I’ve partnered with Hotels.com to share some of my favorite things to do in Jackson Hole, Wyoming that allow for safe travel and proper physical distancing.
If you’ve heard of Jackson Hole it’s most likely because it’s home to three ski areas: Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Snow King Mountain Resort, and Grand Targhee Resort. So yes, skiing or snowboarding here should definitely be on your bucket list if you like to hit the slopes. But there’s so much more to this mountain area.
Jackson Hole is a valley located between the Gros Ventre and Teton mountain ranges on the Western edge of Wyoming, near the border with Idaho.
From hiking to fly fishing, whitewater rafting to scenic float trips, and horseback riding make Jackson Hole is a year-round outdoor destination that makes for a great family vacation.
Jackson Hole is also home to the National Museum of Wildlife Art and houses works by Andy Warhol and Georgia O’Keeffe. In addition, it’s a great stop as you head to Grand Teton National Park or Yellowstone National Park.
If you haven’t already booked your family-friendly hotel for Jackson Hole, I suggest looking for a hotel in town, especially if it’s a first-time visit. There are numerous hotels, resorts, lodges, inns ranging from budget to luxury.
7 Reasons Why Jackson Hole, WY Should Be On Your Bucket List
Where to Boat, Float and Fly Fish in Jackson Hole
Jackson Hole offers lots of access to rivers, lakes, mountains, and valleys, and visitors can enjoy year-round outdoor activities that go well beyond the famous ski lifts.
About 20 miles from Jackson is Jenny Lake which is located in Grand Teton National Park. The lake was formed approximately 12,000 years ago by glaciers pushing rock debris. Today, it’s a gorgeous lake that has several beaches, hiking trails, and swimming options. One of the most fun things to do is to take the 15-minute ferry ride across the lake. From here there are great picnic spots as well as additional hiking trails.
Whitewater Rafting on Snake River Canyon
There are several outfitters who offer 8-mile Snake River rafting trips. This is a perfect summer activity in Jackson Hole for adventure seekers. The whitewater rafting section of the Snake River is a Class III river with numerous high and irregular waves; rocks and eddies and narrow passages which all add up to lots of high adrenaline fun.
Snake River Float
If you are looking for a less extreme way to enjoy the Snake River, a scenic float trip is a great option. It also may be one of the most beautiful experiences in Jackson Hole. There are many outfitters who offer sunrise, lunch, and dinner river floats. Most trips cover about 14 miles of the Snake River which takes about 3.5 hours.
Fly fishing in Jackson Hole is a bucket list for many anglers, not only because of its amazing beauty but to catch a fine-spotted cutthroat trout in its only native habitat. The area has many legendary fly fishing hot spots including the famous Snake River. Additional fly fishing options include the Green River, Flat Creek on the National Elk Refuge, the lakes and streams of Grand Teton National Park, and the rivers in Yellowstone National Park.
Where to Bike, Hike and Soak Your Muscles in Jackson Hole
Jackson Hole Bike Trails
There are around 1,000 miles of trails and roads to bike on in Jackson Hole. From road and mountain biking to downhill biking trails with adrenaline spiking 10-foot drops there is a trail for everyone in this mountain area.
Cache Creek is just two miles from the Town Square and a very popular trail for not only biking, but hiking and horseback riding. Cache Creek trails are some of the easiest in the valley, making them great for families and those who are looking for stellar views but not a strenuous ride. For those looking for something a bit more daring, check out some of the advanced trails at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort Bike Park.
Hiking Spots In Jackson Hole
Death Canyon is a 5-mile roundtrip hike that is a local favorite. It’s one of the few hikes in Grand Teton National Park that doesn’t require you to go through an official park entrance and offers beautiful views of the Teton range.
Goodwin Lake Trail is a beautiful loop trail. The entire path is 6.2 miles and surrounds an alpine lake. The lake is swimmable, so bring a backpack with a blanket and picnic and spend an afternoon.
If you are looking for something a bit more strenuous, Josie’s Ridge climbs steeply up to the top of Snow King Mountain. This 3.4-mile hike rewards hikers with stunning views of the town of Jackson and the Teton Range.
Wyoming is home to 173 hot springs, however the majority of these are within Yellowstone National Park. Luckily, there are a handful that are less than an hour from Jackson.
The Boiling River is located near Mammoth Hot Springs and is probably the most popular spot for swimming. Granite Hot Springs is another popular spot. Located about 40 minutes south of the town of Jackson. This developed hot spring pool is 100+ degrees and has views of the forest and rocky cliffs.
Astoria Hot Springs is another great choice because the calm waters in the spring is located just on the side of a raging river in the Snake River Canyon. The views are picture-perfect of the river and canyon.
Where to Stay in Jackson Hole
Jackson Hole lodging ranges from rustic lodges, mountain resorts, guest ranches, and luxury hotels, to budget inns and cabins. Whether you are looking for a slopeside chalet in Teton Village for a winter wonderland vacation or a hotel in the heart of the western resort town of Jackson, there are options for all types of budgets and experiences.
The Lodge at Jackson Hole is a luxury hotel and spa in the heart of Jackson, WY.
Amangani, Hotel Terra, Cowboy Village Resort, and Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole are some additional popular hotels for visitors who want to stay in or near Jackson. House and cabin rentals are available as well as RV Parks and tent camping.
The seasons in Jackson Hole may change, but one thing doesn’t change: this mountain area has a long to-do list for visitors.
8 Fun Facts about Jackson Hole, WY
- Jackson Hole refers to an entire valley, including the town of Jackson, Teton Village, Wilson, the Aspens, Moran Junction, Moose, and the surrounding areas.
- Jackson is the name of the main town located at the southern end of Jackson Hole.
- The four antler arches on Jackson Hole town square each contain about 2,000 antlers and weigh almost 12,000 pounds.
- Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, has the longest continuous vertical rise of any ski resort in the United States with a total gain of elevation of 4,139.
- Whitewater rafting is thought to have been invented on the Snake River in Jackson in 1811.
- The National Elk Refuge, located just outside the town of Jackson, is the largest established elk preserve in North America.
- The world’s longest-running shootout, which began in 1955, is held six nights a week from May-September on the Jackson town square.
- John Wayne’s first speaking part was in “The Big Trail,” filmed in Jackson Hole in 1932.
As travel today remains uncertain, please keep your safety and the safety of others in mind at all times. If you are comfortable with traveling, please travel responsibly and within regulation as any travel is at your own risk.
If you do decide to travel at this time, here are a few recommendations:
- Wear a face mask.
- Bring hand sanitizer and wash your hands on a regular basis.
- Check official websites before your trip for the latest updates on policies, closures and status of local businesses and Jackson Hole Travel alerts.
- Book a hotel with free cancellation in case you need to change your plans at the last minute.
Alexa Meisler is the editorial director of 52 Perfect Days. Born in Paris, France she has since lived in Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon. She currently resides in San Diego with her husband and son where they enjoy exploring California and Mexico.
Travel has always been a part of her life; traveling to such places as Morocco, Tangiers and Spain as a young child as well as taking many road trips to Mexico with her grandparents as a young girl. Since then, she has traveled abroad to locations such as Russia, Taiwan and throughout Europe.
Prior to working at 52 Perfect Days she was a freelance travel writer; focusing on family and women’s adventure experiences.