The Best Things to Do in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Jackson Hole is the perfect outdoor destination, whether it’s summer or winter. The valley is a chaos of activities that will bring you back to Mother Nature. It’s just the right amount of escape and adventure that will leave you coming back for more.  

Go on hikes, hit the slopes, immerse in the local community, or just enjoy the surrounding mountains’ views. All this and more here in Jackson Hole, Wyoming!

Jackson Hole is a valley in Wyoming, sandwiched in between the Gros Ventre and Teton mountain ranges. It’s surrounded by mountains, rivers, and streams. The valley is just beside the Idaho border and is 55 miles long and covering about 400 square miles.

It was first called Jackson’s Hole by the men who frequent the mountains. The Snake River also crosses the whole valley, coming from Yellowstone up north. There’s also a homey community in Downtown Jackson Hole, where Jackson city is.

This is located at the southern end of the valley. Its proximity to diverse landscape makes it the prime spot for any outdoor adventure. There are a lot of recreational activities, and the views are absolutely stunning.

Make your trip the best with these top 15 things to do! 

Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park Wyoming
Grand Teton National Park

Brace yourself for a rich exploration of the Teton Mountain Ranges.

The mountains are picked right out of a postcard and have the most stunning views.

The park was created to protect the impressive 310,000 acres of nature, with abundant wildlife and mountain ranges.

There’s a lot to do in the park itself. There are more than 200 miles of trails, the Snake River, and many chances for mountain climbing or skiing depending on the season.

You can also go for a drive and stop at the park’s many lookout points, watch rare wildlife, or camp in one of their five campgrounds.

The park is 13 miles from Jackson city, 7 miles from Yellowstone, and you can take a shuttle bus from Jackson to the park. 

National Elk Refuge

Credit: Dave Cooper

More than the mountains, Jackson Hole is also home to one of the world’s largest remaining elk herd.

Along with other mammals and birds, the elks seek refuge from the cold winter in this sanctuary.

The shelter has over 24,000 acres of land, and they make sure to feed the herd when winter is especially harsh for the animals.

The refuge is best visited during winter, so you can catch the elk herds.

They also offer sleigh rides during winter, which is an entirely unique experience.

You can opt to just watch the animals from your car, go fishing or even hike.

Ski Resorts

jackson hole ski resort
Credit: Eric Blom Erlandson

If the thrill you want is out on the snow, Jackson Hole has the best ski resorts anyone has to offer.

Right up the bat, there’s the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. It’s considered one of the best ski resorts in the country.

You’ll get access to 2,500 acres of ski runs with impressive vertical terrains. Some people go to Jackson Hole just for this resort.

It has a number of hotels, an adventure park, and renowned restaurants.

For something more affordable, there’s Snow King Mountain.

This one is considered the best in the state and is located right in Jackson city.

Its edge to the Mountain Resort is its night skiing and snow tubing activities.

Other ski resorts include Grand Targhee in Teton Valley and White Pine in Pinedale.

These are more for quiet and serene getaways.  

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park Wyoming
Credit: Kamchatka

Yellowstone National Park is known in history as the first national park.

It’s located an hour away from Jackson Hole and toes Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming’s border.

Like Grand Teton, the park also has a lot to offer.

It’s famous for its geysers, hot springs, and mud-pots.

Don’t miss attractions like the Old Faithful Geyser and Morning Glory Pool.

The area is unique on its own with forests, mountains, and rivers.

The Grand Loop Road, a 142-mile road, has most of the sights to see.

Try the Mammoth Hot Springs, their many hiking trails, and fishing spots.

Jackson Town Square

demerzel21 – Getty Images

Take a break from the great outdoors and explore downtown Jackson where the community is thriving, and the city comes alive.

The town square is characterized by the four arches made from elk antlers and the unique atmosphere the square gets during the winter holidays.

While the town is decorated with all the festive cheer during winter, they offer carriage rides around the city in the summer.

The main attraction here is the shops and boutiques that line the square.

You can find factory outlets, special and regional goods, and several galleries.

While you’re here, try one of the local’s favorite restaurants!

Jackson Hole Aerial Tram

Cucu Dumitru Radu – Getty

The Aerial Tram is not for those afraid of heights, but the view from the top is definitely worth it.

The tram, nicknamed “Big Red,” sits at the top of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and is available summer or winter.

Each tram will take you up more than 4,000 feet with an overlooking 360 views of the Tetons mountain range, the Jackson Hole valley, and other surrounding mountain ranges.

It’s also the place for hiking, climbing, and snowballs during winter!

Snake River

River North Photography – Getty

Snake River is a destination all on its own that will complete your outdoor experience here in the valley.

The river starts in Yellowstone but is seen mainly inside the Grand Teton National Park.

It then winds down to the Snake River Canyon and joins the Columbia River.

The river is the primary water source for the wildlife that lives in the area and welcomes over 300,000 visitors per year.

The river is best for just a mellow trip with the scenic views and nature surrounding you.

It’s perfect for finding that calm and peace for your escape.

You can choose any guided tours across the river in canoes, kayaks, rafts, and even drift boats.

For more advanced boaters, the Snake River Canyon provides more of a challenge with its powerful waters.

You can also opt to do stand-up paddling and fishing in the river.

Laurance Rockefeller Preserve

A quiet reprieve in the Grand Teton National Park, this preserve was given by the Rockefeller family.

The family has been instrumental in conserving the land that is now the national park.

They continued to do so when they donated a private land to the conservation in 2001.

The area itself is peaceful and quite serene as it’s not flooded by tourists.

Its main highlight is its 16-mile trail network, including the Lake Creek and Woodland Trail Loop.

You’ll also find a small waterfall and beach in the preserve near the Phelps Lake Trail.

Jackson Hole’s Elk Antler Arches

The Jackson Hole elk antler arches are an icon in the valley.

These are a popular site for photos from visitors and has already become a part of the Jackson Hole experience.

These four elk antler arches take up the four corners of Jackson Town square and are made from a labor of love.

Each antler woven into the arch weighs 5 to 10 pounds, creating a grand 10,000 to 12,000-pound antler arch.

These are replaced every 30 to 40 years but were started in 1953.

Granite Hot Springs

Take a breather in this hot spring open all through winter and summer.

It’s just an hour away, south of Jackson city, and located 7,000 feet above sea level.

It gives you fantastic scenery with a view of the Bridger-Teton National Forest.

It’s actually near Granite Creek Falls, where you can set up camp.

The hot spring pool is kept warm, and you can be surrounded by the forest while soaking and forgetting your worries.

Getting there might be a little tricky, especially in winter, so make sure to prepare for that.

Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum

Remnants of the Old West are still widespread in Jackson Hole.

You can learn more about the Wild West’s culture and history in the Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum.

Their permanent collection includes one on Native Americans, the economy and history of the town, their cowboy culture, and much more.

Though the museum is small, it’s chock full of informative and engaging collections.

Jackson Hole Rodeo

Speaking of the Wild West, get a one-of-a-kind experience as a cowboy here at Jackson Hole Rodeo.

This cowboy tradition has been a part of the community since the first settlers.

The rodeo admits you won’t see current champions, but they’ll definitely reel you in with the thrill of amateur rodeo.

The atmosphere is never dull; you get to hang out and be part of the community in the whole two-hour event.

Competitions happen every Wednesday and Saturday nights.

And if you get there early, you can try riding their mechanical buffalo.

National Museum of Wildlife Art

This small museum north of Jackson focuses on wildlife representation.

Their collection of 5,000 works of art comes from more than 500 artists.

They have 14 galleries, an interactive children’s gallery, and various outdoor art and sculptures.

One of the things you can’t miss here is their overlooking view of the National Elk Refuge.

Snake River Brewery

All these fun activities may leave you thirsty, and nothing is more perfect than getting a beer in Snake River Brewery.

The brewpub is a family-owned establishment that wants to stuff their customers with good food and good beer.

They want to share their love of making beer with scheduled tours of their brewery.

Get a can of their beer or eat from their brewpub in between adventures.

They’re temporarily closed but will be back in 2021.

Jackson Hole Playhouse

A fun and unique way of getting dinner is with the Jackson Hole Playhouse.

It’s a dinner theater that performs from Monday through Saturday.

Locals stand by the wonderful performances, good food, and enjoyable atmosphere in the Jackson Hole Playhouse.

The playhouse is also located in the oldest building in town.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Where to eat?

With so many nearby destinations from the valley, you’ve got a lot of options. But in the town square, you can try Jackson Drug.

It’s one of the oldest establishments in the city and worth a try.

There’s also the local favorites: Persephone Bakery, Moe’s BBQ, or The Bunnery.

Where to stay?

Some of the best hotel options you can find are the Four Seasons Resort, Hotel Jackson, or Wort Hotel.

What’s near Jackson Hole, Wyoming?

Since the valley is located near the Idaho border and the Yellowstone National Park, there are several towns you could take day trips to.

One of these is Teton Village, where one of the most popular ski areas in the state is.

Other towns are Alpine, Dubois, and Pinedale, Wyoming.

As well as Victor and Driggs, Idaho.