USA // The Rockies //

Grand Teton National Park


The classic triangular peaks of GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK, stretching for fifty miles south from Yellowstone to Jackson, are more dramatic than the mountains of its superstar neighbour park to the north. These sheer-faced cliffs make a magnificent spectacle, rising abruptly to tower 7000ft above the valley floor. A string of gem-like lakes is set tight at the foot of the mountains; beyond them lies the broad, sagebrush-covered Jackson Hole river basin (a “hole” was a pioneer term for a flat, mountain-ringed valley), broken by the gently winding Snake River.

Though the Shoshone people knew the mountains as the Teewinot (“many pinnacles”), their present name, meaning “large breast”, was bestowed by over-imaginative French-Canadian trappers in the 1830s. After Congress set the mountains aside as a national park in 1929, it took another 21 years of legal wrangling for Grand Teton to attain its current size – local ranchers protested that the economy of Jackson Hole would be ruined if further land was surrendered to tourism. During this time, John D. Rockefeller Jr bought up large parts of Jackson Hole and presented them to the government for conversion to parklands, on condition that his Grand Teton Lodge Company be the park’s primary concessionaire, which it remains today.