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The Rollercoaster History of Grand Teton National Park

Image: NPS

Grand Teton National Park has quite the history when it comes to its founding! You ready for this rollercoaster ride?

Chapter 1:

As a brief aside, we’re talking about the Rocky Mountains’ youngest range (and one of the youngest in the world!), which happens to have some of the oldest rocks you’ll find on the continent.

Chapter 2:

John D. Rockefeller, Jr., purchased a whole lot of land in northwest Wyoming in the mid 1920s with the initial intention of eventually donating it to the government. For identity protection, he bought 33,000 acres under the Snake River Land Company name, and he kept it for 15 years. He eventually threatened to sell it, which prompted action by FDR—see Chapter 4.

Chapter 3:

President Calvin Coolidge, despite vociferous Congressional dissent, signed the park into existence in February, 1929, less than a week before his presidency concluded. The act protected 96,000 acres of land, including the 40-mile-long Teton Range and six glacial lakes.

Chapter 4:

Area residents were strongly opposed to any further expansion, so when President Roosevelt unilaterally established a wildlife reserve called Jackson Hole National Monument in 1943 that encompassed most of the adjacent valley, angered ranchers created a massive cattle-drive by rustling hundreds and hundreds of cattle across the designated area. Their legendary protest was led by Academy Award-winning, and highest paid at the time, actor Wallace Beery.

Chapter 5:

During and after WW2, Wyoming tried to have the JHNM rescinded. When no one was willing to budge after many repeated attempts, a compromise was reached:

1. The Jackson Hole National Monument would be added to the original Coolidge-established park.
2. In exchange, ranchers were allowed to keep their existing grazing rights.
3. The National Elk Refuge—the southern end of the JHNM—would not be included in the merger, but the elk herd would still be partly managed by the state and allow for some hunting.
4. Wyoming was exempted from the Antiquities Act, meaning Congress has to approve the establishment of further national monuments in the state rather than the president being able to do so alone via executive order.

Chapter 6:

Thus, Grand Teton National Park came to be (re-)established in its current size and area on September 14, 1950, by President Truman.

Whew! That’s a heck of a story, huh? Plenty of details to be had, but at least you get the general overview. If you want to find out a whole lot more, reach out to the Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museumhttps://www.seejh.com/…/jackson-hole-historical-society-mus… ! Have you been to the Historical Museum? It’s great!

Did you know about #GTNP’s founding history?

10 Reasons To Visit Jackson Hole In October

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10 Reasons to Visit JH During Our October Off-Season:

Do you want to visit Jackson Hole when it’s at its quietest and most affordable? We get this question a lot! We have the answer since one of those times is coming up.

October is part of the off-season dip for the Hole, the other time being mid-April through mid-May. Here are 10 reasons (among others) to visit Jackson Hole during our October off-season:

1. The weather’s great! While mountain weather is always unpredictable, the snow won’t be kicking into gear yet in the lower elevations. Highs hover in the upper-50s and lows at around 30. The air is crisp, and it’s time to get cozy!

2. You’ll get to see spectacular Fall foliage! Lots of amazing photography to capture!

3. Traffic, what traffic? The only kind of traffic jams you’ll probably encounter is from our natural residents. The legendary migrations get underway with the changing temps and weather patterns, especially along the National Elk Refuge.

4. Access to the parks. You can still access most of the land in Yellowstone and GTNP until later in the month, when road closures begin their regularly-scheduled seasonal shut-downs. You won’t experience much in the way of temporary closures either, since wildfire season is pretty much over by September’s end and snow doesn’t usually start in earnest until November.

5. Vocal natural residents. While you’ll always hear our natural neighbors, there’s a lot of extra chatter among the animal folk during Fall—elk bugling during their rut, migrating geese and other birds honking overhead, bellowing bison as they shift around, etc. It’s quite the symphony.

6. Prices! Yep, $$$ makes a big difference. We know, we get it. Like anywhere, off-season rates are at their lowest with the dip in visitor numbers. For example, lodging options are a bit constricted, like some of the dude ranches and sportsmen’s lodges closing their doors temporarily, but there are still plenty to choose among. Outdoor-focused merchants (think safari, fishing, rafting) are another example who tend to have reduced rates while still mostly open for business.

7. 2-for-1 restaurant deals. To continue the cost advantage with an October visit, many of our restaurants and eateries have gotten to offering 2-for-1 deals to entice you! It’s a beautifully satisfying belt-busting time. You can start here: https://www.seejh.com/businesses/food-drink !

8. Shopping! Besides restaurant discounts, less people means less jostling crowds to deal with, hardly any lines, more focused service (Jackson Hole is very well-known for great service among its many merchants, but more customers naturally means attention spread thinner), and SALES, SALES, SALES!

9. The skies above. If you like star-gazing and admiring the heavenly canopy, then October is one of the best times to be here! While the nights get longer, they tend to be at their clearest also, since October is one of our driest months and Winter’s overcast skies won’t be arriving for awhile.

10. Events. There are still plenty of events going on. Check out our FB page’s Events section and your eyes will pop! We’re an active community year-round, and you can get more of an authentic feel with some of our lower-key goings-on, like film festivals, ski swaps, concerts (like Diamond Rio this year!), Halloween-related activities, and programs even at the Jackson Hole Airport!

Images: @mp_photography1313; @mediumcore; @merejune; @betsystevensonclearcreekjh; all on IG

 

10 Jackson Hole Must-Sees For Your Bucket List

You may only have the opportunity to only visit Jackson Hole once (the horror!) or quite a few times (we hope!). Here are 10 must-see spots to add to squeeze onto your itinerary–hey, we may not be New York City, but we’ve got plenty of spots you want to snap a picture for the ol’ photo album!

In no particular order, here are 10 spots we highly, highly, highly recommend seeing, touching, smelling, and listening to (but definitely not tasting) with your time:

1. Town Square.

Image: Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce

Great storefronts, legendary bars, iconic antler arches (read more about those here), stagecoach rides, outdoor concerts, the world’s longest-running shoot-out, sled-dog racing, and being on live cameras for all the world to see , what more do you need?! Route 191, East Deloney Ave, Center Street, and East Broadway Ave, make up its perimeter.

 

2. Moulton Barn

Image: Holly Fischer Photography

It’s the world’s most photographed barn! We can think a bunch of reasons why. The barn is also part of a group of historic buildings on what is called Mormon Row, of which construction began at the end of the 19th Century.  Along Highway 89, right above Moose, is a road on the right called Antelope Flats Road–FYI, it’s closed between November and May. You’ll soon make a right onto Mormon Row, and you’ll see the structure with its impressive background on the right.

 

3. The Chapel of Transfiguration

Image: WeddingPlanner.com

Along Highway 89, there is a left before the Antelope Flats Road’s right. There sits the Chapel, allso known as St. John’s Episcopal Church. This small log chapel is 15 miles north of Jackson in Moose just inside Grand Teton National Park’s southern entrance. Behind the altar is a wide window framing the Tetons’ world-renowned Cathedral Group of peaks–a sight to behold!!! Yep, you can get married here (we get that question a lot).

4. The National Museum of Wildlife Art

Image: The NMoWA

Another national treasure, the 51,000-square-foot NMWA is world-renowend for its stunning works, including the outdoor pieces along its walkways. Read more here! The views overlook the nationally-recognized National Elk Refuge. It also houses Palate, an excellent, highly-rated eatery! Watch our LIVE cam there! You’ll find the museum north of Jackson off of Route 191 on the left.

 

5. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort’s Aerial Tram & Gondola Ride

Image: JHMR

Located at 3275 West Village Drive in Teton Village, this ride can hold 100 people (suspended over the valley!) and takes just 9 minutes to reach the top. Also known as Big Red, this tram is the second one, with the first one having retired in 2006. The cables’ length is almost 5 miles! The view from 4,100 feet up is beyond words breath-taking!

 

6. Snow King Mountain’s Chairlift Ride

Image: SKM

See Jackson directly from above, watch the valley spread out before you, and soar with the Tetons! This open-air ride will take you between 15 and 20 minutes to climb over 1,500 up to Snow King’s summit. Yes, paraplegics can ride it also, alongside a handler. Head to 402 East Snow King Ave! See it LIVE here!

 

7. Grand Teton National Park Sign

Image: Explore GTNP

What more anticipated sign can you think of than GTNP’s?! Nope, Brooklyn’s doesn’t hold a candle to ours. The one you’ll be looking for has its own turn-off where you can get out and snap away–as long as you’re not totally distracted by the scenery around you. It’s also north of Jackson, along Route 191, the first right after the Auburn Fishing Hatchery.

 

8. Inspiration Point

Image: AllTrips

This’ll be the most inconvenient to get to, though not too difficult. It’s arguably the best spot to take in Jenny Lake and its surroundings. It’s, dare we say…inspiring! The Point is off of Jenny Lake Trail, which is a 7.1-mile loop around the lake. The trail starts at the Jenny Lake campground. Follow the trail around to the lake’s opposite side, and then at Cascade Canyon’s Cascade Creek you’ll want to take Cascade Canyon Trail. Getting up to the Point, you’ll also have the pleasure of passing by the beautiful Hidden Falls as well. Panoramic pictures are the most popular.

 

9. Schwabacher’s Landing

Image: AllTrips

Once again, you’ll head 16 miles north of Jackson along I-89 (also 191 and 26, by the way). The landing will be north of Moose on the left, at the end of Schwabachers Landing Road. The road is a dead-end, from where you can quickly and easily get to the spot. It’s arguably the best spot along the legendary Snake River for capturing the Tetons at their mightiest and most majestic! The Landing is also a popular spot for anglers and rafters to launch from.

 

10. Signal Mountain & Oxbow Bend

   

Image: TetonHikingTrails                   Image: Chuck Summers

Specifically the end of Signal Mountain Summit Road, which is accessed off of Teton Park Road, north of Jackson. Yes, another dead-end, but our dead-ends are safe and tend to attract everybody for good reason, namely more breath-taking scenery. This spot is also right by the Jackson Lake Overlook. Keep in mind, this another road that’s closed between November and May. From Signal Mountain, you’ll take in the great expanse of Jackson Lake, its dam, and the Snake River as it heads down first to Moran.

But before you get to Teton Park Road, along the highway on a right-hand turn-off there’s Oxbow Bend! Another incredible site! In front of you is the Snake River and its giant oxbow. To the right is Jackson Lake, behind you is Emma Matilda Lake. A little further up the highway is Jackson Lake Lodge. Snap away!!!

 

 

Better than the Golden Arches!!!

 

Jackson Hole is known for a great many terrific things. One of them resides in downtown Jackson proper, our beloved antler arches! There are four of them standing at the Town Square’s corners. Our Town Square’s official name is George Washington Memorial Park, by the way, so designated in 1932 to commemorate our great first president’s birth.

With the first one built in 1953 in the southwest corner, and the other three erected between ‘66 and ‘69, the original arches had plenty of pictures snapped with and without admirers for 60 years. Then between 2007 and 2013, there was an undertaking to replace them with successors.

Each antler weighs somewhere between 5 and 10 pounds, with each arch eventually reaching upwards of 10,000 pounds. Gathered from the National Elk Refuge with help from the Boy Scouts, antlers for the arches are never in short supply.

Oh, and don’t forget about John Colter! His memorial has been standing magnificently since 1939, before the arches. Part of the revered Lewis & Clark Expedition, he’s the first known person of European descent to lay eyes on Yellowstone and the Tetons! Colter’s considered the first “mountain man”, having spent months alone in the wilderness.

Have you seen our arches and been to the Square?!

Image: @rnashleyyy on IG

The Lay of the Jackson Hole Land

Today, we’d like to provide some geographical specifics for our incredible guests to our beautiful area! While most people know our town as Jackson Hole, our town is officially named Jackson. The Hole is actually the valley in which we’re found. So what does the Hole encompass?

To start, the Hole is 13 miles wide by 48 miles long, and it sits at around 6,500 feet up.

Jackson is the only incorporated town. Other towns include Wilson, Teton Village, Moran Junction, Hoback, Moose, and Kelly. Jackson is at the south end, nestled up against Snow King. The world-class Jackson Hole Airport is located around the center. Along the valley’s perimeters are Snow King, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, and Grand Targhee Resort.

The Hole’s western side is walled by the majestic Teton Range, while its eastern side runs along the impressive Gros Ventre Range. Grand Teton National Park and Jackson Lake take up the northwestern reaches. The National Elk Refuge is also in the valley.

The Snake River courses through the valley’s entirety starting in the north at Yellowstone and running into the Snake River Canyon in the south.

SeeJH has an extensive number of real-time cameras set up throughout the Hole. You can find them here: https://www.seejh.com/webcams .

(Image: Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce)