A Jackson Hole summer really comes alive from June through early September, offering all manner of activities and adventures throughout the valley and in Grand Teton National Park. Push your limits, try out something new, or deepen an existing passion, all in the glorious outdoor playground we call home.
1. Climb the Tetons
Looking for some vertical adventure? Making it to the top of a mountain is a major triumph and can be one of the highlights of your trip to Jackson Hole. Whether you want to make an epic ascent of the Grand Teton (you need to book this weeks or month in advance) 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 has a fun family and kids climbing class. In addition, experienced day climbers will enjoy local hot spots such as Blacktail Butte and the Rodeo Wall. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort's climbing attraction, Via Ferrata, is garnering raves from locals, so consider this assisted climbing option whether you're a novice or a more seasoned climber.
2. Mountain Bike
Over the past decade, Jackson Hole has emerged as a world-class mountain biking destination. The area’s abundance of trails and bike shops makes it easy for bikers of all abilities to get off 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. In the town of Jackson, 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. Serious adrenaline junkies need go only a few miles west to get their fix.
For those looking for a mellower ride, check out Jackson's popular Pathways. These paved bike trails not only run between Jackson, Wilson and Teton Village, but continue into the stunning heart of Grand Teton National Park. Teton Mountain Bike Tours offers guided rides for all abilities.
3. Go Western
No trip to the Cowboy State would be complete without some old-fashioned, Western good times. Jackson Hole is, after all, “the last of the Old West,” so connect to the spirit, forge your own frontier memories and indulge your inner cowboy.
Trail Rides: Few activities offer as much insight into the traditions and textures of the West as horseback riding. Stables are located throughout the valley, and each offer rides to accommodate any schedule, from an hour to a full day. These full-service dude ranches also offer guides, camping equipment and provisions for multi-day pack trips.
RELATED: Horseback Riding in Jackson Hole: The Essentials
Chuck wagons: Chuckwagon dinners at Bar T Five or Spring Creek Ranch, offer up solid grub and a dose of Western entertainment: What could be more perfect than eating dinner with a cowboy or two? Chuckwagon dinners are great fun for the whole family and a must-see for those who’ve never experienced the Old West firsthand.
Stagecoach Rides: Hop aboard a bone fide stagecoach for a 10-minute ride around town, with two handsome, yoked horses leading the way.
Jackson Hole Shootout: From Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day each year, the streets are cleared at 6 p.m. (except Sundays) to accommodate the Jackson Hole Shoot-out Gang. With characters as dastardly or virtuous as you’ll find in any tumbleweed saloon, the gang puts on a show that culminates with an authentic shoot-out, the longest-running of its kind in the country.
Jackson Hole Shooting Experience: Looking for a unique activity in Jackson Hole for the entire family to enjoy and connect? Jackson Hole Shooting Experience offers safe, fun and educational multi-gun shooting experiences that will strengthen connections and build memories, making your vacation a huge success.
Ready, set, rodeo! As anyone who's cheered in the stands can attest, the Jackson Hole Rodeo is the real deal. Catch the excitement—and cowboy fever—on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights.
4. Take a Hike
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 offers 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!
RELATED: Top 12 Grand Teton Hiking Trails, The Ultimate Guide to Hiking in Jackson Hole, Short Grand Teton National Park Hikes
5. Get In (or On) the Water
If you’ve had enough of terra firma, head out onto one of Jackson Hole’s many waterways. From whitewater rafting to paddleboarding to scenic floats trips and canoeing, the Jackson Hole area has no equal when it comes to combining beauty with water adventure. The Tetons’ placid lakes offer many options for integrating a paddle or float with wildlife viewing, and the Snake River flowing into and out of Jackson is the prime choice for drift boat fishing. Eighteen miles south of town, the Snake River Canyon promises soaks and thrills for those seeking high-intensity whitewater adventure.
Feel free to jump into the many lakes, streams and rivers that dot the valley, as well as the swimming pond at Rendezvous Park (R Park) in Wilson. For an extra special experience, head to Astoria Hot Springs Park, only 20 minutes from Jackson on the banks of the Snake River, which features 5 soaking pools, including a dedicated pool for kids (reservations only; $18 adults, $14 kids 2-12, free for infants to 24 months). Or venture out to the rustic and relaxing Granite Hot Springs pool, just 30 minutes south of town ($8 adults; $5 children)
RELATED: Scenic Float Through Grand Teton National Park, Jackson Hole Water Fun, Jackson Hole Whitewater Rafting: The Essentials, Get on the Water in Grand Teton
6. Get Up High
Learn 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.
Gondola to Happy Hour. Catch the Bridger Gondola at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort for $16 starting at 5 p.m. every day and enjoy Happy Hour and stunning views at The Deck.
Take an Aerial Tram ride. Also known as "Big Red," the tram takes passengers 4,139 vertical feet from the base of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort to the 10,450-foot summit of Rendezvous Mountain.
Climb 2,000 feet. Catch a ride on the Dreamcatcher chairlift to the peak of Fred’s Mountain. Get an aerial view of Grand Targhee and enjoy a 360-degree view that will take your breath away. Make sure to check out the Summit hiking trail or the scenic overlook where you’ll come face to face with the highest peaks in the Teton range.
View the whole of the Hole. A scenic trip to the top of Snow King Mountain on the resort's new, 8-person gondola allows you nearly unbeatable, 360-degree views of the Tetons and the town of Jackson.
7. Go Camping
Whether you’re a hardcore backpacker or laid-back car camper, Jackson Hole is a premium spot for getting into the woods. You can pitch your tent at a Park Service- or Forest Service-maintained site or venture farther afield. There are several RV parks near Jackson Hole offering easy access to Grand Teton National Park, complete with spectacular views. On the other hand, a backpacking trip to Paintbrush Canyon or along the Teton Crest Trail will challenge even the most wizened backcountry experts. Keep in mind that permits and restrictions are in place for backpacking campsites in the national parks and certain other areas. You can rent gear at Teton Mountaineering or Skinny Skis, or try and score a sweet deal at Headwall recycle sports !
RELATED: Best RV Parks Near Jackson Hole, Free Camping in Jackson Hole, Camping in Grand Teton National Park
Does the idea of running off of a mountain, taking flight like a bird, and soaring between the Tetons’ peaks appeal to you? [Watch Video] If so, look no further than one of Jackson’s Hole’s paragliding services. Paragliding is a safe, once-in-a-lifetime experience that will give you a whole new perspective on the Jackson Hole landscape. Flyers strap into a tandem paraglider with an experienced pilot who will navigate you over 3,200 feet back to the valley floor.
9. Fly Fish
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: Fly Fishing Jackson Hole: The Essentials, An Angler's Paradise
10. Learn About the Lore of Jackson Hole
Like ghostly brands on the wilderness, traces remain of the valley’s original homesteaders. For a glimpse of the structures they built to shelter from the elements, drive out to Mormon Row near Kelly. There you can also see the iconic Moulton Barn, one of the most photographed structures in all of Jackson Hole.
Menor’s Ferry Historic District is located half a mile from Grand Teton National Park’s Moose entrance. For many years the ferry was the only dry way for people to get across the Snake River. Park rangers offer daily, free rides on a replica ferry, as well as a tour of the district, which includes settler Bill Menor's 1894 cabin and general store. Near Menor’s Ferry is the Chapel of the Transfiguration, which was built in 1925. It has been—and still is—the site of many a Teton wedding.
At the edge of the National Elk Refuge sits the historic Miller House with an enviable view of the Tetons. The Miller Ranch has been an integral part of the valley’s evolving history for more than 100 years. During summer, a volunteer staff is on duty to share the history of the refuge and early homesteaders who lived on the land.
The Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum hosts free walking tours around downtown Jackson in the summertime and brings Jackson Hole’s multi-faceted history to life through a collection of diverse exhibits.
The Murie Center is located on the historic Murie Ranch in Moose and was once the heart and soul of the early conservation movement. At 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, you can take a 30-minute, docent-led tour of the home of late environmental stewards Mardy and Olaus Murie.
The White Grass Ranch. This former dude ranch on Death Canyon Road is now home to the Western Center for Historic Preservation, an educational and resource center dedicated to the preservation and maintenance of cultural resources in our Western national parks.
RELATED: The West: Living the History of Jackson Hole, Educational Tours in Jackson Hole: The Essentials
11. View Wildlife
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 lead hiking and driving excursions throughout Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone—just don't forget to bring your camera!
You may want to visit a wildlife park. Yellowstone Bear World is a fantastic opportunity for the whole family to view grizzlies, black bears, gray wolves and many other species of North American wildlife in their natural habitat, all from the comfort and safety of your car or RV. Experienced guides enlighten you with great animal facts and educational information throughout your drive in the park.
RELATED STORIES: Jackson Hole Wildlife Tours: The Essentials, Grand Teton National Park Wildlife Viewing, Grand Teton & Jackson Hole Wildlife Tours, My Wildlife Expedition in Jackson Hole
12. Play Golf
Add an extra 25 yards to your tee shot on one of Jackson’s world-class courses. At this high altitude, your drives go farther-but don’t expect your scores to get any lower! Teton Pines Resort & Country Club has been recognized as one of the 75 best courses in the country by Golf Digest and Conde Nast Traveler. This facility is open to the public, though tee times are required.
13. Take a Scenic Drive
Be a "Sunday driver" any day! While oohing and aahing is simply the name of the game out here, we've curated a few of the really jaw-dropping scenic drives around Jackson Hole.
• Moose Wilson Road. Wildlife spotting is a given on this narrow and winding, 8-mile road that runs between the Grand Teton National park entrance just outside of Teton Village to Moose.
• Inner Park Loop Road. Travel for 20 unforgettable miles through Grand Teton National Park underneath the watchful eyes of the towering Tetons.
• Jenny Lake Scenic Loop. This one-way, three-mile road off the main park roadway is a less traveled gem.
• Kelly Loop. The Kelly herd of bison comes out and plays in force just before sunset on this 16-mile loop that starts and ends at Gros Ventre Junction. Other sights include Mormon Row, Mouton Barn and Shadow Mountain.
• Teton Pass. This high mountain pass starts in Wilson and connects the valleys of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and Teton Valley, Idaho.
• Snake River Canyon. Perhaps one of the most gorgeous mountain canyon roads in the country! The Snake River hugs one side of the canyon and steep hills and mountains are on both sides. The Canyon road connects Jackson with Alpine, Wyoming, where the Snake and Grey's rivers intersect with the Palisade's Reservoir.
14. Sit a Spell in a Saloon
Plan to visit one of our iconic watering holes, rife with the history of the West and steeped in cowboy tradition. You can straddle a saddle at the bar of the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar and listen to live music while fellow patrons two-step and boot-scoot across the dance floor. Just around the corner from the Cowboy Bar, in the historical Wort Hotel, you can see the more than 4,000 1921 uncirculated Morgan silver dollars embedded in the bar of the aptly named Silver Dollar Bar. The Silver Dollar Showroom offers live music and a distinctly Western vibe nightly. The newly-remodeled Virginan Saloon in the Virginian Lodge is a classic Jackson Hole favorite location to hear local bands and mingle with honest-to-goodness cowboys. And no trip to Jackson Hole would be complete without attending “Sunday Church” at the Stagecoach Bar in Wilson where you can dance with a cowboy or cowgirl if you so choose as the famous Stagecoach Band plays on through the night.
15. Admire Amazing Art
Within the past decade, Jackson Hole has taken its place beside Scottsdale, Santa Fe, San Francisco and New York as a major destination for art lovers, becoming known as the Art Center of the Rockies. The National Center for Arts Research has ranked Jackson the most vibrant arts community among U.S. populations smaller than 1 million.
Nearly 30 local galleries—including the renowned National Museum of Wildlife Art—proudly present a broad range of work, from old masters like Charles Russell and Frederic Remington to nationally and internationally known contemporary artists, some of whom live right here in Teton County. The Center for the Arts, in downtown Jackson, also hosts art exhibitions in its lobby.
Art aficionados flock here by the hundreds every September for the Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival, widely recognized as one of the premier cultural events in the West, featuring works of acclaimed artists worldwide. Both the National Museum of Wildlife Art and Grand Teton National Park hold plein air festivals each summer.
The Art Association of Jackson Hole’s outdoor art fairs features local and national artists, demos, food, live music and more. This year's fairs will be held July 21st to 23rd and August 18th through 20th on the grand lawn at the Center For the Arts, located just a few blocks from Town Square.
RELATED STORY: Visit the National Museum of Wildlife Art
16. See a Stunning Sunset
When the sun sets in the Tetons, it’s a take-your-breath-away experience. Here are some of our favorite spots for watching the sun sink beneath the horizon and behind the dramatic Teton Range.
Curtis Canyon Overlook. Located close to the town of Jackson and reachable via the National Elk Refuge Road, this gem of a sunset viewing spot is part the Bridger-Teton National Forest.
Mormon Row. The Mormon Row Historic District is home to the Moulton Barn, the most photographed barn in Wyoming. Sunsets there can include bison from the Kelly herd, and only add to the jaw-dropping scenery. Drive north from Jackson on Hwy 191 past Moose Junction and turn right onto Antelope Flats Road.
Dornan’s. Whether you’re inside Dornan’s Pizza, Pasta Company or sitting on its upstairs deck, or enjoying a chuck wagon meal on a picnic table, you’ll have a front-row seat to watch the sun’s final hurrah of the day.
Jenny Lake and the top of Signal Mountain in Grand Teton National Park are two other places to see a memorable sunset.
17. Take In a Show
Jackson Hole Playhouse —Jackson Hole's only dinner theater—presents family-friendly musicals during winter and summer. The 2023 summer musical is the Western-themed "Annie Get Your Gun." It opens on June 1st and performances are Monday through Saturday. For tickets and more information, visit jhplayhouse.com.
18. Check Out the Nearby Towns
While Jackson offers a myriad of adventures, it can be very crowded during the summer season, resulting in long lines for restaurants, limited (or frustrating to find) parking spots both in town and in Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks and even discovering more popular hiking trails jam-packed with other hikers. Pack your patience.
So on that note, we recommend taking a half-or full-day excursion to the “bedroom” communities of Jackson — Alpine (Wyoming) and Victor and Driggs, Idaho. All are slower-paced and less expensive alternatives to Jackson.
Alpine is a relatively short jaunt from Town Square. Twenty-odd minutes of the drive is through the amazingly beautiful Snake River Canyon where you’ll see the mighty river on one side of the highway and towering hills and mountains on the other. Beer aficionados must make a stop at Melvin Brewing which sits on the Palisades and offers up award-winning craft beers, as well as snack, lunch and dinner items. You can also recreate on the Palisades Reservoir.
Victor and Driggs, Idaho, situated via Teton Pass on the other side of the Teton Range, are slower-paced and less expensive alternatives to Jackson. With a slew of eateries, several breweries, Grand Teton Distillery, golf courses, mountain biking and the popular “Music on Main” outdoor concert series in Victor offered on Thursday evenings during the summer, you will certainly delight in this side trip. The drive is approximately half an hour from Jackson.
Bonus Thing To Do: Meet Birds of Prey
The Teton Raptor Center Avian Experience Program offers you a 45-minute opportunity to meet various birds of prey (think eagles, hawks, owls) in its newly-remodeled historic barn every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the center in Wilson. Book online at tetonraptorcenter.org.
You can also learn about and mingle with these fascinating birds for free every Wednesday and Thursday in Teton Village (at the base of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort) during the Alive@5 series held from June through August.