What Were the Grand Tetons Named For?

"Grand Teton," which is the name given to the tallest peak in the Teton Range, has its moniker rooted in historical controversy. It is believed to have been named either by the French upon noticing its likeness to the female anatomy or in honor of the Teton Sioux Native Americans who inhabited the region. Grand Teton towers above Northwest Wyoming and, regardless the naming dispute, its astounding beauty and limitless recreational opportunities go unquestioned.


Grand Teton was originally named Mount Hayden by the explorers in the Washburn/Hayden/Doane Expedition in 1870. However, the name "Grand Teton" was so commonly used that it became the official name in 1930.


The name "Grand Teton" does not come without historical controversy. Grand Teton may come from early French Canadian explorers of the Northwest Company, who, upon seeing the three peaks of the range, called them "Les Trois Tetons," or "The Three Breasts."

Many historians believe, however, that the name Teton comes from the Teton Sioux Native Americans who inhabited the plains west of Missouri. The Teton Sioux are a principle division of seven related Sioux tribes, whose leaders include Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse.

Geographic Description

At an elevation of 13,770 feet, Grand Teton is the tallest of the three-peaked Teton range. It sits within the borders of Grand Teton National Park, which spans 484 square miles and boasts more than 200 miles of hiking trails in the northwest corner of Wyoming


At the base of the Tetons sits Jackson Hole, Wyoming, a trendy ski town passed through annually by more than 2 million park visitors and Snake River anglers. In the winter, Jackson Hole and Alta, Wyoming, become booming ski hubs for Grand Targhee Resort.


Article Written By Henry Dark

Henry Dark graduated from Montana State University with a degree in English literature and is pursuing an M.A. from Middlebury College. His professional endeavors include auctioneering and fishing, while his literary pursuits, since 2005, include non-fiction publications, such as "Fly Fishing & Tying Journal," poetry/prose journals such as "Read This," and with "Story Quarterly," while working as an editor for Corona Publications.

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