• Moose cow and calf

    Grand Teton

    National Park Wyoming

Auto Camps

Highlands cabins in winter

Highlands Cabins in the Winter.

In 1990, the Kimmel Kabins were listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1998, the Highlands and the dining hall at the Double Diamond Ranch were added to the National Register of Historic Places.

'Tin Can Tourists'

During the 1950s, the National Park Service kicked off "Mission 66" a 10-year plan to increase visitor services dramatically by 1966, the Service's 50th anniversary. Drawn by the scenic backdrop and roadway access to nearby lakes, several ranches and auto camps sprang up south of Jenny Lake. The Elbo Ranch was a large cabin camp; the Double Diamond Ranch was a boys' ranch; and the X Quarter Circle X Ranch, the Highlands and the Kimmel Kabins were auto courts.

Accommodations changed with the times: dude ranch infrastructure, such as barns and corrals disappeared, replaced by cabins clustered around a central courtyard with adjacent parking. As road systems improved and car-ownership increased during the Post WW II era, vacations were no longer limited to the wealthy. Middle class travelers experienced a newfound freedom, staying only a few days at one place before moving to the next. Traditional dude ranchers referred to these visitors as "tin can tourists."

Over the years, the park has reused many auto camp buildings. The Elbo Ranch cabins are scattered through the park as housing. The Double Diamond Ranch now serves as the American Alpine Club Climbers' Ranch. Seasonal employees live in the Kimmel Kabins during the summer, and the Highlands is home to many other summer park employees.

How to get there: Drive north from Jackson to Moose Junction. Turn left onto the Teton Park Road. Drive through the entrance station. Turn left in three miles onto a dirt following signs to the Climbers Ranch. The Climbers’ Ranch provides lodging during the peak summer months.

Did You Know?

Close-up of trumpeter swan head

Did you know that Grand Teton National Park is home to the largest bird in North America? The Trumpeter Swan weighs 20-30 pounds and lives in the valley year-round in quiet open water.