Fun Facts About Jackson Hole

Jackson Hole: More than just a great vacation spot

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort has the longest continuous vertical rise of any ski area in the U.S., rising 4,139 feet from the valley floor to the top of Rendezvous Mountain!


  • Yellowstone was the world's first national park, created in 1872, 18 years before Wyoming became a state.
  • The Bridger-Teton National Forest is the largest national forest in the lower 48 states, encompassing 1,694,574 acres.
  • Grand Teton National Park was created in 1929 and greatly expanded in 1950 due to the determined efforts of John D. Rockefeller, who purchased and then donated a great deal of the land that is under protection today.
  • A whopping 97% of the 3,826,407 acres in Teton County are federally owned or state managed, including Grand Teton National Park, Bridger-Teton National Forest, and the National Elk Refuge. Only 3% of the land in the Jackson Hole area is privately owned.
  • The National Elk Refuge, located just outside the town of Jackson, is the largest established elk preserve in North America. Up to 9,000 elk winter on the refuge, and visitors can enjoy close-up views on daily sleigh rides from December through April.
  • The headwaters of the Snake River originate in southern Yellowstone National Park, which lays in Teton County, WY.
  • Starting at a mere 6,311 feet, Jackson Hole has one of the lowest base elevations of any ski resort area in the Rocky Mountains. Most other ski resorts in Colorado, Utah and New Mexico have base elevations between 6,900 and 9,500 feet.
  • More than 60 species of mammals, 100 species of birds and a half-dozen game fish live in the Jackson Hole/Yellowstone area. Most notable are big game such as elk, moose, bison, deer, antelope, mountain lion, grizzly and black bears and coyote; rare birds such as the bald eagle, trumpeter swan, blue heron and osprey; and native game fish such as the Snake River cutthroat trout and mackinaw lake trout.

Jackson Hole

  • Jackson Hole was originally named after Davey Jackson, a mountain man who trapped in the area during the late 1800s. "Hole" was a term used in that day to describe a high mountain valley.
  • The world's longest-running shootout, which began in 1955, is held six nights a week from May-September on the Jackson town square.
  • Wyoming's first ski area was the Snow King ski area, which opened in Jackson in 1939. Snow King celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1989.
  • The U.S. Voyager II spacecraft, launched in 1977 to explore unknown reaches of the solar system, contains an Ansel Adams photograph of Jackson Hole as part of its artifacts cargo.
  • The world's only public auction of elk antlers takes place on the Jackson town square on the third Saturday in May every year. Local Boy Scouts collect the antlers that are shed by the elk that winter on the refuge so that they can be auctioned off. The antlers are especially popular with the Asian market for use in aphrodisiac potions. The majority of the auction proceeds go back to the refuge for the next year's elk feeding programs.
  • The New York Philharmonic held the first summer residency in its 147-year history in Jackson Hole during the first two weeks of July, 1989. America's oldest orchestra performed four concerts as a benefit for Jackson Hole's 28-year-old Grand Teton Music Festival.
  • Jackson Hole's sister city is Lienz, Austria, dedicated as such in 1965.
  • John Wayne's first speaking part was in "The Big Trail," filmed in Jackson Hole in 1932. It also is reputed to be the first time he rode a horse!
  • More than 15 feature films have been made on location in Jackson Hole including "Shane," "Spencer's Mountain," "Any Which Way You Can" and "Rocky IV."
  • The first person to ski down the 13,770-foot Grand Teton was local resident Bill Briggs in 1971. He is currently the ski school director at the Snow King Ski Area.
  • In June 1989, President George Bush chose to deliver his first major speech on the importance of the environment and clean air in an open meadow in front of the Tetons in Grand Teton National Park.
  • In September 1989, U.S. Secretary of State James Baker and Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze held a historic ministerial meeting on the shores of Jackson Lake in Grand Teton National Park. Baker chose Jackson Hole to showcase the spectacular scenery and preserved heritage of America's West.


  • Wyoming, the professed "The Equality State," has hosted many of America's firsts including the first all-woman city council (elected to office in Jackson in 1920); the first woman Governor elected; and the first government in world history to allow women to vote (in 1869 - 51 years before the U.S. Constitutional amendment).
  • Among all 50 U.S. states, Wyoming ranks 9th in size and 50th in population with only five people per square mile!