This beautiful 48 mile long valley, nestled between the Teton Mountain range and the Gros Ventres Mountains, with the Snake River that winds through it, is jaw dropping beautiful. Come winter or summer, this is a wonderful holiday destination with a lot on offer. Let’s plan a trip to Wyoming and explore some of the best of Jackson Hole Valley.
Jackson Hole refers to the entire valley, including the town of Jackson, Teton Village, Wilson, the Aspens, Moran Junction, Moose, and surrounding areas.
Jackson Hole Valley is one of the few areas left that still focus on slowing down and reconnecting to nature in a unique rustic way. The locals refer to it as the “Ranch lifestyle”, maybe still reflecting some of a bygone era and, a definitely not forgotten, heritage.
Tourists from all over the world come to experience some of the best snow terrain in North America.
Jackson is home to 3 ski areas: Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Snow King Mountain Resort and Grand Targhee Resort.
(‘Known for its “cowboy powder” and challenging runs, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort was recently rated the number one ski resort in North America by Forbes magazine.’) I think this definitely makes it one of the ‘best of Jackson Hole Valley’ that you need to visit. If you are not a professional or an experienced snow skier, you can still enjoy the fun on offer, like snow tubing, snowboarding and snow biking. But Jackson Hole does offer beginner and intermediate runs as well: Thus offering something for the whole family.
With the river and Jackson Lake as some of the main attractions, tourists can enjoy hiking, fishing, rafting and sport activities like golfing and cycling. I would recommend spending time at Jackson Lake in the Grand Teton National Park. Here you can rent a boat to explore the lake and do some trout fishing or just hang out next to the lake and enjoy a wonderful day in the fresh mountain air. In my opinion there is nothing better than a breakfast hot air balloon ride over the valley – which you can book at the bottom of this page. Also enjoy water sports like water skiing and tubing. But there is more exploring to do like:
Lake Jenny offers hiking opportunities to the Hidden Falls, Cascade Canyon and Symmetry Spire. You can also do the Taggart Lake hiking trail which is a family friendly hike with beautiful views.
River Rafting on Snake River is popular and offers views of wildlife and the mountains within the smaller Grand Teton National Park area.
During the winter months, you can take a guided tour of the nearby 25,000-acre National Elk Refuge where you can witness a large amount of migrating elk.
The Aerial Tram, also known as “Big Red” to the locals, is accessible via Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. You can ride the Aerial Tram to the summit of Rendezvous Peak and then hike back down or hike into Grand Teton National Park.
In my opinion you need to set aside at least one day to explore the beauty of Grand Teton National Park and enjoy some of the beautiful hikes. However, should you wish to stay for a bit longer, there are camping and RV sites available.
Yellowstone is the bigger and more famous brother of Grand Teton National Park and obviously you just have to visit the park.
The best time to visit the Yellowstone National Park is during July and August when all roads and facilities are open. Due to the weather there are regular road closures for vehicles during winter time, although the park is open to visitors from April to November. So during winter the park is closed to regular traffic and you can only access by snow coach and snowmobile guided tours.
When planning your trip to Yellowstone National Park, do visit this webpage where you can find useful information on what is open at what time of year, etc.: Website
How much time you need, all depends on how much time you have available. There are a lot to see and enjoy, so if you have limited time, a guided tour is an excellent option. This way you don’t have to stress. The tour operators know exactly what to show you to ensure you don’t miss out on any of the big attractions. This way you will also get some valuable information about the park during your tour. You can sit back and relax and enjoy a stress free visit.
If you just have one day to explore, you can do the self-drive Grand Loop park road. But only do half of the loop road. You will still see most of the famous sights, but doing it all in one day is too much.
The Yellowstone Grand Canyon is a 20-mile canyon that runs from Upper Falls to Tower Falls and offers scenic views and hiking opportunities. Artists Point offers beautiful views of the lower falls.
Mammoth Hot Springs has amazing rock formations in beautiful colors and is a beautiful stop that calls for thousands of photos.
The most photographed spots in the park are the geysers: In total, there are more than 10,000 hot springs and geysers in the park.
After having visited and seen all the natural beauty you will definitely need to stop at Jackson’s Town Square Park. The park is marked with the iconic Antler arches (made of shed antlers from the nearby National Elk Refuge) and the square is surrounded by restaurants, shops and art galleries.
I recommend a stop at the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar and the Silver Dollar Bar & Grill, just to re-live a bit of the Wild West. It certainly are some of the best restaurants in Jackson Hole Valley. In my opinion you must always enjoy the views in town if possible, so during summer time, check out The Deck at the gondola summit (Read more below). Enjoy panoramic views of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, the Snake River and the Gros Ventre Mountain Range while listening to live music from local bands and musicians.
Thereafter if you’re craving some culture in the form of music and art, stop by the National Museum of Wildlife Art and the Center for the Arts.
Depending on what your needs are, accommodation outside of the Yellowstone National Park might be a better option. Jackson Hole offers beautiful accommodation options. Here are only a few suggestions on what is available.
Also read more below on accommodation at Teton Village.
Teton Village surrounds the base of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and is beautiful. It is accessed from nearby Jackson and the surrounding area via the Moose-Wilson Road.
It all depends on personal taste. Don’t let people tell you one is better than the other. Both of these places have beautiful accommodation and natural vistas. Jackson offers a bit more to do in the department of sight seeing and entertainment (things to do when you’re not skiing).
Teton village offers beautiful accommodation and is ideal if you want to “escape the crowds” or be near the ski slopes.
But as to where you should stay: Browse this link and decide which one you like most. In my opinion you will definitely find the best of the best in Jackson Hole Valley: Where to stay
Teton is only 21 min (12,3 mi) away from Jackson via WY-390 S/Moose Wilson Rd and WY-22, by car.
Teton is home to the aerial gondola rides over the picturesque valley to a peak with 3 restaurants, skiing & hiking trails. This is where ‘The Deck’ Restaurant is situated. (Remember: Last gondola up at 8:30pm, last gondola down at 9pm.)