Jackson Hole Travel Guide
Jackson Hole Summary
- Surrounded by snowcapped mountains, roaring rivers and boundless natural beauty
- Gateway to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks
- An active traveler's paradise: hiking, biking, and river rafting are all available
- Offers some of the most challenging skiing in the country
- Home to diverse wildlife such as moose, grizzly bears and elk
- Small towns with a somewhat genuine Wild West aesthetic
- Area susceptible to heavy winter snowfalls and avalanches
- Airport often closes with inclement weather
- Summers bring large hordes of tourists to small towns
What It's Like
For skiers and nature enthusiasts alike, there are very few places that compare to Jackson Hole. The low-lying valley, located near Wyoming's western border with Idaho and surrounded by the Teton Mountain Range, is the gateway to some of the nation's most spectacular national parks, including Grand Teton, Yellowstone, and the National Elk Reserve. The easily available hiking, biking, river rafting, camping and skiing attracts visitors here year-round.
Many visitors to Jackson Hole opt to stay in Jackson, which is the largest town in the area and has a wide range of restaurants, shops, bars, and day spas. Winter here is home to après ski relaxation sessions, and summer brings reenactments of the town's Wild West past (as well as hordes of tourists). Teton Village, on the other hand, offers far fewer restaurants and bars, but is located at the base of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort: Guests here can wake up, strap on their ski boots and be on the slopes within minutes.
The terrain in Jackson Hole can create some inhospitable conditions. The fast changing weather can catch people off guard, and lightning is a serious problem for hikers in the summer. Heavy snowfall in the Tetons also creates serious avalanche conditions and can also cause problems at Jackson Hole Airport. It's the only airport located inside a national park, with runways dramatically nestled between mountains that require a sharp descent: Ask a commercial pilot and they'll likely tell you it's one of the hardest landing approaches in the biz. These complications make the airport especially prone to closure during inclement weather.
Where To Stay
Jackson: The biggest little town in the area, Jackson is a popular destination thanks to its many restaurants, shops, bars, hotels and day spas. Shuttles take guests to nearby Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, and Snow King Mountain is available for anyone looking to hit the slopes mere blocks from downtown.
Teton Village: Anyone in Jackson Hole to ski, ski and ski some more will appreciate Teton Village's close proximity to Jackson Hole Mountain Resort: Staying here puts you literally steps away from lifts to some of the most challenging and satisfying slopes in the world.
Surrounding areas: Venturing out of either Jackson or Teton Village will quickly put you off the beaten path, but in place like Jackson Hole, that can make all the difference in the world for some visitors. While small towns like Wilson offer almost nothing to do, they offer cozy inn experiences with spectacular views and good access to the parks.