Top 12 Interesting Teton Range Facts

North America is home to a large number of amazing mountain ranges, and many of these are subranges of the Rocky Mountains, the most famous and largest chain of mountains in Canada and the United States.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the most interesting facts about the Teton Range, one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in the United States for several reasons.

1. It’s located entirely within the borders of a U.S. state

The Teton Range is one of the many subranges of the Rocky Mountains, the largest mountain range in North America. It extends from the western part of Canada (the Canadian Rockies) to New Mexico in the southwestern part of the United States.

It’s located entirely within the borders of the U.S. State of Wyoming, one of the states of the so-called Mountain West states in the Western part of the United States.

The range runs pretty much parallel with the Idaho state line just to its west and is located just south of the Yellowstone National Park. This UNESCO World Heritage site is a pristine piece of nature featuring countless natural wonders such as, for example, Yosemite Falls and El Capitan.

Teton Range facts

2. It’s unclear where the name of the mountain range came from

The range features distinctive jagged peaks and some of them are breast-shaped. One theory as to where the name of the Teton Range came from suggests that French explorers referred to it as “Les Trois Tétons or “The Three Nipples,” a reference to the shape of the peaks.

Another theory suggests that it was derived from the Native Americans who once lived in the area called the “Teton Sioux” or “Lakota People.” This name was in turn derived from the word “Thítȟuŋwaŋ.”

It doesn’t stop here because it’s also possible that the name was derived from a word once used to describe the mountains by the Shoshone people. Thye called it the “Teewinot” which translates to “Many Pinnacles.”

Teton Range landscape
The landscape near the mountain range / Wiki Commons

3. It’s the youngest mountain range of the Rocky Mountains

One of the most interesting facts about the Teton Range is that it’s the youngest mounting range of all subranges in the Rocky Mountains. It was formed between 6 and 9 million years ago when movements happened along the Teton fault line.

The western part of the Earth’s crust was pushed upward to form the Teton Range, while the eastern part created a large flat area called Jackson Hole. This valley is situated right in between the Teton and Gros Ventre mountain ranges.

It features sharp peaks because the range is relatively young. That’s for the simple fact that they haven’t been exposed long enough to the elements to erode into rounded peaks.

Teton Range interesting facts

4. The highest mountain is the centerpiece of a popular national park

The highest peak in the Teton Range is the Grand Teton. This awesome mountain reaches an elevation of 13,775 feet (4,199 meters) above sea level, making it the second-highest peak in Wyoming.

Only Gannett Peak in the Wind River Range is higher with an elevation of 13,804 feet (4,207 meters) above sea level.

The main group of mountains, of which the Grand Teton is the centerpiece, are referred to as the “Cathedral Group” and are the main attraction of the Grand Teton National Park. This park covers an area of 310,000 acres (1,300 square kilometers) and includes parts of the valley called Jackson Hole.

Grand Teton Cathedral Group
Detail of the Cathedral Group and Grand Teton / Acroterion / Wiki Commons

5. The eastern side of the range provides amazing views from the valley floor

The main reason why the Teton Range is one of the most famous mountain ranges in the United States is because of the amazing views of it from Jackson Hole, the valley located just east of it.

You can see an unobstructed view of the mountains that sharply rise in between 4,000 and 7,000 feet (1,200 and 2,100 meters) above the valley floor.

This notion in combination with the sharp peaks of the range turns this into one of the most amazing sights you’ll ever come across.

Grand Teton from Jackson Hole

More interesting facts about the Teton Range

6. The Teton Range is one of the smaller subranges of the Rocky Mountains, although it features some of the highest peaks in Wyoming. It has a length of 40 miles (64 kilometers) and a maximum width of 12 miles (19 kilometers).

7. The Grand Teton is the highest mountain in the range but it features several other high peaks as well. Some of these include Mount Owen (12,928 feet – 3,940 meters), Teewinot (12,325 feet – 3,757 meters), Middle Teton (12,804 feet – 3,903 meters) and South Teton (12,514 feet – 3,814 meters).

Mount Owen Teton Range
Mount Owen / Acroterion / Wiki Commons

8. One of the major rivers in the greater Pacific Northwest region flows through the valley east of the mountain range. The Snake River has a length of 1,078 miles (1,735 kilometers) and is a major tributary to the Columbia River, the largest river in the region.

9. The Grand Teton and the other mountains of the Cathedral Group are very popular among mountaineers. The first ascent potentially happened in 1872 but this has been refuted by some historians.

What is certain is that the mountain was climbed for the first time in the 19th century when surveyor William O. Owen (1859-1947) reached the summit of Grand Teton in 1898.

Teton Range and Snake River
The Snake River with the Cathedral Group in the background / Wiki Commons

10. The Grand Teton National Park is only 10 miles (16 kilometers) south of the Yellowstone National Park and is even connected to it by the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway.

11. The national park was established on February 26, 1929, and is one of the most popular ones in the United States. Over 3 million visitors enjoy the amazing scenery of the Grand Teton National Park every year.

12. The most popular activities for non-mountaineering visitors are camping and hiking. The park boasts more than 1,000 drive)in campsites and features over 200 miles (320 kilometers) of hiking trails.

That’s more than enough to spend an amazing time in one of the most stunning natural landscapes on the planet!

Jackson Hole and Teton Range
The amazing range in the distance / Michael Gäbler / Wiki Commons