Jackson Hole is a special place created more than 10 million years ago when a major tectonic fault line shifted the west side up to form the Teton Mountain Range and dropped the valley floor to the east, thus creating a “Hole” surrounded by the mountains. Jackson’s Hole (as it was originally called) derives its name from early beaver trapper and fur trader Davey Jackson, who settled in the area in the early 19th century.
Today nearly 97% of all land in Teton County is publicly owned (federally owned or state managed), including Grand Teton National Park, Bridger-Teton National Forest, and the National Elk Refuge. Only 3% of the land in the Jackson Hole area is privately owned, which explains the high prices for homes in the Valley. Grand Teton National Park occupies much of the Valley, encompassing approximately 480 square miles. Jackson Hole sits at an elevation of 6,779 square feet. The Grand Teton, the highest of the peaks in the range, reaches 13,770 feet above sea level.
Fun Facts about Jackson Hole:
Yellowstone National Park was the world’s first national park, created in 1872 – 18 years before Wyoming even became a state!
Grand Teton National Park was created in 1929 and was greatly expanded in 1950 thanks to the efforts of John D. Rockefeller, who purchased and then donated over 30,000 acres to the government.
The National Elk Refuge, located just north of the town of Jackson, is the largest established elk preserve in North America hosting up to 7,500 elk every winter.
The Bridger-Teton National Forest is the second-largest national forest in the lower 48 states, encompassing 3.4 million acres.
Wyoming is known as the Equality State with the town of Jackson electing the first all-woman city council in 1920.
The first person to ski down the 13,772-foot Grand Teton was local resident Bill Briggs in 1971. In April 2009 Briggs was inducted into the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame. (Bill Briggs can still be found around town hosting the Hootenany and playing in The Stagecoach Band.)