Escape Guide // Jackson, Wyoming

Escape Guide // Jackson, Wyoming

by Katherine Parker-Magyar

Jackson Hole is not exactly a secret anymore; the town has become ever more popular in recent years, as avid skiers around the globe fly to Wyoming to experience some of the most challenging terrain in the country. But what’s less well-known (except amongst locals) is that Jackson is just as fun—and as beautiful—in the off-season. The local activities shift when the mountain closes and the national park opens—horseback riding, fly fishing, and hiking replace skiing and snowboarding. Drinking, however, remains popular year-round. From the Rendezvous concert series at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in March, to the Annual Ski & Gear Swap in October, and Elkfest in May, there’s no shortage of events in Jackson Hole year-round. So, saddle up, and book your flight.

Traveler’s tip: if you fly to Idaho Falls and rent a car at the airport, your trip will be less expensive than flying into Jackson Hole. You will also witness the most spectacular views on the ride over, as you follow the Teton Pass up into the mountains and down into the valley of Jackson. Giddy up.

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PUT ‘EM BACK

The Million Dollar Cowboy Bar // 25 N Cache St, Jackson, Wyoming 83001

To visit Jackson Hole and not make a pilgrimage to the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar is nothing short of sacrilegious. From the live music, to the saddles that double as barstools, to the exuberant mix of actual cowboys and wannabe-cowboys, this is the bar not to be missed. Famous and popular for a reason, don’t be too cool to experience this iconic saloon.

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The Mangy Moose // 3295 Village Drive, Jackson, Wyoming 83001

Located at the foot of the mountain, the Mangy Moose is the prime après location after a day of skiing. The nachos are phenomenal, the music is live, and the drinks are stiff. And if your phone is dead after a day on the slopes, it’s pretty much guaranteed you will find your friends here, saddled up at the bar.

The Silver Dollar // 50 Glenwood St, Jackson, Wyoming 83001

Located in the Wort Hotel, the Silver Dollar (so-named for the proliferation of said currency embedded in the wooden bar) is where you go to attend to your country dancing needs. If you’re too shy, order a round at the bar before throwing away your pride to the sounds of local bands; often including the cleverly named ‘Jackson 6.’

GOOD EATS

 

Dornan’s // 12170 Dornan Rd, Jackson, Wyoming 83001

Dornan’s is home not only to the best pizza in Jackson Hole, but the most breathtaking views as well. Stop by here for drinks and/or a meal after a day spent in the park. Just up the road from Jenny Lake, it’s the ideal après-hike locale, and the vista is so gorgeous, you may never want to leave.

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Local // 55 N Cache St, Jackson, Wyoming 83001

Located right next to the Cowboy Bar, Local boasts its own happening bar scene, and is the perfect spot for a dinner before hitting up the town square. The elk medallions and bison burger are recommended—when in Wyoming, you may as well go full Wyoming.

 

GET YOUR FIX

Aspens Market // 4015 N Lake Creek Drive #29, Wilson, Wyoming 83014

Located on Moose Wilson Road, the Aspens Market is worth the trip if only to increase the likelihood of seeing a moose in the wild during your stay. Several moose are known to wander about the Aspens, completely oblivious (or more likely: unbothered) by any onlookers. Though this should go without saying: don’t approach—or take selfies—with the wildlife. At the market, be sure to try the (delicious) elk jerky.

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Café Genevieve // 135 E Broadway, Jackson, Wyoming 83001

Located in downtown Jackson, this brunch spot is perfect for brunch. Grab a seat outside on the log cabin’s patio for some mimosas and prime people-watching.

LOCAL’S PICKS

The Rose // 50 W Broadway, Jackson, Wyoming 83001

Check out the Rose for after-dinner drinks to see how the locals experience the nightlife. Just as wild as the Cowboy Bar, and less crowded with tourists.

GOOD TIMES

Spring Creek Ranch // 1600 N. East Butte Rd, Jackson, Wyoming 83001

Head up to Spring Creek Ranch to go horseback riding on the buttes offering a 360-view of the mountain range. Opt for the 2-hour ride (versus the 1-hour), so your trip includes a trail ride through the forests winding up the side of the mountain. The views are best in the spring and early summer—by August, the forest fires tend to cause an abundance of smoke, which obscures visibility.

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Jackson Hole Mountain Resort // 3395 Cody Ln, Teton Village, WY 83025

To go to Jackson Hole in the wintertime and not to ski is to commit a crime against humanity. Find out what all the fuss is about, and experience the giddiness of riders on the tram headed up to the top of the mountain. Not for beginners, though the mountain has been expanding its intermediate trails. In the summer, go hiking or mountain biking, or, for the very adventurous: paragliding

Jackson Hole Rodeo // 447 West Snow King Ave, Jackson Hole, Wyoming 83001

Check out the Jackson Hole Rodeo, held in downtown Jackson. Ideal for a summer night, when you can watch the sun setting behind the mountains, turning the entire sky pink—fire on the mountain, indeed.

OFF THE GRID

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Grand Teton National Park // Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Grand Teton National Park is a must-see on your trip to Jackson Hole. The vistas are more dramatic than Yellowstone, and the sites are far less overrun with tourists. Rent a kayak and head out to Two Ocean Lake to get off the beaten path, and increase your chances of seeing wildlife (bears, moose, etc.) Jenny Lake is the most popular spot for a reason: it’s gorgeous. Take the boat over to hike to Inspiration Point. If boating is your thing, check out Jackson Lake: it’s the only lake in the Park to allow sailboats, water skiing and windsurfers.

National Elk Refuge // 675 E Broadway, Jackson, Wyoming 83001

Take a break from skiing one day (you deserve it) and sign up for a sleigh ride in the Elk Refuge to truly feel transported to another world (one mainly inhabited by elks, to be precise). If you’re visiting in the spring, be sure to check out ElkFest, when you can score a pair of antlers to bring home. The famous antler arches in the town square are constructed every year by boy scouts who scour the Refuge for antlers. The antlers not used on the arches are auctioned during ElkFest. The more adventurous (and patient) traveler can also scavenge the Refuge in the weeks afterwards, looking to find (free) antlers that the scouts may have missed.

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Westbank Anglers // 3670 Moose Wilson Rd, Wilson, Wyoming 83014

If you’re looking to recreate A River Runs Through It, head down to Westbank Anglers to book a fly-fishing trip. Depending on the time of year, the expert guides will take you down a variety of rivers in Jackson, including the less-explored Bridger Wilderness. Hint: request Pat Sheehy as your guide—he is as entertaining and witty as he is knowledgeable about fly-fishing.

FILL YOUR BAG

Jackson Hole Hat Company // 45 W Deloney Ave, Jackson, Wyoming 83001

If you’re going to go full cowboy, you may as well be authentic about it. The Jackson Hole Hat Company is the best source for cowboy hats in Jackson, making sure you look appropriately Westernized for your return flight.

Valley Bookstore // 125 N Cache Jackson, Wyoming 83001

This bookstore has been family-owned for decades and houses hard-to-find books about the West, including field guides, trail guides and literature about the history of Jackson Hole.

HANG YOUR HAT

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Four Seasons Jackson Hole // 7680 Granite Rd, Teton Village, Wyoming 83025

If you’re feeling flush, the Four Seasons in Jackson Hole is hard to beat. Located at the base of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, the Four Seasons is perfect for après-ski, when you are looking for a bloody mary (or three) to celebrate your hard work. Luxuriate in one of the spa’s hot tubs situated on the resort’s deck at the foot of the mountain, and drink in the envy of all the freezing skiers wishing they could trade places with you.

Snake River Lodge & Spa // 7710 Granite Loop Road, Teton Village, Wyoming 83025

The Snake River Lodge & Spa—also located at the foot of the mountain—is worth booking merely for the ambiance alone: trapper furs, and antlers and taxidermy abound. Waterfalls cascade into the indoor/outdoor pools, and the spa treatments are similarly decadent: spring for a body wrap after a day on the slopes.

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