Somehow, in my youth I decided that Jackson Hole, Wyoming and the city of Jackson, Wyoming were the same place. The people in Wyoming are either laughing hysterically or sneering right now! I made the trip twice in a single engine plane from Tennessee to the Jackson Hole Airport; once, before the pilot had finished his instrument training. To me everything down there was Jackson Hole. However, the truth about Jackson Hole, Wyoming is much more interesting.
What is Jackson Hole?
Jackson Hole, Wyoming is not the name of any city in Wyoming. “Hole” was a term used by trappers in the 1820’s to describe a high elevation valley surrounded by mountains. Jackson Hole is 40 miles long and 8 to 15 miles wide. The Continental Divide in the Rocky Mountains is as close as twenty miles to the east of Jackson Hole in spots. Highlands lie directly east and north of Jackson Hole. The Gros Ventre Range is to the southeast. The Teton Range is directly west with the Grand Teton Mountain rising to 13770 feet above sea level. The Jackson Hole Airport sits at 6404 feet above sea level.
Who was the First American to Explore Jackson Hole?
The first non-indigenous man to enter Jackson Hole, Wyoming was probably John Colter, a guide for the Lewis and Clark Expedition. John Colter was also the first to explore Yellowstone. From a time line of the Lewis and Clark Expedition – “August 14, 1806 – – The expedition returns to the Mandan village. … John Colter is granted permission to return to the Yellowstone (River) to trap beaver.” (http://www.lewisclark.net/timeline/index.html)
How was Jackson Hole Named?
Jackson Hole was named for David Jackson. By some reports, David Jackson was the first trapper or mountain man to spend an entire winter in what is now Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He supposedly spent the winter of 1829 along the shore of what is now Jackson Lake. According to the Jackson Hole Historical Society David E. Jackson was an early partner in what became the Rocky Mountain Fur Company.
The city of Jackson, Wyoming
On the south side of Jackson Hole is the city of Jackson, Wyoming. In the early twentieth century when cattle and dude ranching evolved Jackson, Wyoming grew as a frontier town. Tourists recognize Jackson, Wyoming instantly because of its Town Square. The people of the town constructed four arches made of hundreds of elk antlers in the 1950’s and 1960’s to mark the corners of the Town Square. In the summer, stagecoaches will transport people around town and every evening except Sunday, cowboys have a shootout in the Town Square. Winter activities include shopping at the many gift shops and visiting art galleries around the square.
The Grand Teton National Park
Most of Jackson Hole, Wyoming is part of The Grand Teton National Park. The Grand Teton National Park has many summer and winter activities. During the summer at The Grand Teton National Park, you might want to hike, walk, view wildlife, and take photographs, backpack, camp, climb, fish, swim, boat, float, canoe or bike. Winter activities at The Grand Teton National Park include skiing and snowshoeing. Some activities require extra fees, so check in advance.
The Snake River runs through Jackson Hole. Some of the Lakes in Jackson Hole are Jackson Lake, the largest and Jenny Lake, another favorite. Other Lakes reached primarily by trails or back roads are Two Ocean Lake, Emma Matilda Lake, Leigh Lake, and Phelps Lake.
John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Memorial Parkway and Yellowstone National Park
To the north, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Memorial Parkway connects Jackson Hole and The Grand Teton National Park to Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone National Park is located in the northwest corner of the state of Wyoming. Yellowstone is a marvel all its own. If you visit Jackson Hole, Jackson, and The Grand Teton National Park do not forget to save time and energy to visit this wonderful place – Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone closes during the winter months so, once again, check before you go.
western_names/colter_john/colter_john.html (more about John Colter)
http://www.jacksonholewy.com/maps.php (maps – Summer Valley Map, Winter Valley Map, Town of Jackson, Teton Village & Targhee Base Area, Teton Village Map, Valley / National Park Map)
“Where Is Jackson Hole?”, Grand Teton National Park & John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Memorial Parkway TEEWINOT, Summer, 1993, p. 4
Jackson Hole Visitors Council, “Yellowstone National Park”, Jackson Hole, Wyoming – Spring, Summer, Fall Vacation Planner 1993, p. 4
National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Grand Teton National Park Wyoming, “Grand Teton Official Map and Guide”, *GPO: 1993 – 342-398/600100 Reprint 1992