THE BEST OF JACKSON HOLE WYOMING
Jackson Hole, you have my heart. It’s only been a few weeks since our trip to Jackson & Grand Teton National Park and I’m already planning my return- possibly for next fall with the kids. We made a relatively last minute decision to book a trip to Jackson Hole to celebrate my (uh, milestone) birthday after agonizing over the decision of whether to travel or hold off until 2021. My original plan was to rent a Villa in Majorca with a group of friends, so this was a bit of a departure. Yet another silver lining found in 2020- Jackson Hole & Grand Teton National Park exceeded my expectations, and then some. If it’s not already, please add this to your list of must-visit US destinations and read on for my guide to the Best of Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
The Best Time of Year to Visit
Because I’m partial to fall and we had such a spectacular experience on our visit in late September, I’d definitely recommend planning a fall trip to Jackson Hole. That said, depending on your interests, this is a destination that can be enjoyed at all times of the year. Autumn is an excellent season for wildlife spotting with animals super active as they gear up for hibernation. Skiing enthusiasts will enjoy winter and the added treat of viewing the Elk Refuge. Spring is great for fly fishing and more wildlife spotting as animals emerge from hibernation. A summer vacation to Jackson Hole is also a fantastic idea for those who want to hike Grand Teton National Park without bundling, swim in its many gorgeous alpine lakes and go white water rafting on the Snake River.
Where to Stay
We split our time between Hotel Jackson– a hip & well appointed boutique hotel located smack in the middle of Jackson and Amangani– a luxury resort with spectacular Teton views just 10 minutes outside of town and were super pleased with both options. If you don’t rent a car, I’d recommend staying in town at a walkable location but if your budget warrants it and you do have a car, Amangani’s stunning views are worth the splurge. Another good in-town location to consider for those on a tighter budget is Hotel Anvil. Caldera House– a luxury suite only boutique is a fantastic option for larger groups & families and offers ski-in ski-out and you can’t ever go wrong with Four Seasons which is situated at the base of Teton Village.
What to Do
There is no shortage of activities in Jackson Hole, Wyoming! Here are some of my favorites…
Perhaps our most memorable experience was spotting wildlife in Grand Teton National Park. We opted for an eco tour with Sarah at Jackson Hole Ecotours where we viewed bison, elk, antelope, moose and even a black bear grazing on berries in a tree! You might think, why spend the money on an ecotour if you’ve rented a car and can drive the park yourself? Ecotour companies have all the equipment- think telescopes & binoculars and first hand knowledge of where these animals hang out. They are also a wealth of knowledge- for example, by the end of our tour, I’d gathered quite the collection of bear facts.
For those who love to hike, GTNP is a serious dream. There are a wealth of trails available which range from easy to extremely technical. Prior to your hike, download the All Trails app for helpful tips and realistic trail reviews. On our first hiking day, much to my husband’s chagrin, I decided we should hike to the famed Delta Lake. The all uphill trail starts out marked then roughly 3.5 miles in, you must vere off trail and climb across 2 giant boulder fields before you are greeted by one of the most pristine lakes you’ve ever laid eyes on- well worth the sore glutes in my opinion. We also hiked to Phelps Lake which was gorgeous and literally ‘a walk in the woods’ relative to the previous day’s trek. Even if hiking is not your thing, I implore you to do at least one hike in the Tetons. There is so much beauty to see in the park even by car but so much more when you get into the woods.
Grand Teton National Park has 15 miles of wildly scenic paved bike paths that believe it or not, are mostly flat! We rented bikes in Jackson at Hobak Sports and rode from town to Dornan’s in Moose for pizza & wine and back for an almost 30 mile journey. If you plan to drink alcohol like I did, you may want to consider renting an e-bike for an easier trip back. Alternatively, you could rent bikes in Moose and ride to Jenny Lake.
Other Fun Stuff:
Design your custom felt cowboy hat Crown & Brim
Take a sunrise or sunset horseback ride at Spring Creek Ranch
Stargaze at night and wake early to watch the sunrise- you won’t regret it!
Visit & view wildlife art at the National Museum of Wildlife Art
What to Eat
There are no shortage of excellent restaurants in Jackson Hole! Because it was so busy this fall and restaurants were operating at limited capacity, we didn’t have the opportunity to eat everywhere we wanted. Note that all of my recommendations are located in the town of Jackson only because that’s where I was based.
Breakfast & lunch:
Persephone Bakery– A fun lively spot with amazing pastries & breakfast-y options plus they serve my favorite coffee Intelligentsia
CocoLove– Come here for delicious hot chocolate & treats and they also offer a full cafe menu
Cowboy Coffee- They boast an array of inventive coffee and non-coffee beverages & a small breakfast menu plus they open at 6am so you can stop by to stock up before an early morning hike or excursion
Cafe Genevieve– A great brunch spot serving up hearty portions of southern classics that utilize local and seasonal ingredients
Local– We ate here twice because it was so tasty! They are known for their burger selection (get the bison burger) but also offer great salads, chili and creative cocktails
The Blue Lion-A french inspired Jackson classic- great seafood! Make your reservations ahead of time here because seating is very limited and they don’t take walk-ins
Snake River Grill– Another solid Jackson classic offering up New American cuisine with a local twist in a fine dining atmosphere.
Coelette– Fantastic new spot created by the owners of Coelette with a dynamic cocktail menu and fresh approach on Jackson Fole favorites + house made pasta. Order the cabbage!
Glorietta– Mouth watering italian in Wyoming, yes it’s true!
Hatch– Upscale taqueria and home of Jackson Hole’s ‘best margarita’ with plenty of outdoor seating
So, have I convinced you to start planning your trip to Jackson Hole Wyoming??