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1st Timer’s Guide to Jackson Hole

Prepare to fall in love! That’s right, if you are visiting Jackson Hole for the very first time, you are about to fall in love. Jackson Hole is THE EXPERIENCE! Everything you want in a summer’s holiday wrapped up in a Old West town and valley bordering two wild and scenic national parks. Who could ask for more? But it’s important to at least hit the highlights, so here’s a 1st timer’s guide to Jackson Hole in the summer to make sure you get the most of your trip!

1st timer's guide to jackson hole
Photo credit: kmoliver on Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-ND


You will want to experience a bit of the Old West. Try to make it to the ShootOut on the Town Square and a Chuckwagon Dinner at Bar T. If you have extra time, be sure to go on a horseback riding excursion either up at Spring Creek or out in Teton Village, visit the Colter Bay Visitor’s Center and the JH Historical Society’s Museum to get a taste of our history, take a ride in our Stagecoach on the TownSquare and get a souvenir photo at Old Time Photos. The famous Cowboy Bar also has saddles for bar stools and is a great spot from a quick photo opportunity.

1st timer’s guide to Jackson HoleA must do for Jackson Hole is a float on the Snake River, either in the rapid section of the “Canyon” for those adventurous types or the scenic section through Grand Teton National Park for those sightseeing types. Mad River and Jackson Hole Whitewater are great options for the Snake River Canyon and Barker Ewing and Solitude are great options for a float through Grand Teton National Park.

Hiking to Taggart LakeJackson Hole is all about it’s outdoor activities, hiking being one of the most common with so many hiking trails. In Grand Teton National Park, the most popular destinations are Taggart and Bradley Lakes, Jenny Lake/Hidden Falls, and the John D Rockefeller Center. These hikes are not super strenuous, make for a great ½ day activity, and offer plenty of opportunities to see wildlife, especially if you go extremely early.

We have wildlife!!! Lots of it! But in order to see these sneaky little (and large) friends, you have to put a little effort in. Get up early and drive down Moose Wilson Road (WY 390) extremely slowly. Stay up in Yellowstone for a night and find a nice lazy stream that you can overlook from the safety of your car. Be patient. Bring binoculars. When you see a couple of cars stopped, it’s likely elk or a moose. If you see a lot of cars stopped, it’s a bear or a wolf. Have those cameras ready!!!

You must visit Yellowstone and at least plan to spend one day there. You can drive the lower loop of the figure 8 that is Yellowstone in a day but be aware…you will be coming back. Yellowstone’s natural geological features are AMAZING! Be sure to visit Old Faithful! Visit the Lamar Valley in the early morning or late evening to see wildlife.Snow King Mountain's Alpine Slide

If you have some extra time, there are several other 1st timer’s activities in Jackson Hole that are extremely enjoyable. Consider spending a day on String Lake and be sure to bring your paddle board, kayak or canoe to travel over to Leigh Lake. Visit Teton Village and ride our Aerial Tram to the top of Glory Bowl then spend the afternoon enjoying the numerous activities out there. You could golf at one of our many delightful golf courses or rent ATVs and tour through the Gros Ventres. Also consider taking an exciting ride on our Alpine Slide and Cowboy Coaster at Snow King Mountain!

What’s not to love about Jackson Hole! If you are a 1st timer here, you will leave immediately wanting to come back! The plethora of activities, our delectable summer weather, and the wildness and beauty of the area make Jackson Hole THE PERFECT SUMMER ADVENTURE!



Hiking to Taggart Lake

Jackson Hole is the Ultimate Family Vacation!

ultimate family vacationSpring Break is over and already the kids are asking you for yet another fun-filled family adventure. Reflecting on a great time just passed, you decide you need to plan another family trip, except this one needs to outdo all past adventures. You recall mention of Jackson Hole, and you wonder…could this be our next ultimate family vacation?

Absolutely! The possibilities are endless in Jackson Hole. Jackson Hole is the ultimate family vacation!

Ideas for family activities in Jackson Hole:

In Jackson Hole, you can spend the day touring through one of the most majestic national parks in the United States, our beloved Grand Teton National Park,  and spend the evening in one of our taste-of-the-Wild-West Chuckwagon Dinners, perfect to entertain the young ones.

visit jackson holeIn Jackson Hole, you can go on a safari for our local wildlife, including grizzly bears, mountain lions, wolves, moose, elk, deer, and all sorts of small little creatures, and sometimes they even come to you.

In Jackson Hole, you can spend the day on String Lake, swimming, kayaking, canoeing, or boating, and spend the evening experiencing an Old West Shootout live on the Town Square in the heart of Jackson.

Jenny Lake hike with baby in towIn Jackson Hole, you can paraglide or ride a hot air balloon in the morning, hike to Hidden Falls in the afternoon, and experience a delectable meal at one of our fine dining restaurants.

A family vacation to Jackson Hole would not be complete without experiencing the roller coaster or alpine slide at Snow King Resort. Snow King Mountain, our “town mountain” has an alpine roller coaster and alpine slide in addition to a ropes course, perfect for a day-o-fun for the entire family. You can also enjoy a peaceful ride on the chairlift to gain a fantastic view of the valley of Jackson Hole.

Jackson Hole whitewater adventuresYou can experience the wild, rough waters of the Snake River Canyon or take a peaceful day trip on the Snake River through Grand Teton National Park for a great family memory.

Our mountain bike trails at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort are perfect for the beginning rider, complete with a chairlift to allow for the most enjoyment of the sport. And in case your children are not tired enough, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort even has a frisbee golf course, a ropes course, a climbing wall, and a bungee trampoline that the kids will absolutely love!

Snow King Mountain's Alpine SlideIn Jackson Hole, you can rent a bunch of ebikes and tour throughout the valley; even the kids can keep up! You can take a soak in our Granite Hot Springs; the kids will love it and the parents will feel relaxed. You can go horseback riding, both in the park and down closer to town, to help along those dreams of being a cowboy.

Let’s face it. In Jackson Hole, the family can do anything they want. Jackson Hole is the ultimate family vacation.  And we didn’t even mention Yellowstone National Park…

Take a Soak: Hot Springs Near Jackson Hole

Are you looking to take a little dip out in Mother Nature? Soaking in hot springs near Jackson Hole can be a relaxing way to spend an afternoon and an even better way to release all those tight muscles. We can’t think of a better way to enjoy what Mother Nature has to offer us, so take a soak and enjoy the hot springs near Jackson Hole and the surrounding area.

Granite Hot Springs

Granite Hot Springs | Jackson Hole
Granite Hot Springs | Jackson Hole

One of our favorites is Granite Hot Springs, a magical place located about 40 minutes south of the town of Jackson. Wind your way through Hoback Canyon and drive up Granite Canyon about 8 miles. Signs will direct you up this cute little path where this developed hot spring pool awaits you, ready to wash away all the stress of the day. As you submerge yourself in the 100+ degree water, the sound of the wind in the trees and the view of the rocky cliffs and thick forest around you gives you a sense of peace. Granite Hot Springs does vary in temperature, with colder water in the springtime during melt-off and warmer waters during the late summer and early winter. There are also small changing rooms and a minimal fee for entrance. This is a great day activity for the kids and there is a bonus waterfall just below the hot springs that is a great picnic spot!



Astoria Hot Springs

Astoria Hot Springs is next on our list. What makes its location so fabulous is that it sits perfectly on the side of a raging river in the Snake River Canyon just south of Hoback. The Astoria red bridge is the marker for this undeveloped hot spring. Park in the boat launch area and walk upstream along the river, as if on some mystery hunt. Kinda exciting, huh? You will know you have arrived when you are able to smell sulfur and see some rock pools. These hot springs are on the toasty side and are sure to test even the most avid hot springs lovers. Astoria Hot Springs offer excellent views of the Snake River Canyon. The best time of year to visit these hot springs is between August and April when the river is lower.

Yellowstone’s Boiling River

Yellowstone's Boiling River
Yellowstone’s Boiling River

Yellowstone’s Boiling River makes for a fabulous stop on your trip through Yellowstone. From autumn through winter, the Gardiner River becomes a hot tub where Mammoth Hot Springs feeds into the river and warms the water perfectly. If you come to early, the river flows too high and the water just simply isn’t warm enough. Look for the “45 Parallel” sign on the highway and drive south about 3 miles to a parking lot on the east side of the road. Just upstream from this parking lot, there’s a great little swimming area perfect for a nice warm soak. 

Heise Hot Springs

Heise Hot Springs is a great option for those travelers coming in from the west. This developed hot spring sits on the bank of the South Fork of the Snake River near Ririe, Idaho and has both a hot pool and a large swimming pool. Heise Hot Springs has a small quaint restaurant, making it a perfect spot for a relaxing afternoon after fishing. Heise also has a great water slide that’s open in the summer and is only a short hour and 20 minutes away from Jackson Hole.

Chico Hot Springs and Lava Hot Springs

Chico Hot Springs
Chico Hot Springs
Lava Hot Springs
Lava Hot Springs

Two other notable hot springs in the area well worth the trips are Chico Hot Springs and Lava Hot Springs. Both are developed and are nice places to stay. We would also mention that there are several different pools in Lava with varying degrees of heat, and Chico has a fabulous 5-course dinner to die for and a delightful spa. Both are well worth the trip!

Hot springs near Jackson Hole are delightful ways to relax and unwind. Soak, relax, and enjoy Mother Nature at it’s finest. After all, Jackson Hole has everything you need to recharge yourself! 

game meat in Jackson Hole

Where to Eat Delicious Game Meat In Jackson Hole


Gun Barrel’s Mixed Game Grill

Are you up for a true adventure? Jackson Hole, AKA “the Wild West”, has every adventure you need, including NEW FOOD TO TRY! Tell me, have you ever tasted mouth-watering elk steaks or scrumptious bison burgers? Boy, are you in for a treat!

With our abundant wildlife population in Jackson Hole, a wide selection of intriguing poultries, fish, and game meats are popular attractions in several of our finest restaurants.  These quality Jackson Hole restaurants will not disappoint and prepare meals to accentuate these local delinquencies.

Game Meat in Jackson Hole

game meat in Jackson HolePerhaps our most well-known restaurant touting Wild West cuisine is the Gunbarrel (a fitting name for it). In addition to elk chops, buffalo sirloin, and buffalo ribs, the Gunbarrel also serves venison bratwurst, rainbow trout, and salmon. If you are not feeling so daring, try the tenderloin medallions in a blue cheese cream sauce…YUM!

Your next adventurous opportunity could take place at the Granary at Spring Creek Ranch. The selection at this spectacular-view restaurant includes Trout Mousseline, Buffalo NY Strip Loin, Elk Tenderloin Torchon, Pheasant Airline Breast, and Pan Seared Steelhead. The scenery alone is worth the trip and the service and experience are amazing.

One of our finest restaurants, the Snake River Grill, has an intriguing Pancetta Roasted Rabbit first course and Cast Iron Seared Elk Chop for those of you venturing into the Wild West of food. Don’t forget the Bacon Wrapped Dates, Sweet Onion Rings, and the Snake River Grill Chocolate Souffle to complete your trip.

Gamefish’s Sliders

At Gamefish, a fine dining experience in the Snake River Lodge, one could experience Elk Meatball Sliders, Kobe Beef, Buffalo and Elk Chili, Smoked Pheasant Soup, Native Idaho Rainbow Trout, Buffalo Filet Mignon, and a Buffalo Burger.

Our delicious game meat in Jackson Hole is just one of many adventures to experience while you’re here. If you want to get truly daring, make friends with a local hunter…you might get to try bear, pronghorn, moose, local venison, or some other interesting game meat not served in any restaurants.

Thrill-seeking Activities in Jackson Hole

Do you want a heart-pounding, knuckle-clenching Jackson Hole adventure? Are you seeking a memory to last you a lifetime? The Wild West is alive and kicking and ready to show you a trip that will burn into your brain for a lifetime! Jackson Hole, Wyoming is a pristine, mountainous hideaway filled with exciting experiences perfect for the thrill-seeker!

High Mountain Heli-Skiing

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to breathe snow? Bottomless snow. The sound of a heartbeat. Heaven. Freedom. Exhale. Untouched fields of endless powder are at your doorstep when you take a once-in-a-lifetime experience of Heli-skiing with High Mountain Heli-Skiing. Few are lucky enough to have the memory of a day their grin just wouldn’t go away!

Jackson Hole Wyoming - Grand TetonEver wondered what the ancient structure on top of the West Summit of the Grand really looks like? Well, if you climb the East Summit, you could look down and find out. Climbing the Grand Teton is not for the weak. Exum Guides and Jackson Hole Mountain Guides both run overnight trips up this 13,770 ft mountain and a few actually accomplish it. Weather in the mountains is unpredictable, making this mountain a particularly dangerous and exciting climb. And once you accomplish that mission, check out Mount Moran for a spin.

Have you caught a thermal today? If you haven’t, you should probably give it a whirl. Jackson Hole Paragliding whisks you off the stability and comfort of the top of the tram and takes you soaring through the air. Your life is at the mercy of the winds…we cannot think of something more thrilling!

You’ve surfed in Hawaii, New Zealand, California and all those other big spots…but have you surfed Wyoming? Lunch Counter, a particularly gruesome rapid known for flipping rafts and dumping passengers, happens to be a fabulous place to surf. Go figure! Rendezvous River Sports rents surfboards and at 9,000 and 12,000 CFS, Lunch Counter is perfect for an epic Wyoming surf session!

You could, of course, jump into Corbet’s Couloir on your fat powder skis and navigate the rocky cliffs on either side. Or compete in the World Championship Hill Climb on a snowmobile at Snow King. We also have a Town Downhill and a Dick’s Ditch Slalom race if you feel the need for speed.

Corbet’s Couloir at JHMR


Whatever memory you are seeking to create, Jackson Hole can create it for you. OK, so maybe you cannot go a safari with lions here….

oh, wait…

we have mountains lions, bears, wolves, moose, bison, elk…

Your adventure starts in Jackson Hole! Come for the experience, leave with a dozen memories!

Luxurious Spas: Get Pampered in Jackson Hole!

Would you like to get pampered in Jackson Hole?

Jackson Hole has a great mixture of both resort-based and independent day spas, giving you the perfect option to meet your needs. That’s right, not only do we have world-class skiing and Blue-Ribbon fly-fishing, we also have superb, luxurious day spas nestled in our valley that are divine!

SpaTerre Teton Mountain Lodge, Teton Village

All of Jackson Hole’s day spas have their own blend of services and expertise. Perhaps our oldest and most popular day spa in Jackson Hole is the Body Sage Spa at the Rusty Parrot. This spa offers unique bathhouse traditions from Finland, Morocco, and Japan in addition to traditional spa services. Or you could whisk away to SpaTerre, located in Teton Mountain Lodge out in Teton Village, which provides a complete assortment of spa services, including an Oxygen Bar and several age-defying facial and body massage treatments.

A lot is to be expected of a Four Seasons Resort spa, and the Jackson Hole Spa in our Four Seasons does not disappoint. This beautiful and relaxing spa offers a variety of spa services, specializing in deep tissue massages and treatments using locals herbs aimed at rejuvenating you for another day of fun in Jackson Hole.

Chill Spa at Hotel Terra, Teton Village

The Chill Spa, located in Hotel Terra,  offers unique body wraps, couples massages (with chocolate and champagne!) and microdermabrasion as an add-on in their facials. If you are looking to incorporate additional Eastern traditions into your spa experience, Tootsy’s Footsy Lounge offers reflexology massages in addition to other traditional spa treatments.

And these are just a few them. We have over a dozen spas to choose from in Jackson Hole. So after that gorgeous, blue-bird day on skis or that grueling hike in Grand Teton National Park, relax and rejuvenate in one of our luxurious day spas in Jackson Hole. You will not be disappointed!

Ice Skating in Jackson’s Town Square

Holidays in Jackson HoleLooking for some good old-fashioned family fun? Wonder what it’s like to ice skate in Jackson’s town square? 

We have three main ice skating rinks in Jackson Hole where you can rent ice skates, including two outdoor and one indoor rink. This is a great activity for beginners and offers a fast learning curve for the little ones.

If you are staying out in Teton Village, what better way to spend an hour entertaining those wees ones than to rent some skates at the Teton Village Rink just outside of Hotel Terra and Teton Mountain Lodge. Complete with lights, this outside rink is a perfect activity just before or after dinner to burn a few extra calories. The kids will love it!

If you are looking for inside fun, the Snow King Center at the base of Snow King Mountain has just what you need. This indoor ice skating rink will rent you skates and provide your children with hours of ice skating fun. The rink is open to the public starting at 1:00 pm. If you want to practice your triple axel (wink, wink), try the space on the inside of the rink. They also provide chairs for beginners to push around for balance.

ice skating in Jackson's town square
Photo from JH News & Guide

If you are looking for a unique experience, Jackson Hole has it’s very own skating rink in the Town Square. You can rent ice skates and twirl under the magical lights that adorn the trees within the town square. This is a fabulous way to spend some time in downtown before heading to one of Jackson’s fabulous restaurants.

A plethora of other ice skating rinks do exist in Jackson Hole, including Wilson’s Owen Bircher Park, the baseball field at the corner of Powderhorn and Maple, and the Rodeo area on Flat Creek Rd. You can skate at these rinks for a quiet and peaceful time but be sure to bring your own gear.

Jackson Hole offers many family adventures, and ice skating is one of many. See you on the ice! 

Cross-Country Skiing in Jackson Hole: A Peaceful Tour through Nature

Escape from the reaches of civilization on your own terms! Travel as far as you want by the power of your own muscles! Cross-country skiing in Jackson Hole is THE way to truly experience all the wonderful parts of nature without the commotion and noise.

Want to hear the birds chirp and the snowfall? Cross-country skiing allows it. Want to experience something that few others do? Cross-country skiing encourages it! Want an adventure with a short learning curve and hours of potential enjoyment? That’s cross country skiing in Jackson Hole for you. 

There are several Nordic Ski centers in Jackson Hole that can give you varying degrees of adventure. If you prefer to be closer to civilization, we would recommend one of the centers close to town, including the Teton Pines Resort and Ski Center or the Shooting Star Nordic Track in Teton Village. For more adventurous spots, we would recommend the inner park road in Grand Teton National Park, Trail Creek in Wilson or Grand Targhee Nordic Center as these trails are more remote.

We also have our very own JH Nordic Alliance that provides detailed information about the conditions of the trails, best spots for the various Nordic activities, as well as information about the skill level needed for the trail. Their website has everything you need to get started on your cross-country skiing adventure.

cross-country skiing in Jackson HoleThe beauty of cross-country skiing in Jackson Hole is that it’s a pretty easy sport to pick up. Once you get the hang of gliding, kicking and going downhill, the sky’s the limit for where you can go. You can easily receive some instruction from guides at the various Nordic tracks or you can trial and error your technique. Cross-country skiing is a pretty safe sport; you can manage your own speed and can easily sit down if you don’t like where you are going.

While there is an abundance of activities in Jackson Hole to choose from, cross-country skiing provides an excellent way to tour the valley while appreciating the beauty of your surroundings. Furthermore, it provides a great cardiovascular exercise and uses a completely different set of muscles, making it a great activity when you need a break from downhill skiing.   

Heli-Skiing: The Ultimate Jackson Hole Adventure

Endless fields of white powder surround you. You are weightless on cloud nine with the biggest grin on your face imaginable. All you can hear is your breath and the faint hum of something above you. Trees glide past you as if they are cheering you on. You shout in complete glee, not knowing how to contain your excitement! WOOOOHOOOOOO!!!

Suddenly, the alarm goes off. You wake from your slumber only to realize you were dreaming one of the best dreams you have ever had. Saddened, you wish you could get back to that happy, euphoric, out-of-body experience.

It’s possible!

jackson hole heli-skiingJackson Hole offers exclusive, private “heli-skiing” trips in the backcountry surrounding the area. It entails hopping in a helicopter and being dropped off on top of a mountain in the Snake River Range. Open fields of untouched snow are there for you to carve up and devour! And just when the field ends, the helicopter scoops you up and takes you back to the top.

Currently, there is only one company in the valley that offers this incredible experience. High Mountain Heli-Skiing will take you in the Snake River Range and provide you with 6 heli-ski run (visit their website for current rates). For those vertical feet trackers, it’s roughly 12,000-15,000 feet of untracked snow. Lunch is of course included in your adventure and you will be transported from their office helipad. A maximum of 12 other skiers/snowboarders will be in the general region with you, however, there is one guide per 4 skiers in smaller groups.

If you want to make that dream become a reality, book this incredible, once-in-a-lifetime experience. Jackson Hole heli-skiing is truly a euphoric experience, one that will stay with you for the rest of your life.

While anyone can ski at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, only a select few get to experience heli-skiing. Who do you want to be? Jackson Hole heli-skiing is the ultimate experience.


Mush! Mush! Want a unique winter adventure?

dog sled tour in jackson holeImagine a white wilderness where all you can hear is the sound of snow falling, the trickle of the nearby streams, and the footsteps and breath of some canine pals. Imagine being warm and toasty while feeling the invigorating sensation of the cold mountain air on your face. Now imagine taking a relaxing warm dip in remote hot springs and the smooth sensation of a warm drink and a tasty lunch after your first mushing experience. Have we piqued your interest?

Taking a dog sled tour in Jackson Hole will give you that very experience. There are currently two companies that run these sorts of tours through the valley and we highly recommend both. These dog sled tours are a unique experience in Jackson Hole, an adventure that not many have discovered at this point.

Both Continental Divide Dogsled Adventures and Jackson Hole Iditarod Sled Dog Tours, Inc. offer half-day and day trips in the valley. If you are looking for overnight adventures, you can take a tour with Continental Divide Dogsled Adventures as they travel up to Togwotee Mountain Lodge and Brooks Lake Lodge. Alternatively, JH Iditarod Sled Dog Tours offer full and half day tours to Granite Hot Springs, also a once in a lifetime opportunity.

The dogs at both of these companies are extremely athletic and train to race in the Iditarod. They are either Alaskan Huskies or Eskimo work dogs, all with great dispositions and stamina.  You will be bundled in warm blankets as they race you down the trails at dog speed. You can even see dog sledding in action between January 26th and February 3rd when the Pedigree Stage Stop Race travels through the town of Jackson.

Whether you are new to the area or just stopping through, a dog sled tour in Jackson Hole is a unique experience, unlike any others.