• The Cathedral Group from the Teton Park Road

    Grand Teton

    National Park Wyoming

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  • Bears are active in Grand Teton

    Black and grizzly bears are roaming throughout the park--near roads, trails and in backcountry areas. Hikers and backcountry users are advised to travel in groups of three or more, make noise and carry bear spray. Visitors must stay 100 yards from bears. More »

  • Area closure in effect for trails in the Jenny Lake Area

    A temporary area closure will be in effect for several trails in the Jenny Lake area due to construction activities involving helicopter-assisted transport of heavy material. The closure will last from October 27 through October 30, and possibly longer. More »

  • Multi-use Pathway Closures

    Intermittent closures of the park Multi-use Pathway System will occur through mid-October during asphalt sealing and safety improvement work. Pathway sections will reopen as work is completed. Follow the link for a map and more information. More »

  • Moose-Wilson Road Status

    The Moose-Wilson Road between the Death Canyon Road and the Murie Center Road is currently open to all traffic. The road may re-close at any time due to wildlife activity. For current road conditions call 307-739-3682. More »

Mystery of the Colter Stone

John Colter Stone with name John on stone

The Colter Stone, discovered near Tetonia, Idaho in 1933, is a piece of rhyolite carved in the shape of a human head. It is engraved on one side with the name “John Colter”, on the other side is the year “1808”. If authentic, it represents the only solid proof of the route followed by trapper and explorer John Colter.

Colter explored the greater Yellowstone area during the winter of 1807-8, perhaps the first white man to do so. His route, however, is uncertain as no clear maps or records exist. Colter set out from a fur trapping fort in present-day southern Montana and headed south to near today’s Cody, Wyoming. On his return he passed through what is now Yellowstone National Park. The middle section of his journey is a matter of conjecture. One theory indicates he traveled via Togowtee Pass. The other commonly held view traces Colter’s route through Jackson Hole, over Teton Pass, and north along the west side of the Teton Range. No evidence exists to substantiate either route. The only available sources of information are vague accounts and maps derived from interviews with Colter after his return.

Thus, the significance of the Colter Stone becomes clear. The location of its discovery, the west side of the Teton Range, would prove that John Colter had traveled the Teton Pass route. But the Stone has not been fully authenticated, so the Colter Stone remains a fascinating piece of the puzzle yet to fit into the mystery of John Colter’s pioneering sojourn through this region.

Did You Know?

Close-up of a lodgepole pine cone

Did you know that lodgepole pine trees grow on glacial moraines in Jackson Hole? Glacial moraines are ridges of rocky debris left behind as Ice Age glaciers melted. The soil on these ridges retains moisture and is more hospitable to trees than the cobbly, porous soil on the outwash plain.