Approximately 10 million years ago, earthquakes along the Teton fault caused today’s mountains to rise and the valley floor to drop; over time, wind, rain, ice and glaciers slowly eroded the range and sculpted the landscape. Then, starting two million years ago, massive glaciers flowing south from Yellowstone further carved the skyline and deposited moraines along the base of the range, forming the lakes that visitors enjoy today.
Grand Teton NP encompasses a variety of communities, including alpine, forests, sagebrush flats, wet meadows and wetlands, as well as lakes, ponds and rivers. Local wildlife includes black and grizzly bears, moose, elk, deer, coyotes, wolves, bald eagles, great horned owls, beavers, river otters and the ever-present chipmunk.
In 1897, the Tetons first received government protection as the Teton Forest Reserve; Grand Teton NP was first established in 1929, then later expanded in 1950 – after much controversy – to its current boundaries.
The Snake River flows from its source in Yellowstone National Park, through Grand Teton NP in Wyoming, then on through Idaho and Oregon to Washington; it is home to cutthroat trout, mountain whitefish and river otters