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The Mountains Are Calling: Visit The Grand Tetons In All Four Seasons

 
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If you’re looking for the perfect destination to experience the American West, look no further than Teton County, Wyoming, and book your flight to Jackson Hole. This is hardly a controversial statement. While some may argue in favor of the glitzier mountains of Colorado, or the undiscovered peaks and rivers of neighboring Idaho, the valley of Jackson is a veritable paradise for those who live for the outdoors (or those who appreciate the outdoors over a glass of wine by a warm fire). Whether you prefer to be up in the mountains or out on the water, and regardless of whether you prefer summer or winter sports, Jackson Hole has something for every fisherman, hunter, skier, hiker, kayaker, and on and on.

The town is a contradiction of sorts, resolutely maintaining its frontier attitude (the welcome sign on the Teton Pass reads: Howdy Stranger, Yonder is Jackson Hole- The Last of the Old West) despite being home to the most billionaires per capita in the country. But perhaps these two identities aren’t so different after all. But something about Jackson Hole inspires mad devotion—a dedication to preserving the wildness of the land that unites venture capitalists and fly fishermen alike. You can find the two species of enthusiasts fraternizing at the Cowboy Bar on any given evening and—unlike in Aspen—wouldn’t be able to immediately distinguish the cowboy from the city-dweller. It’s hard to be uptight when you can hear the rushing water of the Snake River winding its way across the valley, and see that 360-degree view of the Grand Tetons wherever you turn. Here are our recommendations for exploring the last of the Old West. 

Eat

The most delicious looking elk burger you've ever seen

(Image provided by Adobe Stock)

There’s been an explosion of new restaurants in Jackson Hole in recent years boasting ever more sophisticated offerings, but we recommend staying true to the classics. Hit up the Aspens Market for some elk jerky before heading out to the mountain for some skiing, or the national park for hiking, fishing, kayaking, and everything else. On the way back, make sure to stop by Dornan’s—located before the (very popular) entrance to Jenny Lake, the restaurant is situated in an open field at the foot of the Tetons. Order some pizza and enjoy the best view in the valley. 

As for nighttime options, a trip to Jackson Hole isn’t complete without an evening at the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar. Head there early to check out the local scene (cowboys mingle with tourists in fur), and order a beer and the elk burger to get your night started. After dinner, saddle up (literally) to one of the barstools and prepare to dance to the live band—they’re usually playing country songs.

Hot Spots:

Million Dollar Cowboy Bar

25 N Cache St, Jackson, Wyoming 83001

Aspens Market

4015 N Lake Creek Dr #29, Wilson, WY 83014

Dornan’s

12170 Dornan Rd, Jackson, Wyoming 83001

Sleep

A row of very nice looking cabins

(Image provided by Adobe Stock)

Where you should stay in Jackson depends entirely upon the season when you’re visiting—if it’s wintertime, rent a condo in one of the many villages located along Moose-Wilson Road, which connects the ski resort to downtown Jackson. Just beware of the animal advertised when driving: the moose come out at dusk and, though they may be slow-moving, they can be hard to distinguish in the dark. We recommend the Aspens for some prime moose-viewing by daylight: the Jackson Hole Racquet Club is host to several friendly (and impressively antlered) morning visitors. 

If you’re looking for accommodations that offset the strenuous terrain during ski season, look no further than the Snake River Lodge and Spa. The décor evokes an elegant hunting lodge, and the amenities rival the Four Seasons—though the Lodge is more tucked away at the base of the mountain, and feels like a true oasis. For summertime travelers, the Jackson Lake Lodge can’t be beaten—Jackson Lake is less crowded than Jenny Lake, and tucked further back into the park, providing easier access to lesser-known trails and rivers.

Hot Spots:

Snake River Lodge & Spa

7710 Granite Loop Road, Teton Village, Wyoming 83025

Jackson Lake Lodge

101 Jackson Lake Lodge Rd, Moran, WY 83013

Jackson Hole Racquet Club at the Aspens

4010 W. Lake Creek Drive, Suite C • Wilson, Wyoming 83014

Explore

A man admiring mountain peaks at sunset

(Image provided by Adobe Stock)

This brings us to what to do when you’re in the veritable outdoors mecca that is Jackson Hole. Winter might seem a more obvious itinerary, but aside from the skiing (and the tempting fate on Corbet’s Couloir), we recommend a sleigh ride in the elk refuge to truly feel immersed with the wildlife on the land. Snowmobiling is another option—though, we hasten to add, not necessarily an easier one. While the vistas are incredible, driving a snowmobile up the side of a mountain requires incredible balance and maneuvering when the machine weighs at least double your size.  

Traveling in the summer, we recommend horseback riding at Spring Creek Ranch—take the two-hour tour so you can navigate through some overgrown brush coming down the butte—and, of course, Westbank Anglers for fly fishing. Head to the Bridger Wilderness and Gros Ventre Wilderness areas for more of an off-the-beaten-path experience, though, the Snake River is also not to be missed. If you’re heading to Grand Teton National Park, definitely do the hiking trails around Amphitheater Lake and Sunrise Lakes—the blue oasis you discover at the top will be well worth the climb. Two Ocean Lake is also a must—wildlife activity in that area is high, and the best way to observe bears, moose, and elk in their natural habitat is from the water. Take a kayak out on the water, and pack some bear spray for the trip. Jackson Hole is famous for its ever-changing weather, so pack that Campfire Fleece and some sunblock (it blizzards in July), and head west. 

Hot Spots:

Spring Creek Ranch

1600 N. East Butte Road, PO Box 4780, Jackson, Wyoming 83001

Westbank Anglers

3670 Moose Wilson Rd, Wilson, Wyoming 83014

Ampitheater Lake & Surprise Lakes- Teton Hiking Trails

Lupine Meadows Trailhead, Grand Teton National Park

Two Ocean Lake

Two Ocean Lake Trailhead, Grand Teton National Park

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