Two markers are found on the trail information panel at the summit of Teton Pass
Indian artifacts dating back over 9,000 years have been found in the Teton Pass and Trail Creek areas. These findings are proof of the long history of this natural travel corridor between Jackson Hole and eastern Idaho. Early Indian groups used this route to access hunting and plant gathering areas in Jackson Hole.
Early trappers and explorers used Teton Pass as the main travel corridor accessing the Jackson Hole area. Historic documents tell of John Hoback, Jacob Reznor, and Edward Robinson leading Wilson Price Hunt and a party of Astorians over Teton Pass in 1811 on their way to the Pacific Northwest. Jim Bridger guided William Reynolds of the Topographical Engineers over Teton Pass in 1860, in search of a suitable railroad route.
In the early 1880s, the first homesteaders began traveling over the Pass to Jackson Hole. The first horse-drawn wagon was driven over in 1886 by Joe Enfanger and Adolf Miller. At that time, it took about two weeks for adventuresome travelers to get over the Pass.
In the late 1880's, mail service from Victor, Idaho to Jackson Hole began, via horseback, wagon, ski and snowshoe. In 1912 the Oregon Short Line Railroad spur was completed to Victor,Idaho. This facilitated more tourists and freight coming into Jackson. To accommodate the needs of these travelers, road houses were built along the route between Victor and Wilson so passengers and livestock could rest.
Beginning in 1913, the Forest Service graded the first roadway up the Pass from Wilson - a vast improvement over the Wagon Road. The old Pass Road, initially widened in 1928, was used until 1969, when the present highway over Teton Pass was finally completed.
Teton Pass was the most important access connecting Jackson Hole with the rest of the world, particularly after the railroad arrived in Victor, Idaho in 1912. Homesteaders brought the first horse-drawn wagon over the Pass in 1886. The wagon route was used extensively to transport people, domestic goods, mail and cattle over the Pass until 1913 when the Forest Service built the Old Pass road.
Hiking the History Trail offers the opportunity to travel along the path of the wagon route and see evidence of Jackson's early history. Enjoy!