Summer visitors to Jackson Hole can choose from an overwhelming array of outdoor options. Top favorites include float trips and whitewater rafting on the Snake River, mountain biking, hiking, and horseback rides, but kids love the alpine slide at Snow King, the fun pool at the rec center, and the tram rides at Jackson Hole Resort, not to mention the Town Square shoot-outs and evening rodeos that fill the summer calendar. If you’ve booked only a few days, you’ll wish for more time to explore this fascinating place.
Summertime bus tours of Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks are available several times a week from Gray Line of Jackson Hole/Alltrans (307/733-3135 or 800/443-6133, www.graylinejh.com). Yellowstone tours last 11 hours and cost $115, while eight-hour Grand Teton tours are $100; rates for kids are half-price. Add a $12 park entrance fee to both tours.
During winter, Gray Line/Alltrans has daily bus runs to Flagg Ranch Resort for $106 round-trip, arriving in time to meet the snowcoach departures for Yellowstone. Reservations required. Jackson taxi companies also offer shuttle services within the park and guided tours.
Operated by Teton Science School, Wildlife Expeditions (307/733-2623 or 888/945-3567, www.wildlifeexpeditions.org) leads an array of wildlife-viewing safaris throughout the region, from four-hour sunset trips for $125 to four-day tours through Yellowstone and Grand Teton for $1,995. Their trips change seasonally—depending upon which animals are visible—and are offered in customized vehicles with multiple roof hatches for better wildlife viewing.
Get a geologist's perspective on the area from Earth Tours (307/733-4261, www.earth-tours.com), with outstanding tours and hikes led by Dr. Keith Watts. He also guides full-day trips into Yellowstone and longer trips to southern Utah parks.
Other companies with guided van tours of the area include:
- Ana's Grand Excursions
- Brushbuck Guide Services
- Callowishus Park Touring Company
- EcoTour Adventures
- Upstream Anglers and Outdoor Adventures
307/739-9443 or 800/642-8979
- Grand Teton Adventure Company
307/734-4454 or 800/700-1558
- The Hole Hiking Experience
307/690-4453 or 866/733-4453
- VIP Adventure Travel
The largest, Miller Park, covers a grassy city block at Deloney and Gill Streets and includes basketball and tennis courts, a picnic shelter, restrooms, and a delightful playground.
Powderhorn Park, on the west side of town near Powderhorn and Alpine Lanes, has additional playground equipment, a picnic shelter, and restrooms.
Mike Yokel Jr. Park, on East Kelly Avenue near Snow King, features a sand volleyball court, horseshoe pits, a playground, a picnic shelter, and restrooms.
Baux Park at the base of Snow King Mountain is similar, with a playground, horseshoe pits, and picnic tables.
Home Ranch Park is next to the parking lot at Cache and Gill and has picnic tables and restrooms.
Owen Bircher Park in Wilson includes a summertime roping arena (a good place to watch budding cowboys and cowgirls on summer afternoons) that becomes a wintertime ice rink. The park also has a sand volleyball court, a softball/soccer field, picnic tables, and restrooms.
In addition to those mentioned in the town parks, public restrooms can be found half a block south of Town Square on Cache Drive.
Two local companies offer early morning hot-air balloon rides in the summer: Wyoming Balloon Co. (307/739-0900, www.wyomingballoon.com) and Endeavor Ballooning (307/699-1339, www.wyominghotair.com). Adult rates are $295 per person for these hour-long flights.
The top of the Jackson Hole Resort tram is a favorite place for paragliders to launch. Tandem paragliding flights ($225) are available from Jackson Hole Paragliding (307/739-2626, www.jhparagliding.com). No experience is needed for these 15-minute flights.
Cowboy Up Hang Gliding (307/413-4164, www.cuhanggliding.com) has tandem flights from Alpine (35 miles southwest of Jackson), using an ultralight to gain altitude for flights over the Salt River Range. These cost $169 for a flight that lasts at least 20 minutes.
Over the pass in Driggs, Idaho, Teton Aviation Center (208/354-3100 or 800/472-6382, www.tetonaviation.com) has glider flights,at $250 for a one-hour flight; they’re a great way to come eye-to-eye with Grand Teton.
Gold and Tennis
Like many resort areas, Jackson Hole has an abundance of tony golf courses, including five in the valley plus another six over the pass in Teton Valley. Jackson Hole Golf and Tennis Club (307/733-3111, www.jhgtc.com), one mile north of town, has a public 18-hole golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. and rated one of the 10 best in America. Also here are a private swimming pool, tennis courts, fitness center, and North Grille Restaurant (11:30 a.m.-close in summer) for patio dining.
Teton Pines Country Club (on Teton Village Rd., 307/733-1773 or 800/238-2223, www.tetonpines.com) is Jackson Hole’s other golf spot open to the public. Its Arnold Palmer-designed 18-hole championship course is very challenging; 14 of the holes require over-water shots. The club also features a grand clubhouse, tennis courts, and a large (and private) outdoor pool, along with fine dining at The Pines restaurant. Both Teton Pines and Jackson Hole Golf and Tennis Club have rentals and lessons for golfers and tennis aficionados.
The Tom Fazio-designed 18-hole course Shooting Star Golf Course (307/739-3260 or 877/739-8062, www.shootingstarjh.com) opened in 2009 next to Teton Village. It is, however, only for members, and at $100,000 per, it’s a bit beyond the range of most mortals!
For the dedicated miniature golfer, Alpine Miniature Golf (307/733-5200 or 800/522-5464, www.snowking.com, $8) has a Lilliputian 18-hole hillside course next to the Alpine Slide at Snow King Resort.
Public tennis courts are on the east end of the rodeo grounds along Snow King Drive, and within Miller Park at Deloney and Gill Streets.
© Don Pitcher from Moon Yellowstone & Grand Teton, 5th Edition