A stay in Jackson Hole offers something for everyone. Your time in the Tetons will be marked by the serene to the extreme, from connecting to the cowboy spirit and unsurpassed outdoor recreation and adventure, to exploring two national parks. With all of this available, you’re bound to discover a wealth of things to do.
Experience the West in Jackson Hole
Jackson Hole brags that it’s the “last of the Old West,” and the bravado is real. Like ghostly brands on the wilderness, traces remain of the valley’s original homesteaders and all over town the cowboy flair lives on in spades.
Jackson Town Square is lined not with concrete sidewalks, but rather wooden boardwalks. The wood planking leads you to two iconic Western watering holes: the iconic Million Dollar Cowboy Bar (where you can sit on a saddle bar stool!) and the Silver Dollar Bar in the historic Wort Hotel, where 2,032 uncirculated Morgan Silver Dollars from the Denver Mint are embedded into the top of the famous bar. Indulge your inner cowboy or cowgirl by partaking in some Western swing dancing at the Cowboy Bar or the Silver Dollar, or head out to the Stagecoach Bar in Wilson for “Sunday Church.”
The spirit of the West is also present at the Jackson Hole Rodeo, the various authentic dude ranches in the valley and, of course, in the wide, open spaces decorated by sagebrush and even the occasional tumbleweed.
Grand Teton National Park
Often overlooked by Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park is generally beloved by all visitors to the point where they wish they had more time to explore it. Grand Teton Park is more “do,” whereas Yellowstone is more “see.”
The most accessible park for recreation due to its close proximity to Jackson Hole, this adventure-laden gem is 484-square miles rich in extraordinary wildlife, pristine lakes, hiking trails, a multi-use pathway system, the Snake River, and, oh yes, serenity. And did we mention the majestic, awe-inspiring Teton Range that runs the length of the 100-year-old park? Getting close to those mountains alone is worth the price of admission.
Yellowstone National Park
The world’s first national park is also one of its most distinctive. From rocky flats dotted with plumes of mysterious steam to bubbling mud pots and geothermal pools in shades of startling aquamarine and goldenrod, there is no place on Earth quite like it. In fact, Yellowstone contains the largest concentration of geysers in the world, including its most famous geyser, Old Faithful.
The south entrance to Yellowstone is only about an hour’s drive from Jackson. In fact, the popularity of Yellowstone in drawing sightseers to this region helped Jackson’s tourist trade take hold in the 1920s, when dude ranches like the still-operating Triangle X Ranch began inviting visitors to stay. Since then, Jackson Hole’s amenity base has grown exponentially when compared to the park’s other three gateway towns.
The term “Wild West” doesn’t just refer to the frontier/cowboy atmosphere here in Jackson Hole—the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is chock-a-block with furry and feathered wild things.
Nearly 500 animal species inhabit our region including moose, wolves, bison, elk, pronghorn, bighorn sheep and bears. We have one of the few grizzly bear populations in the contiguous United States; a stretch of the Snake River boasts the highest concentration of bald eagles in Jackson Hole; and one of the largest, free-roaming elk and bison herds in the country reside here—in fact, throughout winter the National Elk Refuge is home to some 7,300 elk.
Yellowstone has the largest concentration of mammals in the lower 48 states and is notable for its predator-prey complex of large mammals, including eight ungulate species and seven large predators (black bears, Canada lynx, coyotes, wolves, mountain lions, wolverines and grizzly bears).
Historic Jackson Town Square
Town Square is the cultural, civic and mercantile heart of the town of Jackson. It originated as an open space in the middle of Jackson where no buildings had yet been built, surrounded by more developed blocks in the sparsely settled street grid of the town. The area was used as a commons area by people and occasionally as a thoroughfare for migrating elk.
Dedicated as a park in 1934, the four main entrances at each of its corners are notably adorned with large arches made from elk antler sheds collected from the nearby National Elk Refuge. The first antler arch was built in 1953 and each is torn down and rebuilt periodically.
Jackson Hole’s retail and artistic core surrounds Town Square. You'll find an incredible selection of shops, boutiques and art galleries, as well as eateries and music venues. Several annual events are held on “the Square” every year, including the Elk Antler Auction, Old West Days, the Fall Arts Festival and the summer Farmer’s Market. And in winter, the center of Town Square becomes an ice rink!
Three Ski Resorts
Skiing in and around the Tetons falls well into the world-class category, with not one, but three major ski resorts located here.
Snow King, known as the “Town Hill,” offers a lot for such a small area. The hill boasts one of the steepest sustained pitches, top-to-bottom, of any area in the lower 48. The “King” also offers night skiing under the lights until 7 p.m.
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort has been named the No. 1 Ski Resort in North America by Forbes magazine an astounding eight years in a row. The mountain boasts acres of expert terrain and out-of-bound skiing and the longest continuous vertical rise of any ski area in the country.
Grand Targhee Resort is located on the typically snowier west side of the Tetons in Alta, Wyoming, and is known for the most powder days of any ski area in the country.
There’s a good reason the Jackson Hole locals all look so fit—outdoor recreation opportunities abound here.
Jackson Hole has an enviable role as a playground year-round. From skiing and hiking impressively vertical mountains to river rafting, snowmobiling and biking, from fishing to horseback riding, our big mountains, flowing rivers, mountain lakes, and miles of pathways offer endless chances to recreate.
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 art center. It has become known as the "Art Center of the Rockies."
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 Frederick Remington to internationally and nationally known contemporary artists, some of whom live right here in Teton County.
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.
Jackson also boasts a terrific Art Association where you can take a class or two if you are so inclined. The association is located inside the Center for the Arts where it has an art supply store for you traveling painters, sketchers and such to stock up on all you need to capture this glorious area on canvas. Check out the classes offered at artassociation.org.
Annual Jackson Hole Events
Although it's a small mountain town, Jackson Hole is nonetheless the site for numerous events and festivals throughout the year that draw countless numbers of people from around the world to experience happenings both big and small. Some of those events include the aforementioned Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival, plus the World Championship Snowmobile Hill Climb and road races like the Grand Teton Half-Marathon, Jackson Hole Marathon and LOTOJA 210-mile interstate bike race from Logan, Utah, to Jackson. We host large-scale music events such as the Targhee Bluegrass Festival, Jackson Hole Rendezvous Music Festival, and Grand Teton Music Festival. Other events include WinterFest, Jackson Hole ElkFest, and Antler Auction and the Mountain Man Rendezvous during Old West Days in Jackson Hole. And every year ends with torchlight parades and fireworks above the ski resorts.