Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Park Area Info

We are centrally located at the entrance of Grand Teton National Park and just a short drive from the south entrance of Yellowstone National Park

The town of Jackson Hole is just down the road offering world class dining and entertainment. For lodging closer to Jackson Hole please visit

With Quick and convenient access to the snake river for both white water rafting, scenic wild life floats and world class fly fishing

History of the Area

While trapper John Colter established this area as a fur trader’s mecca in 1807, it was trapper Davey Jackson for whom Jackson Hole is named. The word “hole” in trapper-ese meant a high mountain valley and this valley came to be called Jackson’s Hole by mountain men and trappers of that period.

But people were known to be in Jackson about 12,000 years ago and archaeologists found artifacts of hunter-gatherers dating from 500 to 5,000 years ago. Native Americans, Blackfoot, Crow, Gros Ventre and Shoshone, migrated through the valley, before settlers came, but they usually didn’t stay the winter. During the period Jackson had no settlers and trappers had the run of the valley where they held rendezvous, the equivalent of modern day trade shows, where they sold their furs or traded them with companies like the Hudson Bay Company and the Astoria Fur Company for winter supplies. These gatherings also allowed the trail weary mountain men a chance to eat, drink and be merry with other trappers.

By 1845, the demand for fur for beaver hats and other uses had dwindled and soon after, so did the demand for the services of the mountain men trappers. Jackson Hole didn’t see settlers until 1883. After the fur trade dwindled, there were several government expeditions to the valley, the most memorable of which was the Hayden expedition in 1871. Pictures taken of Yellowstone by expedition photographer William Henry Jackson helped persuade the federal government to designate it the nation’s first national park in 1872, 18 years before Wyoming received statehood.

John and Millie Carnes and John Holland were the first settlers in Jackson. Others soon followed and later, dude ranches grew out of ranching operations to become vacation destinations for fly fishers, hunters and horseback riders. The Town of Jackson developed at the apex of the valley where Cache and Flat Creeks converge. Soon a bank, stores, churches and a park sprouted to complete the beginning of the town. Early in the 1900?s, tourism started to replace beef cattle ranching as Jackson Hole’s economic base. Then, in 1919, land around the Tetons was designated as a national monument, later to become Grand Teton National Park in 1950. In addition to being situated near two national parks, the Town of Jackson also brought nationwide recognition to the Equality State when an all-female town council was elected in 1920.

As Jackson Hole’s and the rest of the state’s population grew, large elk herds that roamed the mountains and valleys began to compete with cattle for hay supplies. To help out the ranchers, Congress began a federal feed program for elk with an initial funding of $20,000. A few years later, the government bought the 25,000 acres just north of town, the National Elk Refuge, to help keep the herd from starving in the winter and to preserve the ranching lifestyle in Jackson Hole.

Today, Jackson Hole is a winter and summer playground for outdoor enthusiasts from all over the world. Skiing, snowboarding, hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking and kayaking are just a few of the popular activities that bring people to Jackson Hole. The valley’s mix of cultures is unique, blending its western heritage with that of a destination resort. Walking the streets of Jackson, it’s not uncommon to see cowboys with hats, spurs and chaps walking down the wooden sidewalks right net to snowboarders with dreadlocks and nose rings.

Where to Look for Wildlife

All animals require food, water, shelter and living space. Each species also has particular habitat requirements. To learn more about wildlife habitats and behavior, attend range-led activities. Sharpen your wildlife observation skills by spending some time in these locations:

Oxbow Bend
One mile east of Jackson Lake Junction. Slow-moving water provides habitat for fish such as suckers and trout, which become food for river otters, ospreys, bald eagles, American white pelicans and common mergansers (ducks). Look for swimming beavers (at dawn and dusk) and muskrats. Moose browse on abundant willows at the water’s edge. Elk occasionally graze the open aspen groves to the east.

Timbered Island
Forested ridge surrounded by sagebrush southeast of Jenny Lake. Small bands of pronghorns, fastest North American land animal, forage on sagebrush. Elk leave the shade of the forest at dusk to eat grasses growing among the sagebrush.

Snake River
Jackson Lake Dam south to Moose. Elk and bison graze in grassy meadows along the river. Bison also eat grasses in the sagebrush flats on the benches above the river. Bald eagles, ospreys and great blue herons build large stick nests within sight of the river. Beavers and moose eat willows that line the waterway.

Cascade Canyon
West of Jenny Lake. Look for (but please do not feed) golden-mantled ground squirrels at Inspiration Point. Pikas and yellow-bellied marmots live in boulder fields. Mule deer and moose occasionally browse on shrubs growing at the mouth of the canyon. Listen for the numerous songbirds that nest in the canyon.

Blacktail Ponds
One-half mile north of Moose on Highway 26-89-191. Old beaver ponds have filled in and now support grassy meadows where elk graze during cooler parts of the day. Several kinds of ducks feed in the side channels of the Snake River. Moose browse on willows growing along the river.

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