Jackson Hole Traveler - Visitor Guide


Jackson Hole &
Grand Teton N.P.
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Adventures in Jackson Hole: The Essentials

A visit to the Tetons automatically spells adventure. It just does. Here, you can discover all manner of exhilarating activities to satiate your desire for adventures in Jackson Hole.
Adventures in Jackson Hole: The Essentials

Whether it’s hiking or climbing those magnificent peaks of the Teton Range, riding the rapids down the scenic and wild Snake River, maneuvering a mountain bike down a rough and tumble (well, hopefully not a tumble!) dirt track or winding your way on two wheels through Grand Teton National Park—even flying high over Jackson Hole Mountain Resort with a professional paraglider—adventures in Jackson Hole abound. The question isn’t “What can I do,?” it’s “What can’t I do?”

Below are a few ideas for a full day of summer adventures in Jackson Hole.

Jump Off a Mountain!

When visiting Jackson Hole, seriously consider crossing “paragliding” off your bucket list. This sky-high adventure can be had at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Teton Village, and tandem paragliding flights are the highlight of many people's vacations to the area.

According to Scott Harris, owner of Jackson Hole Paragliding, Jackson Hole is the best place in the country to paraglide. All tandem pilots are certified USHPA Tandem Instructors and experienced mountain pilots.

Flights begin from the top of Rendezvous Mountain via the Aerial Tram. Take a few running steps and you are airborne, seated in a comfortable chair harness, free to enjoy the awesome scenery and refreshing mountain air. You’ll get a bird’s eye view of the valley and breathe in the mountain air from a unique vantage point.

Guests must weigh a minimum of 50 pounds and a maximum of 220. There are two flight times at 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. from mid-May through early October; a 7:45 a.m. flight is offered between mid-May and the end of August.

For more information and booking, visit jacksonhole.com or jhparagliding.com.

RELATED STORY: Paradliging in Jackson Hole: A First-Person Perspective

Lace Up Your Hiking Boots

Hiking in Jackson Hole runs the gamut from river walks to boulder scrambles to mountain panoramas and "getting high"—like thousands of feet high. Everyone has their own definition of a day hike, and Jackson Hole has abundant options.

Near the town of Jackson, the Goodwin Lake, Cache Creek and Jackson Peak hikes in the Bridger-Teton National Forest are popular, low-stress options. In Grand Teton National Park, the Bradley and Taggart lakes hikes are pleasant loops around serene mountain lakes at the foot of the Tetons. Further into the park, hikers can make the trek up to the Phelps Lake overlook and Death Canyon trail for impressive views.

Check in with park rangers, visitor centers, or the local Valley Bookstore on the Town Square for recommendations and trail guides. The Hole Hiking Experience offers guided trips or go with Jackson Hole Mountain Guides to hike and scramble to a Teton summit in a day!

Traveler Tips:

• Cathy Shill, owner of Hole Hiking, says, “I encourage you to leave the busier trails of Grand Teton Park to discover solitude, the wilderness and adventure off the beaten track.”

• Be prepared in the backcountry! Always pack these essentials: food, water, first aid, warm clothes, light, fire, phone and bear spray. Learn more at backcountryzero.com.

RELATED STORIES: Top 12 Grand Teton Hiking Trails, The Ultimate Guide to Hiking in Jackson Hole, Short Grand Teton National Park Hikes

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort Mountain Biking

Put the Pedal To the Metal: Biking

Jackson Hole has emerged as a world-class mountain biking destination. An abundance of trails and bike shops makes it easy for bikers of all abilities to get on two wheels, off or on the pavement.

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and Grand Targhee offer lift-accessed mountain biking all summer, while the world-famous Teton Pass trails, with their massive jumps and wild features, will get even the most seasoned mountain biker’s heart rate up. Snow King Mountain's network of cross-country bike trails winds through a series of sunny aspen groves as it crisscrosses the ski hill and stretches into nearby Cache Creek on the Bridger-Teton National Forest. Serious adrenaline junkies need to go only a few miles west to get their fix.

Feeling super adventurous (and fit)? The area’s most grueling ride is the “Around the Block” route, a 100-mile loop that extends west over Teton Pass, south on Pine Creek Pass, and back around north through the Snake River Canyon. 

For those looking for a mellower ride, check out Jackson's popular Pathways. The nearly 70 miles of paved bike trails run between Jackson, Wilson and Teton Village, and include a wildly scenic 15-mile stretch of multi-use trail that rests within the borders of Grand Teton National Park. The park not only boasts the most paved trails out of any national park but it also claims to have the best.

Click here to review maps.

Traveler Tip: Teton Mountain Bike Tours offers guided rides for all abilities.

RELATED STORY: Jackson Hole Pathways and Biking

Summit of the Grand Teton

Climb a Mountain

Looking for some vertical adventure? There's a reason Patagonia based its iconic logo on the Tetons' skyline. Jackson Hole is the birthplace of American mountaineering and home to numerous classic routes. Although most of the summits and routes in the range were scaled during the first 40 years of the 20th Century, some of the most difficult routes are still only climbed by a handful.

At 13,770 feet, the Grand Teton is the tallest peak in the range and the goal of many beginning and advanced climbers. Its first ascent is disputed: Two climbers claimed the first summit in 1872, but the group that gained the top in 1898 cast doubt upon their story. Even before that, Native Americans built a structure of rocks called the Enclosure near the summit.

Making it to the top of any of the mountains in Jackson Hole is a major triumph and will be an indelible memory of your trip; plus, you’ll have bragging rights amongst your friends back home. Whether you want to make an epic ascent or try your hand at climbing for the first time, Jackson Hole’s various outfitters, Exum Guides or Jackson Hole Mountain Guides, have you covered with the right gear, guide services and expert instruction. Exum also has a fun family and kids climbing class.

Experienced day climbers can enjoy local hot spots such as Blacktail Butte and the Rodeo Wall. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort's climbing attraction, Via Ferrata, garners raves from locals, so consider this assisted climbing option whether you're a novice or a more seasoned climber. And speaking of novices, there is a boulder wall at the base of Snow King where all ages can perfect their climbing moves.

Contact info: • Jackson Hole Mountain Guides: 307-733-4979/jhmg.com • Exum: 307-733-2297/exumguides.com  

Jackson Hole Wildlife - EcoTours

Mingle With the Wild Things

Want to feel like you're walking around the set of an Animal Planet special? Perfect. No matter the season, Jackson Hole teems with wildlife. The more than 20 million acres that comprise the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem enable visitors to see many of the species that have come to define the West, including the iconic grizzly bear, wolves, moose, pronghorn and elk. Local guide services with experienced naturalists lead sunrise and sunset safari excursions throughout Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone.

You’ll be doing all of this exploring and soaking up wildlife knowledge from the comfort of a fully customized van or SUV that includes roof hatch windows above
each row of seats for safe, unobstructed, fun viewing.

Traveler Tip: Take a tour at the beginning of your visit here so you'll know where and how to look for critters and flying friends and gain a better understanding of the region’s wildlife, ecology, geology and history. 

RELATED STORIES: Jackson Hole Wildlife Tours: The EssentialsGrand Teton & Jackson Hole Wildlife Tours, My Wildlife Expedition in Jackson Hole

Fly Fish Jackson Hole with Fish the Fly

Get Into Something Fishy

One of the quintessential activities to do in Jackson Hole is fly fishing with the impressive Teton Range as a backdrop. The Snake River and its tributaries are known as world-class fisheries. From the upper reaches of the Gros Ventre River, through the braided Grand Teton National Park section of the Snake, to the lumbering stretches of the South Fork and Salt rivers, anglers find more trout than there are flies with which to catch them.

Whether by boat or bank, morning or afternoon, an army of outfitters and guides is ready to reveal the secrets of the wily cutthroat trout and others inhabiting the waters of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

RELATED STORIES: Fly Fishing, Fly Fishing Jackson Hole: The Essentials, An Angler's Paradise

Snow King Mountain - Treetop Adventure

Relish the Ropes

Both Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and Snow King offer ropes course adventures. Aerial challenges include riding ziplines and walking over moving wooden pieces, wires and balance beams.

At Snow King’s Treetop Adventure—hailed as "Swiss Family Robinson meets the X-Games"—you’ll cross suspended bridges, scramble up nets, cross swinging logs and even ride an aerial skateboard in addition to experiencing ziplines, plural. Seven courses for kids and adults are available. Snow King also has North America’s steepest zip line which will truly get your adrenaline to meet new levels.

The Aerial Ropes Course at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort features endless levels of adventure while suspended 25 feet above the ground. No experience is necessary.

Jackson Hole Whitewater Rafting on the Snake River Wyoming

Ride the Waves: Whitewater Rafting

If you’ve had enough of terra firma, head towards the Class II and III rapids of the Snake River on an 8-mile whitewater rafting excursion. Located 18 miles south of town, the Snake River Canyon promises soaks and thrills for those seeking a high-intensity whitewater adventure.

Many outfits offer a choice in boat size: an 8-person paddle raft or a 14-person raft. The 8-person paddle raft is really where the adrenaline lies and you'll have more of a chance to get involved in paddling the boat and experiencing the drama of no fewer than eight rapids. You'll also be able to take in the river's rich geological features and a range of wildlife including osprey, eagles and river otters as well as the occasional mule deer or mountain goat.

Your outfitter will provide transportation to and from Jackson and all paddles and life jackets, as well as guide services. Wetsuits and other gear are available to rent.

Highlights: Big rapids Big Kahuna and Lunch Counter, the scenery and learning more about the Snake River.

Traveler Tip: Due to the popularity of whitewater rafting in the summer, we recommend making reservations ahead of time. Occasionally, bad weather conditions can cause trip cancellations.

RELATED STORIES: Jackson Hole Whitewater Rafting: The Essentials, Get On Board the Whitewater Rafting Experience

The Last Word

"Jackson Hole" has 11 letters. "Adventuring" is also comprised of 11 letters. Coincidence? We think not. Head out here and get it done in spades.