|Jackson Hole Vacation Rentals|
Long used by Native Americans for hunting and ceremonial purposes, John Colter was the first explorer of European decent to visit the areas now known as Jackson Hole, the Teton Range, and Yellowstone. After being honorably discharged from the Lewis and Clark Expedition, Colter traversed the area in 1807. When he returned, few believed his reports of geysers, bubbling mudpots and steaming pools of water. His stories were ridiculed and the area was referred to for a time as Colter's Hell.
Later, two mountain men named Davey Jackson and Michelangelo Franconi trapped beaver in the region and the round valley became known as Jackson's Hole.
The only incorporated town in the valley is Jackson, sometimes also mistakenly called Jackson Hole itself. Other communities in the valley include Wilson, Teton Village, Moran Junction, Hoback, Moose, and Kelly. On the west side of the valley, Teton Pass crosses the Teton Range providing access to Victor and Driggs in eastern Idaho and Alta, Wyoming on the western side of the Tetons. Numerous elk use the valley as grazing range during the winter, and sleigh rides to see them are offered to tourists. The Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Snow King and Grand Targhee Resort ski areas, and nearby Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks are major tourist attractions throughout all seasons of the year.
The valley is formed by the Teton Range on the western side and the Gros Ventre range on the eastern side. Grand Teton National Park occupies the north-western part of the valley encompassing much of the Teton Range as well as Jackson Lake. The town of Jackson, Wyoming, is at the southern end. Between them lies the National Elk Refuge, the winter home of the largest elk herd on earth. The Snake River runs through the entire valley from its headwater in Yellowstone in the north to the mouth of the Snake River Canyon at the southern tip of the valley. Blacktail Butte is a prominent landform rising from the valley floor. The average altitude of the valley is over 6,500 feet (2,000 m). The elevation of the Grand Teton is 13,770 feet (4,198 m).
High altitude and steep mountain slopes on all sides of the valley often cause calm winter nights to be very cold, as cooling from snow-covered ground creates cold air near the surface, which then slides down into the valley due to its higher density. In 1993, this effect during an already severe cold snap plunged the morning low temperature down to -56°F (-49°C) in the valley, officially recorded by the National Weather Service. The state record low temperature was also recorded in the valley at Moran at -66°F (-54°C) in 1933.