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Like a lot of places I share on here, I love Jackson, Wyoming. A lot. I would love to even live there someday, but for now I’ll have to stick with visiting. While I spent a lot of time in the Tetons in winter, I was only there for a couple of days in summer so I’d love to go back so I can do more hiking.
While the town of Jackson itself is adorable and everything you could want in a cute little mountain town, the biggest perk (I think) is all the outdoor activities available in the area year-round. Whether you just want to go for a short stroll, to see some alpine lakes, to look for wildlife, or to play in some fresh snow, there are tons of things to keep you busy.
If you do decide to travel right now, please do so safely and at your own risk. Wear a mask, wash and sanitize regularly, check any government regulations before going, and book accommodations with flexible cancellation policies, just in case.
Hotels in Jackson Hole
There are so many amazing hotels in Jackson Hole, whether you’re looking for a budget stay or for a night (or two) of luxury, there are tons of places to choose from. Some of the best places to stay if you want to relish in the luxury for a night or two include The Lodge at Jackson Hole, Wyoming Inn of Jackson Hole, The Four Seasons (super splurge), or Hotel Terra. The Teton Valley Resort, the Elk Refuge Inn, Flat Creek Inn, and Parkway Inn are a few options that are a little more budget friendly. Want to get points for your stay? There are a few chain hotels to pick from in town, too. There’s even a hostel called The Hostel if you’re really on a budget but don’t want to rough it and camp.
Wildlife spotting in Jackson Hole
My personal favorite thing to do in Jackson and the surrounding area is look for wildlife. This is a great year-round activity and great for anyone. You can either sign up for a wildlife safari (offered year-round) or you can DIY it. SO, which should you do? What about both!? One way to do it could be signing up for an official safari so someone who knows the area really well can take you to the best spots at the right times then you could DIY it another day after getting a hang of the lay of the land. But if you want to totally forgo the official tour, I have a whole post to help you DIY a wildlife safari.
Outdoor activities in Jackson in summer
These are going to be the best summery outdoor activities in Jackson and the Tetons. No matter which you decide to do, you’ll be able to experience the area in totally different ways than you would be able to in the winter, which is pretty cool. Just remember, summer is going to be a lot busier than winter. And hey, even if you don’t like hiking, there are tons of great non-hiking things to do, too.
There are SO MANY amazing hiking trails in Grand Teton National Park you could stay busy for years. And that’s just in the park. You can see alpine lake, summit mountains, walk through meadows, spot bears and moose, and even climb The Teton mountain (you know, the main Teton) if you’re properly skilled and equipped. You do need rock climbing experience to do that, though. You can hike one mile or you can hike thirty. You can see old barns and cabins or just good ol’ nature. My point is, no matter what kind of hiking you like, you can do a ton of it here.
There tons of rafting companies in Jackson (I haven’t personally done this yet, but here are some of them.) If you want something to get your adrenaline pumping do a real whitewater rafting trip. These vary in length a little but are usually around 8 miles. Want to get on the water but just want to relax and see some stellar scenery? Try a scenic float trip! These are 13ish miles but will also vary. No matter which you choose, it will be on the scenic and iconic Snake River.
Whether you prefer kayaking or paddle boarding, you can do either and will have plenty of options on where to do them! If you want to be in the park, you can paddle around String Lake, Jenny Lake, and Jackson Lake. Two Ocean Lake is another really good option that is farther away from the busy part of the park. Lower Slide Lake is another awesome choice with a great view of the Gros Ventre Slide. You can rent paddle boards and kayaks in Jackson if you don’t have your own. Side note: if you eat at The Bunnery for breakfast (eat at The Bunnery!) the Gros Ventre Slide is THE BEST.
It’s Wyoming, so of course horseback riding is going to be on this list. If you’re visiting Grand Teton National Park and want to experience it in a unique way, Headwaters Lodge, Grand Teton Lodge Company, and Triangle X Ranch can take you out in the park and they are the only operators allowed to lead horseback trips that are actually in the park. Want to see more of the area? Don’t worry! There are tons of ranches in Jackson and companies that can take you out horseback riding in Jackson Hole area. Head up towards Moran and Dubois for some other really amazing scenery and options.
While you may not officially be in the middle of nowhere, thee stargazing is still going to be wonderful! No matter if you’re camping or staying in a hotel, make sure you get out into Grand Teton National Park a bit to relax under the stars. Of course, the middle of the night would be the best time for this, but take a peek whenever you get a chance.
Outdoor activities in Jackson in winter
Ahh, so now you want to visit Jackson in the winter, too, huh? Good call. I LOVE Jackson in the winter and hope someday you visit in the winter as well. There’s just something so magical about the Tetons covered in 500 inches of snow. One thing to keep in mind is that a lot of roads in the area are closed all winter and some main roads will close if weather is really awful.
This is the most popular thing to do in Jackson in winter, FOR SURE. It’s one of the best places in the country for skiing and snowboarding, and for good reason. Snow King and Jackson Hole Mountain Resort are two places you can sleep and ski in Jackson. Don’t know how to ski but want to learn? You can do that here, too! Everyone starts somewhere, after all, and you might as well learn at one of the best places you can. Plus, those views.
Want to hit the slopes but not on your feet? Do some tubing at Snow King! This is a fun way to get outside and enjoy the slopes in a fun but also less strenuous way. This is also a great alternative for non-skiers and a fun activity for families and kids. Are you an adult though? Don’t worry! It’ll still be fun for you, too! I mean, you’ll probably go faster so there’s that, too.
Basically winter hiking. You won’t be able to access the main scenic road in the park but the main highway north towards Yellowstone is still open until the Flagg Ranch area. Some really great places to go snowshoeing in Jackson are the Gros Ventre/Gros Ventre Slide area, Moose-Wilson area, Two Ocean Lake area, Flagg Ranch area, and Death Canyon Road area. You can rent snowshoes in Jackson if you don’t already have some. This is such a fun way to explore the area and you probably won’t be seeing tons of other people out there. Also, don’t get too close to the bottoms of trees, the hollow area around them (officially called tree wells), because you can fall in and you can get stuck. People have actually died this way.
Basically fast winter hiking. This is a great way to see more of the area than snowshoeing since you can move quite a bit faster. I love snowshoes but they sure are slow. Or maybe that’s just me. Either way, this is a great way to get out and explore the area. I know in the Flagg Ranch area there were already cross country skiing trails, but some other good options are out to Jenny Lake and back, Grand Targhee, and the Shooting Star Nordic Track.
Finally, if you really want to get out and go fast, snowmobiling is a great choice. If you want a really cool experience, join a Yellowstone snowmobiling trip. Visiting Yellowstone in winter is something not many people get to do and it looks amazing! Togwotee Mountain Lodge and Brooks Lake Lodge are in Moran and offer snowmobile tours in the area as well. Never gone before? No worries! Beginners can still go with. I don’t believe you can snowmobile in Grand Teton National Park, though.
So, I hope this helped you get excited to visit in the future or got you excited for a trip you already have planned. Jackson Hole has so many amazing things to do outside, it’s hard to choose what to skip if you’re short on time. More reason to go back though, right?
Have you been to Jackson Hole? What is your favorite thing to do there? Do you want to go?