One of the most-visited slices of wild country in North America, Jackson Hole attracts well over three million travelers each year. They come here for a multitude of reasons: to camp under the stars in Grand Teton National Park , to play and shop in the New West town of Jackson , to hike  flower-bedecked trails up forested valleys, to ride sleighs  among thousands of elk, to raft down the Snake River , to ski or snowboard  at one of three local resorts, or to simply stand in wonderment as the sun colors the sky behind the mountains.
Many continue north to Yellowstone National Park , another place on everyone’s must-see list. Drive north from Jackson toward Yellowstone and you’ll quickly discover the biggest reason so many people are attracted to this place—its beauty. The Tetons act as a magnet, drawing your eyes away from the road and forcing you to stop and absorb some of their majesty. Welcome to one of the world’s great wonderlands.
In the lingo of the mountain men, a “hole” was a large valley ringed by mountain ranges, and each was named for the trapper who based himself there. Jackson Hole, on Wyoming’s far western border, is justifiably the most famous of all these intermountain valleys. Although Jackson Hole reaches an impressive 50 miles north to south and up to 16 miles across, the magnificent range of mountains to the west is what defines this valley.
Shoshone Indians who wandered through this country called the peaks Teewinot (Many Pinnacles); later explorers would use such labels as Shark’s Teeth or Pilot Knobs. But lonely French-Canadian trappers arriving in the early 1800s provided the name that stuck: les Trois Tetons (literally, the Three Breasts).
The valley—originally called Jackson’s Hole—was named for likable trapper David E. Jackson, one of the men who helped establish the Rocky Mountain Fur Company. When Jackson and his partners sold out in 1830, they realized a profit of more than $50,000. Jackson’s presence remains in the names of both Jackson Hole and Jackson Lake . Eventually, more polite folks began calling the valley Jackson Hole in an attempt to end the ribald stories associated with the name Jackson’s Hole. (It’s easy to imagine the jokes, with both Jackson’s Hole and the Tetons in the same place.)
In 1991, a group calling itself the Committee to Restore Decency to Our National Parks created quite a stir by suggesting that Grand Teton National Park  be renamed. A letter sent to the Park Service and various members of Congress noted: "Though a great many Americans may be oblivious to this vulgarity, hundreds of millions of French people around the world are not! How embarrassing that these spectacular, majestic mountains are reduced to a dirty joke overseas." After a flurry of letters in response, the hoax was revealed; it was a prank by staff members of Spy magazine.