The temperatures have begun to cool down, the line of cars leading up to Grand Teton National Park has started to get shorter, and with the most subtle start – the leaves on the trails around the valley are starting to turn a shade darker. It’s fall in Jackson Hole and that faint cool crisp of the winter ahead fills your lungs at the start of each new day. Fall is technically one of Jackson Hole’s shoulder seasons, a time when the crowds of visitors start to lessen considerably and the pace of the valley becomes quite a bit slower. But don’t let those cool temperatures fool you. Fall is the unsung hero of Jackson Hole’s seasons and the laundry list of dreamy activities to fill up your cup remains ripe for the taking. Here are our top four favorite activities for fall in Jackson Hole.
Some of the best riding conditions of the year take place during fall in the Tetons. The foliage surrounds you with a beautiful spectrum of colors. The cooler temperatures allow you to ride longer and skip over that ‘I’m too hot I can’t go any further’ feeling the summer brings. And with random smatterings of rain and snow the dirt is simply perfect. Check out Cache Creek, our local trail system just outside of the town itself for riding conditions that range from cruising through aspens to techy sections full of rock and root features to keep you on your A game.
Cruising for Wildlife
Fall is one of the best times of the year to observe wildlife in Jackson Hole throughout their annual journey to prepare for the winter. Bears are more active, elk are busy bugling looking for mates, the bison are milling about, and a plethora of birds are migrating to the south. Spend some time driving through Grand Teton National Park to viewpoints like Oxbow Bend or Schwabachers Landing where not only are you likely to see wildlife but the Teton views are absolutely astounding. For a fuller day head up to Yellowstone National Park where you are sure to see moose and bison in their natural habitats as you take in the fall tones and wide open expanse.
Granite Hot Springs
If you are visiting Jackson Hole during the fall season you run the risk of running into some unforeseen rainy weather conditions, not exactly the idyllic scenario for a vacation geared towards spending time in the outdoors. Lucky for you Granite Hot Springs, a hot spring located in the Bridger-Teton National Forest and along Granite Creek, offers the perfect way to stay warm and cozy while still getting to spend time outdoors. For a small fee, spend the day soaking in the quaint pool’s warm waters surrounded by views of the Gros Ventre Mountains.
While getting into high alpine environments during fall in the Tetons starts to become quite a bit trickier and less desirable you can still nab some of those lower longer hikes inside Grand Teton National Park and throughout the valley without worry of being held up in inclement weather. Places like Table Mountain or Death Canyon in the Tetons are sure to take your breath away while breaking in those hiking boots. Don’t forget to put the Gros Ventre Mountain Range on your hiking list as the condensed amount of aspens in that area make fall one of the best times to visit.