Planning Your Time
Wyoming’s preeminent tourist town, Jackson is both an important access point for Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks and a destination in its own right. Visitors should probably plan on at least two days, but you could easily spend a couple of weeks just having fun in Jackson Hole (if your credit card doesn’t get maxed out).
Jackson has two peak seasons: summer, when families and international travelers stay here as part of a Yellowstone trip, and winter, when skiing and snowboarding are the big draws.
Prior to your trip, contact the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce (307/733-3316, www.jacksonholechamber.com) for brochures, or browse their website for links to hundreds of local businesses. Once in town, be sure to drop by the Jackson Hole & Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center (532 N. Cache Dr., 307/733-3316, www.jacksonholechamber.com, open daily) for publications, maps, and detailed area information.
Town Square in the heart of Jackson is shady and set with picturesque elk-antler arches on the corners, and a nearby street corner closes for entertaining shoot-outs most summer evenings. Acclaimed as one of the top artistic centers in the nation, Jackson has more than 30 art galleries, and the impressive National Museum of Wildlife Art perches along a hillside just north of town.
Visitors are drawn to the National Elk Refuge for its wintertime sleigh rides among the elk. Skiers and snowboarders enjoy the slopes at famous Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, smaller Snow King Resort, or on the deep powder of Grand Targhee Resort, a morning bus ride away on the west side of the Tetons. Jackson’s restaurants are easily the finest (and most expensive) in Wyoming, and lodging varies from cozy old log units to ultra-luxurious hotels.
In summer, the Snake River is a major center for whitewater rafting and fly-fishing, while mountain bikers and hikers head out on miles of paths. Horseback rides and chuck-wagon cookouts are other summertime favorites, as are the twice-weekly Jackson Hole rodeos.
At Teton Village, visitors enjoy classical music performances during the Grand Teton Music Festival in July and August. More adventurous visitors head out on extended backcountry trips into Grand Teton National Park and national forest lands, including beautiful Alaska Basin on the west side of the Tetons.
© Don Pitcher from Moon Yellowstone & Grand Teton, 5th Edition