Mount Moran, named for the famous landscape painter Thomas Moran, is the dominant peak of the northern Teton Range. The mountain also reflects all the geologic forces that formed the Teton Range. Ancient igneous and metamorphic rocks comprise the mountain core, sedimentary rocks drape the summit and Little Ice Age glaciers flank the slopes. The most noticeable feature is a vein (or dike) of black diabase that slices vertically across the east face of Mount Moran. The feature appears man-made, but molten magma squeezed into cracks in the existing bedrock almost a billion years ago. Later, erosion stripped away the surrounding rock allowing the dike to protrude.
Landscape artist Thomas Moran accompanied the 1872 Hayden expedition into Yellowstone. Moran produced many sketches and watercolors introducing the Greater Yellowstone area to Easterners. He visited the west side of the Teton Range, but never saw the mountain named for him.