With hard-charging athletes, ski bums, tech entrepreneurs, ranchers, cowboys, and tourists galore, Jackson Hole is an eclectic place. Come for a taste of the "Old West," slash some fresh powder, marvel at wildlife, climb a peak, stroll by a picturesque lake, or do all of the above.
When to Go
Jackson Hole is revered as a world-class ski and snowboarding destination, and powder lovers flock here in winter (pack lots of layers—temperatures can plunge to minus 20 and below). But summer is true "peak season" with millions of visitors, often en route to national parks. Late fall and early spring are quieter times of year dubbed "mud season" or "off season." Many tourist attractions and local businesses close during this time.
The Fall Arts Festival each September brings art aficionados to town for everything from gallery walks and art auctions to food and wine-focused events. Fourth of July is a festive time of year with parades, fireworks, rodeo, concerts, and other festivities. In winter, the ski race calendar is packed, from downhill racing events to quirky spring traditions like "Pole, Pedal, Paddle"—a favorite local multi-sport race.
What to Eat
Savor elk tenderloin medallions or chow down on a bison burger at many of Jackson Hole's restaurants. These two popular local meats are on the menu in a variety of formats (and price points) all around town. Huckleberries are another local favorite which can be found in ice cream, jams, and other delights.
Souvenir to Take Home
Jackson has a bustling art community, so shop the local galleries, stores and co-ops to bring home a locally-crafted piece of art with options ranging from wildlife photography to Western artwork and sculptures. For a true Western souvenir, bring home a pair of boots or other leatherwork. Buffalo jerky and huckleberry jam are tasty local souvenirs.
Sustainable Travel Tip
Be sure to give all wildlife plenty of room. In the national parks, people are required to give bears and wolves at least 100 yards of space, while the minimum distance people must stay from other wildlife is 25 yards. Some areas are closed seasonally due to wildlife activity; respect these closures.
Ansel Adams found plenty of inspiration in the Tetons, so why not fill your Instagram with Teton views? Head to the iconic Moulton Barn or wander over to Oxbow Bend on a calm day to capture a perfect reflection shot. Sunrise and sunset provide the "golden hour," but don't discount astrophotography possibilities at night. Shoot skyward for images of the Milky Way, meteor showers, and for the very lucky—the Northern Lights.