Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Jackson Hole is a valley encompassed by mountains. The valley is 48 miles long and 8 to 15 miles wide, and is about 6,069 feet above sea level. Along the western side of the valley, the famous Teton Mountains rise into the sky, a sharp soaring of rock without the preamble of foothills to separate the massive mountains from the valley floor. On east side, the Gros Ventre (Big Belly) Mountains roll up a little more gently from the valley floor.
The town of Jackson is located near the southern end of the valley. Jackson is the seat of Teton County, which was created in 1921, over thirty years after Wyoming became a state in 1890. As of 2000, Teton County had a year-round population of about 18,251, and Jackson had a population of 8,647. A number of temporary residents swell the population totals during the tourist seasons, in the summer months by 52,000 and by 5,000 in the winter months.
Grand Teton National Park
Grand Teton National Park is one of the most spectacular, awe-inspiring places in America. Occupying a majority of the Jackson Hole valley, the park is home to overwhelming, massive mountains, pristine lakes and rivers, and abundant, teeming wildlife.
The Teton Range - with peaks rising as much as 7,000 feet off the valley floor - is the centerpiece of the park. Views from the two main roads are nothing short of spectacular. The highest, most prominent peak is Grand Teton, standing at 13,770 feet. The abrupt vertical rise of the jagged Teton Range contrasts with the horizontal sage-covered valley and glacial lakes at their base, creating world-renowned scenery that attracts nearly four million visitors per year.
Yellowstone National Park
Established in 1872, Yellowstone is the first and oldest national park in the world. Yellowstone's South Entrance is approximately 90 miles north of the town of Jackson. Don’t miss great the great opportunities to view elk, bison, bears and wolves in the wild as well as the magnificent autumn colors of Yellowstone.
The various rivers in the park have carved their way through the landscape with spectacular results. Most notable is the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, which is 900 feet deep and a half-mile wide in spots, with cascading waterfalls and brightly colored red and yellow walls. In addition see Old Faithful geyser and the terraces of Mammoth Hot Springs.
National Elk Refuge
Located just a few miles north of Jackson Hole, the refuge was established in 1912 after the photography of Stephen Leek inspired public interest in preserving a part of the traditional winter range of the area elk population. Today almost 10,000 elk winter in the refuge. The elk begin their migration out of the high meadows in the fall, usually after the first snow storm. They stay in the refuge through the spring, when food becomes more abundant. The refuge covers about 25,000 acres of open fields, streams, ponds, and marshes. In addition to elk, the refuge is home to at least 46 other mammal species and nearly 175 bird species.