Imagine a place surrounded by parks, wildlife and endless possibilities to explore. That’s Jackson Hole. The small town in Wyoming lies just south of Grand Teton National Park and about three hours away from Yellowstone National Park.
Yet even without the parks in Jackson’s backyard, there is no shortage of adventures to be had in the valley, which lies at an altitude of 6,237 feet. Whether you are looking for a relaxing weekend filled with top-quality food or a couple of days chock full of adrenaline and beer, Jackson Hole won’t disappoint.
Where to eat
Snake River Brewing
The best way to end a day on the mountain is often with a beer, so head to Snake River Brewing in the town of Jackson for a local taste. The brewery, which has been operating since 1994, touts specials such as See You in Helles, a lager, and Hoback Hefe, a Hefeweizen-style beer. When you stop in, check out the brewing equipment stationed right in the middle of the restaurant and the locally painted plaques adorning the walls.
Once the weather starts warming up, hang out on the brewery’s front lawn, complete with corn hole, a few mini-golf holes, a fire pit and live music.
Piste Mountain Bistro
Ride the Bridger Gondola up to the top of the mountain for dinner at Piste Mountain Bistro, located just below the popular ski trail Headwall. The restaurant is a bit pricey, but the locally sourced fare is worth it.
Start with mineral clams and pork sausage, followed by a glazed persimmon salad, and end with duck breast and sweet potato gnocchi or the ahi tuna with cauliflower. Check for reservations, as the restaurant is open seasonally.
Located in the town of Jackson, Persephone Bakery is known for its breads and pastries, but is worth a stop for a full entree. Try the bread pudding French toast for something sweet, or the scone skillet, complete with local eggs and a pine nut crumble.
Stay inside for a cozy atmosphere, or, if the weather permits, head outside to the patio and fireplace.
Where to play
Hike Sleeping Indian
The best way to see the Tetons is from across the valley on Sleeping Indian. (The peak is technically labeled Sheep Mountain, part of the Gros Ventre Range, but most Jackson Hole folks call it Sleeping Indian because of its shape.) This 14-mile round-trip hike starts from the National Elk Refuge and takes you up (about 4,100 vertical feet) through fields of wildflowers and forests of white-bark pine. Dogs are allowed on the trail, though there is little water available, and a high-clearance vehicle is recommended to get to the trailhead.
Mountain Bike the valley
Between the bike park at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, trails in Grand Teton National Park and the rest of the routes in the valley, you could spend your entire trip riding around Jackson’s singletrack. There are more than 115 miles in total when it comes to mountain biking, and plenty of that is perfect for beginners or extreme enough for experts. Head to the resort for downhilling or Teton Pass for a longer ride.
Fly-fish Flat Creek
Located in the National Elk Refuge, Flat Creek offers easy access to rivers and beautiful scenery, like views of Snow King Mountain. The fishing is recommended for the intermediate to expert fly-fisherman, though, because of the smooth, calm waters and smart Snake River cutthroat trout. Upper Flat Creek is open from May to November, and Lower Flat Creek is open from August to October.
Don’t forget your fishing license. Visit Grand Fishing Adventures in town for updates on how the fish are biting or options for a guided trip.
Where to stay
Teton Mountain Lodge
Teton Mountain Lodge is situated just a short walk from the bottom of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and the famous 100-person aerial tram. Decorated in a rustic yet chic cabin style, with plush beds and views of the mountains right outside your window, you be feeling relaxed but ready to get out and explore.
The best view, though? From the rooftop hot tub.
For a more budget-friendly option that is still located at the base of the mountain, opt for a stay at The Hostel. Private and dorm rooms are available, many of which are pet-friendly. You’ll find Jackson Hole Roasters’ organic coffee in the lobby, plus a room to prep and wax your skis in the winter.
Curtis Canyon Campground
If you’d prefer to stay outside of town, check out Curtis Canyon Campground, located about eight minutes from downtown Jackson. The campground is above the National Elk Refuge in the Bridger-Teton National Forest, so hiking trails are plentiful right outside your tent.
Sites are first come, first served, and open for the summer season the week before Memorial Day weekend.