May 29, 2016

Cattle Drives in Grand Teton National Park


There are so many beautiful places and breathtaking backdrops in Jackson Hole. For me, many of the places I choose to shoot are places that are full of so many great memories for me.

As Cole and I hike up the plateau overlooking the Tetons, I’m reminded of some of my fondest memories – cattle drives in the spring in Grand Teton National Park. From the early 1930s through the early 2000s we drove our herd from my family’s Ranch, the Jackson Hole Hereford Ranch, to the Elk Ranch in Grand Teton National Park. They would graze there all summer while we raised a crop of hay for winter feed.

It was rare to have a grazing permit in a National Park, it’s much more common to have a Forest Service permit because their property can be used for multiple purposes. Having our cattle graze right under the Grand Tetons in a National Park was something we never took for granted.

As I stood in the sagebrush, I immediately began thinking of my favorite day of the year- the first day of the cattle drive. What’s better than skipping school to ride my horse all day? For the first day of the drive,  we took the cattle from the ranch in Jackson and headed down Spring Gulch Road. We then went across Highway 26 towards Kelly, that is where they would spend the night by Blacktail Butte. The cattle drives took weeks because this was a long trek for the moms and calves.

As I look out at the Tetons I longed for the days of cattle drives, riding next to my dad and sister. We might not be grazing in Grand Teton National Park anymore, but much of our operation is the same as it’s been for nearly 100 years, and I am proud to be a part of continuing my family’s legacy of ranching in Jackson. 

The photo below was taking in 1950. Circa 1950


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