All posts by gliffen

Jackson Hole Bike Rides

Jackson Hole has some amazing bike rides! Not only can you mountain bike throughout the valley, but you can also take some enjoyable road rides with breathtaking views. Here are some of our top favorite Jackson Hole bike rides.

All three of our major mountain resorts, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (JHMR), Snow King, and Grand Targhee, have great mountain bike trails. They all do charge you to ride up their chairs if you are a downhill enthusiast, but you are also able to peddle both ways for free. Grand Targhee has the most varied terrain, Snow King is steep and challenging, and JHMR has put in a specific bike park with steep, sharp banks and little trick hills. 

If you are looking for less “groomed” trails, you can find some great mountain biking trails off Cache Creek and Old Pass Road at the base of Teton Pass. These vary in difficulty, and are mostly in the shade. Be sure to join the rest of the bikers at the Stagecoach Bar afterwards for some Street Food.

As for road biking, Jackson Hole has bike paths throughout town and on the three major highways for several miles. The easiest ride is perhaps from town to Teton Village, long but mostly flat with great views. Another great ride is from town to Grand Teton National Park. It’s a gradual uphill with opportunities for wildlife viewing and breathtaking views. For a complete view of the Jackson Hole bike paths, check out Friends of the Pathway.

If you are willing to go off the bike path and on the road, try the Spring Gulch loop (heading North on Spring Gulch from town, turning right on Sagebrush, and then coming back on the N. Highway 89 bike path). It’s a relaxing 20 mile loop, with minimal traffic, a gradual incline, and beautiful views of the Tetons, Sleeping Indian, and Jackson Peak.

You can also go “around the block”, a favorite bike ride amongst avid local cyclists. For the most physically fit, ride up Teton Pass (HWY 22/ ID 33) and down into Victor. Take a left on ID 31 and go through Pine Creek Pass. In Swan Valley, take a left on ID 26. In Alpine, take a left on HWY 89 and ride up to Jackson through the Snake River Canyon. It’s about 112 miles, making for a scenic, yet active ride.

There is wondrous variety in our Jackson Hole bike rides. You simply just have to decide where to go and how long you want to be gone.

Farmer’s Markets in Jackson Hole

Who doesn’t love a good community market with fresh local food and goods? As long as you didn’t say “Me”, then Jackson Hole is the right place to be for enjoying some great local markets. There are two main markets that take place each week. First is the Jackson Hole Farmers market, which takes place on Saturdays in the summer at the Town Square from 8am to 12pm, this year it is running through September 26th.  The other is the Summer Peoples Market which is on Wednesday evenings from 4-7pm at the base of Snow King. Both markets boast fantastic vendors from the area, here is a little more about each of them.

Jackson Hole Farmers Market

Saturdays, 8am-12pm @ Town Square

Being the main weekly market in Jackson it tends to be fairly busy with locals and visitors convening to shop. There are a variety of vendors selling baked goods, bitters, meat, fruits and vegetables, berries, fish, CBD products, flowers, coffee, jellies, mushrooms, tamales, doughnuts, breakfast sandwiches and much more! Live music is played on the lawn of the square as well to provide some great tunes while you shop.

Summer Peoples Market

Wednesdays, 4pm-7pm @ Base of Snow King Mountain

The weekday fix for local and regional foods and goods, the Peoples Market has much of the same great produce, cheese, and other farm fresh foods that are offered at the Farmers Market but tends to offer much more locally made goods from jewelry and clothing to potted plant starters and more. Typically the market has vendors providing prepared food and alcohol, but due to the current virus outbreak those will not be available this year. Similar to the farmers market, there is also live music in the middle of all of the different vendors. This year they are asking all shoppers to wear masks, social distance and go cashless.

You can’t go wrong with either market in Jackson, both are great places to purchase some of the freshest foods and more, all while supporting the local economy!

The History of The Jackson Hole Antler Arches

As a local to Jackson Hole Wyoming, it’s funny to think that one of the main draws to visitors in our neck of the woods is not just the outdoor recreational paradise that we get to call home. No, in fact one of the main highlights for people passing through our town is actually a set of arches that claim space in downtown. Not your typical statue or commemorative piece of art the arches that surround George Washington Memorial Park, more commonly referred to as the Town Square, are actually made up of elk antlers and adorn the four corners of the park. These arches help visitors to feel that they are truly getting to experience the west and represent a historical legacy to our Wyoming landscape, while causing traffic jams year-round as people flock for pictures. 

Jackson Hole, Wy Antler Arches, Winter

The first antler arch was constructed in 1953 through the efforts and fundraising of the Jackson Hole Rotary Club. The National Elk Refuge, a protected haven where hundreds of elk come to take shelter during the winter months, sits just outside of the town of Jackson. Each spring the herd of elk naturally shed their antlers allowing locals and visitors alike to harvest the pieces for art and auction. Using a steel frame as a base and thousands of antlers from the annual spring shed, the rotary club methodically stacked the antlers to form the resulting arch. By the late 1960’s the other three antler arches came into existence and completed the project. 

The four arches stood proudly for the sixty years that followed. But as antlers are in fact made up of bone, they eventually began to decompose causing the structures to lose their rigidity and foundational structure. In 2006 the Rotary Club began fundraising efforts to replace the structures altogether with newly formed arches. Using donations and the funds received from auctioning off the original arches, some 14,000 pounds of antlers per arch, the club was able to replace them entirely with new frames and new antlers. 

By 2015 the final arch reconstruction was completed and the new adornments are expected to last at least another 50 years. The antler arches have become something of a Jackson Hole icon and a legacy to be passed onto future generations. I can’t imagine walking past the Town Square without glancing at families posing for pictures underneath the antlers or watching the christmas lights strung over them each winter season twinkle with the falling snow. Just as much as the Teton views comprise our familiarity and love for Jackson Hole, so do the arches.

Summer Kid-Friendly Fun in Jackson Hole

If you are planning a trip to Jackson Hole with some little adventurers and looking for activities to keep them engaged, you have come to the right place! The area is plentiful when it comes to family friendly fun, thanks to it’s amazing mountains, lakes, resorts and community fun. Here are some of our favorite things to do with the whole family that you won’t soon forget.

Snow King Mountain

While it is a beloved local in-town ski resort in the winter, Snow King offers a number of fun summertime activities suitable for all ages including mini golf, the Cowboy mountain coaster, an alpine slide, the Amaze’n maze, a bungee trampoline, chairlift rides, and last but not least the Treetop Adventure ropes course and zipline. You have the option of paying for each activity individually or purchasing a day pass that gives access to all of them unlimited with the exception of the Treetop Adventure, that is only included for one tour. 

Jackson Hole Rodeo

Courtesy of Jackson Hole Rodeo

The perfect night time event to attend for the whole family, the Jackson Hole Rodeo puts some of the best riders from the surrounding areas on display and gets the crowd involved creating fun for all. There are plenty of opportunities throughout the summer to catch a rodeo, with shows every Wednesday and Saturday from Memorial day through Labor day, with additional Friday rodeos in July & August.

White Water Rafting

Get out on the river with one of Jackson Hole’s experienced raft guide companies and hit the whitewater for a thrill of a lifetime among the beauty of the Hoback canyon. Dave Hansen Whitewater, Barker Ewing, and Mad River are a couple of the reputable rafting companies in the area, and offer a number of different trips depending on what you and your family are looking for. Don’t fall overboard!

Rock Climbing

Courtesy of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort

What better way to have fun in the mountains than to climb them! There are a wide variety of places to climb in the area, but for those without much experience or equipment, spending a day with a guide service is advisable. The Via Ferrata at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is a great place for beginner climbers to hone their skills, as it has cables that climbers are clipped into and iron rungs in some of the more difficult to climb areas to use for assistance if needed. Another option for guided climbing is to spend a day with Exum Mountain Guides in Grand Teton National Park at Hidden Falls, Exum will customize the day around your family’s abilities and wishes.

Eat at the “Best of Jackson Hole” Top Restaurants

Each year the community of Jackson Hole casts its votes for the best businesses, organizations and individuals, and they award gold, silver, and bronze for a number of different categories. One of the more sought after awards for the “Best of Jackson Hole” each year is the overall restaurant award, winners stake claim to the best food and atmosphere combination in town. So what better places to eat in Jackson Hole than the top three restaurants, as voted by local patrons in 2020. 

Gold: Snake River Grill

Courtesy of Al_HikesAZ

One of Jackson’s more high-end restaurant options, Snake River Grill has won the award five years in a row now, and rightfully so with their ever changing menu made up of modern american cuisine and their western styled dining areas. The menu features seasonal ingredients, with much of the dishes being locally inspired, with a unique professional touch provided by managing partner and culinary expert Jeff Drew. Snake River Grill has also been recognized by Travel + Leisure, Business Insider, Food Network, and more for its prestige as one of the best restaurants in Wyoming. Some of the featured dishes include Wild Mushroom Tortellini, Honey Glazed Moulard Duck Breast, Smoked Buffalo Short Ribs, Smoked Trout Chowder, and the famed SRG Eskimo bars for dessert.

Silver: King Sushi

Now, I know what you are probably thinking, you didn’t travel to the wild west to eat Japanese food, let alone to seek out seafood, but trust us and the local community who voted for the Best of Jackson Hole, King Sushi is delicious. Not only do they provide a great well rounded menu, with items suitable for nearly anyone’s taste but the atmosphere is unique and makes the dining experience that much better. Situated in a small and cozy log cabin there is table seating and the sushi bar to sit at, as well as outdoor seating on their deck when weather permits. Reservations are highly recommended due to the intimate layout.

Bronze: Glorietta Trattoria

This quaint Italian restaurant comes in at third place for the Best of Jackson Hole, but if you are a lover of fine Italian cuisine including handmade pasta and wood-fired cooking then it may as well be number one. The atmosphere of natural finished wood and tile is simple but makes you feel like you have stepped into a portal to an old school Italian American eatery. Traditional Italian pasta dishes are served, in addition to some of the more lavish items such as a wagyu ribeye, rabbit confit, and braised lamb shank. Aside from the food they pride themselves on having an intricate and delicious cocktail and wine selection as well.

Fly Fishing with Snake River Angler

Although fishing and fly fishing are not unique to Jackson Hole, the quality of fishing and unmatched scenery make for a one of a kind place to cast your rod. Regardless of skill level, the rivers within and surrounding Jackson Hole contain some of the most sought after fishing holes in the country and are home to the infamous state fish of Wyoming, the cutthroat trout. Whether you fancy yourself an expert angler or not, hiring a guide to take you out on the Snake River or the other great rivers in the area will make your trip worthwhile. Snake River Angler is one of the premier fly fishing guide services in Jackson Hole, boasting the most fishing permits of any outfitter in the area. Their expert guides will provide you with invaluable information about the proper techniques, baits to use and much more based upon the time of year, location and conditions.

Guided Trips with SRA

Snake River Angler offers five main locations for trips; the Snake River, Green & New Fork Rivers, Yellowstone National Park (rivers & lake), Salt River, and Flat Creek on the National Elk Refuge. 

Snake River

The majestic Snake River runs through Grand Teton National Park and Bridger-Teton National forest for a large portion of it’s Wyoming stretch. Snake River Angler offers more sections of the snake river than any other outfitter in the region, with permits for the park and national forest.  Drift boat trips on the Snake River can either be full or half day and range from March 1st to the end of November pending conditions. 

Green & New Fork Rivers

One of Wyoming’s more under the radar, great fishing locations, the Green and New Fork Rivers are home to some of the largest brown and rainbow trout. Because of how low key and remote these rivers are, you will find serenity among the scenery of the Wind River Range with very few other boats around. The Green & New Fork River trips are only offered as full day and are also available from March to November pending conditions.

Yellowstone National Park

The famed first National Park is home to some of the most revered waters on the planet for fly fishing. SRA offers guided fishing on the Firehole, Gibbon, Madison, Lewis, Snake, and Yellowstone rivers as well as Crayfish Creek and Lewis Lake. These fishing holes are filled with a variety of trout, both native and introduced populations. These trips are wade-fishing only with the exception of Lewis Lake which is accessed via outboard motor-clad drift boats. Trips are available from Memorial day weekend through October.

Salt River

A great escape away from the other more popular waters in the area, the Salt River is beloved by anglers who prefer the dry fly. Much of the fish found here are native Snake River fine-spotted and Yellowstone cutthroat, as well as the lesser dominant brown and rainbow trout. The river flows mostly through private ranch land and is a great place for both expert and novice anglers alike. These trips are offered from March through November for full days.

Flat Creek

One of the most technical streams in the West, Flat Creek is located right on the National Elk Refuge and features almost only Snake River fine-spotted cutthroat trout. These trips are exclusively wade fishing, and pose a solid challenge to any willing expert angler. The trout can often be well over 20 inches and are sure to put up a fight. Trips range from August 1st to the end of October, and can be either full or half day.

Springtime in Jackson Hole: Where are the Wildlife?

Tourists who flock to Jackson Hole in the summer are rewarded with perfect, dry, temperate weather, gorgeous views, and a plethora of activities. Springtime in Jackson Hole, however, rewards its guests with a different kind of activity…one for those nature lovers. That’s right, springtime in Jackson Hole IS the time to see wildlife. 

Take a drive on Gros Ventre Road towards Antelope Flats Road in late April and May and you will be able to see a “herd” of moose eating the antelope sagebrush, dense with nutrients, that grows near the Kelly Warm Springs. We’ve counted as many as 10 moose, some preparing to give birth, chowing on this scrumptious vegetation. These otherwise sparse animals are difficult to locate in the heat of the summer, as they definitely hide out from the sun. Still, it’s possible to find them in the early morning or late evening, although not as readily as in the springtime. 

On Elk Refuge Road, you can wander down the way a bit so that you are under Miller Butte. Look around, look up. You stand a really good chance of seeing a herd of Bighorn Sheep. These guys like to hang out in high, rocky places, thus making it difficult to see them in the summer. But in springtime in Jackson Hole, you can easily see them as some of them winter on the refuge. As the snow starts to melt, you will see them move on. 

In mentioning the Elk Refuge, large herds of elk are moving out of the area in April and May. Thus, seeing elk in large herds close up is an easy task if you are up near Gros Ventre Junction. The refuge lets out in this area, and many elk pass through on their way North and West. These guys and gals are super easy to spot, just look for big light brown animals with a darker colored necklace of fur and a white butt. 

A buffalo herd near Kelly also moves out of the Elk Refuge in April and May. These large chunky dark brown animals are often seen moving towards the Golf and Tennis Club, perhaps ready to play a game of golf…or just eat the green grass on it. It’s not a super large herd, so you will likely see a couple of animals hanging out. 

Foxes and coyotes can easily be seen in the distance, and I would recommend checking out Spring Gulch Rd for them. The open fields of the ranches in this area allow for perfect hunting grounds of field mice, and occasionally you’ll see a good pounce!

Our more reclusive animals, such as the mountain lion and wolf are certainly challenging to spot, regardless of the time of year. There are a couple of mountain lions and a pack of wolves that hang out on the Elk Refuge in the winter and springtime, a great hunting zone for them. Mountain lions tend to hang out on rocks and pounce on prey as needed. A patient person can scope around for a crow-filled carcass, hoping to catch ones of these highly private animals at dinnertime. And after a short time, the mountain lion may leave it when wolves come in for clean up. You can otherwise spot wolves in the dusk hours up Gros Ventre Road.

Lastly, our bears. Both grizzly bears and black bears are coming out of hibernation during the springtime in Jackson Hole. While you stand a good chance of spotting a male during the morning and dusk hours up near Moran Junction and Pacific Creek, the females with cubs emerge a little bit later, towards the end of April and the beginning of May. With patience, you can be rewarded with a cute, curious baby bear rolling around on its mother. 

Springtime in Jackson Hole doesn’t always have the best weather and often the snow stays around a little too long. However, what the weather lacks, the wildlife viewing certainly makes up for it. This is hands down one of the best times of year to see wildlife in Jackson Hole.

Ranch Profile: Lockhart Cattle Company

Lockhart Ranching in Jackson, Wyoming Photo by David Stubbs © 2011

Cattle ranching in the Western United States is a deeply rooted industry and much of the culture here in Jackson Hole and surrounding areas is closely tied to it. Which brings us to what really makes having reputable Cattle ranches in the area great: the amazing beef products that come along with it. One ranch in particular, the Lockhart ranch, also known as Lockhart Cattle Company, has been a staple in the valley since 1938, spanning six generations of the same family. 

The ranch was originally purchased by Bruce Porter, who moved to Jackson in 1914 to work as a pharmacist, but ultimately was successful enough to venture into the cattle industry.  Today the ranch has changed quite a bit from those early days but still prides itself on being family owned, and providing top-quality beef to the Jackson Hole Community. The cattle come from superior Hereford genetics and feed on premium grass and water in order to produce healthy and sustainable beef that lives its entire life here in Teton County.

Courtesy of Lockhart Cattle Co.

In 2004 the Lockhart Cattle Company was forced to euthanize all of its cattle because of a bacterial infection, and the company had to file for nonuse. This meant that they were unable to make use of their livestock grazing permit in Grand Teton National Park. The Lockhart family held the last GTNP grazing permit in existence, and the park took this opportunity to close off entirely for grazing purposes. 

Lockhart Cattle Company, Jackson, Wyoming Photo by David Stubbs

After this downturn the next generation, Cody and Chase Lockhart, took the reins of the family business and brought it back to life with the goal of keeping the beef in the valley. They ultimately succeeded by marketing themselves to local restaurants. One of the contracts that solidified their success was with Signal Mountain lodge in Grand Teton National Park, where they sell mass quantities of hamburgers to tourists from all over, ordering around 12,000 pounds a year.

Lockhart beef can be found at Jackson Whole Grocer, as well as many restaurants around Jackson. When shopping at some of the smaller markets or eating at local restaurants keep an eye out for this homegrown Teton County delicacy.

Spend the Day with High Mountain Heli Skiing

For some adventurers, riding lifts to ski or snowboard can be a dull activity and hiking or skinning to more remote ski runs can be great but sometimes the limited number laps you can take in a day is just not enough.  That is where Heli skiing comes in to save the day, fresh snow on every turn of every run, with access to terrain that is mostly inaccessible without a helicopter. When it comes to Heli Skiing in Jackson Hole, High Mountain Heli Skiing is a one stop shop, being the only Heli-Skiing company that operates in the area. 

A Day On the Chopper

When taking a trip with High Mountain Heli Skiing, your day will consist of six runs, which will net you somewhere between 12,000 and 15,000 vertical feet. Lunch is provided at the “Heli-Deli” and there is potential for extra runs at an additional cost when time and conditions permit.  Each of the A-Star B3 helicopters hold groups of five people (one guide, four guests), 3 groups is the maximum for High Mountain Heli’s daily operations. All trips meet daily at 9am at one of HMH’s two bases which are located at Snake River Sporting Club south of Jackson, and Teton Springs Lodge and Spa near Victor. 

With over 305,000 acres of terrain consisting of ranges south of Teton Village, the Snake River, Palisades, and portions of the Wyoming, Teton and Gros Ventre Mountain Ranges. These ranges feature vast open bowls, steep chutes, forests and glades for guests to enjoy. Heli skiing is mainly recommended for advanced and expert skiers and the trips are split up based on skiing ability when possible, to maximize the experience for all involved. 

Rates & Packages

High Mountain Heli Skiing offers day packages as their main option, which come at the cost of $1450/per person per day. The price may seem steep but the runs are just as steep and the snow is guaranteed to be fantastic. Not to mention the experience being unmatched and exhilarating. If you have ever wanted to go heli skiing in Jackson Hole, be sure to give HMH a call, you will not regret it.

A Brief History of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort

Every ski area has it’s story of how it was founded, to the evolution of how it became what it is today with many stories and characters that fill the spaces in between. The history of JHMR is no different, the resort has seen its fair share of changes over the years from owners, to lifts, hotels, restaurants and more. While covering every detail of the history of this iconic ski resort would make for a fantastic read, it would require a novel worth of text. With that being said, here is a brief history of JHMR.

The Early Years

Prior to 1961 the current location of the resort was a girl scout ranch which Paul McCollister purchased. McCollister, with the assistance of partners Alex Morley and Gordon Graham formed the Jackson Hole Ski Corporation in 1963.  The following year they began construction with Apres Vous mountain opening to the public in 1964, with two double chairlifts. Two years after that, the original Jackson Hole Tram opened in 1966 and held 52 people, taking passengers to the top of Rendezvous mountain in just over 10 minutes. That December the resort officially opened and Pepi Stiegler, reigning Olympic gold medalist of the time, was hired to be the ski school director. Several national ski races and competitions were held at Jackson Hole in the following years. With a notable moment being the final International ski race of the season in 1967, the Wild West classic in which Jean-Claude Killy of France and Nancy Green of Canada were crowned as that year’s world champions. Jean-Claude was quoted by Sports Illustrated as saying “If there is a better ski mountain in the United States, I haven’t skied it.”

The 90’s-Now

After years of slow growth and a few new lifts being added, including the Thunder double chair, which took skiers from mid mountain to a few hundred feet below the summit providing easier access to the central mountain between the tram and Apres Vous lift. In 1992 McCollister sold Jackson Hole Ski Corp. to the Kemmerer siblings, Connie, Jay and Betty whose family had a long family history in Wyoming dating back more than 100 years. That same year the Thunder double chair was upgraded to a quad, by 1997 the family friendly Teewinot beginner lift was upgraded to a high-speed quad and the Bridger Gondola was also added along with new intermediate trails. Aside from the ski resort itself, Teton village was expanding as well at the turn of the century, with Snake River Lodge & Spa, The Teton Club, Teton Mountain Lodge, Four seasons and Hotel Terra all being constructed in just the years between 2000 and 2009. In 2006 the Tram was shut down, to build the larger current Tram we see today, this same year the Headwall Deli and Rendezvous Restaurant at the top of the Bridger gondola were built, now known as Piste. Since then even more lifts have been added including the Casper, Marmot and Teton lifts, and the Sweetwater Gondola.

Just this past year the resort has added yet another lift, the Eagles Rest quad which is another lift catering to beginners. The evolution continues.