Grand Teton National Park is located about 10 miles south of Yellowstone National Park and covers approximately 310,000 acres in northwest Wyoming.
Grand Teton National Park’s towering mountains and wide vistas give ample pathways for enormous migrations of bison, pronghorn, and elk, while the park’s crystal clear lakes provide possibilities for fishing, boating, and other watersports.
Discover what makes Grand Teton National Park, which is known for its beautiful beauty and animals, so worthwhile to visit.
1. The Park’s Highest Peak Exceeds 13,000 Feet. The Teton Range, a 40-mile-long and 9-mile-wide active fault-block mountain range, is the park’s distinctive feature. While Grand Teton, the range’s tallest peak, rises to an astonishing 13,775 feet above sea level, the park also features eight more summits that soar to above 12,000 feet.
2. The Teton Range is thought to be the Rockies’ youngest mountain range. The Teton Range, which stretches about 40 miles and includes some of the youngest mountains on the planet, is perhaps the park’s most famous feature.
The Tetons have only been elevating for less than 10 million years, compared to the Rockies, which are between 50 and 80 million years old, and the Appalachians, which are over 300 million years old, according to the National Park Service.
3. The Park’s Rocks Are Among North America’s Oldest. Although the Teton Range is substantially younger than the Grand Tetons, much of the metamorphic rock that makes up the majority of the range is estimated to be 2.7 billion years old.
The rocks were produced when two tectonic plates clashed, changing silt and dividing different minerals into brighter and darker stripes and strata as a result of the high heat and pressure.
4. There Are 11 Glaciers That Are Active. Winter snow accumulates on the summits of Grand Teton National Park each year, adding to the already compacted snow to produce glacial glaciers. Half of Grand Teton’s 11 tiny glaciers are found in the Cathedral Group, a section of the mountain range at higher elevations.
Unfortunately, due to causes such as climate change, summer snowmelt is beginning to outstrip winter gains, leading glaciers to recede. Some of these glaciers have lost so much ice volume that they are no longer considered active glaciers.
5. The Park is home to North America’s Largest Waterfowl. The trumpeter swan is North America’s largest native waterfowl and one of the region’s largest flying birds. These birds, which are limited to large, shallow freshwater ponds, were nearly extinct in the 1930s before conservation efforts helped populations recover.
Trumpeter swans are often seen in pairs and mate for life.
6. It’s also home to North America’s tiniest bird species. The calliope hummingbird can also be found near willow shrubs and the park’s flowering red gilia flowers. These birds are the tiniest birds in North America, weighing less than a tenth of an ounce on average.
7. Pronghorns in Grand Teton National Park outrun any other land mammal in the Western Hemisphere. Although Grand Teton National Park is home to hundreds of other species, the pronghorn is by far the quickest. In fact, the antelope-related species is the fastest land animal in the Western hemisphere, at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour.
These animals undergo the second-longest terrestrial migration in North America, migrating southeast as the winter months approach each year. They can travel up to 150 miles!
8. In the summer, the park is home to North America’s largest elk herd. The Jackson elk herd, the biggest known elk herd in North America, includes the elk that spend their summers in Grand Teton National Park. They move between the park and the National Elk Refuge, which is located to the southeast, every year.
9. Conifers make up the majority of Grand Teton’s trees. Conifers, such as lodgepole pines, make up the majority of the trees in Grand Teton National Park. These trees have specially developed serotinous cones that only open when heated by fire; as a result, many of them are found in places where forest fires or even controlled burns occur frequently. The cones drop a significant quantity of seeds onto the newly exposed soil after being exposed to extreme heat.
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10. Grand Teton National Park took decades to establish. The hotel first opened its doors in 1929. The National Park Service attempted to enlarge the original park in the 1940s, but some Jackson Hole residents were opposed to greater federal management of the landscape.
After President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued an executive order creating the Jackson Hole National Monument in 1943, a group of hundreds of cattle ranchers led by actor Wallace Beery protested (which would later become part of Grand Teton). The local populace gradually warmed up to the notion as tourism expanded in the area.