A geographically isolated valley in the mountains of Wyoming, Jackson Hole offers natural beauty and an abundance of wildlife viewing in both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park.
Known worldwide for what many say is the best ski resort in the U.S., Jackson Hole is an adventurer’s playground, not just in winter, but summer as well with white water rafting on the Snake River and unparalleled backcountry hiking.
John Colter, a member of the Lewis and Clark expedition was the first white man to spread the word of a beautiful valley in the Teton Mountains as well as a mystical area to the north where water and mud bubbled to the surface of the earth. His reports were initially received with skepticism, as nowhere else in America had such natural phenomena. As the town of Jackson grew, the first all-women town council helped pave the way for Wyoming’s nickname, The Equality State.
Nowadays, visitors come to Jackson Hole in either winter or summer, its two seasons of tourism. Winter is home to amazing skiing at the JH Mountain Resort, as well as guided snowmobile trips into Yellowstone. Summertime brings people from all over the country coming to see the two national parks. A family-friendly vacation destination, people of all ages can enjoy white water rafting, fly-fishing, hiking, camping, and landscape photography.
Getting Around Most winter visitors get away without having to rent a car. There are airport transfers to get you to your hotel and from there, ski shuttles that will take you to the ski mountain if you stay in Jackson (12 miles from the JHMR). If you stay in Teton Village (the base of the ski mountain), you can walk to the ski lifts and take the START bus to Jackson for dinner or a movie ($3 each way). Taxis are easy to come by if you stay in town past 11:00pm. In winter, the national parks are closed to vehicles. To see Yellowstone in the winter, you can schedule a guided snowmobiling trip or a snow coach trip (both of which provide hotel pickups at no extra cost).
In the summer it is highly recommended to have a vehicle. Most people drive to Jackson Hole in the summer, but if you fly, you can rent a car at the airport. It is easy to navigate the national parks on your own, or you can enjoy the views in a guided wildlife safari.
There is a year-round free town shuttle in Jackson that will get visitors pretty much anywhere they want to go in town, including the grocery stores. Jackson is a very bike-friendly town, with bike paths throughout the town as well as one stretching from the town square north to the entrance of GTNP in Moose, and further to Jenny Lake.
In the small old west town of Jackson, visitors can dine in one of the many elegant restaurants or visit the many art galleries.
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Chelsea Batten is an itinerant journalist and photographer