the
    Snake River._]

    [Illustration: _The few remaining Jackson Hole ranches reflect the
    Old West._]

One of the valley’s most famous residents, author Struthers Burt, once
wrote: “I am afraid for my own country unless some help is given it—some
wise direction. It is too beautiful and now too famous. Sometimes I
dream of it unhappily.” When Burt wrote this there had irrupted at Jenny
Lake and nearby, in front of the most impressive view of the main Teton
peaks, a gasoline station, tourist cabins, a hot dog stand, a dance
hall, and some rusting bodies of automobiles. No wonder he dreamed
unhappily. But “some wise direction” did come. All the old blight along
the highway has been removed and today there is a small ranger station,
a tents-only campground, camper store, a small visitor center, and a
small boat dock.

“The American public will not leave Jackson Hole alone; nor can we ask
them to,” my husband, Olaus, wrote in 1943. “They will be coming in
increasing numbers. In any situation involving large numbers of us, some
regulation becomes a necessity, whether we like it or not.... It should
be our ambition to assist all agencies to keep intact this one segment
of America that we boast of as ‘the last of the Old West.’”

The Indians hunted and fished in this valley for all those hundreds of
years and left no mark. The white man has been here less than one
hundred and has left many marks. Today we have enlarged Grand Teton
National Park, and the staff of the park now copes with a flow of nearly
three million visitors each year.

On the edges and outskirts of the park, we still have the cloud of what
Robert Righter describes in his history of the park as “the threats of
subdivision and mammonism.” Righter bemoans the damper such activities
can put on the human spirit otherwise inspired by the mountain range.
“It seems important,” he says, “that future generations know that the
Park commemorates not only the grandeur of nature but also the spirit of
men acting for a noble cause; it is a park not of chance but of man’s

Today, come to this national park with an open mind, open eyes, and an
open heart. Leave your conveyance; walk the trails up into the canyons,
around the lakes, into the hills, canoe on some of the lakes. Stand
quietly at dusk by a beaver pond and you may see a moose or two or
three, some ducks, a great blue heron, a pair of trumpeter swans. The
list is long of what may be seen. And the list is equally long—or
longer—of what may be heard if you stand quietly: the song of the
Swainson’s thrush or the ruby-crowned kinglet, the raucous conversation
of ravens, the chatter of pine squirrels, the rattling call of sandhill

Go by foot or canoe or kayak or on a quiet horse or, in winter, on
cross-country skis. You will sense the full and busy and yet harmonious
life pattern of the wild ones. It will come to mean something very
special to you, for it is a balm and a benediction. It is a reminder of
your primeval roots. Stand at the edge of some woods at night and hear a
great-horned owl hooting; perhaps, if you are lucky, coyotes singing;
or, after September 1, some bull elk bugling.

Be glad they are all still here. These quiet adventures will remain with
you always. And think then, too, what might have happened in this
valley, and what gratitude we owe a few.

                        Part 2    Teton Country

    [Illustration: _The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem supports the
    largest elk herd remaining in the world. Nearly 3,000 of these
    majestic animals, also called wapiti, summer in Grand Teton._]

    [Illustration: _Mount Moran looms as the backdrop to a forested
    slope in autumn._]

                             The Mountains

The tight concentration of tall peaks and pinnacles called the Cathedral
Group has been described as “Chartres multiplied by six, a choir of
shimmering granite spires soaring high above the nave and transept of
the valley below.” Few fail to be impressed by these most scenic of
mountains and by their staggering panoramic quality. Theodore Roosevelt,
so often given to eloquence, called this “the most beautiful country in
the world.” You may find yourself spending an inordinate amount of time
just staring at the mountains.

The Tetons, being classic fault-block mountains, were originally
mound-like, not jagged and spired. They were formed as the Earth cracked
along a north-south line at the base of the mountains. As the Earth’s
outer crust faulted under pressures deep within its mantle, the western
block tilted upward and the eastern block sank. We speak about this
mountain building in the past tense because, for us mortals, mountains
symbolize eternity. But the action continues.

The Tetons are the youngest mountains in the Rocky Mountain system, but
they are made out of some of the oldest rock in North America. The
granitic gneisses and schists north and south of the central, highest
peaks are some of the hardest and least porous rocks known. The rock of
the Grand Teton is a younger granite. These qualities, and the
accessibility of major peaks, attract technical rock climbers. The
handholds are secure and the views breathtaking.

The geologic time scale is so vast we cannot imagine it. Most of us
simply refuse to imagine more than a few thousand years: we find
anything greater too inhibiting. The Ice Age ended its major glacial
action about 10,000 years ago, the beginning of the Holocene or the
Recent, as early man wandered the glacial ice margins. But seven-eighths
of Earth history are tied up in the Precambrian Period, the period of
formation of the Teton Range’s 3.5-billion-year-old rocks. By contrast,
just east of Jackson Hole—Thermopolis on your Wyoming highway map—there
is now forming the youngest rock in the United States, travertine.
Further proof that geologic processes continue.

The massive Teton Range contains a miniaturized world on a different
time scale. The alpine world is a summer surprise because it offers
flowering displays long after the valley show concludes for the season.
Bloom time is delayed by ascending altitude: the rule of thumb is about
12 days delay per 1,000 feet. If you miss the yellow buttercups at lower
elevations, climb higher and you may overtake their montane flowering in
full bloom. Such are the rigors of alpine tundra life that here the
flowers largely depend on wind for pollination, or on flies, rather than
on bees. Bees cannot withstand the cold temperatures so common at these
heights. The alpine insect explosion is brief, but ants, ladybugs and
other beetles, and diminutive grasshoppers inhabit the alpine world.
They make fast food for alpine-nesting birds, such as pipits, horned
larks, white-crowned sparrows, and rosy finches that are desperately
trying to nourish their hungry broods between the two edges of winter.

Specialized and severe, the alpine world is sparsely populated. Here
eagles and weasels hunt for bird nestlings, marmots, pikas, pocket
gophers, deer mice, and voles. The heartbeat of the extremely fragile
tundra is slow by necessity. That any plants have adapted to this
environment seems incredible. Yet alpine laurel fills rock crevices.
Spring beauty blooms in pockets of soil. Mats of moss campion carpet
slopes of shattered rock. White columbine nod in the wind shadows of
larger rocks. Alpine sunflowers blaze like a galaxy of equal suns, their
disproportionately large flowers awkwardly seated on abbreviated stalks.

The process of developing from bare rock to fully developed alpine
vegetation might require thousands of years. By contrast, it is
estimated that 100 years are required to form one inch of soil on the
plains. On alpine heights the rate is many times slower. The first
plants to colonize bare mountain rock might be lichens, multi-colored
crustose plants adapted to extreme conditions. Lichens are tough. They
grow on rocky outcrops near the South and North Poles. They also thrive
on desert rocks that are too hot to touch. Lichen plants can first be
dried in air and then in a dessicator and then exposed to 514°F for up
to seven hours and yet, upon return to room temperatures, they will
resume normal metabolism. And lichens regulate, to some extent, water
flow at high elevations. On dry days their water content may be from two
to ten percent of dry weight. On rainy days that may soar to more than
300 percent. Mats of lichen hold so much moisture that even a rise in
barometric pressure may press some water out to resume its tortuous trip
toward the Pacific Ocean.

Seven Teton peaks exceed 12,000 feet and one, the Grand Teton, pushes
above 13,000 feet to 13,770 feet in elevation. At such heights,
conditions support mountain glaciers. The Teton Glacier is one of about
a dozen small alpine glaciers cradled in shaded east- or north-facing
cirques among the high peaks. Teton Glacier occupies a spectacular
cirque that faces east between the north face of the Grand and Mount
Owen. It is partially fed by avalanches from the cliffs around it. Some
of these cliffs are more than 3,000 feet high. The glacier’s terminus
has retreated markedly since 1929, but the rate of loss was less between
1954 and 1963 than it was between 1929 and 1954. The mountain glaciers
in today’s Tetons are not left over from the Ice Age. They began forming
about 500 to 1,000 years ago, during the so-called Little Ice Age.

As insignificant as these glaciers are compared to the colossal sheets
that repeatedly lumbered through the Tetons and Jackson Hole, they
slowly exact a toll on this hard rock, continuing to carve, etch, and
abrade the range. They host life too: algae of a reddish hue that give
rise to the phenomenon called watermelon snow.

                            The Teton Range

    [Illustration: Teton Range panorama]

  Any mountain range is the product of the struggle between uplift and
  erosion, but in few places are the results as clear as on the crest of
  the Teton Range. Today we do not first see the Teton peaks across 160
  kilometers (100 miles) of wilderness and then struggle to them afoot,
  on horseback, or by wagon. This spectacle may break upon us from the
  window of an airplane, or appear around a bend in the John D.
  Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway. The telescoping of time does not
  lessen the impact however. The range’s nearly even east base (see
  painting) is the best place from which to grasp its formation. Along
  this line the valley ends at an abrupt wall, with no foothills at the
  mountain’s base. These are sure signs of faulting, the elevation of a
  mountain block along a deep crack in the Earth’s crust. (See diagram.)
  Shatter lines visible in many of the naked rock peaks show that the
  uplift was no smooth ride. The Tetons are very young mountains
  composed of very old rock. The range was thrust up about 9 million
  years ago. Young? Yes, when compared to the main Rocky Mountains,
  which rose 60 million years ago, and the Great Smoky Mountains, which
  have been above water more than 200 million years. The Teton Range’s
  crystalline rock is comparable to the 3-billion-year-old Allegheny
  Mountains core. This hard, stable rock, more than 300 times older than
  the mountains it forms, is a boon to climbers.

  Another unusual feature of the Teton Range is its divide, the division
  line at which water will flow off the mountains either west into the
  Teton River or east into the Snake. The Teton’s divide lies well below
  and to the west of the highest elevation. This is because the steeper
  east face caused water to flow off faster and thereby to cut deeper.
  These streams carved into the range and captured headwaters from less
  erosive western streams. Erosion and uplift continue competing in the
  range, which still rises through periodic earthquake activity.

   1. Mount Wister
   2. Shadow Peak
   3. South Teton
   4. Cloudveil Dome
   5. Nez Perce Peak
   6. Middle Teton
   7. Mount Owen
   8. Teewinot Mountain
   9. Rockchuck Peak
  10. Mount St. John
  11. The Jaw
  12. Mount Woodring
  13. Maidenform Peak
  14. Mount Moran
  15. Window Peak
  16. Bivouac Peak

                   Forming and Shaping the Mountains

    [Illustration: Uplift, erosion, and glaciation formed and shaped the
    Teton Range. Ice Age glaciers profoundly sculpted the horn-shaped
    peaks and gouged out the U-shaped valleys (photo and diagram). The
    present mountain glaciers were formed only 500 to 1,000 years ago.]

    [Illustration: The Teton Range is a textbook example of fault-block
    mountain building. The Teton Fault is about 40 miles long. Total
    vertical displacement was about 30,000 feet. Erosion has removed
    some 3,000 feet of material from Mount Moran, whose peak now stands
    about 6,600 feet above the valley floor. Most of the displacement
    took place with the dropping of the eastern block. The Range’s steep
    east face eroded faster than the western slope, which still carries
    some capping sedimentary layers.]

  Upthrown fault block
  Gentle western slope
  Teton Fault
  Steep eastern face (_Horn-shaped peaks and U-shaped valleys_)
  Valley floor filled with sediments
  Down-dropped fault block

    [Illustration: _As massive Ice Age glaciers flowed through the Teton
    Range_ (below), _moving ice changed the steep, V-shaped, water-cut
    valleys_ (above) _into the distinctive U-shaped canyons seen

    [Illustration: Teton Range today.]

                          Teton Country Lakes

    [Illustration: Tarn.]

    [Illustration: Jackson Lake.]

With only a brief itinerary in the park you might leave Jackson Hole
with a memory of the high peaks and just one lake, much the impression
that postcards give. But there are dozens of lakes. Most must be sought
off the highway behind fringes of trees or up a short reach of trail.
Some nestle in the alpine heights. A checklist of park lakes based on
how they were formed includes surprising variety. A few are oxbow lakes,
cut off meanders of the Snake River. Two are real oldtimers, Emma
Matilda and Two Ocean Lakes, formed about 30,000 years ago as the
glaciers melted back. But most are new glistening souvenirs of the
latest glacial advance that ended 8,000 years ago. This newest crop is
readily identified by the morainal dams that back up each lake. Most
easily recognized is the morainal dam of Jenny Lake. Unlike Jackson
(large photo), Jenny, Bradley, Taggart, Leigh, and Phelps Lakes mark
surfaces gouged by mountain glaciers. The many small ponds dotting the
sagebrush flats, such as The Potholes, are not gouge scars, but pits.
Here glacial outwash materials surrounded and buried small ice masses
that later melted. The technical term for these depression ponds is
kettle ponds, but The Potholes were named by a rancher, not a geologist.
The Tetons’ highest lakes are called tarns (small photo). Bearing names
such as Surprise, Grizzly Bear, Bear-paw, and Rimrock, these are
diminutive versions of the glacial lakes at the foot of major canyons.
They originate in ice-scoured pockets and are still forming under the
small glaciers at the heads of highcountry canyons. The largest and most
heavily fished lake is Jackson Lake. Cutthroat trout are native, but
lake trout (Mackinaw) were introduced in the 19th century. The lake is
130 meters (425 feet) deep and 26 kilometers (16 miles) long. Jackson, a
natural lake, was dammed before the park was established to store more
water and control the Snake River for irrigation in Idaho. The Teton
country’s lake and pond environment has benefited moose and ducks the
most, but nearly all park denizens—vacationing _Homo sapiens_
included—appreciate this aquatic resource. One species, the beaver,
extends its appreciation by creating more ponds. Once nearly
exterminated during the trapper’s era, beaver are now abundant here.

                           Mountain Climbing

    [Illustration: Mountain climber.]

    [Illustration: The Tetons offer the adventurous some of North
    America’s most superb mountain climbing. The rock is very hard and
    mostly free of slides. Cracks and ledges abound for hand and foot
    holds. The mountains, rising sharply from the valley floor, are
    unusually accessible. No expedition is required just to reach the
    peak. All Teton peaks and spires have already been climbed. Many
    have been climbed by several routes. Together they offer an
    exceptional range of climbing difficulty, from a stiff uphill walk
    with little hand and foot work to technical climbs that challenge
    most experienced alpinists. Atop the 4,200-meter (13,770-foot)
    summit of the Grand Teton you stand taller than anything nearby. (A
    climbing permit is required. See “Mountaineering” in Part 3.)]

    [Illustration: _This print, adapted from Leigh Ortenburger’s 1956 A
    Climber’s Guide to the Teton Range, shows the Grand Teton from the
    northeast. The four climbing routes indicated, and their
    first-ascent dates, are:_ 1 _East Ridge (1929)_, 2 _Northeast
    Couloir (1939)_, 3 _North Face (1936), and_ 4 _North Ridge (1931)_.

_First climbed (officially) in 1898, the Grand was not climbed again
until 1923. Since then, however, it has been one of the country’s most
popular peaks._]

    [Illustration: The first ascent by a Jackson Hole woman, Geraldine
    Lucas, aged 59, is shown here in her triumphant moment in 1924.

Officially, the first party to climb the Grand Teton was the W. O. Owen
party in 1898, although Hayden Survey members James Stevenson and
Nathaniel Langford said they climbed it in 1872. Owen carried on a
30-year war to have history rewritten his way. He finally won—by act of
the Wyoming legislature in 1929. Even a member of Owen’s party thought
Stevenson and Langford had climbed it. And among Owen’s papers at his
death was an 1899 letter, with route map, from a man who evidently
climbed the Grand in 1893 with two soldiers. The man was not interested
in particular credit for it.]

                           The Mountain World

  Above the tree limit and around snowfields and glaciers lies the
  alpine tundra. This fragile ecosystem challenges plant and animal
  survival with temperature extremes, high winds, a short growing
  season, frequent drought, and poor soil. Basic plant survival
  adaptations include dwarfism, oversize root systems, matting growth,
  succulent leaves or stems, and warmth-producing red pigments. Some
  high mountain plants are almost brown, not green, but perfectly alive.
  Dwarfism and matting keep plants snugged low to the ground where
  conditions are less severe than just a few centimeters higher. Animals
  tend to adapt to subalpine and alpine rigors by modifying their
  behavior rather than their structure. Exceptions include flightless
  grasshoppers and the pika’s fur-covered feet.

  The summer alpine tundra provides insects, seeds, leaf crops, lichens,
  and fungi as wildlife food. For this short season animals are well
  supplied and may become conspicuous. Birds, with their advantage of
  flight, can cover vast areas quickly in the search for food. They can
  also readily change ecozones. A bird flying from alpine tundra down to
  a forested slope makes a journey between ecozones equivalent to
  migrating from above the Arctic Circle to northern Maine. Hawks and
  eagles, in a regular search for pikas or mice, can cover all of the
  Teton high peaks in 2 hours or less.

    [Illustration: _Plants and animals of the mountain world:_]

   1 _Prairie falcon_
   2 _Pika_
   3 _Yellow-bellied marmot_
   4 _Cushion buckwheat_
   5 _Whitebark pine_
   6 _Subalpine fir krummholz_
   7 _Dwarf willow_
   8 _Pixie-cup lichen_
   9 _Black rosy finch_
  10 _Alpine forget-me-not_
  11 _Moss campion_
  12 _Haircap moss_

    [Illustration: Wary bighorn sheep are the largest mammals of the
    high mountain realms. The male’s horns, curved back, down, and
    around, may cap a 135-kilogram (300-pound) body. Sheep wear thick,
    tannish-gray hair. Their specialized footpads enable them to scale
    rock that might stymie a roped alpinist. Rams and ewes hold to
    separate bands except during the mating period. Generations of sheep
    will occupy the same range. The Teton population, numbering between
    100 and 125 animals, is wary because the sheep are hunted in fall on
    adjacent national forest lands. Hikers and climbers occasionally see
    them on the range’s east side, but you will not see bighorn sheep
    from your car except sometimes in the winter when they may move down
    into Jackson Hole.]

    [Illustration: _Autumn aspens lend what prospectors never found in
    this valley—large touches of gold._]

                               The Valley

With the Louisiana Purchase treaty signed, President Thomas Jefferson
wanted to know what he had bought, so he sent the Lewis and Clark
Expedition overland to the Pacific in 1803 to find out. On the return
trip John Colter left the expedition along the Yellowstone River to stay
in the West and join a trapping venture. He is considered the first
white person to discover what is now Jackson Hole. Colter supposedly
wandered through this high, mountain-encircled valley—trappers called
such valleys holes—in the winter of 1807-1808. Colter was soon followed
by other trappers, and 40 years later the trappers were followed by
homesteaders. Several homesteaders became dude ranchers, and their dudes
were followed by vacationers, who now number nearly three million each

The flatness of Jackson Hole comes as a surprise, considering that the
Teton Range was formed by a fault-block process. You would expect a deep
valley, but it has been filled repeatedly by rock debris transported by
glaciers and their meltwaters. The Snake River does little cutting into
the valley floor today. The flat areas above the river, called benches,
were carved out when the river had the torrential force of glacial
meltwater. The river’s north-south flow shows that the valley slopes
southward. The valley also tilts westward, toward the fault that gave
rise to the Teton Range. For reasons not fully known, the valley has
sunk more than the mountains have risen. We know this because a
sedimentary cap of rock atop Mount Moran—nearly 6,000 feet above the
valley floor—was once connected to the same rock layer that now lies an
estimated 24,000 feet below the valley surface.

The glacial material that fills the valley is largely quartzite rock
rounded by tumbling in running water into softball- to basketball-sized
cobbles, supplemented by gravel, sand, and silt. This rock came from
long-vanished mountains to the northwest. The depth of the valleys
cobble material is estimated at perhaps about 2,000 feet. This cobble
material has been washed by glacial runoff so often that it lacks the
clay content that is essential for the ground to retain water. Melting
snow and rain rapidly percolate through, so that only grasses and other
plants adapted to arid conditions can thrive in the valley’s
coarse-textured soil. This is why sagebrush dominates the valley floor,
except where streams and ponds provide enough water for willow bushes,
spruce, and cottonwood trees. Lodgepole pines grow atop the recent
glacial moraines that contain sufficient nutrients and clay, such as the
one surrounding Jenny Lake.

    [Illustration: _The Snake River meanders through the surprisingly
    flat valley called Jackson Hole._]

    [Illustration: _Jackson Hole was settled around the turn of the
    century, initially by homesteaders._]

    [Illustration: _John D. Rockefeller, Jr., donated more than 32,000
    acres of valley land, which were added to Grand Teton National Park
    in 1950._]

    [Illustration: _Local residents were divided over the park issue.
    Two local park proponents, Mardy and the late Olaus J. Murie, are
    shown at a 1949 annual council meeting of the Wilderness Society.
    The Muries advocated park enlargement._]

Geologic forces have not always been subtle influences in the valley.
Melting snow and heavy rains in June 1925 saturated a layer of clay
sandwiched between sedimentary rock layers that form the north end of
Sheep Mountain, near Kelly. An earthquake, probably, triggered an
enormous landslide, and thousands of tons of debris raced down into the
river, damming it and backing up a lake 5 miles long and 200 feet deep.
Two years later the top 50 feet of the dam broke off and a wall of water
rushed down through Kelly, leveling all buildings except the church and
school. Six lives were lost, despite ample warning. The landslide scar
on Sheep Mountain’s north end is more than 5,000 feet long and 2,500
feet wide. Geologists say that more of Sheep Mountain is perched to
slide, given similar spring rainfall and an earthquake trigger.

The rise of the Teton Range and the corresponding sinking of Jackson
Hole continues, although not at an even rate. The action continues by
irregular crustal movements known as earthquakes. Geologist John D.
Love, longtime interpreter of the dynamics of the Teton Range, feels
that a major earthquake movement along the Teton fault, of as much as 20
feet, could happen at any time. The impact would be many more times
severe than the landslide and ensuing flood at Kelly. But such things
are not given to easy and precise prediction.

                              The Elk Herd

    [Illustration: Elk with antlers.]

    [Illustration: Elk herd.]

The Jackson Hole elk herd is free ranging and migratory. About half of
its 15,000 elk winter on the National Elk Refuge. By midsummer, many
graze on bunchgrass in high meadows near the Continental Divide, more
than 110 kilometers (70 miles) to the north. Moving north in spring, the
elk feed on succulent new growth of grasses and forbs in the sagebrush
flats. Cow elk, pregnant since last fall, separate from the main herds
to linger on calving grounds. Newborn elk hide in sagebrush or aspen
cover while the cows feed. Elk tend to feed in the open in morning and
evening, retreating to forest shade during the day. All summer they gain
weight in preparation for winter. Full grown cows often exceed 230
kilograms (500 pounds). Bulls may stand 1.5 meters (5 feet) at the
shoulder and weigh 405 kilograms (900 pounds). After their antlers drop
off in March, bulls begin growing a new annual set. Antlers, furry
nubbins in May, become velvet covered branches by July. By late August
the velvet, which supplied blood and nutrients for rapid antler growth,
hangs in tattered shreds as bull elk rub their antlers against flexible
saplings. In September, mature bulls polish the velvet from their
antlers and join the cows on their summer ranges. Then the dominant bull
elk gather harems of 6 to 20 cows. These bulls establish and maintain
dominance by displaying massive branched antlers, impressive bugling,
chasing off less aggressive bulls, and occasional combat with other
males. Fall migratory herds sometimes number 200 or more. Migration
begins when the snow reaches a critical depth. It is a special
experience to witness this exodus of elk streaming down the valley. Many
elk return to winter on the National Elk Refuge and in the Gros Ventre
drainage. Supplemental feeding is provided on the refuge to maintain the
Jackson Hole herd because some two-thirds of its traditional winter
range has been lost to development. The remaining habitat, and the elk
hunt permitted by the law that added Jackson Hole to the national park,
is cooperatively managed by the National Park Service and other Federal
and State agencies to perpetuate and protect the majestic elk of this
great herd.

                          Settling the Valley

    [Illustration: Homesteader’s Cabin.]

    [Illustration: Washing dishes.]

Shoshone, Crow, Blackfeet, Gros Ventre, and other Native Americans
hunted and picked berries in the valley in summer, but winter was
unbearable. During the early 1800s, solitary mountain men trapped valley
beaver, sometimes wintering through intense and deep snow. After the fur
trade collapsed in 1840, occasional trappers and prospectors ventured
into Jackson Hole. Well-known pioneers built temporary cabins. Jackson
Hole was settled late in the frontier era, when limited technology,
supply routes, and food storage made winter bearable. The first
permanent settlers, John Holland and John Carnes, homesteaded north of
the town of Jackson in 1884. Significant settlement came after 1900 as
schools, post offices, and churches were built. Jackson, Wilson, Moran,
and Kelly became the dominant communities. Getting supplies and mail
into Jackson Hole was always difficult. Most supplies came from Idaho
over rugged Teton Pass. Pack horses and supply wagons then faced the
Snake River, often dangerous or impossible to cross. Menor’s Ferry,
built at Moose in 1894 by William D. Menor, was a major crossing until
replaced by a bridge in 1927. Ferries, and later bridges, at Wilson also
improved valley transportation. Most valley homesteaders became cattle
ranchers, grazing their herds on the public range and cultivating enough
hay for winter feed. But the harsh climate and porous soils made
ranching risky. When some ranchers recognized the value of scenery and
wildlife, they began operating dude ranches and hunting lodges. In 1903,
Ben Sheffield catered to wealthy hunters from his headquarters at Moran.
In 1907, Louis Joy operated the first dude ranch in Jackson Hole, the
JY. The age of tourism had begun.

    [Illustration: A rodeo at the Elbo Ranch, which was located near
    Cottonwood Creek.]

    [Illustration: _The Snake River cuts through moraines and exposes a
    vast rubble of glacial cobbles. An evening float trip offers an
    opportunity to view wildlife, a part of the river’s biotic

                            The Snake River

Grand Teton National Park and Jackson Hole have no corner on the Snake
River, boasting as they do a mere 40 miles or so of the sinuous Snake’s
more than 1,000 miles of progress from the Continental Divide near
Yellowstone National Park to its confluence with the mighty Columbia
River near Pasco, Washington.

Judging from its almost leisurely mid-summer passage as a braided river
through the park you would not guess what chaos lies downstream. The
river had at least two names before the Snake was affixed. A group of
French-speaking trappers who crossed the river in September 1811
encountered such difficulty they decided to give it the name Mad River.
Sometime later this trapping party had to cross it again downstream near
its confluence with the Hoback River and renamed it _La Maudite Rivière
Enragée_—Accursed Mad River. Those names properly hint at what lies
downstream as the Snake flows in every direction but east in a great
sickle-shaped curve, its watershed embracing the largest chunk of
wilderness in the United States outside Alaska. The Snake’s beautiful
Shoshone Falls in Idaho is a full 43 feet higher than Niagara Falls. And
the Snake’s Hells Canyon, also in Idaho, is North America’s deepest and
narrowest major gorge, averaging a deeper gash across the land than the
Grand Canyon itself. Hells Canyon plunges 7,900 feet at its deepest
point. What is more, it averages 5,500 feet deep over its course.

In a valley this high (the elevation of Jackson Hole at the lower end
measures 6,000 feet) the Snake should have cut, with its steep
gradients, permanent channels. Instead, it still wanders in myriad
channels across the glacial debris filling the fault basin. Here the
Snake looks more like a prairie river rambling with the restlessness of
youth. Its banks are a checkerboard of successional stages, as plant
communities rise and fall with disturbances created by flooding, channel
shifting, or fire. This benefits the moose and beaver by assuring
continual supplies of willow and cottonwood that would otherwise soon be
succeeded by blue spruce.

The Snake, discovered by Lewis and Clark in 1805 but not fully explored
until its headwaters were pinpointed in 1970, is no longer a completely
wild river even in the park. Jackson Lake Dam, built before the park was
established, controls the water flow below the lake, moderating natural
surges that used to follow rapid spring snowmelt or violent summer
thunderstorms. Since the river no longer scours the valley regularly,
these stabilized conditions favor the development of larger tracts of
blue spruce.

Compared to the lakes, the Snake harbors a wealth of aquatic life. A
river is richer partly because its linear structure provides more
shoreline. The plant complex that the river makes possible continually
enriches the water with leaves and other debris. This energy subsidy,
along with the countless terrestrial insects caught by the river, is
passed up the food chain. Eventually the additional energy is translated
into the fish that help support the herons, mergansers, eagles, ospreys,
otters, and other terrestrial predators that use the aquatic food

The plant and animal composition of the riverine world varies with the
rate of water flow. In slow water areas, such as the Oxbow Bend, where
the river has cut off and abandoned a former looping meander,
bottom-rooted aquatic plants attract herbivorous animals—moose,
mallards, golden-eyes, and cinnamon teals—to graze these underwater
gardens. Such quiet stretches also attract carnivores to exploit the
greater variety of prey. Great blue herons stand motionless along the
shoreline, waiting to spear passing fish or the mice, frogs, and snakes
at water’s edge. Mink and coyote patrol the shoreline.

Insects are important river denizens, as the fly fishing angler’s art
attests. The nymphs of mayflies and stoneflies and the larvae of
caddisflies eat algae and other plant detritus, in the process becoming
attractive fare for the cutthroat trout and Rocky Mountain Whitefish.
The caddisfly larvae have adapted to fast water by constructing
protective body cases from sand grains, pebbles, plant stems, and other
stream bed materials. The faster the current, the heavier the case,
which enables the larvae to settle rapidly into a new cranny, should
they be swept away.

The sturgeon used to populate the Snake in what are now park waters, but
the erection of more than 20 hydroelectric and irrigation dams
downstream so changed the river that these very large fish are now hard
pressed to survive above the Columbia River confluence.

  [Illustration: _Shaped like a short-handled dipper, the Snake River
  progresses westward through the nation’s largest chunk of wilderness
outside Alaska. The Snake’s drainage also figured in historic exploring
expeditions and scientific, military, and railroad route surveys during
the 19th century. Some important expedition and survey routes are shown
                             on this map._]

                        Expeditions and Trappers

    [Illustration: “Beaver Flats”]

    [Illustration: “John Colter Visits the Crows 1807”]

  Jackson Hole witnessed the exploration, settlement, and exploitation
  that characterized the opening of the West. Early events centered
  around the fur trade and survey expeditions. John Colter generally
  gets credit as the first white man to visit the valley, purportedly
  crossing it in the 1807-1808 winter. Colter trekked west with Lewis
  and Clark and got permission to leave them on their return east. Other
  trappers whose names pop up before Jackson Hole’s fur trade died out
  in the 1840s are Jedediah Smith, David Jackson, William Sublette, Kit
  Carson, and Jim Bridger. All were inveterate explorers and
  adventurers. Sublette probably named the valley, after his trading
  partner, Jackson. The fur trade died out when beaver hats—the prime
  pelt market—went out of fashion in Europe. By then, beaver had been
  severely reduced over much of North America, anyway, and a process for
  making felt from far cheaper rabbit pelts had been developed. The
  first survey expedition ventured into Jackson Hole in 1860, guided by
  Jim Bridger. In command was Capt. William F. Raynolds, topographical
  engineer. The War Department conducted these early surveys to find out
  about the Indians, farming and mining possibilities, and potential
  transcontinental routes. Raynolds turned thumbs down on a rail route
  here. In 1861 and 1862 gold seekers prospected the valley but found
  nothing. An Interior Department mission, the 1872 Hayden Survey led by
  Professor Ferdinand V. Hayden, explored the Tetons and Jackson Hole,
  guided by Beaver Dick Leigh.  Many Jackson Hole features are named for
  Hayden Survey members. These include Jenny, Bradley, Taggart, and
  Leigh Lakes. An expedition led by Lt. Gustavus Doane nearly perished
  here in the 1876-77 winter and would have starved but for the fishing
  skills of one private. The color illustrations are by Jackson Hole
  artist John Clymer.

                              The Indians

    [Illustration: Indians in Camp.]

  No Indians made permanent, year-round homes in Jackson Hole. Winters
  were too severe. Before white settlement, a small, recluse Shoshone
  group camped in the area for as many months as possible because of
  repeated raids from northerly tribes who had British-supplied guns.
  Other Shoshone knew this small band as Sheep Eaters, because they
  depended on the bighorn sheep for food. They lived scattered in family
  groups, not as a tribe. When it seemed safe, they would fish, hunt,
  and gather plants, seeds, and berries. They used dogs as beasts of

    [Illustration: Codsiogo, a Shoshone warrior.]

They made bows of elk antlers and sheep horns reinforced with elk and
deer sinews. Early trappers seldom encountered the Sheep Eaters although
they sometimes saw smoke from their fires. The Sheep Eaters stayed near
the mountains until joining other Shoshone under Chief Washakie on
reservations in Idaho and Wyoming about 1879. Some artifacts and other
evidence of their life are still found today in the Tetons.
Archeological studies show that various Indian groups migrated through
here on a seasonal basis. The Shoshone peoples arose in the semidesert
Basin of the upper Southwest. As food became scarce they migrated east
of the Rockies, into the plains and mountain parks of Wyoming and
Montana, probably in the 1500s or mid-1600s. In part they were escaping
slave-trading Ute Indians. By 1730, however, records begin to show the
Shoshone as the most important plains tribe. They were walkers until
about 1740, when they got Spanish horses from the Comanches to the
south. Mounted, they would raid as far as the Saskatchewan River to the
north and the Black Hills to the east. During the whites’ overland
migrations, the Eastern Shoshone, under Chief Washakie, avoided
confrontations. But Chief Washakie knew his people’s nomadic way of life
was over.

    [Illustration: A Sheepeater Indian family.]

                            Cutthroat Trout

    [Illustration: An osprey landing on its nest.]

    [Illustration: Trout in shallow water.]

  The 17 species of fish in Grand Teton National Park include brown,
  brook, rainbow, and lake (Mackinaw) trout. These introduced species
  are found in a number of lakes and streams. Perhaps the most
  impressive fish is the Snake River cutthroat trout, the native trout
  so dependent on the park’s natural aquatic system. The deep red or
  orange-red marks under its jaws give the impression of a slashed
  throat, hence cutthroat. The Snake River cutthroat is a distinct
  subspecies of the cutthroat trout identified by the hundreds of tiny
  dark spots on both sides of its body. In spring, particularly May and
  June, the Snake River cutthroat will travel upstream into tributary
  waters to spawn. The female digs a nest (called a redd) in the gravel
  and the male and female lie side by side while simultaneously
  contributing the sperm and eggs. The fertilized eggs settle to the
  bottom and hatch into fry within 40 days. The young fish usually
  remain in the tributary stream until fall but will sometimes wait a
  full year before migrating to the river. Juveniles, called
  fingerlings, and sub-adults feed on a variety of aquatic invertebrate
  larvae such as caddisflies, mayflies, and stoneflies. The older fish
  become more predaceous and feed on a variety of smaller species of
  fish living in the river. The cutthroat trout reach sexual maturity at
  three to four years of age. Few cutthroats live longer than five
  years. The post-spawning mortality rate is 50 percent. The Snake River
  cutthroat trout indeed delights the angler, but more important is its
  role in the wildlife community. The cutthroat consumes aquatic
  insects, invertebrates, and small fish, helping to keep these
  populations in check naturally. This trout is also consumed, providing
  food for bears, eagles, ospreys, and otters. If the fish population
  declines, so will the animals that depend on it for food. As fishing
  pressure continues to grow, park managers may have to protect this
  natural population of Snake River cutthroat to maintain the national
  park’s wildlife community.

    [Illustration: _Mule deer, named for their large ears, occur in
    surprisingly small numbers in the park. Competition with the large
    elk herd and deep winter snows may be limiting factors._]

                        Wildlife and Wildflowers

When the Shoshone Indians sat down with government officials at Fort
Bridger in 1863 to conclude a treaty that would define their lands, the
parcel that the parties arrived at totaled 30,000 square miles. A very
small part of that was Jackson Hole, but this was such rich hunting
ground in summer and fall that even the Shoshone dared not lay sole
claim to it. Blackfeet, Bannock, Crow, Gros Ventre, and probably other
tribes were drawn here to hunt. What would you have seen on a hunting
trip in those days? Bison, pronghorns, and at least three times as many
elk as exist here now, but far fewer deer. Near wall-to-wall beaver
along the waterways, but nary a moose. And bighorn sheep peering down at
you from nearly every crag and butte.

When settlement in the late 1800s at the south end of the valley
eliminated about two-thirds of their winter range, as many as 500 elk
sometimes ended up on the streets of Jackson on frigid nights. Winter
starvation and poaching pressures took many elk.

The fur trade decimated beaver populations. But what of moose, deer, and
bighorn? Moose and mule deer probably benefited from white settlement.
Moose increased because of the suppression of fire, which permitted the
increase of sub-alpine fir, a winter food source. Moose graze but little
grass, mostly browsing coarser plants. Likewise mule deer. Livestock
overgrazing hindered elk but favored moose and mule deer. The latter
evidently usurped bighorn wintering range, reducing the sheep
population. Wolves were extirpated and grizzly bears nearly so. That
favored—within range support limits—every four-footed vegetarian not
beset with other insurmountable problems.

Grizzly bears roam only the northern part of the park. Predation on
large mammals must be carried out by seldom seen black bears, rare
mountain lions, and coyotes, who largely feed on rodents. Red foxes
(rare here), lynxes, and bobcats are crafty and formidable, but at best
threaten only the young of large mammals. Formidable predators of a
smaller scale are the many members of the weasel family, including two
weasels, the badger, pine marten, wolverine and fisher (very rare here),
and mink. The prey of these creatures includes many of the more familiar
small mammals, such as shrews, hares, chipmunks and golden-mantled
ground squirrels, Uinta ground squirrels, red and flying squirrels,
mice, pocket gophers, woodrats, voles, and muskrats, and also small
birds, bird eggs, reptiles, and amphibians. Porcupines and beavers are
both large rodents and both feed on bark, but their defenses differ.
Beavers escape to their snug lodge protected by the surrounding water,
while porcupines are protected by quills. But porcupines sometimes fall
prey to fishers and maybe smaller cats and other critters able to get at
their unprotected faces and bellies.

    [Illustration: _The vigorous, brief blooms of alpine plants edge a
    high mountain meadow, with only the tips of peaks as a backdrop._]

Bird watchers are content here just to see the rare trumpeter swan—on
the Elk Refuge, or at Christian and Hedrick Ponds. Other large birds
include bald eagles, ospreys, sandhill cranes, Canada geese, and great
blue herons. The water ouzel (dipper) walks underwater in fast current,
a marvel to behold. Bold and brassy are the crafty magpies, who won’t
hesitate to let you know if you annoy them. More than 100 species of
birds have been identified in the park.

Four major natural communities provide a way of understanding the park’s
wildlife patterns. The water communities include lakes, ponds, rivers,
and streams. The sage and grassland community is the most extensive and
most often overlooked. The forest community appears randomly
distributed, but soil moisture properties, the direction it faces,
elevation, and weather patterns influence where trees grow. Blue spruce
and cottonwood thrive along valley streams. Aspen, Douglas-fir, and
lodgepole pine inhabit the valley and lower slopes. Sub-alpine fir,
Engelmann spruce, and limber pine stand on mountainsides and in canyons.
The edges where communities meet are richest in wildlife. The alpine
community crowning the highcountry shares the least characteristics and
organisms with the other three communities.

Water communities call to mind perhaps the trout and beaver (see pages
48 and following), and lakes, ponds, streams, and rivers interrupt or
dot the other three communities. In winter moose inhabit the river flats
to browse the cottonwoods and willows.

The pronghorn and sage grouse characterize the wide open sage and
grassland community, whose purpose otherwise seems simply to provide the
Teton Range a foreground. This world is alive with small birds feeding
on masses of insects and spiders. These songbirds, along with gophers,
mice, and snakes, provide the diet for weasels, hawks, and ravens. The
sage grouse depends largely on the evergreen sagebrush for food. The
pronghorns depend on it part-time, being unable to subsist on grasses
alone. This is North America’s fastest mammal, able to run at more than
45 miles per hour. For added security it boasts oversize lungs and
windpipe, and the largest eyes by body weight of any mammal. Faster yet
is the prairie falcon that hunts these flats, streaking out of the sky
at speeds up to 200 miles per hour.

An aspen grove of only 27 trunks may shelter more than 12 pairs of
birds—house wrens, mountain bluebirds, swallows, and woodpeckers. It may
also shelter an understory of young spruce and fir that could one day
replace it. Deer and elk wander out of the forest to browse the aspen,
which can produce more than 2.5 tons dry weight of vegetation per acre.
Ironically, aspen have suffered somewhat in the park for lack of forest
fires. It turns out that fire suppression suppresses aspens, which
recover burned areas quickly. In respect of natural processes, the park
now practices wildfire management instead of complete suppression,
except where human life and private property might be threatened.

The alpine world (see pages 36-37) stands as magic for some. Its
lilliputian scale fascinates. A tiny rabbit, the pika (or cony), gathers
grasses there all summer in miniature haystacks you may discover. The
yellow-bellied marmot, on the other hand, stores fat, its body being
adapted to pass the winter in hibernation. Surprising numbers of insects
are found there. And spiders wander the snowfields to feed on
cold-sluggish insects blown up from warmer elevations.

Diminutive alpine creatures aren’t seen from a car, but much of the
park’s wildlife bounty reveals itself to casual observers. The national
park tries to offer the wild community a haven where natural processes
can work, but this is no simple task. The park includes only portions of
some creatures’ annual ranges. And underlying the ideal balance of
natural processes are complex relationships we only gradually unravel.


    [Illustration: _Bobcat_]

    [Illustration: _Weasel_]

    [Illustration: _Yellow-bellied marmots_]

    [Illustration: _Pika_]

    [Illustration: _Moose_]

    [Illustration: _Deer mouse_]

    [Illustration: _Coyote_]

    [Illustration: _Elk calf_]

    [Illustration: _Badger_]

    [Illustration: _Black bear_]

    [Illustration: _Snowshoe Hare_]

    [Illustration: _Pronghorn (antelope)_]

    [Illustration: _Mule Deer_]

    [Illustration: _Uinta ground squirrel_]

    [Illustration: _Beaver_]

    [Illustration: _Porcupine_]


    [Illustration: _Yellowthroat_]

    [Illustration: _Killdeer_]

    [Illustration: _Screech owl_]

    [Illustration: _Blue grouse_]

    [Illustration: _Prairie falcon_]

    [Illustration: _Great gray owl_]

    [Illustration: _Sandhill crane_]

    [Illustration: _Sage grouse_]

    [Illustration: _Bald eagle_]

    [Illustration: _Mountain bluebird_]

    [Illustration: _Greentail towhee_]

    [Illustration: _Steller’s jay_]

    [Illustration: _Goshawk_]

    [Illustration: _Canada goose_]

    [Illustration: _Western tanager_]

    [Illustration: _Common snipe_]


    [Illustration: _Columbine_]

    [Illustration: _Sugarbowl_]

    [Illustration: _Leopard lily_]

    [Illustration: _Mountain or False dandelion_]

    [Illustration: _Geranium_]

    [Illustration: _Yellow violet_]

    [Illustration: _Phlox_]

    [Illustration: _Low larkspur_]

    [Illustration: _Calypso orchid_]

    [Illustration: _Green gentian_]

    [Illustration: _Indian paintbrush_]

    [Illustration: _Yarrow_]

    [Illustration: _Lewis flax_]

    [Illustration: _Harebell_]

    [Illustration: _Mule ears_]

    [Illustration: _Scarlet gilia_]

                      Part 3    Guide and Adviser

    [Illustration: _Anglers on the Snake face a dilemma. With each
    backcast, tantalizing pools and riffles vie for attention._]

                        Approaching Grand Teton

_Grand Teton National Park sits in northwest Wyoming just below
Yellowstone National Park. By road Grand Teton is reached from the north
via Yellowstone on Routes 89, 191, and 287. From the east, Routes 26 and
287 connect the park with Dubois, Wyoming, via Togwotee Pass. From the
south the park is reached through Jackson, Wyoming, via Routes 26, 89,
and 191. Routes 191 and 189 link Jackson with Interstate 80 to the
south. From the west, Route 22 over Teton Pass links Jackson with Idaho
Falls, Idaho, and Interstate 15 west of Idaho Falls._

    [Illustration: Lofty peaks.]

    [Illustration: _From valley floor to lofty peaks, artists face a
    similar dilemma: what not to paint._]


The Jackson-Rock Springs Stage, (307) 733-3133, provides daily summer
connections to Greyhound Bus Lines in Rock Springs, Wyoming. The address
is 72 S. Glenwood, Jackson, WY 83001. From early June through
mid-September the Grand Teton Lodge Company runs regular bus service
between Jackson Lake Lodge and Jackson twice daily. The company also
meets all incoming flights at the airport (see map) and runs a service
to Signal Mountain Lodge, Colter Bay, and Jackson Lake Lodge. The
company runs shuttlebuses daily between Jackson Lake Lodge and Colter
Bay. Holiday Tours and Gray Line of Jackson Hole offer one-day tours of
Yellowstone National Park from Jackson. Individuals may book overnight
or longer passage to Old Faithful on Grayline of Jackson Hole tours, but
no in-park transportation is available in Yellowstone.

Some useful distances: Denver to Grand Teton, 500 miles; Salt Lake City
to Grand Teton, 288 miles; and Idaho Falls to Grand Teton, 105 miles.

Please note that public transportation to and around the park is not
always regularly scheduled or frequently available. If you intend to
rely on bus service for travel inside the park, plan carefully and be
prepared for long waits between bus arrivals and departures in parts of
the park. Hitchhiking is illegal in Wyoming.

                   Taxi and Transportation Services.

Local taxi service is limited, but it is available. The Jackson Hole
Transportation Company, (307) 733-3135, provides ground transportation
for Teton Village and Jackson to and from the airport, and service to
and from Flagg Ranch on the Rockefeller Parkway.

                              Air Service.

Scheduled airlines serve the Jackson Hole Airport, 7 miles north of
Jackson on Highway 26, 89, and 191. Denver, Colorado; Salt Lake City,
Utah; and Idaho Falls, Idaho, all offer connecting flights to Jackson.
Flights arrive and depart several times daily in summer; less frequently
in the off season. Check with your travel agent for flight schedules as
well as ski package rates for winter travel to the Jackson Hole area.

                          Car Rental Services.

Avis (307) 733-3422, Budget (307) 733-2206, Hertz (307) 733-2272, and
National (307) 733-4132 offer car rentals. All but Budget, which
provides airport pick-up and delivery, are located at the Jackson

All major park roads are two-lane and paved. Summer months coincide with
road repairs and re-surfacing. It is possible to have short delays (up
to one hour) while maintenance crews repair old and build new road

Many bicyclists ride along the narrow Teton Park Road between Moose and
Colter Bay (see map). Traffic is very heavy from mid-June to Labor Day
and both cyclists and motorists should be alert to possible hazards.

                 Useful Addresses and Telephone Numbers

  Grand Teton National Park, P.O.
  Drawer 170, Moose, WY 83012. (307)

  Wyoming Travel Commission
  Cheyenne, WY 82002
  (307) 777-7777.

  Jackson Hole Area Chamber of Commerce
  Box E, Jackson, WY 83001
  (307) 733-3316.

  Grand Teton Natural History Association
  PO. Drawer 170, Moose, WY    83012
  (307) 733-2880.

                            Map of the Park

               [Illustration: Grand Teton National Park]

                       Visitor Centers and Museum

To best use your time, make your first stop the Moose Visitor Center
(south end) or the Colter Bay Visitor Center (north end). Ask the ranger
at the desk about park activities and services. And ask for tips about
what you can see and do in the time you have. You may even decide to
lengthen your stay in the Tetons.

Moose Visitor Center includes information services, a publications sales
outlet, and a backcountry and boating permits office. This building also
houses the park headquarters and all administrative offices. Summer
hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; from Labor Day to mid-May 8 a.m. to 4:30
p.m. The visitor center is on the Teton Park Road just west of Moose
Junction. Check the map in advance. With such impressive scenery you can
easily miss this junction.

Colter Bay Visitor Center includes the Indian Arts Museum, free film
showings, a publications sales outlet, and a backcountry and boating
permits office for the park’s north end. Summer hours are 8 a.m. to 7
p.m.; from Labor Day to the end of September, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; closed
from October to mid-May. Check the map in advance and watch for the sign
that will direct you to the Colter Bay area and its Colter Bay Visitor
Center, 6 miles north of Jackson Lake Junction and 17 miles south of
Yellowstone National Park. The Indian Arts Museum there houses the
extensive David T. Vernon Collection of Native American Arts. Be sure to
inquire about museum tours and Indian arts and crafts activities.

    [Illustration: _Colter Bay Visitor Center serves park visitors in

    [Illustration: _Moose Visitor Center is open all year._]

At either visitor center pick up a copy of the free park newspaper,
_Teewinot_. Turn to the calendar-style activities schedule and look it
over at the desk so you can get the ranger’s advice on the best
activities for you and your party. _Teewinot_ also lists
concession-operated accommodations, services, and facilities. These
offer many valuable ways to experience the park. The _Teewinot_ is also
available at park entrance stations, campgrounds, and concession

    [Illustration: _The Indian Arts Museum at Colter Bay houses a large
    Plains Indian collection. Ranger-guided activities throughout the
    park provide information about its natural and human history. The
    Grand Teton Natural History Association sells maps and other
    publications to enhance your understanding of the park._]

    [Illustration: Indian crafts]

    [Illustration: Indian crafts]

                           Wayside Exhibits.

As you drive through the park on the main roads, take your time and stop
at the wayside turnouts along the roads. At many turnouts wayside
exhibits identify the scene before you and briefly interpret the natural
and human history of Jackson Hole and the Teton Range. These turnouts
are usually located at excellent scenic viewpoints and provide safe
parking areas for viewing and photographing the mountain scene.

                         Ranger-led Activities

From mid-June through Labor Day, park rangers lead activities several
times daily throughout the park. These offer ideal ways to see and
understand the many natural, historical, cultural, and recreational
resources the park offers. These activities are listed in _Teewinot_,
the park newspaper, and are posted at each visitor center and
campground. The _Teewinot_ listing describes the event and tells you
where and when to meet. There are short hikes, short hikes with boat
transportation, all-day hikes, wildlife hikes, demonstrations, and
campfire programs. Rangers present interpretive programs each night on a
variety of subjects throughout the summer at the Gros Ventre, Signal
Mountains, and Colter Bay Amphitheaters. All ranger-led activities are
free except those requiring modest fees for supplies or transportation.

                          Self-guiding Trails.

Informative booklets are available at visitor centers or the trailheads
to guide you on short-to-modest hikes along established trails that
explore the history or nature of the Tetons and Jackson Hole. These
walks are great for families and provide exercise for building up to
longer hikes. Self-guiding trails include: Menor’s Ferry Historic Trail,
Cascade Canyon Trail, Cunningham Cabin Trail, Taggart Lake Trail, Lunch
Tree Hill Trail, and Colter Bay Trail.

    [Illustration: _Ranger-led hikes provide good introductions to the

    [Illustration: _History comes alive on Menor’s Ferry on the Snake
    River at Moose._]

    [Illustration: _Campers consult a field guide to identify a duck._]

                       Camping and Accommodations

The National Park Service operates five campgrounds in the park on a
first-come, first-served basis. Reservations are not accepted. A nightly
fee is charged. South to north (see map) the campgrounds are: Gros
Ventre, Jenny Lake, Signal Mountain, Colter Bay, and Lizard Creek. All
except Jenny Lake (tents only) accommodate tents, trailers, and
recreational vehicles. There are no utility hookups. All campgrounds
have modern comfort stations. Maximum stay is 7 days at Jenny Lake, 14
days elsewhere. In July and August the campgrounds fill to capacity
daily. Jenny Lake fills by 8 a.m.; Signal Mountain and Colter Bay fill
between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.; Lizard Creek fills between 4 and 6 p.m.: and
Gros Ventre by early evening. There are trailer dumping stations at Gros
Ventre, Signal Mountain, and Colter Bay. Colter Bay has showers,
laundry, and propane service.

Additional camping areas are found in nearby national forests and
elsewhere outside the park. Camping is not permitted along roadsides or
in overlooks or parking areas. Doubling-up in campsites is prohibited.
There are no overflow facilities in the park. (Backcountry campers,
please see Backcountry Basics.)

                             Group Camping.

There are 10 group camping sites at Colter Bay and five at Gros Ventre.
Sites accommodate between 12 and 40 people. The nightly use fee is $1.00
per person. These are available to youth, religious, educational, and
other organized groups. Reservations are required. Make them as soon as
possible after January 1, by writing the chief ranger at the park

                           Trailer Villages.

Concessioners operate trailer villages with full hookups, showers, and
laundry at Colter Bay and Flagg Ranch (in the Rockefeller Parkway).
Reservations are advised. For Colter Bay write the Grand Teton Lodge
Company address (listed under Accommodations). Write to Flagg Ranch at
Moran, WY 83013.


The many concessioners within the park offer cabins, lodge facilities,
and rooms. Accommodations concessions in the park and the advance
reservations telephone number (area code 307) and address are: Colter
Bay Cabins, Jackson Lake Lodge, and Jenny Lake Lodge, 543-2855, write to
the Grand Teton Lodge Company, Box 240, Moran, WY 83013; Flagg Ranch,
543-2861 or 733-8761, Box 187, Moran, WY 83013; Moose Enterprises, Inc.
(prefer monthly rental), (307) 733-3863, Box 331, Moose, WY 83012;
Signal Mountain Lodge, 543-2831 or 733-5470, Box 50, Moran, WY 83013:
and Triangle X Ranch (weekly, American plan) 733-2183, Box 120T, Moose,
WY 83012. Most of these also provide meals to non-guests. Groceries are
sold at Colter Bay, Flagg Ranch, Kelly, Jenny Lake, Moose, and Signal
Mountain. For information on commercial enterprises outside the park,
write to the chamber of commerce address or the Wyoming Travel
Commission address.

                             Post offices.

Post offices are located at Colter Bay (summer only), Moran, Moose, and

    [Illustration: _Some of the park’s most intriguing aspects reveal
    themselves only to hikers._]


You may think time is fixed but it’s not. Its many speeds here include
car time, float time, horseback time, and hiking time. Car time is,
well, just car time. Hiking time is Grand Teton time, Jackson Hole time,
your time. On great days it’s timeless time. There are more than 225
miles of hiking trails in the park.

The shortest trails are the self-guiding trails 0.5 to 2 miles long. See
the list under Ranger-led Activities. The valley trails that run along
the base of the Teton Range and take you to the large lakes in front of
the mountains are also shorter and less arduous than the mountain
trails. The valley trails will pique your interest and help you decide
if you wish to hike further into the mountains. You can take a half-day
to all-day hike into the canyons between Teton peaks. The walking will
be more difficult, requiring some up- and downhill effort, but the
rewards—mountain views, wildflowers, and wildlife—are worth it. You can
take multiple-day trips over highcountry passes and into the alpine
zone. A free backcountry permit is required for all overnight camping.

In the visitor centers you can buy the _Teton Trails_ guide booklet. It
offers shaded relief trail maps, lengths and hiking estimates, scenery
identification drawings, and photographs on which you can trace your
route. Rangers can direct you to interesting hikes and help you assess
the level of difficulty. If you plan to travel off trail you must
register at Jenny Lake Ranger Station, or at the Moose Visitor Center
from October through May. Overnight travel requires a free backcountry
use permit (see Backcountry Basics).

Wear comfortable and sturdy footgear no matter how far you hope to
travel. Even on shorter hikes, be sure to carry raingear. Afternoon
thundershowers are common throughout the hiking season and can occur
suddenly. The day may be sunny and warm, but a quick drenching rain can
spell big trouble for hikers without raingear. Life-threatening
hypothermia occurs most often in the 30 to 40°F temperature range,
especially if clothing is wet and there is some wind. Be prepared. Don’t
take chances. You will also need to carry water on your hike. At high
altitudes the sun is hot and the humidity is low; you get thirsty
quickly. Microorganisms in stream water can cause intestinal problems
10-14 days after you drink, so use your canteen. (See Water Warning
under Backcountry Basics.) Be sure to carry lunch and some high-energy
snacks to munch on while you walk. Add sunglasses, sunscreen, a hat, and
camera, and you will be prepared to enjoy your day on the trail.

Please read Bear Warning under Backcountry Basics. Pets are not
permitted on trails or in the backcountry. Most valley trails are open
by early June. Highcountry trails may remain closed by snow until
mid-July. Please note that horse parties have the right-of-way on
trails. Step well off the trail and remain quiet while horses pass.

                           Backcountry Basics

Most basic is this: _Overnight backcountry use requires a free
backcountry use permit._ This written permit can be obtained at Moose
Visitor Center, open all year, or at Jenny Lake Ranger Station and
Colter Bay Visitor Center in summer, on a first-come, first-served
basis. There are more people who want a wilderness experience than there
is wilderness in the park, so backcountry user capacities have been
established. This means that some people are turned away. Reservations
may be made for backcountry camping areas by mail only from January 1 to
June 1. These reservations by mail are available for only 30 percent of
the backcountry camping sites. From June 1 to October 1, no reservations
can be made, and then all unreserved sites are first-come, first-served.
Organized groups wishing to backpack overnight should write the Permits
Office at the park address for full particulars.

    [Illustration: Backpackers.]

    [Illustration: Tent.]

    [Illustration: _Backpackers can readily reach the heart of the
    Tetons and enjoy pristine wilderness. Good backcountry ethics ensure
    protection of these wild places and minimize conflicts with bears_.]

                         Making a Reservation.

Submit your _final_ itinerary listing the specific sites at which you
wish to stay each night (list calendar dates!) and the size of your
group (the maximum group size is 12) to the Permits Office at the Park
address. See Closed Areas. You must still pick up your permit in person
by 10 a.m. of the day your trip begins. A backcountry zone system is
used to minimize human impact and to allow you freer choice in camping.
The Teton Range above 7,000 feet elevation has been divided into camping
zones. You may stay anywhere within a zone if you follow these simple
rules: 1. No ground fires are allowed. Small backpacking stoves are
recommended for cooking. 2. Camp at least one mile away from any trail
junction or patrol cabin. 3. Camp at least 100 feet away from all lakes
and streams. 4. Camp out of sight of the trail and other campers. 5. Do
not camp in fragile or overused sites that will show signs of your camp
having been there (unless told otherwise).

Below the 7,000-foot level there are a few remaining designated lakeside
backcountry camping sites. Unless there is a fire danger, wood fires are
permitted in the firegrates provided at these designated camping sites.

                    General Backcountry Regulations.

Pets, firearms, and wheeled vehicles are not permitted. Carry out all
refuse and leave no evidence of your stay. Short-cutting on trails is
prohibited. Keep stock out of camping areas. Use hitch racks where
provided. Do not tie stock to live trees. To prevent pollution, do not
wash dishes or laundry in, and do not bathe in, lakes and streams.

                             Closed Areas.

When you pick up your permit, check on areas that may be closed to
backcountry use. No overnight camping is permitted at Lake Solitude,
Bradley Lake, Taggart Lake, Laurel Lake, Amphitheater Lake, below the
Forks of Cascade Canyon to Jenny Lake, and the lower valley area east of
the Valley Trail and the east shore of Jackson Lake. No overnight
camping is permitted along the Snake River.

                             Water Warning.

Surface water is of questionable purity. Carry water from approved
public supplies. Backcountry water should be boiled for one minute,
three to five minutes at higher altitudes. Water treatment disinfection
chemicals are not considered as reliable as boiling to safeguard against
_Giardia_ and _Campylobacter_ intestinal disorders. Most water filter
mechanisms are not adequate for these organisms. The evening meal is an
ideal time to boil water for drinking and brushing teeth and for the
next day’s use.

                             Bear Warning.

Black bears are sometimes seen in the backcountry and in campgrounds.
They show little fear of people and may try to get your food. Federal
law requires proper food storage in the backcountry and in campgrounds.
Suspend food from a tree (or bear pole if provided) or store it out of
sight in a vehicle. Your backcountry permit packet includes instructions
on hanging your food. A bear brochure is available free at ranger
stations and visitor centers. Make sure everyone in your party reads
this information before your trip. Report all bear sightings, damage, or
injury to a park ranger. Grizzly bears are seen occasionally in northern
parts of the park. If a bear should charge you, climb a tree or play
dead. Don’t try to run away, however. Running excites the bear, and you
cannot outrun one.

                        Theft from Parked Cars.

Trailhead parking areas are patrolled regularly, but in recent years
theft from cars parked overnight has become more common. Leave nothing
of value visible in your car and thoroughly lock up the vehicle before
leaving on your hike. It’s best to lock valuables in your trunk.

                             Trip Planning.

Write the Grand Teton Natural History Association at the park address
for a list of sales literature and maps to enhance your pre-trip
planning and enjoyment.

                           Horseback Riding.

For short rides with a guide you can rent saddle horses at Jenny Lake,
Colter Bay, Flagg Ranch, and Jackson Lake Lodge. Jenny Lake Lodge and
the Triangle X Ranch have horses for guests only. A short horseback ride
gives you a leisurely look at the park and a sample of Jackson Hole’s
Old West flavor. If you’ve never ridden, or have not ridden in years,
_make the first ride short_. Your first steps after first riding a horse
for an hour or more feel very strange! The concessioners offer a variety
of wagon rides and hay-rides to cowboy cookouts. Guided trips of several
days can be arranged with park concessioners. Or you can write the
chamber of commerce address for information about area outfitters. If
you plan to bring your own stock, write the chief ranger at the park
address for information on saddle and pack animal use regulations. Also
read the Backcountry Basics section. Please note that no grazing is
permitted in the park; processed feed must be packed in. Saddle and pack
animal facilities are available only at String Lake Parking Area,
Whitegrass Ranger Station, and the Granite Canyon, Sheffield Creek,
Arizona Creek, and Pilgrim Creek trailheads. Many highcountry trails are
blocked by snow until mid-July and are impassable to saddle and pack
animals. For this reason many horse parties camp on the adjoining
national forests and take day-trips into Grand Teton National Park.

    [Illustration: _Overnight backcountry travel with horses requires a
    backcountry permit. Please observe the regulations on horse use.
    They are designed to protect fragile landscapes._]


This is one of the country’s finest areas for general mountaineering.
The rock is mostly excellent, snow slopes mostly moderate, and the range
unusually accessible. Still, many climbers pack in and set up their
camps in a highcountry location. Mountaineering guide service and
instruction are available at Jenny Lake. Write to: Exum Guide Service
and School of American Mountaineering, Box 56, Moose, WY 83012. Jackson
Hole Mountain Guides also offers guide services in the park; write to
Box 7477, Jackson, WY 83001. Climbing guidebooks and individual route
guides are available by mail from the Grand Teton Natural History
Association address or can be purchased at park visitor centers and the
Jenny Lake Ranger Station.

The Jenny Lake Ranger Station (see map) is the center for climbing
information and registration in the park from early June to
mid-September. Climbing conditions are the best from mid-July through
late September, although afternoon thundershowers are common in these
months and an extended period of poor weather with snowfall usually
occurs in late August. May and June feature long periods of poor weather
with heavy precipitation, some snow, and subfreezing temperatures. Heavy
rockfall and some avalanche activity are common. Major storms occur in
late September and early October with snowfall and icing conditions on
most routes. Winter weather in the Teton Range is severe: heavy
snowfall, high winds, and extreme temperatures. Avalanche danger,
usually present, is frequently high December to June.

    [Illustration: Climbing equipment.]

    [Illustration: _Hard, crystalline rock and an alpine panorama make
    the Teton Range a mountaineering mecca._]

                     Registration and Information.

Because of the hazards and possibility of accidents in mountaineering,
the National Park Service requires all climbers to register in person
before climbing and to sign out in person after climbing. From early
June to mid-September this is done at the Jenny Lake Ranger Station. It
must be done at Moose Visitor Center the rest of the year. Notes left at
the ranger station are not acceptable registration or sign-outs.
(Climbers returning after the ranger station is closed may sign out at
the Late-Returning Climbers Registration Box on the ranger station
porch.) Registration is regulated under the Federal Code of Regulations.
The mountaineering rangers on duty provide current information on the
nature and condition of climbing routes, equipment and experience
requirements, and time factors. Request general mountaineering
information from the chief ranger at the park address.

Guidebooks, maps, and photographs of various peaks and routes are
available at the Jenny Lake Ranger Station to help you plan climbs. In
winter—mid-September through May—information and registration are
available at the Moose Visitor Center. Conventional mountaineering
equipment is satisfactory for summer climbs. Ice axes are essential and
crampons may be desirable for early season climbs and for some routes
throughout the season. Climbing helmets are strongly recommended for
technical climbs and for climbs exposed to regular rockfall dangers.
Climbing equipment and food suitable for backpacking may be purchased in
the area. Limited selections of rental equipment may be available. Low
cost lodging for registered climbers is available at Grand Teton
Climber’s Ranch, an American Alpine Club-operated concession. Write the
manager at Moose, WY 83012.

                          Boating and Floating

Boat trips are offered by concessioners on Jackson and Jenny lakes.
These vary from steak fry cruises to lunch excursions, to drop-off and
pick-up cruises for hiking trips up Cascade Canyon. On Jackson Lake
concessioners operate Colter Bay Marina, Leek’s Marina, and Signal
Mountain Marina. Marinas offer fishing guide service, launching, marine
supplies and fuel, buoy rentals, and canoe rentals. Teton Boating
Company provides cruises, shuttle service, and boat rental on Jenny
Lake. Canoe rentals for lake use only are available from Moose
Enterprises at the grocery store in Moose.


One of the best ways to experience the park’s wildlife and scenery is by
floating the Snake River. Numerous concessioners offer guided float
trips in inflatable rubber rafts. Outfitters are listed in _Teewinot_,
or write to the park address for a complete list. (Please don’t ask
National Park Service employees to recommend one over another.) On a
float trip you don’t have to watch the trail or mind the horse. You just
watch the animals and scenery and listen to the guide’s narrative,
wildlife identifications, and local lore. The Teton Range appears to
slide by, now peeking above a massive river-cut glacial moraine, now
peeking through trees, now disappearing from view. Morning and evening
floats are best for seeing wildlife. You may well see bald eagles,
ospreys, moose, great blue herons, Canada Geese, beaver, otters, and
various ducks. You can float the river in your own craft, but a permit
is required. The river is floated in the park from 1,000 feet below
Jackson Lake Dam to Moose, a distance of about 25 miles. Do not attempt
the river on your own below Pacific Creek (see map) unless you are
familiar with your craft—kayaks, inflatables, and canoes are best—and
experienced on rivers of similar difficulty and similar hazards. People
too often underestimate the power of the Snake. Write the park address
for information about hazards, regulations, equipment, and travel times
in floating the Snake River in the park. Motorized craft are not
permitted on the Snake River.

    [Illustration: Canoe.]

    [Illustration: Whitewater raft.]

    [Illustration: _The park’s numerous lakes and the Snake River offer
    many boating and floating opportunities._]

    [Illustration: _The Snake River offers world famous angling for
    cutthroat trout. Catch-and-release angling is encouraged._]


Fishing is regulated in keeping with the park’s overall management
objective of maintaining natural systems and scenic values. Most park
waters are open in season, subject to Wyoming laws and National Park
Service regulations. These regulations are intended to maintain quality
waters, protect natural fish populations, and protect the food sources
of bald eagles, ospreys, otters, great blue herons, and other native
fish-eating wildlife. A Wyoming fishing license is required and may be
purchased in the park at the Colter Bay or Moose Tackle Shops, at Signal
Mountain, and at Leek’s Marina. Information on fishing laws and on
special regulations, including bait restrictions, closed waters,
artificial fly fishing waters, and creel limits is available at the
visitor centers. You must check on this information before you fish.
Fishing guides are available at the lodges.

    [Illustration: _Popular artificial fly patterns here are:_ 1 _Silver
    Spruce Matuka_, 2 _Muddler Minnow_, 3 _Matts Fur Nymph_, 4 Jay-Davis
    Hopper, 5 _Royal Wulff, and_ 6 _Yellow Humpy_.]

The park’s waters support one of the last wild inland populations of
cutthroat trout. The Snake River cutthroat, a unique race of the
cutthroat species, is the only trout native to the park. (See pages
56-57.) The National Park Service encourages you to release small
cutthroat carefully so that the opportunity to catch this unusual fish
is perpetuated. Other gamefish include rainbow, lake (Mackinaw), brown,
and brook trout and the Rocky Mountain whitefish.

The use or possession of fish eggs—real or artificial—or fish as bait in
any park waters are prohibited. (Some dead non-game fish are permitted
on the shores of Jackson Lake only.) Get specifics at a visitor center
or write the chief ranger at the park address for fishing regulations
and information.

                           Winter Activities

Winter activities gear up in mid-December. Just one good storm can turn
Jackson Hole into a winter wonderland covered with up to 6 feet of snow
in some years. In or near the park you can then crosscountry ski, ice
fish, snowshoe, mountaineer, ice skate, snow-mobile, and observe
wildlife and scenery. Minor park roads are not plowed in winter. The
Teton Park Road (see map) is closed from Cottonwood Creek bridge to
Signal Mountain Lodge. There is no direct car access between Moose and
Teton Village. Yellowstone National Park roads are not plowed in winter.

Registration and information on oversnow travel are available at the
Moose Visitor Center. Off-season camping is available at Colter Bay
across from the visitor center, which provides restrooms and water.
Lodging is available in winter at Flagg Ranch in Rockefeller Parkway and
at Triangle X Ranch in the park. Nearby Jackson offers full tourist
services year round. Write the chamber of commerce address for

But you must prepare for the weather. An average 4-foot base of snow in
the valley is much deeper in the mountains. Daytime temperatures range
from -25° to +50°F. Severe winter storms and blizzards can occur
throughout the season. All oversnow travel is prohibited in the Snake
River bottom between Moose and Moran as well as in the Willow Flats at
Jackson Lake Lodge. Check at the Moose Visitor Center for exact
boundaries on these closed areas.

    [Illustration: _Moose Visitor Center is the registration point for
    winter activities, including mountaineering._]

    [Illustration: _Winter sports wait only for that first good snow._]

    [Illustration: Cross-country skiers.]

                     Management Concerns and Safety

Many management concerns and safety tips are given under specific
subjects in this handbook. Here are other things to consider. Camp only
in designated sites. Obtain a backcountry use permit for all overnight
backcountry use, including in winter. Register at the Jenny Lake Ranger
Station in summer or park headquarters in winter before starting any
off-trail hike or climb. Boat permits are required for the use of any
watercraft on park waters. Fishing requires a Wyoming license, and
please check park regulations at a visitor center. Obtain an oversnow
vehicle permit at Moose Visitor Center and check the regulations before
operating a snow-mobile or snowplane in the park. Bicycles are not
allowed on trails or in the backcountry. Pets must be leashed and under
physical restraint at all times. They are not permitted on trails, in
buildings, or in the backcountry. Kennels are found in Jackson; check
with the chamber of commerce. All natural features are protected; leave
all rocks and plants in their natural setting. All park animals,
including bears, are wild and protected by law. Do not feed or molest
them. Please read the Bear Warning under Backcountry Basics.

                             Driving Tips.

Drive carefully and defensively, especially at dawn, dusk, and at night.
Every season large animals are killed and vehicles are mangled. Slow
down, and ask passengers to help spot animals in the road. When stopping
to view wildlife, stop in turnouts, be careful to stop your vehicle in
the safest position possible, with all doors shut. Consider traffic flow
problems and their potential hazard. Be a responsible driver. Keep motor
vehicles off bikeways. Report all accidents to a park ranger. Observe
posted speed limits.

                           Respect Wildlife.

Keep a respectful distance from all animals to avoid disturbing their
natural routine, especially when taking pictures. Larger animals are
quick, powerful, and unpredictable. Getting too close can result in
serious injury. Take special care to avoid encounters with bears and to
help maintain their natural fear of humans. Many small mammals can carry
diseases and should never be touched or handled. All animals are part of
the natural processes protected within the park. Allow them to find
their own food. Their natural diet insures their health and survival.
_Feeding wild animals is prohibited no matter how convincingly they

                            Fire Management.

The park is zoned for the management of natural fire. In some parts of
the park lightning-caused fires are monitored and allowed to burn,
because we have learned that natural fire often plays a vital role in an
ecosystem. Some plant species require fire to thrive, and several animal
species benefit from fire. Natural fires that threaten developed areas
will be extinguished to protect human life and property. Report fires to
a park ranger. Human-caused fires will be extinguished. Please be
careful with fire yourself.

                           Nearby Attractions

John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Memorial Parkway joins Grand Teton National
Park with Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone is world famous as the
first national park. Its geysers and mudpots, canyons and waterfalls,
and wildlife and wilderness are spectacular. For information write or
call the Superintendent, Yellowstone National Park, P.O. Box 168,
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190. (307) 344-7381.

Teton National Forest, Teton Wilderness, and Targhee National Forest
adjoin the park boundary. For information about hunting, fishing,
backpacking, and campgrounds write or call the Forest Supervisor,
Bridger-Teton National Forest, Box 1888, Jackson, WY 83001, (307)
733-2752, or Forest Supervisor, Targhee National Forest, Box 208, St.
Anthony, ID 83445, (208) 624-3151.

National Elk Refuge headquarters is just east of Jackson (see map).
Christmas through April 1 you can ride a horsedrawn sleigh into North
America’s largest elk herd. In summer you can drive on the refuge road
into the sagebrush and buttes landscape. For information write or call
the Refuge Manager, National Elk Refuge, Box C, Jackson WY 83001, (307)

    _The park abuts other expanses of wild country._

    [Illustration: _A photographer fills her frame with elk at

    [Illustration: _A backpacker enjoys the Targhee National Forest._]

    [Illustration: _National Elk Refuge visitors watch the herd from

Jackson National Fish Hatchery Visitor Center lies across the highway
from the southernmost park boundary (see map). This hatchery raises
trout. Anglers can go stark raving mad over the seething masses of trout
in the hatchery ponds. For information write or call the Hatchery
Manager, Jackson National Fish Hatchery, Box 1845, Jackson WY 83001,
(307) 733-2510.

                         Armchair Explorations

The nonprofit Grand Teton Natural History Association, Moose, WY 83012
sells books, maps, and other publications in support of the interpretive
and management programs of the national park. These items are displayed
at the visitor centers, or can be purchased by mail. Write for a free
list. The following selected book list may also be of interest.

Betts, Robert B. _Along the Ramparts of the Tetons: The Saga of Jackson
Hole_, Colorado Associated University Press, 1978.

Clark, Tim W. _Ecology of Jackson Hole_, Jackson, Wyo., 1981.

Crandall, Hugh. _Grand Teton: The Story Behind the Scenery_, KC

Fryxell, Fritiof. _Mountaineering in the Tetons_, The Teton Bookshop,

Harry, Bryan. _Teton Trails_, Grand Teton Natural History Association,

Harry, Bryan. _Wildlife of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks_,
Wheelwright Press Ltd., 1972.

Hayden, Elizabeth Wied. _From Trapper to Tourist in Jackson Hole_, Grand
Teton Natural History Association, 1981.

Love, J.D. et al. _Geologic Block Diagram_, Grand Teton Natural History
Association/U.S. Geological Survey, 1973.

Love, J.D. and John C. Reed, Jr. _Creation of the Teton Landscape_,
Grand Teton Natural History Association, 1968.

Murie, Olaus J. _Elk of North America_, Teton Bookshop, 1979.

Righter, Robert W. _Crucible for Conservation: The Creation of Grand
Teton National Park_, Colorado Associated University Press, 1982.

Saylor David, J. _Jackson Hole Wyoming: In the Shadow of the Tetons_,
University of Oklahoma Press, 1971.

Schreier, Carl. _Explorer’s Guide to Grand Teton National Park_,
Homestead Publishing, 1982.

Schullery, Paul. _The Bears of Yellowstone_, Yellowstone Library and
Museum Association, 1980.

Shaw, Richard J. _Plants of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks_,
Utah State University Press, 1976.

Yandell, Michael D. _National Parkways: Grand Teton National Parkways_,
Worldwide Research and Publishing Co.


   _Numbers in italics refer to photographs, illustrations, or maps._

  Absaroka Mountains 14
  Albright, Horace 7
  Alpine environment 25-27, _36-37_, 62, 63
  Animals 26, 36, _37_, 59-63
  Antelope. _See_ Pronghorn
  Aquatic life 50. _See also_ Fish
  Aspen _38_, 63

  Beadwork, Indian _77_
  Bear 59, _65_, _82_, 83, 92
  Beaver 33, 59, _65_
  Birds 26, _36_, 50, 62-63, _66-67_, 89
  Bobcat 59, _64_
  Bridger, Jim 52, 53
  Buffalo River 14
  Burt, Struthers 7, 20

  Caddisfly 50
  Carncross, Horace 7
  Carson, Kit 52
  Christian Pond 62
  Clymer, John 53
  Codsiogo _34_
  Colter, John 39, 52, 53
  Colter Bay 86, 90
  Coyote 59, _64_

  Doane, Gustavus 53

  Elk _22-23_, _44-45_, 59, _64_, _93_
  Eynon, John L. 7

  Falcon, prairie _36_, 63, _66_
  Fishing 33, _89_
  Float trips & boating 86-87
  Flowers. _See_ Plants
  Fox, red 59
  Fryxell, Fritiof 12, 14, 94
  Furtrading 15, 39, 46, 52

  Geology 25-31, 39, 43;
      _diagram_, _30-31_
  Glaciation 14, 25, 27, 30-31, 32-33
  Grand Teton _covers_, 27, _28-29_, _35_
  Grand Teton National Park 20,43;
      accommodations 79, 90;
      activities 76-78;
      camping 79, 81, 82-83, 90;
      Colter Bay Visitor Center _76_, 82;
      fishing 56-57, 86, _89_;
      founding 7, 12, 15;
      health & safety 81,83, 92;
      hiking 78, _80_, 81;
      horseback riding 83-_84_;
      Indian Arts Museum 76, 78;
      Jenny Lake Ranger Station 82, 85, 86;
      location 72;
      map, _74-75_;
      Moose Visitor Center, _76_, 82, 86, _90_;
      mountain climbing 85-86, _91_;
      regulations 82-83, 85-86, 87, 89, 92;
      transportation 72-73;
      winter sports _90_, _91_;
      Grand Teton Natural History Association 76, 83, 94
  Gros Ventre Mountains 14
  Gros Ventre River 14
  Grouse, sage 62, 63, 66

  Hayden, Ferdinand V. 53
  Hedrick Pond 62
  Hells Canyon 49
  Hoback Range 14
  Hoback River 49

  Indians 44, _52-53_, _54-55_, 59
  Insects 26, 50

  Jackson, David 15, 52
  Jackson Hole 12, 14-15, 39, 43, 46-47, 49, 52-53
  Jackson Hole National Monument 7, 12
  Jackson Lake _32-33_, 86
  Jackson Lake Dam 49, 50
  Jackson National Fish Hatchery Visitor Center 93
  Jenny Lake 86
  Jones, J.R. 7

  Lakes 14, _32-33_, 53
  Langford, Nathaniel 35
  Lewis & Clark Expedition 39, 49, 52
  Lichen 26-27
  Love, John D. 43
  Lucas, Geraldine 35
  Lynx 59

  Map _51_, _74-75_
  Marmot, yellow-bellied _37_, 63, _64_
  Menor’s Ferry 47, _78_
  Moose _8-9_, 59, _64_
  Moran, Mount _24_, 30, 39
  Mountain climbing _34_, _35_, 85-86, _91_
  Mule deer _58_, 59, _65_
  Murie, Margaret (Mardy) E. _15_, _42_
  Murie, Olaus J. 15, 20, _42_, 94

  National Elk Refuge 44, 45, 62, _93_
  Noble, Maude 7

  Osprey _56_
  Owen, Mount 27
  Owen, W.O. 35

  Pacific Creek 14
  Plants 25-26, _36-37_, 59, _60-61_, _68-69_
  Pronghorn 62, 63, _65_

  Rabbit 63, _64_
  Raynolds, William F. 53
  Rockefeller, John D. 7, 12
  Rockefeller, Jr. John D. _42_
  Rockefeller, Jr. Parkway, John D. 93

  Settlement 15, 39, 43, 46-47, 52-53
  Sheep, bighorn _37_, 59
  Sheep Mountain 43
  Shoshone Falls 49
  Skillet Glacier _24_
  Smith, Jedediah 52
  Snake River, 14, 29, 33, 39, 49, 86, 89;
      _illustrations_, _16-17_, _40-41_, _48_, _51_, _70-71_
  Snake River Range 14
  Stevenson, James 35
  Sublette, William 15, 52
  Swan, trumpeter _13_, 62

  Targhee National Forest _93_
  Timbered Island 43
  Teton Glacier 27
  Teton National Forest 15, 93
  Teton Range _4-5_, _10-11_, 14, _28-31_, 39, 43, 85
  Teton River 29
  Teton Science School 47
  Teton Wilderness 93
  Trees _38_, 62-63
  Trout, cutthroat _56-57_, 89

  Washakie Mountains 14
  Weasel 59, _64_
  Weather 90
  Winger, Richard 7

  Yellowstone National Park 76, _93_
  Yellowstone Plateau 14

                              Handbook 122

The National Park Service expresses its appreciation to all those
persons who made the preparation and production of this handbook
possible. The Service also thanks the Grand Teton Natural History
Association for its financial support of this project. All photos and
artwork not credited below come from the files of Grand Teton National

  Greg Beaumont 13, 30 photo, 36 photos, 58, 60-61, 66-67 yellowthroat,
          towhee, goose, crane, jay, owl, killdeer, snipe, 68-69
          columbine, dandelion, sugarbowl, lily, gentian, flax,
          geranium, phlox, paintbrush, 64-65 weasel, pika, marmots,
  Erwin and Peggy Bauer 70-71, 82 top and middle, 87 middle, 88, 93 top
  P. Billing 15
  Bridger-Teton National Forest 93 middle
  Franz J. Camenzind 56 inset
  John Clymer 52-53
  John Dawson 36-37 paintings
  Denver Public Library 54 inset
  Jim Elder 78 campers, 87 bottom
  Jeff Foott 66-77 goshawk, grouse, eagle, 68-69 orchid, violet, 64-65
  Jackie Gilmore 44 inset, 64-65 moose, beaver, squirrel
  High Country Flies 89
  Jerry D. Jacka 77 top and bottom
  Frances Judge 47 inset
  Stephen J. Krasemann 64-65 bear, hare, bobcat
  Russell Lamb covers, 4-5, 16-17, 24, 40-41
  Wayne Lankinen 64-65 deer
  David Muench 6, 18-19, 22-23, 32-33, 48
  National Elk Refuge 93 bottom
  National Geographic (David Alan Harvey) 10-11, 44-45
  Boyd Norton 34
  Leigh Ortenburer 35 diagram
  Jaime Quintero 28-29
  Smithsonian Institution (William H. Jackson) 55 inset
  Teton County Library 46-47
  Triangle X Ranch, 42 top

                         National Park Service
                    U.S. Department of the Interior

As the Nation’s principal conservation agency, the Department of the
Interior has responsibility for most of our nationally owned public
lands and natural resources. This includes fostering the wisest use of
our land and water resources, protecting our fish and wildlife,
preserving the environmental and cultural values of our national parks
and historical places, and providing for the enjoyment of life through
outdoor recreation. The Department assesses our energy and mineral
resources and works to assure that their development is in the best
interest of all our people. The Department also has a major
responsibility for American Indian reservation communities and for
people who live in island territories under U.S. administration.

                          Transcriber’s Notes

—Retained publication information from the printed edition: this eBook
  is public-domain in the country of publication.

—Compared Table of Contents with actual headings; tweaked two entries to

—Relocated all image captions to be immediately under the corresponding
  images, removing redundant references like ”preceding page”.

—Silently corrected a few palpable typos.

—In the text versions only, text in italics is delimited by

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