Wyoming Cattle Drive Turns Park Road Into Steer Highway -- Briefly

For about 30 minutes this weekend, a road normally devoted to cars instead became a cattle highway, as wranglers on horseback moved 290 steer through a portion of Grand Teton National Park.

The annual cattle drive "is part of the tapestry that makes the park unique, this vestige of the old West,” said GTNP spokeswoman Jackie Skaggs.

Workers were moving a herd belonging to a private ranch into a summer pasture, where the steer will be better protected from grizzly bears and wolves. But to get there, the cattle must head down several miles of one of the park's main highways.

The move "went very smoothly," said Skaggs. "The cattle seemed to know what they should be doing. It happened quickly and efficiently."

Grand Teton National Park Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott, riding along during the cattle drive/Jackie Skaggs, GTNP

Park rangers set up barricades to prevent cars and cows from mingling during the cattle drive. Skaggs says because this has become an annual event, Jackson Hole residents and park visitors often come to watch.

“It’s such a part of western Americana to watch these cattle moving across the bridge with the Teton Range off in the distance,” Skaggs said, adding that the people who come out to watch treat the event like any other moment in their national park experience. "It's almost like seeing any of our wildlife -- there's a whole lineup of people with cameras watching the cattle drive move by."