Jackson Hole Area Info
The valley is 48 miles long and varies in width between 8 to 15 miles wide. The valley floor sits at 6,779 feet above sea level in the north to about 6,069 feet at the southern end. The Snake River, originating in the high country of Yellowstone, meanders through the valley and is fed by streams and rivers, such as the Gros Ventre River and Flat Creek. Several lakes lie along the course of the Snake River; among them is Jackson Lake and Jenny Lake. Along the western side of the valley, the famous Teton Mountains proudly rise into the sky, a sharp canvas of rock without the preamble of foothills to separate the massive mountains from the valley floor. Grand Teton, the tallest mountain in the range, is 13,772 feet above sea level and towers over Jenny Lake at its base. In the valley to the east, The Gros Ventre (Big Belly) Mountains roll up a little more gently from the valley floor. By contrast with the impressive Tetons, the tallest mountain in the Gros Ventre Range is Doubletop Peak at 11,682 feet, some twenty miles as the crow flies, southeast of Jackson Hole.
Grand Teton National Park occupies most of the valley of Jackson Hole, preserving the towering peaks of the Teton Valley Mountains and the beautiful glacial lakes. The native wildlife includes moose, mule deer, pronghorn, elk, grizzly and black bears, bison, and trumpeter swans. To the delight of the park's visitors, many of the large animals roam undisturbed across the valley floor, and numerous trails lead into the mountains to satisfy curious minds. Today the park includes 485 square miles or 310,000 acres.
The town of Jackson is located toward the southern end of the valley, nestled between the Hoback Range, which contributes to Snow King Mountain on the southern edge of the valley, and the East Gros Ventre Butte. The butte is one of several throughout the valley, adding topographical variety to the Snake River plain.
Jackson is the seat of Teton County, which was created in 1921; over thirty years after Wyoming became a state in 1890. As of 2014, Teton County has had a year-round population of about 22,930, and Jackson has had a population of about 10,449. A number of temporary residents swell the population totals during the tourist seasons – in the summer months by 52,000 and by 5,000 in the winter months. The county has a large land area – 2,697,000 acres or 4,214 square miles. Nearly 97% of the county is public land, which means it belongs to you and me instead of individual or private property owners.
With a great expanse of public land, including two national parks, tourism is the most important industry in the area. Grand Teton National Park lies in the heart of Jackson Hole, and Yellowstone National Park is only a few miles to the north. The town of Jackson serves as a gateway to both. In 2016, Grand Teton National Park enjoyed a total of 3,270,076 visits and Yellowstone National Park received 4,257,177 visits. The total indicates the popularity of the area and the health of the industry. A few ranches remain in operation in the valley, reminding the residents of the area's original economic base. Many of the ranch operations, however, supplement their income with tourism, as guest ranches and headquarters for outfitting hunters and fishermen.
The Teton County School District serves approximately 2,265 K-12 students. Students participate in a wide range of activities from debate, drama, and music to skiing, soccer, and other sports.