Skip to main content

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

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Caliente-Bodfish Road

Caliente-Bodish Road is one of the finest driving roads in the southern Sierra Nevada range and has rich history. The approximately thirty-two-mile-long highway connects from Kern River Road in Bodfish south to Bena Road (former US Route 466) via Caliente siding. Caliente-Bodfish Road is a segment of Thomas Baker's stage road which facilitated overland travel to the claims of the Kern River Gold Rush. The Baker Stage Road was constructed during the 1860s-1870s and spanned from the outskirts of Caliente north to the Stockton-Los Angeles Road near Tailholt in Tulare County. The blog cover photo is from the nine-mile segment north of Caliente Creek Road which is known as the "Lion's Trail." Caliente-Bodish Road carries the internal designation of Kern County Road 483. Part 1; the history of Caliente-Bodfish Road Caliente-Bodish Road is a segment of what was Thomas Baker's stage road to Kern River Valley.  The Kern River Gold Rush began in 1853 and spurred devel

The Dummy Lights of New York

  A relic of the early days of motoring, dummy lights were traffic lights  that  were  placed  in the middle of a street intersection. In those early days, traffic shuffled through busy intersections with the help of a police officer who stood on top of a pedestal. As technology improved and electric traffic signals became commonplace, they were also  originally  positioned on a platform at the center of the intersection. Those traffic signals became known as  " dummy lights "  and were common until  traffic lights were moved  onto wires and poles that crossed above the intersection.  In New York State, only a handful of these dummy lights exist. The dummy lights  are found  in the Hudson Valley towns of Beacon and Croton-on-Hudson, plus there is an ongoing tug of war in Canajoharie in the Mohawk Valley, where their dummy light has been knocked down and replaced a few times. The dummy light in Canajoharie is currently out of commission, but popular demand has caused the dummy

Madera County Road 400 and the 1882-1886 Yosemite Stage Road

Madera County Road 400 is an approximately twenty-four-mile roadway following the course of the Fresno River in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  Road 400 begins at California State Route 145 near Madera and terminates to the north at Road 415 near Coarsegold.  Traditionally Road 400 was known as "River Road" prior to Madera County dropping naming conventions on county highways.  Road 400 was part of the original Yosemite Stage Route by the Washburn Brothers which began in 1882.  The Yosemite Stage Route would be realigned to the west in 1886 along what is now Road 600 to a rail terminus in Raymond.  Parts of Road 400 were realigned in 1974 to make way for the Hensley Lake Reservoir.  Part 1; the history of Madera County Road 400 Road 400 is historically tied to the Wawona Road and Hotel.  The Wawona Hotel is located near the Mariposa Grove in the modern southern extent of Yosemite National Park.   The origins of the Wawona Road are tied to the Wawona Hotel but it does predate th