How The Tetons Got Their Name - Wyoming Magazine


How The Tetons Got Their Name


How the Tetons Got Their Name

Western Wyoming is well known for quite a number of different things, including Yellowstone National Park, the Wyoming/Idaho border, and the Teton Mountain range. The Teton Range of Grand Teton National Park of Teton County, Wyoming, is famous for its many picturesque peaks and beautiful scenery. The Teton mountain range has been around for quite some time (some estimate as long as 10 million years), and the mountain range was pushed up over time as Jackson Hole sunk, due to earthquakes along the Teton fault which run along the eastern range of the mountains. However, the French Trappers who discovered the string of big ol’ hills on the west side of Wyoming were primarily interested in the big three: Grand Teton, coming in at an altitude of 13,775 feet, Middle Teton at an altitude of 12,804 feet, and South Teton, which measures at an altitude of 12,514 feet.

While the Shoshone people who are believed to have lived in and around the range for as long as 10,000 years called the range “Teewinot,” which translates to “many pinnacles,” it’s believed by some that the voyagers native to France who stumbled upon our now ski-tropolis saw something else when they discovered the range. “Les trois tétons” became the name for the mountains, and, it stuck. Some people argue that the Grand Tetons were named for the Teton Sioux Native Americans who lived in the area, and that’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for how they got their name, however, it’s not the funniest. What everyone may not realize is that “les trois tétons” translates from French to “the three teats” which leads us to the other possible story for how the Tetons got their name. The story goes like this: A group of French explorers came across the mountain range one day while trudging across the frozen tundra of western Wyoming. Naturally, they were experiencing quite the opposite of what life in France would have been like for them at the time and found themselves suffering a great deal in their efforts to explore the new world for previously untapped resources, possibilities, and opportunities. As they lurched across the wilderness day after day, covered in heavy furs and carrying heavy sacks full of provisions, with no place to lay their heads at night except the cold hard ground and no shelter except for their tents, they no doubt were thinking about the various comforts that they used to enjoy back home.

Comforts such as warm homes, filling and enjoyable meals, and the company of a beautiful woman had eluded them for a long time, and no doubt they were thinking quite a lot about those comforts and how much they missed them. So, when the mountain peaks that are now called the Tetons came into view, it’s only natural that their first thought was breasts. Thus the Tetons were christened by grizzled, worn out explorers from France whose first thought upon seeing the majesty of that beautiful mountain range was “Boobs!” The Grand Teton is the tallest of the three peaks and its name is literally translated from French to “the big tit.” Given this translation, one would conclude that the Grand Teton is the D cup of the formation, while the Middle Teton and the South Teton are the C cups. The French explorers who found the Teton mountain range have done a huge favor to and provided an easy joke to middle school boys all across Wyoming.

Today, the Teton range has come to offer far more than a crazy daydream to freezing woodsmen explorers or a cheap laugh to middle school boys. With an enormous skiing and snowboarding community in the winter, and opportunities to get into essentially every other outdoor activity in the warmer months when weather permits, the Teton range is one of Wyoming’s biggest tourist attractions. Jackson Hole and the surrounding area is one of the more gorgeous places around these parts, though we’re not at all lacking in natural beauty anywhere in Wyoming.

Coming in at just over 10,000 people, Jackson isn’t the most populated town in Wyoming, but the number of tourists who frequent the area during ski season make downtown Cheyenne during Frontier Days look like anywhere else in Wyoming during Frontier Days. With multiple mountain resorts and ski slopes, the western edge of our neck of the woods is an incredible international destination for winter sports enthusiasts. So, if you’re looking to shred some gnar pow, take a scenic hike, or just enjoy the busty skyline, Teton County is the place for you.

-Wyoming Magazine

About Wyoming Magazine

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *