Did you ever wonder what the difference is between Jackson and Jackson Hole? Well, Jackson is the city and Jackson Hole refers to the entire valley. Regardless of if you are staying in town or at Teton Village there are many things to do in Jackson Hole.
Where to Stay in Jackson Hole
If staying in town, consider the historic Wort Hotel, which was constructed for $90,000 and opened its doors in 1941. It has changed ownership of few times and survived a fire, but still offers the finer touches. The hotel has won all sorts of awards, from the best small historic hotel in America to the best hotel bar with live music and its bar covered in 2,032 uncirculated Morgan Silver Dollars.
In Teton Village, enjoy the tried and true Four Seasons Jackson Hole Resort, complete with guest rooms, suites, and residences. The resort has three restaurants, a lounge, two boutiques, a salon and spa, hiking trails, and a ropes course and via ferrata.
Things to Do in Jackson Hole
With mild weather in July and August, summer in Jackson Hole is the busiest season. Visitors may enjoy wonderful wildlife, inspiring landscapes, or a nice night out. Below are just a few things to do:
Cast a Line
With all the water around Jackson Hole, it is hard not to go fishing. The Snake River, the Green River and Jenny Lake are all popular choices. The cutthroats and browns draw anglers from all over the world. Book a trip with Jackson Hole Fly Fishing School. Beginner or expert; wade, drift, or float; they have a trip for you.
Go for a Hike
If fishing isn’t for you, you may still enjoy the outdoors with a plethora of hiking trails in Jackson Hole. Many visitors flock to the Grand Teton National Park, take a boat ride across Jenny Lake, and then a short hike to Inspiration Point or Hidden Falls. But there are some other hidden gems in the area, especially for anyone with a dog who must hike outside the park.
A few choices are hikes to Ski Lake and Phillips Pass. Ski Lake Trail is a moderate five-mile hike to a small lake. The eight-mile Phillips Pass hike ends at the trail intersection of the Teton Crest Trail. The wildflowers are so thick in July, at times the trail is hardly visible.
Visit Grand Teton National Park
Speaking of the Grand Teton National Park, it may have the most spectacular scenery in Jackson Hole, if not the State of Wyoming. The majestic granite peaks tower over pristine lakes as bears, moose, and elk roam the Teton Range and the Jackson Hole Valley. At minimum, at least take a scenic drive through the grandeur. But to really enjoy the park, make time to explore the historic areas, to hike the trails, and to kayak on the lake.
Ride the Gondola
Another way to admire the magnificent Jackson Hole scenery is to ride the gondola at Snow King Mountain. The ski mountain is conveniently located on the edge of downtown Jackson. The 1,600 foot ascent to the top of the mountain provides panoramic views of Jackson, the Tetons, and even as far as Yellowstone National Park on a clear day.
Outside of town, Teton Village also features a gondola and many summer activities including mountain biking, hiking, a via ferrata and a summer concert series.
Attend the Jackson Hole Rodeo
Just down the street from Snow King Mountain is the Teton County Fairgrounds, where the Jackson Hole Rodeo is held every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday at 8pm. Gates open at 6:30. Go early to beat the crowd and enjoy Jackson Hole’s cowboy culture that came with the first settlers over 100 years ago.
Take a Stagecoach Ride
Continuing with the cowboy culture, take a stagecoach ride around town. The stagecoach ride departs from Jackson Hole Stagecoach on Town Square. The family friendly rides that talk about Jackson’s history and culture take place everyday between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
For a bigger cowboy experience, take a trail ride or enjoy a chuckwagon dinner in the Buffalo Valley with Castagno Outfitters.
Watch a Shoot Out
And for some wild west action, gather on the northeast corner of Jackson’s Town Square at 5:30 pm for the 65-year tradition of the nightly Town Square Shootout. The free shootout takes place from 6-7pm every day but Sunday from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
The show is produced by the Jackson Hole Playhouse which also puts on a dinner show and musical. Gun slinging waiters sing to you as they serve.
Enjoy the Arts
If westerns aren’t your thing, don’t worry, there is plenty of art to enjoy from galleries, murals, and programs at the Jackson Hole Center for the Arts. The Arts Center features live music, free art exhibits, and the Summer People’s Market.
The market is held every Wednesday from 4-7pm from June to September. The seasonal farmers market highlights local craft foods and beverages. Don’t miss the frozen Sloshies from Jackson Hole Still Works.
Grab a Drink
In fact, there are a few breweries and distilleries in Jackson Hole to do some tastings. The aforementioned Jackson Hole Still Works is located about 4 miles outside of town. They feature gin, double cask gin, and vodka with more spirits on the way. And you can get a sloshie to go, but careful driving as the tasty beverages include 4 oz of alcohol. It is not the typical, watered down fruity drink from a beach bar. You can easily get sloshed!
A couple of breweries to choose from are Stillwest Brewery & Grill and Snake River Brewing Company. Stillwest Brewery is located near Snow King Mountain, so plan on lunch and a beer after your scenic gondola ride. The Snake River Brewing Company is just a block from the Center for the Arts. The award-winning small craft brewery pours a variety of lagers and ales and offers a tasty food menu.
Savor a Milkshake
Alcohol isn’t for you? No problem, cool down with a milkshake from the soda fountain at the Jackson Drug. The Jackson Drug first opened in 1919 and operated until 1978 when the business was sold. After changing hands a few times, the great grand-daughters of the original owner Bruce Porter, have brought it back. It’s counter with swivel stools has an old-fashioned feel. The menu offers more than milkshakes too, so try the burger too!
Snap the Token Photo
Jackson Drug is located on the square, so after hanging out on one of the swivel stools walk across the street to capture that iconic Jackson photo with the antlers. A visit to Jackson Hole wouldn’t be complete without a photo in the antler arch!
Load Up on Outdoor Gear
While strolling around the plaza and the streets of downtown Jackson, load up on outdoor gear. As expected with all the outdoor activities in Jackson Hole, tons of outdoor gear companies line the plaza. Kuhl, Black Diamond and Patagonia are just a few direct gear companies, not to mention countless outfitters. Orvis is also nearby! I’m not a shopper, but outdoor stores lure me indoors. I particularly like Kuhl pants, Columbia shirts, and Patagonia jackets.
Watch the Sunset
Donned in your new gear, watch the sunset. The weather in Jackson Hole sets up some fantastic sunsets and with all the open space, it is easy to stop and appreciate nature for a few minutes at the end of the long days. Any wildlife, nightlife, music or nature lover will love a visit to Jackson Hole. ETB