Death Canyon Shelf, a North American Tundra

The Grand Teton from the Death Canyon Shelf |Photo by Vance Boyer

The Grand Teton from the Death Canyon Shelf | Vance Boyer | Panoramio

Imagine you have an opportunity to travel North where the wildflowers, moss, and the lichen grow. In the majestic state of Wyoming, wildlife blankets the Grand Teton National Park for hundreds of square miles. Within the Grand Teton, in the southernmost region of this monumental park you will find the Death Canyon Shelf, a narrow plateau where the days are sunny and the nights are frigid. At approximately 10,000 ft (3,000 m) in elevation, sub-zero temperatures in this canyon are common throughout winter and into the spring and during the short summer months you will feel the mild warmth of 70Ā° fahrenheit.

If you like adventures, you might say “Oh yeah! When should I leave?” Then you might begin to wonder if you should carry a backpack or haul a suitcase. What would you take? What climate conditions might you encounter in January? What kind of wildlife will you see living in this territory of Wyoming?


There are many different types of biomes, including tropical rainforest, grasslands, deserts, taigas, temperate deciduous and coniferous forest. Ecologist insist on a growing list of classifications due to unique land features, climates, and living organisms found around the world. Under the right conditions plants and animals flourish within these biomes, creating an interconnected system of living parts (plants, animals, bacteria, fungus) and non living parts (light, water, soil, air, minerals).

Learning about the types of biomes, its living and non living parts, will help you to better understand how regions of the world share similar land features and why certain animals and plants are found in one location and not the next. At the same time, you will gain a greater appreciation for wild landscapes like the ones found in the state of Wyoming. Who knows, maybe one day you will backpack through the Death Canyon Trail yourself and explore the boundless beauty of this tundra.

Study Jams: Biomes | Scholastic



  1. What is a biome?
  2. Using the Kids Do Ecology link above, which biome would you like to know more about?
  3. Where in the world would you find your selected biome?
  4. How would you describe its climate?
  5. What land features do you notice in your biome?
  6. Biomes have nonliving parts that are needed for the survival of living parts in any ecosystem. What are the nonliving parts of an ecosystem?
  7. Why are the nonliving parts important?

Source: National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis

Source: Dean’s Place – Grand Teton National Park

Categories: Science

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16 replies

  1. Someday I would like to go to death valley with my family. thanks 34kiws for making posts.

  2. I think that death canyon and death valley look so not alike because they have their own name in a different way that what i think that of their name does not mean how it describes it that’s why.

  3. I wonder what animals live there.

  4. It does not look like death valley. It is the opposite of death valley!

  5. The biome I live in is “Desert Chaparral” according to Google šŸ™‚ Also biome means a large naturally occurring community of flora and fauna occupying a major habitat, e.g., forest or tundra.

  6. It does not look like death valley!

    • I believe I know what you are trying to say, but just in case. Death Canyon Shelf is located in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. Death Valley National Park is located in the state of California and a small part of Nevada state.

  7. I wish I could go to Death Canyon.

  8. This is very interesting and thank you for doing this.

  9. Very interesting indeed I would love to explore such an amazing canyon.