The best time of year to visit Jackson Hole depends on what you want to do. Each season has something unique to offer. While some see the harsh winter as a snowy paradise and gleefully count each foot of snow, others look forward to summer flowers and long days on the Snake River. Optimistic locals are lucky to have time to explore the best of each season and probably wouldn't have it any other way. Ask two people who live here and they'll probably disagree on which season is best.
Visitors to Jackson Hole aren't in such a different position, either. If you know what to expect during our gloriously different seasons, you can plan to visit during the times you'll like best... or even learn an exciting reason to visit during a season you hadn't considered before.
Winter in Jackson Hole
Skier or not, everyone agrees that winter is when our valley, blanketed in snow, lives up to its romantic image. It's the time for sleigh rides in the National Elk Refuge, snowshoeing in Grand Teton National Park and snowmobile treks, sitting beside a quiet fireplace and watching snow settle, and, of course, skiing deep powder.
Annual snowfall accumulations in Teton Village range from more than 500 inches at 10,000 feet, while the valley floor at 6,000 feet receives 280 inches. Skiers from all over the world make pilgrimages to Jackson Hole for the incredible snow and terrain, but ask a non-skier and you might find that winter here is a favorite time to enjoy the splendor of the quiet outdoors.
Winter (mid-November-early March): 30 degrees and below.
Spring in Jackson Hole
Of all our spectacular Jackson Hole seasons, spring is certainly the least understood and maybe hardest to appreciate. But make no mistake: mysterious spring is certainly spectacular, too.
A confused mixture of summer-to-come and winter-just-finished, spring temperatures and weather from April to June can flip madly between the two climates. This is a truly quiet time of year in Jackson Hole, at least until mid-May when the highway north into Yellowstone National Park is re-opened. The rivers begin to fill with water runoff from the melting mountain snowpack and wildflowers begin to dot the valley floor. By Memorial Day, when the town fills up for Old West Days, winter is a distant memory.
Because spring is so unpredictable and quiet here, it can actually be a great time to visit, particularly for wildlife lovers. Certainly the most underrated season in Jackson Hole, spring has plenty to do if you're willing to go with the flow of what the weather presents. Many locals actually look forward to the calm and ability to explore the outdoors in a season that, for better or worse, actually has it all!
Spring (March-May): 35 to 70 degrees.
Summer in Jackson Hole
Summer is, for residents and visitors alike, the "stately dome of Xanadu" that Samuel Coleridge imagined in his poetic descriptions of pure reverie. Rivers run full. Mountain trails open. Lake temperatures rise. Summer theater and the Grand Teton Music Festival swing back into gear. The town jumps to life with its bustling shops, restaurants and literally dozens of special events. Hiking, biking, camping, rafting, climbing, fishing, golfing... a list of summer's pleasures in Jackson Hole goes on and on.
About the only thing that does settle down in the summer is the weather, which slips into a delightful pattern of days that are dry and mild, with evenings that invigorate and allow for an extremely pleasant night's sleep. Afternoon thunderstorms are the only real disruptions, and they roll through quickly, seemingly only so their heavy rains can wash the dirt from summer adventures off our cars before the sun comes out again.
Summer (June-August): 70 to 85+ degree days with cooler mornings and evenings. Generally sunny, though afternoon thundershowers are frequent.
Fall in Jackson Hole
For those that might see the bustling options of summer as a bit too much to handle, fall in Jackson Hole is essentially a quieter version. Granted, the full menu of summer activities isn't quite available, but it's close, and the calmer fall season has benefits of its own. The Fall Arts Festival takes place in late September, hunting season gets underway and locals who have been working double-time all summer long now have the time to unwind and chat—not to mention those incredible fiery aspens and the rest of the fall foliage displays.
In early fall, September, Jackson operates like a slightly calmer version of summer. Most of the same activities are doable, the hiking is fantastic, the fishing can be excellent, but cooler weather makes rafting and getting wet in the river a touch less tempting. October is the pivot month that in most years extends this summer revelry and in some begins to hint towards winter. Generally, September and October offer some of the most consistent weather of the year here with days warm enough to spend plenty of time outside.
Any fall day is a great one because it's a season where nobody loses. We're happy for warm days where we celebrate and savor the final feelings of summer, and happy for cold ones that make us giddy about a good winter of skiing right around the corner.
Fall (September-early November): 45 to 75 degrees. Never rule out an early snowstorm in Jackson Hole!