The most exciting things to do in Jackson Hole during your vacation this summer. Push your limits, try out something new, or deepen an existing passion. All in the the glorious outdoor playground we call home.
15. 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 or try your hand at climbing for the first time, Jackson Hole’s various outfitters have you covered with the right gear, guide services and expert instruction. In addition, experienced day climbers will enjoy local hot spots such as Blacktail Butte and the Rodeo Wall.
If you're not ready to cross a Grand Teton summit off your bucket list yet, take a virtual climb instead at www.nps.gov/features/grte/grandteton/eClimb.html.
14. 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.
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.
12. 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.
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. 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.
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.
11. Take a Scenic Flight
If you think the Tetons look spectacular from the valley floor, just wait until you’re at 12,000 feet. Local flight services like Fly Jackson Hole, Teton Aviation Center and Jackson Hole Paragliding boast fleets of planes, gliders and hot air balloons designed for every type of flying experience imaginable. For thrill-seekers, there are the rollercoaster-esque acrobatics of Teton Aviation’s specially designed Extra 300. For those in search of elevated peace and quiet, it’s hard to beat the silent drama of a paraglider soaring over the Tetons at sunset or the gentle swaying of a hot air balloon as it coasts across clear mountain skies.
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. Just north of the town of Jackson, Curtis Canyon provides a low-impact camping option in the Bridger-Teton Forest on the far side of the National Elk Refuge. 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.
9. 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 ranches also offer guides, camping equipment and provisions for multi-day pack trips.
Chuck wagons: Chuck wagon dinners proffer up solid grub and a dose of Western entertainment: What could more more perfect than eating a dinner with a cowboy or two? Chuck wagon dinners are great fun for the whole family and a must-see for those who’ve never experienced the Old West firsthand.
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 and Saturday nights.
8. 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 new swimming pond at Rendezvous Park (R Park) in Wilson. For an extra special experience, head to the rustic and relaxing Granite Hot Springs pool, just 30 minutes south of town ($6 adults; $4 children).
7. 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.
6. Learn About the Land
Looking to learn more about the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and the region’s diverse biology? Ninety-seven percent of the land in Jackson Hole is protected, a living testament to America's conservationist legacy. With two national parks, towering mountain ranges, geothermal features and a host of interesting native species, the area’s wild and rugged terrain is an inspiring backdrop for continuing education of all levels.
Teton Science Schools offers educational programs for groups of all sizes that specialize in experiential learning. Geology, ecology, weather, plant and animal adaptation—the list goes on—and chances are, they have a course designed just for you. Day trips and popular summer programs incorporate educational outings with hiking, canoeing and other outdoor adventures fit for the whole family.
You can also learn about the land at the Murie Center in Moose, Wyoming, which was once the heart and soul of the conservation movement. At 2:30 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 Laurence Rockefeller Preserve in Grand Teton National Park, off the Moose-Wilson Road, and the White Grass Ranch on Death Canyon Road—formerly a dude ranch and now home to the Western Center for Historic Preservation—are other sites to visit and be enlightened about Jackson Hole's great outdoors.
5. Wildlife Viewing
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 17 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!
4. 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 entrace 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.
3. 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 and Jackson Peak hikes are popular, low-stress options. In Grand Teton National Park, the Bradley and Taggart Lake 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.
2. 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. 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 Historical District is home to the Moulton Barn, the most photographed barn in Wyoming. Sunsets there usually 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 today.
Jenny Lake and the top of Signal Mountain in Grand Teton National Park are two other places to see a memorable sunset.
1. Get Up High
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.
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.
Pull up a chair(lift). The scenic, 15-minute chairlift ride to the top of Snow King Mountain allows you nearly unbeatable views of the Tetons and the town of Jackson.
Gondola to Happy Hour. Catch the Bridger Gondola for free at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort starting at 4:30 p.m. every day and enjoy Happy Hour and stunning views at The Deck.