Experience Grand Teton National Park
In addition to the magnificent Teton Range framing the west side of Grand Teton National Park, there are myriad things to love about this 485-square-mile wilderness and recreation area. In fact, its wide range of recreational activities is among the most accessible of any national park. Exploration opportunities abound—and the amazing views just won’t quit. The park is open year-round but seasonal road closures limit auto access to some areas during the winter.
Ski and Play at Three Major Resorts
Jackson Hole boasts two major ski areas and a third “over the hill” —Grand Targhee—just a short drive away. For six years running, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort has been named the No. 1 ski resort in the country by Forbes magazine. Snow King literally looms over the town of Jackson and holds the title of the first ski area in in Wyoming.
In summer, find your mountain legs with a hearty hike or take a quick chairlift ride to the summit of Snow King and the Aerial Tram—nicknamed "Big Red"—to the top of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. Summer at both areas offers a myriad of fun, family-friendly activities.
Hit Town Square
Bathed by the neon honky-tonk sign of the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar and bordered by four quirky elk-antler arches and wooden boardwalks, the Town Square forms Jackson Hole’s retail and artistic core. From Western to contemporary, home wares to hats, jewelry to bronze sculpture—whatever your taste, you'll find an incredible selection of shops and boutiques. It is also the site of the Jackson Hole Shootout, the longest running one in the country. Don’t forget to take a photo under the antler arches. FUN FACT: Each arch is made up of 2,000 elk antlers!
Here's more of the lowdown on experiencing our cultural crossroads.
See the Largest Herd of Elk
You won’t need binoculars to view the thousands of elk wintering on the National Elk Refuge, a 25,000-acre swath of protected land. Each winter wapiti gather to feed, scramble for dominance with extraordinary antler clashes and rear their young. A unique way to experience the refuge is by horse-drawn sleigh. In summer, tour the historic Miller House that sits on the edge of this sanctuary and scan for nearby wildlife.
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park owns the bragging rights as the world’s first national park. It has approximately 10,000 active thermal features, the most famous of which is Old Faithful. The 3,500-square mile wilderness recreation area is mostly in Wyoming but spreads into parts of Montana and Idaho, too. Bison, bear and other fascinating wildlife abound within the park boundaries. It is open year-round, but in winter the roads are closed to automobiles; only snowmobiles and snow coaches are allowed—a decidedly bucket list way to experience the park!
See related story: Things To Do In Winter In Yellowstone National Park, Spotlight on Yellowstone Park
With more than 500 animal species inhabiting the Greater Yellowstone region, some have called our area the “American Serengeti.” The wild things are literally all around you! Spotting a bison, moose, bear, bald eagle, coyote and/or an elk are definite possibilities for you during your visit. Consider taking a guided wildlife expedition at the beginning of your trip to learn more about the area’s furry and winged residents.
Drink at an Iconic Watering Hole
Straddle a saddle at the bar of the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar; see the more than 4,000 1921 uncirculated Morgan silver dollars embedded in the bar of the aptly named Silver Dollar Bar in the Wort Hotel; or attend “Sunday Church” at the Stagecoach Bar in Wilson and dance with a cowboy or cowgirl.
Find Your Western Spirit
Attending the Jackson Hole Rodeo is a favorite way to experience a tried and true Western tradition. See authentic cowboys ride bucking broncos and testy, mighty bulls, barrel race and rope calves, among other competitions, every Wednesday and Saturday evening throughout the summer.
Venture Down the Snake River
Taking a guided, exhilarating whitewater rafting trip or mellower scenic float on the Snake River is truly a Jackson Hole must-do item during your visit. Professional and knowledgeable outfitters abound here to steer you down the magnificent Snake.
Pursue Endless Physical Activites!
There are myriad recreational opportunities in Jackson Hole. Hiking, biking, climbing, swimming, paddling, boating, rafting, horseback riding, paragliding, golfing, fishing, zip lining, tackling ropes courses, downhill, Nordic and heli-skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, dog sledding, snow tubing, ice skating and shooting experiences are all available. Phew! There’s no excuse not to be active in the Tetons.