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Jackson Hole, originally called Jackson's Hole, is a valley located in the west-central U.S. state of Wyomingmarker. The name "hole" derives from language used by early trappers or mountain men, who primarily entered the valley from the north and east and had to descend along relatively steep slopes, giving the sensation of entering a hole. These low-lying valleys surrounded by mountains contain rivers and streams, were good habitat for beaver and other fur-bearing animals.


The valley is thought to be named after David Edward Jackson and his colleague, Michelangelo Franconi, mountain men who trapped the area for beaver in the early nineteenth century. Though used by Native Americans for hunting and ceremonial purposes, the valley was not known to harbor year round human settlement prior to the 1870s. Descriptions of the valley and its features were recorded in the journals of John Colter, who had been a member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. After returning to the Rocky Mountains, Colter entered the region in 1806 in the vicinity of Togwotee Passmarker and became the first non-native American to see the valley. His reports of the valley, the Teton Rangemarker and of the Yellowstonemarker region to the north were viewed by people of the day with skepticism.

The only incorporated town in the valley is Jacksonmarker, sometimes also mistakenly called Jackson Hole itself. Other communities in the valley include Wilsonmarker, Teton Villagemarker, Moran Junctionmarker, Hobackmarker, Moosemarker (Moose Wilson Road, Wyomingmarker), and Kellymarker. On the west side of the valley, Teton Passmarker crosses the Teton Rangemarker providing access to Victormarker and Driggsmarker in eastern Idahomarker and Alta, Wyomingmarker on the western side of the Tetons. Numerous elk use the valley as grazing range during the winter, and sleigh rides are offered to tourists. The Jackson Hole Mountain Resortmarker, Snow Kingmarker and Grand Targhee Resortmarker ski areas, and nearby Grand Tetonmarker and Yellowstonemarker national parks are major tourist attractions throughout all seasons of the year.


The valley is formed by the Teton Rangemarker on the western side and the Gros Ventre range on the eastern side. Grand Teton National Parkmarker occupies the north-western part of the valley encompassing much of the Teton Rangemarker as well as Jackson Lakemarker. The town of Jackson, Wyomingmarker, is at the southern end. Between them lies the National Elk Refugemarker, home of the largest elk herd on earth. The Snake River threads through the entire valley from its headwater in Yellowstonemarker in the north to the mouth of the Snake River Canyon at the southern tip of the valley. Blacktail Buttemarker is a prominent landform rising from the valley floor. The average altitude of the valley is over .

High altitude and steep mountain slopes on all sides of the valley often cause calm winter nights to be very cold, as radiational cooling from snow-covered ground creates cold air near the surface, which then slides down into the valley due to its higher density. In 1993, this effect during an already severe cold snap plunged the morning low temperature down to in the valley, officially recorded by the National Weather Service. The state record low temperature was also recorded in the valley at Moran at in 1933.

Notable Visitors & Part Time Residents


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