The Best Things to See and Do in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

The Grand Tetons is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise
The Grand Tetons is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise | © agefotostock / Alamy Stock Photo
Alexia Wulff

With its prime location next to the Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park, Jackson Hole beckons nature enthusiasts. No wonder it’s been dubbed an adventurer’s amusement park. From winter skiing to summer rafting, here are five ways to make the most of your visit.

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Ski the slopes at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort

In the northwest corner of the valley is the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort – a world-class skiing destination and among the town’s biggest tourist draws. At the base of the mountain is the quaint Teton Village, a little nook with restaurants, hotels and shops. In winter, visitors can take advantage of the 2,500 acres (1,012ha) of ski runs; in the warmer months, the resort is open for hiking, mountain biking, paragliding, rope-course adventures and tram or gondola rides with panoramic views.

Get outdoors at the Grand Teton National Park

With more than 310,000 acres (125,453ha) of snow-capped peaks and alpine forests, Grand Teton National Park provides Jackson Hole with a breathtaking skyline. A vast wilderness filled with pristine lakes, rivers and mountainous terrain, Grand Teton is adventurer heaven, with everything from hiking and mountain climbing to paragliding, fishing and backcountry camping. Just 13mi (21km) from downtown, it’s a must-visit for first-timers. For something less outdoorsy, take a drive along the John D Rockefeller Jr Memorial Parkway for views of Jackson Lake and Yellowstone National Park.

Explore Jackson’s abundant wildlife at the National Elk Refuge

The Jackson Hole valley is teeming with wildlife, and its most prominent resident is the elk. The National Elk Refuge is a giant, non-enclosed piece of land preserved for the animals. As winter approaches, thousands of elk make their way to the refuge where they feed on alfalfa pellets, put there by the staff. Here, they await the return of spring until conditions for foraging improve. Observe them from your car, or you can opt for a guided sleigh tour through the snow.

Bathe in the thermal pools at Granite Hot Springs

After a day of hiking through the Tetons or skiing down the slopes of Jackson Hole Mountain, there’s nothing better than some downtime at Granite Hot Springs. These thermal pools, complete with breathtaking views of the Bridger-Teton National Forest, provide guests with a steamy experience year-round – even when snow blankets the valley. At 7,000ft (2,134m) above sea level, in the Gros Ventre Range, it’s a real treasure.

Wander around downtown Jackson

Jackson, tucked in a “hole” in the rocky terrain of the Grand Tetons, is a lively mountain town comprising shops, restaurants, museums and art galleries. Get to know the town’s Wild West past via the history of trappers, cowboys and Native Americans at the Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum. Alternatively, head 3mi (5km) north of the town center to the National Museum of Wildlife Art. This small museum houses over 5,000 works of wildlife art from more than 550 artists, with some pieces dating back as early as 2500BCE. The Jackson Town Square, characterized by 19th-century log cabins and Western-style architecture, boasts chic boutiques, cowboy-style bars, rustic inns, local galleries and a small dinner theater, the Jackson Hole Playhouse. To experience the unique Western lifestyle, you can take a trail ride, stay at a dude ranch, reserve a chuckwagon dinner, catch views from a hot-air balloon or check out the Jackson Hole Rodeo, every Wednesday and Saturday evening throughout the summer.

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