The Teton Range is a mountain range of the Rocky Mountains in North America.
It is situated in the western United States, extending southward for 64 km (40 miles) across northwestern Wyoming, from the southern boundary of Yellowstone National Park to Teton Pass, just west of Jackson. Some foothills reach into southeastern Idaho.
Grand Teton, at 4,198 metres (13,770 feet) above sea level, is the highest point, towering more than 2,130 metres (7,000 feet) above Jackson Hole, a fertile valley and noted ski resort area at its eastern base.
Many peaks exceed 3,700 metres (3,700 metres).
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 are alpine peaks with pyramidal shapes caused by glacial motion. The highest peak in the group is Grand 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.
Unlike most mountain ranges, the east side of the Teton Range lacks significant foothills or lower peaks which might obscure the view. This is due to the presence of the Teton Fault at the base of the east slope as well as the range being too young to have eroded into soft hills.
The Snake River flows southward through the valley before turning to the west and entering Idaho.
The Teton Range is the youngest mountain range in the Rocky Mountains.
The range began forming between 6 and 9 million years ago.
Archaeological evidence shows human presence in the area some 11,000 years ago.
Prior to 1600 the inhabitants were Athabaskan-speaking Native Americans – later groups included the Shoshone, Crow, and Blackfoot.
It is possible that the range is named for the Teton Sioux (from Thítȟuŋwaŋ), also known as the Lakota people. It is likely that the local Shoshone people once called the whole range Teewinot, meaning “many pinnacles”.
The first recorded exploration of the mountains was by John Colter, a member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition who left the team on its return journey to explore the region – Colter claimed to have reached the mountains in 1807–08.
The first ascent of Grand Teton was said to have been made on July 29, 1872, by Nathaniel P. Langford and James Stevenson.
Efforts to preserve the region as a national park began in the late 19th century, and in 1929 Grand Teton National Park was established, protecting the Teton Range’s major peaks.
The region is a major tourist destination, and the mountains, with their wide range of mountaineering challenges, have become one of the top climbing destinations in the country.
One reason the Teton Range is famous is because of the dramatic elevation profile visible from the eastern side, which rises sharply from 1,200 to 2,100 meters (4,000 to 7,000 feet) above the valley floor.
Tourists throng the Jackson Hole valley to gawk at the peaks and watch the large elk herds roaming the grasslands near the Snake River.
The Tetons and Jackson Hole have been the setting for a number of films, including John Wayne’s film acting debut in The Big Trail in 1930 and the western film classic Shane in 1953. Mount Moran and the surrounding mountains were used as a backdrop for the lake/swamp setting in the original television series Land of the Lost.
Tucked in a sprawling valley at the foot of the spectacular Teton Mountains, Jackson exudes the spirit of the Wild West. Rustic wooden buildings and boardwalks, quaint shops, galleries, and restaurants, and a town square framed by elk-horn arches add to the charm of this charismatic town.