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JACKSON HOLE - The best of the valley

A place of exquisite natural beauty, wonderful places to see, things to do, and beautiful national parks.

Grand Teton Mountains
Grand Tetons Lake and Pines

This beautiful 48-mile-long valley, nestled between the Teton Mountain range and the Gros Ventres Mountains, with the Snake River that winds through it, is jaw-droppingly beautiful.  Come winter or summer, this is a wonderful holiday destination with a lot on offer.  Let’s plan a trip to Wyoming and explore some of the best of Jackson Hole Valley.

Where is Jackson Hole and getting there

Jackson Hole is located in the northwestern part of the state of Wyoming in the United States. Specifically, it is situated in Teton County, Wyoming. The town of Jackson, which serves as the gateway to Jackson Hole, is approximately 15 miles (24 kilometers) south of Grand Teton National Park and about 60 miles (97 kilometers) south of Yellowstone National Park. This puts Jackson Hole in close proximity to some of the most iconic natural landscapes in the United States.

Jackson Hole refers to the entire valley, including the town of Jackson, Teton Village, Wilson, the Aspens, Moran Junction, Moose, and surrounding areas.

Jackson Hole Valley is one of the few areas left that still focus on slowing down and reconnecting to nature in a unique rustic way.  The locals refer to it as the “Ranch lifestyle”, maybe still reflecting some of a bygone era and, a definitely not forgotten, heritage.

But it is also home to a fabulous snow ski resort and there are plenty of beautiful places to stay.  More on this later in the article…

Where to stay in Jackson Hole Snow ski resorts the best

How to get there:

  1. By Air: Jackson Hole Airport (JAC) is the closest airport to Jackson and serves as the primary gateway for visitors flying into the region. It’s located about 7 miles (11 kilometers) north of the town of Jackson. Several major airlines operate direct flights to Jackson Hole Airport from various cities across the United States, especially during the peak travel seasons.

  1. By Car: If you prefer a road trip, you can drive to Jackson Hole. Major highways provide access to the area, including US Highway 89 from the north and south, US Highway 26 from the east, and US Highway 191 from the north and south. These routes offer scenic drives through picturesque landscapes, especially as you approach the Teton Range.

Teton is only 21 min (12,3 mi) away from Jackson via WY-390 S/Moose Wilson Rd and WY-22, by car.

Once you arrive in Jackson Hole, you can rent a car to explore the area at your own pace, or rely on public transportation, taxis, or shuttle services to get around. Many accommodations in Jackson and the surrounding areas also offer shuttle services to and from the airport.

There are plenty of things to do - Some of the best activities:

What to do in winter in Jackson Hole

Tourists from all over the world come to experience some of the best snow terrain in North America.

Jackson is home to 3 ski areas: Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Snow King Mountain Resort and Grand Targhee Resort.

(‘Known for its “cowboy powder” and challenging runs, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort was recently rated the number one ski resort in North America by Forbes magazine.’)  I think this definitely makes it one of the ‘best of Jackson Hole Valley’ that you need to visit.  If you are not a professional or an experienced snow skier, you can still enjoy the fun on offer, like snow tubing, snowboarding and snow biking.   But Jackson Hole does offer beginner and intermediate runs as well:   Thus offering something for the whole family.

Snow ski in Jackson Hole where to stay

Snow King Mountain is one of the places you must visit in Winter or Summer.  They offer loads of fun for the whole family.  From scenic gondola rides to concerts, mountain dining with spectacular views, and lots of fun activities for the kids.

Snow King Resort is perfect if you’re looking for accommodation in a perfect setting right up against the mountain, with fabulous views.  It is within easy walking distance to Jackson Town (1.3 km from downtown Jackson) and this ski-in/ski-out resort is surrounded by the Bridger Teton National Forest.

What to do in summer in Jackson Hole

With the river and Jackson Lake as some of the main attractions, tourists can enjoy hiking, fishing, rafting and sport activities like golfing and cycling.  I would recommend spending time at Jackson Lake in the Grand Teton National Park.  Here you can rent a boat to explore the lake and do some trout fishing or just hang out next to the lake and enjoy a wonderful day in the fresh mountain air.  In my opinion there is nothing better than a breakfast hot air balloon ride over the valley – which you can book at the bottom of this page.  Also enjoy water sports like water skiing and tubing. But there is more exploring to do like:

Grand Teton National Park

Lake Jenny offers hiking opportunities to the Hidden Falls, Cascade Canyon and Symmetry Spire.  You can also do the Taggart Lake hiking trail which is a family friendly hike with beautiful views.

River Rafting on Snake River is popular and offers views of wildlife and the mountains within the smaller Grand Teton National Park area.

During the winter months, you can take a guided tour of the nearby 25,000-acre National Elk Refuge where you can witness a large amount of migrating elk.

The Aerial Tram, also known as “Big Red” to the locals, is accessible via Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. You can ride the Aerial Tram to the summit of Rendezvous Peak and then hike back down or hike into Grand Teton National Park.

In my opinion you need to set aside at least one day to explore the beauty of Grand Teton National Park and enjoy some of the beautiful hikes.  However, should you wish to stay for a bit longer, there are camping and RV sites available. 

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone is the bigger and more famous brother of Grand Teton National Park and obviously you just have to visit the park. 

The best time to visit the Yellowstone National Park is during July and August when all roads and facilities are open.  Due to the weather there are regular road closures for vehicles during winter time, although the park is open to visitors from April to November.  So during winter the park is closed to regular traffic and you can only access by snow coach and snowmobile guided tours. 

When planning your trip to Yellowstone National Park, do visit this webpage where you can find useful information on what is open at what time of year, etc.:  Website

How much time you need, all depends on how much time you have available.  There are a lot to see and enjoy, so if you have limited time, a guided tour is an excellent option.  This way you don’t have to stress.  The tour operators know exactly what to show you to ensure you don’t miss out on any of the big attractions.  This way you will also get some valuable information about the park during your tour.  You can sit back and relax and enjoy a stress free visit.

If you just have one day to explore, you can do the self-drive Grand Loop park road.  But only do half of the loop road.  You will still see most of the famous sights, but doing it all in one day is too much.

Our favorite must see stops within the Yellowstone National Park

The Yellowstone Grand Canyon is a 20-mile canyon that runs from Upper Falls to Tower Falls and offers scenic views and hiking opportunities. Artists Point offers beautiful views of the lower falls.

Mammoth Hot Springs has amazing rock formations in beautiful colors and is a beautiful stop that calls for thousands of photos.

The most photographed spots in the park are the geysers: In total, there are more than 10,000 hot springs and geysers in the park.

  • Old Faithful Geyser (Upper Geyser Basin) with the Old Faithful Historic District, which includes the inn and many of the surrounding buildings, were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.
  • The Midway Geyser Basin and the Grand Prismatic Spring with its magnificent rainbow colors. (Photos below)

Jackson Cultural and Where to eat

After having visited and seen all the natural beauty you will definitely need to stop at Jackson’s Town Square Park.  The park is marked with the iconic Antler arches (made of shed antlers from the nearby National Elk Refuge) and the square is surrounded by restaurants, shops and art galleries. 

Where to eat

I recommend a stop at the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar and the Silver Dollar Bar & Grill, just to re-live a bit of the Wild West.  It certainly are some of the best restaurants in Jackson Hole Valley.  In my opinion you must always enjoy the views in town if possible, so during summer time, check out The Deck at the gondola summit (Read more below). Enjoy panoramic views of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, the Snake River and the Gros Ventre Mountain Range while listening to live music from local bands and musicians.

Art and Culture

Thereafter if you’re craving some culture in the form of music and art, stop by the National Museum of Wildlife Art and the Center for the Arts.

  1. Wildlife Viewing: Jackson Hole offers excellent opportunities for wildlife viewing, both within Grand Teton National Park and in the surrounding wilderness areas. Keep an eye out for bison, bald eagles, bighorn sheep, and other native species.

Book your trip to this beautiful holiday destination

nearest airport

Jackson Hole Airport (JAC) in Jackson, WY  :  Flights

where to stay

Depending on what your needs are, accommodation outside of the Yellowstone National Park might be a better option.  Jackson Hole offers beautiful accommodation options.  Here are only a few suggestions on what is available.  

Also read more below on accommodation at Teton Village.

The Virginian Lodge 

Located in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, 5 miles from Grand Teton National Park, this lodge offers on-site dining. All year heated outdoor pool and hot tub are located on site.  Jackson Hole Mountain Ski Resort is 5 miles from The Virginian Lodge Wyoming. Offering shops, Jackson Hole city centre is 5 minutes’ drive away.  Book your stay…

Jackson Hole accommodation options star

The Cloudveil, Autograph Collection

beautiful places to stay in Jackson

The Cloudveil features a rooftop terrace that has breathtaking views.

Review:  “Location and facility were perfect – what a great way to spend time in Jackson Hole!” Gretchen – booking.com

Book some fabulous holiday activities

Teton Village

Teton Village surrounds the base of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and is beautiful. It is accessed from nearby Jackson and the surrounding area via the Moose-Wilson Road.  

On the question, if you should rather stay in Teton or Jackson, our answer is simple: 

It all depends on personal taste.  Don’t let people tell you one is better than the other.  Both of these places have beautiful accommodation and natural vistas.  Jackson offers a bit more to do in the department of sight seeing and entertainment (things to do when you’re not skiing). 

Teton village offers beautiful accommodations and is ideal if you want to “escape the crowds” or be near the ski slopes.

But as to where you should stay:  Browse this link and decide which one you like most.  In our opinion, you will definitely find the best of the best in Jackson Hole Valley:  Where to stay 

Jackson Hole Aerial Tram and Gondola Rides

Teton is home to the aerial gondola rides over the picturesque valley to a peak with 3 restaurants, skiing & hiking trails.  This is where ‘The Deck’ Restaurant is situated.  (Remember:  Last gondola up at 8:30pm, last gondola down at 9pm.)

Jackson Hole Valley
Photo credit on map above:  Jackson Hole

There are more articles on wonderful holiday destinations in North America : Read more