How to access Grand Teton National Park, Jackson after highway 'catastrophically failed'

An aerial image showing the section of Teton Pass that washed out on Saturday following mudslides in the area. There's no timeline for the highway to be repaired yet.

An aerial image showing the section of Teton Pass that washed out on Saturday following mudslides in the area. There's no timeline for the highway to be repaired yet. (Wyoming Department of Transportation)


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MOOSE, Wyo. — Grand Teton National Park remains open, but park officials are advising those planning to visit from the west to use an alternate route following last week's massive landslide along Teton Pass.

Park officials say people who would normally use Teton Pass between Jackson, Wyoming, and Victor, Idaho, should use Highway 26 in Idaho, which connects with U.S. 89 just north of Alpine, Wyoming. Travelers can then continue north on U.S. 89 where it merges into U.S. 191 to get to Jackson and Grand Teton National Park north of that.

This is the same route that the Wyoming Department of Transportation also recommended on Monday, adding that a temporary solution to reopen the road to some vehicles is at least a "few weeks" away.

Jackson's tourism office wrote that no other routes leading to the city or national park are impacted. It adds that the closure also doesn't impact any Yellowstone National Park access. Wyoming officials said they are also working with the U.S. Forest Service to "provide access to recreation areas outside the slide area" while the highway is closed.

Wyoming transportation officials said Saturday that a section of Wyoming State Highway 22 — also known as Teton Pass — "catastrophically failed." The agency released photos showing a segment near milepost 12.8 had been entirely washed out.

A large crack in the highway first developed on Thursday amid mudslides that impacted other sections of the road. Crews were evaluating movement when the greater road failure occurred, though no injuries or equipment damage were reported.

Transportation crews have remained at the scene and are working with "other agencies and partners to secure the area" as they explore interim access options, officials wrote in an update on Monday. There's no timeline yet for a final road repair.

"(Wyoming transportation) geologists and engineers are confident they can build a safe, temporary detour around the slide area using local fill material and paving two temporary lanes," the agency wrote. "They are hoping to have a temporary detour open to the public, likely with some strict weight and width restrictions in a few weeks."

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon issued an emergency order on Saturday in response to the washout.

Gordon wrote in a post on social media on Saturday that he met with both the Wyoming Department of Transportation and the Wyoming Office of Homeland Security to coordinate plans to rebuild the highway section.

"I recognize the impacts this closure has to Teton County residents, regional commuters and the local economy, and we are in direct communication with local officials," he wrote. "We will continue to provide updates on the road status as additional information becomes available."

Land erosion is a common occurrence in the West that often dramatically changes the region's stunning landscapes.

The Wyoming washout is similar to the historic flooding that washed away roads, bridges and houses in Yellowstone National Park in June 2022. Its north entrance was closed for several months, reopening in October of that year.

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Carter Williams is an award-winning reporter who covers general news, outdoors, history and sports for KSL.com.

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