Most people go “down memory lane” but if you want to visit these historic barns and structures, you’ll have to take a short hike “up” a slight incline!
Bill & Eileen Hunter used the ranch to raise purebred Hereford cattle. The historic Hunter Hereford Ranch rests remotely at the far east end of Antelope Flats Road.
Even though the barn and buildings are accessible to the public, few people actually visit the location. I suspect there are two major reasons for the lack of tourist activity. One: It takes a mile to mile and a half hike on a slightly inclined road. Two: Many people are unsure if it is legal to go there. I can help with the latter.
Grand Teton National Park took possession of the property and buildings in 1985 after the passing of Eileen Hunter. The region is inside the Park’s boundaries, but they don’t promote the area at all. In fact, a small wooden sign near the road says “authorized vehicles only”. I flagged a Park Ranger a couple of years ago and asked about the sign. He told me we could drive to the fence and park, then hike in. He added the road and parking area is an access point to the National Forest for the bison hunters.
“The Wild Country” Movie Set
“The ranch was used as a movie set for the film The Wild Country in the 1960s. Many of the original James Williams homestead buildings were altered slightly in order to fit a more romanticized Hollywood interpretation of what western architecture should look like. The alterations to the buildings were only done on the northern elevations that would be visible in the movie and could be easily removed. The wooden shingle roofs were covered in wood planking, and walls were covered with vertical log-slab siding. The most obvious alteration can be seen on the open hay shed, which was built up to resemble a church. The structure was originally open on all four sides and supported by posts. Just the north elevation was visible in the movie; this wall was enclosed with clapboard siding, and faux windows were installed with Greek Revival decorative pediments.” Source: Jackson Hole Historical Society
The Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum has detailed information about this homestead. Click Here!
To get to the Hunter Hereford Ranch, follow Antelope Flats to the East Boundary Road, then drive an extra few hundred yards to the locked gate. Park there, then hike up the two track road. At a normal pace, it would take roughly 20-25 minutes to make it to the Hunter Hereford structures. Along the way, you’ll pass another smaller homestead, shown at the bottom of this page. I don’t know the name of that house and barn but it is also owned by the Park.
Other than the large barn, most of the old buildings are in disrepair and all are boarded up. Still, they are interesting! The Park Service uses some of them for storage.
This barn is in great shape!
“The barn that was designed by Piers was an attempt to create a modern building that fit in with the more rustic style found throughout the valley. Nearby barns at Mormon Row were constructed from logs piece by piece and had a modest appearance. The Hunters wanted to emulate the building materials used on Mormon Row but on a more impressive scale. The resulting barn, despite being inspired by the small rustic structures nearby, is anything but rustic. The barn was built onto a foundation of cement, with an enormous hayloft that was well beyond the engineering capabilities of the early homesteaders. The barn was electrified and plumbed, where the early homes in the valley were without these modern amenities. The hayloft was also designed to hold dances and featured a staircase rather than a ladder. The impressive structure still stands today.:” Source: Jackson Hole Historical Society
For the “textures hounds”, there are plenty of photographic opportunities on and around the structures.
Gears, Sprockets & Chains
This handle was found on one of the sliding doors on what looks like an old garage.
I hiked to the Hunter Hereford Ranch with a tripod, camera and 60-600mm zoom lens. The lens with a large range gave me a lot of options, but you could use several individual lenses to do the same thing.
There is no access to the interior of the main barn. No telling what’s inside!
I don’t know much about this barn and ranch house. It’s located about half way up the road.
The metal roof on this barn has several large tears in it. For this photo, I did some digital roof repairs!
The house is still in pretty good shape but could use some tender loving care. Hopefully, the Park Service will “see the light” and preserve all of the the buildings for future generations of park visitors.
Photography Info for these Images
All of these images were taken on September 17, 2021 using a Sony A1 mirrorless camera and a Sigma Sport 60-600mm lens (Sigma does not make that lens for a Sony E Mount, so I bought the Canon version of the Sigma lens and Sigma to Sony adapter). I mentioned earlier that I took a tripod with me, which helps with panos, but wouldn’t have been absolutely necessary for most of these images. I chose to use a vintage photo “preset” in Lightroom for processing. Presets are a good way to give each photo a similar look and feel—and they save a lot of time!
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Additional Related Links and Pages
I offer year round photo tours in Grand Teton National Park and Winter tours in the National Elk Refuge. Book now! Click the image for additional information.
The post “Up” Memory Lane in Grand Teton National Park – The Hunter Hereford Ranch first appeared on Best of the Tetons, Area Info & Photography.