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2016 Summer Mountain Trip Part 16; Grand Teton National Park and the nebulous disconnect in the US Routes

After leaving Yellowstone National Park I entered Grand Teton National Park on John D. Rockerfeller Memorial Parkway which follows the Snake River along to the east shore of Jackson Lake.


This blog serves as the 16th entry in the 2016 Summer Mountain Trip Series; Part 15 can be found here:

2016 Summer Mountain Trip Part 15; Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Loop Road

Grand Teton National Park consists of a large swath of area protecting much of the Teton Range in northwestern Wyoming.  The Teton Range is a 40 mile north/south sub-range of the Rocky Mountains.  Amusingly the word "teton" is French for "nipple" which early explorers thought the high peaks resembled.  The Tetons are known for steep peaks ascending over Jackson Hole with the tallest being Grand Teton at 13,775 feet above sea level.

Early conservation efforts after the establishment of Yellowstone National Park sought to include the Teton Range within the southern park boundary if not Jackson Hole itself.  By 1907 a log dam was built along the Snake River in Jackson Hole which created Jackson Lake.  The first Jackson Lake Dam failed in 1910 but was soon replaced by the modern structure which first opened in 1911 but was expanded to it's current height of 65 feet by 1916.  The development of Jackson Lake was enough to spur the superintendent of Yellowstone National Park to push for congressional approval of a new National Park protecting the Teton Range and six lakes at the base of the range.  Legislation was passed by Congress in 1929 which created Grand Teton National Park.

Much of the land within Jackson Hole on the eastern flank of the Teton Range remained in the private control of John D. Rockerfeller (mostly known as the tycoon of Standard Oil fame).  Rockerfeller wanted to purchase as much land as possible in Jackson Hole to donate to the National Park Service.  However there as a strong push by Congress, local groups in Wyoming, and even the National Park Service against expanding Grand Teton National Park.  The land set aside by Rockerfeller in Jackson Hole was ultimately acquired by the Federal Government when via the Antiquities Act in 1943 which created Jackson Hole National Monument.  Jackson Hole National Monument was mostly added to Grand Teton National Park in 1950 while the southern extent became the National Elk Refuge.  In 1970 an additional 24,000 acres of land east of Jackson Lake was added to Grand Teton National Park.  By 1972 the road between Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park was renamed "John D. Rockerfeller Memorial Parkway."

Previous to the 1970 expansion of Grand Teton National Park the US Routes in the area went all the way to the South Entrance of Yellowstone National Park.  The original alignment of the US Routes through Grand Teton was on Teton Park Road until 1957 when it was shifted to the modern highway to the east of the Snake River to Moran Junction.  Sorting out what US Routes used to traverse to the South Entrance of Yellowstone has changed greatly over the years, fortunately it is fully detailed on USends.com.

USends.com; US Highway endpoints at Moran Junction and Yellowstone's South Entrance

These 1951 and 1956 maps detail the US Routes that were present in Grand Teton National Park on Teton Park Road.  Both maps show; US 89, US 187, and US 26 on Teton Park Road.

1951 Wyoming Highway Map

1956 Wyoming Highway Map

Rather than continuing on John D. Rockerfeller Memorial Parkway to Moran Junction I turned on Teton Park Road.  Presently all the US Routes (US 89, 191, and 287) resume at the end of John D. Rockerfeller Memorial Parkway at Moran Junction which can be viewed here:

Moran Junction US Route Guide Sign

Teton Park Road quickly ascends above the Snake River on Jackson Lake Dam.


The view of the Teton Range is pretty worthwhile from the top of Jackson Lake Dam.  Aside from the massive sound of water coursing through Jackson Lake Dam it is hard to picture Jackson Lake as a reservoir.


Much of the remainder of my day was spent walking through the fields along Teton Park Road looking easterly towards the Tetons.  The relaxed pace of Grand Teton National Park is a nice contrast compared to the busy swath of tourism compared to Yellowstone to the north. 




After reaching the south end of Teton Park Road I turned south on US 26/89/191 and headed to Jackson for the night.  In downtown Jackson I picked up the north terminus of US Route 189 which begins at this location:

North Terminus of US Route 189 in downtown Jackson, WY

Part 17 of this blog series can be found here:

2016 Summer Mountain Trip Part 17; US Route 191 over Flaming Gorge Dam

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