Teton Pass, a crucial mountain pass connecting Jackson Hole, Wyoming, with Teton Valley, Idaho, is known for its breathtaking views and vital role in local transportation. However, recent news of the Teton Pass being washed out has brought significant challenges and concerns for travelers, residents, and businesses in the region. Here’s what you need to know about the situation and how to navigate it.

The Incident: What Happened at Teton Pass?

On June 7, 2024 heavy rainfall and melting snow led to severe flooding in the Teton Range. The relentless water flow caused a significant washout at Teton Pass on HWY 22 at milepost 12.8, resulting in substantial damage to the road infrastructure. The washout has rendered parts of the pass impassable, disrupting travel and prompting emergency repairs.

Immediate Impacts on Travel From the Teton Pass Closure

The washout of Teton Pass has several immediate consequences:

  1. Road Closures: Sections of the pass are closed for safety and repair work, causing detours and extended travel times.
  2. Traffic Congestion: Alternate routes are experiencing increased traffic, leading to delays.
  3. Impact on Businesses: Local businesses, especially those dependent on tourism and transport, are facing challenges due to reduced accessibility.

Alternative Routes and Tips for Travelers

While the pass undergoes repairs, here are some tips and alternative routes for those traveling in the area:

  1. Plan Ahead: Check current road conditions and closures before you travel. Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) and local news outlets provide updates on the progress of the repairs and road statuses.
  2. Alternate Routes: WYDOT has been prompt in their attempt to address the impact of the pass closure and WYDOT crews are “hoping to have the detour in place within two weeks, weather permitting.”  WYDOT is working around the clock to “build a safe, temporary detour…likely with strict weight and width restrictions…around the slide area using local fill material and paving two temporary lanes.” In the meantime, consider using Highway 22 via Hoback Junction or Highway 31 through Victor and Swan Valley as alternative routes. These roads may be longer but provide viable options to bypass the closed sections of Teton Pass.
  3. Travel During Off-Peak Hours: To avoid congestion, try to travel early in the morning or late in the evening when traffic is lighter.
  4. Stay Updated: Follow local news and social media channels for real-time updates on the repair progress and any changes to the road closures. A great resource is the Wyoming DOT Road Conditions MAP.

Long-Term Implications and Community Efforts

The washout of Teton Pass has prompted a collaborative effort among local authorities, community members, and businesses to address the challenges:

  1. Infrastructure Improvements: WYDOT is working diligently to repair and reinforce the damaged sections of the pass. This includes assessing long-term solutions to prevent future washouts and enhance the resilience of the infrastructure. They are optimistic a detour can be opened within a few weeks.
  2. Community Support: Local businesses and residents are coming together to support one another during this challenging time. Initiatives include offering alternative services, promoting local tourism in less affected areas, and providing resources for those impacted by the travel disruptions.
  3. Environmental Considerations: The incident highlights the importance of addressing environmental factors that contribute to such events. Efforts to improve water management, maintain healthy forest ecosystems, and address climate change impacts are crucial for the region’s future resilience.

Supporting Local Businesses in Jackson, WY and Teton Valley

Local businesses in Jackson Hole and Teton Valley are feeling the impact of reduced traffic and accessibility. Here are ways to support them:

  1. Shop Local: Whenever possible, support local businesses by shopping locally or using online services they may offer.
  2. Spread the Word: Share information about local businesses and their services on social media to help them reach a broader audience.
  3. Be Patient and Understanding: Recognize the challenges these businesses face and show patience and understanding when dealing with delays or service disruptions.

Looking Ahead

The washout of Teton Pass is a significant challenge, but the community’s resilience and adaptability are already shining through. By staying informed, planning ahead, and supporting local efforts, we can navigate this situation together and emerge stronger.

As the repair work progresses, we can look forward to a restored Teton Pass that’s better prepared to withstand future environmental challenges. In the meantime, let’s continue to appreciate the natural beauty of the region, support each other, and remain optimistic about the road ahead.

Stay tuned for updates on the repair progress and any new developments. We will continue to post helpful and informational Teton Pass Updates on the Kabino website as more news is available.  Safe travels!