The Teton Range, a subrange of the Rocky Mountains, extends for approximately 40 miles across northwest Wyoming. Although some foothills extend into southeastern Idaho, most of the range extends southward from the southern border of Yellowstone National Park to Teton Pass, west of Jackson, Wyoming.
The Teton Range is one of the most distinct ranges in the United States due to its dramatic elevation profile along its eastern side. In fact, the Tetons tower over the valley of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, rising abruptly from 5,000 to 7,000 feet above the surrounding landscape. The eastern side of the Teton Range lacks significant foothills or lower peaks, so its iconic pyramidal-shaped summits are easily visible.
The Tetons are not only one of the youngest mountain ranges in North America but are also the youngest in the Rock Mountains. Uplifting for a mere 10 million years, this adolescent mountain range was created by incredible seismic activity.
There are 84 named mountains in the Teton Range, but the principal summits consist of several classic alpine peaks referred to as the Cathedral Group. The Cathedral Group is characterized by jagged peaks and contains eight of the ten highest summits in the Teton Range, most of which sit at over 12,000 feet above sea level. The most recognizable mountains in the Cathedral Group include Grand Teton, the tallest peak in the Teton Range, Mount Owen, Teewinot Mountain, Middle Teton, and South Teton.
Interestingly, glaciers sculpted the Teton landscape over several glacial advances, widening V-shaped river canyons into U-shaped glacial canyons. Two of those canyons, Cascade Canyon and Avalanche Canyon, separate the Cathedral Group from other high peaks in the range. Today, hikers will often access popular trails in Grand Teton National Park and explore the Teton Range by traversing these glacial canyons.
Due to its unique and challenging mountain terrain, The Teton Range is a major tourist destination and is especially admired by mountaineers, climbers, and backpackers. In fact, one of the region’s most incredible climbing achievements, the Grand Traverse, links some of the most admired summits in the Teton Range: Teewinot, Mount Owen, Grand Teton, Middle Teton, South Teton, Cloudveil Dome, and Nez Perce.
The Tetons are also a popular winter recreation destination, particularly for skiing, snowboarding, and mountaineering. In fact, in 1971, Bill Briggs, admirably named the "father of extreme skiing," made the first-ever ski descent of Grand Teton and introduced the sport of ski mountaineering in North America.
Portions of the Teton range were first federally protected in 1929 with the formation of Grand Teton National Park. In 1943, nearby Jackson Hole National Monument was established to preserve more of the surrounding land, but in 1950 the National Monument was added Grand Teton National Park, which remains one of the most visited National Parks in America. Today, this area contains approximately 310,000 acres of protected peaks and wilderness.
Cascade Canyon - The Cascade Canyon Trail is a 10-mile round trip trek that highlights the craggy peaks and cliffs of the Teton Range. Cascade Canyon can be reached via the well-maintained Jenny Lake Trail (approx. 2 miles) or by taking the Jenny Lake Ferry, which takes travelers across the lake to the trailhead. Along the trail, hikers are rewarded with stunning views of the Cathedral Group, which towers above the surrounding canyon. Some hikers will also opt to stop at Inspiration Point to take in views of Jenny Lake and the nearby Gros Ventre Mountains. The trail ends at Lake Solitude, a glacier-fed lake tucked within a beautiful alpine meadow.
Table Mountain - Hiking to the top of Table Mountain is the perfect way to experience the Teton Range and the upper reaches of Cascade Canyon. A challenging trek, the trail to Table Mountain rises more than 4,000-feet in elevation in just 4.6 miles. However, the views from Table Mountain are arguably some of the best in the region and include Teton icons like Grand Teton, Middle Teton, South Teton, Cascade Canyon, Schoolroom Glacier, and Battleship Mountain.
Teton Crest Trail - Often considered the crown jewel of long-distance hiking trails in Grand Teton National Park, hikers traversing the Teton Crest Trail are guaranteed to experience some of the most incredible alpine lakes, high-altitude passes, and mountain peaks in the Teton Range. The trail extends for nearly 40 miles, requires a backcountry permit, and takes approximately 3 to 5 days to complete. Along the way, hikers can also hike to Hunt Mountain, Static Peak, or Upper Cascade Canyon.
Leigh Lake - The hike around Leigh Lake is a popular trail for visitors looking for a day trip filled with iconic Teton views. Hikers can travel for 3.2 miles (RT) to the first viewpoint and experience panoramic views of Mount Saint John, Rockchuck Peak, Mount Woodring, and Mount Moran, or continue on to the northern end of the lake to extend the hike to 7.6 miles (RT).
Static Peak Divide - Topping off at approximately 10, 800-feet in elevation, the hike to Static Peak Divide is the highest mountain pass along any trail in Grand Teton National Park. Despite its elevation, the hike to static peak requires no climbing or scrambling, which makes it a great option for day hikers looking for a high-altitude trek. Static Peak earned its name from being repeatedly struck by lightning, so hikers are cautions not to hit this trail too late in the day.
Grand Targhee Resort is a year-round mountain resort located on the Western slope of the Tetons in Alta, Wyoming. The resort is in the heart of the Caribou-Targhee National Forest and receives 500 inches of snow annually, making it an ideal place for winter recreation. In the summer, the Grand Targhee Resort is a popular destination for singletrack and downhill biking and hiking. There is a variety of dining and lodging available slopeside or nearby.
Located in Teton Village, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is considered one of the best resorts in North America for winter recreation and is the main winter ski and snowboard resort in Wyoming Valley. The resort has the longest continuous vertical rise of any ski area in the U.S., rising 4,139 feet from the valley floor to the top of Rendezvous Mountain. It also features 2,500 acres of in-bounds terrain and over 3,000 acres of backcountry terrain to explore.
Most visitors to Grand Teton National Park will stay in or near Jackson Hole, a valley between the Teton Range and Gros Ventre Range in Wyoming. A combination of high-altitude, proximity to nearby National Parks, and the valley’s steep mountain slopes make Jackson Hole an ideal place for outdoor recreation opportunities and lodging. Jackson is just 15 miles from the Idaho border, 12 miles from Grand Teton National Park, 12 miles from Teton Village, and 60 miles from Yellowstone National Park.