“What about Jackson Hole?” I asked my husband as we were discussing alternative options for a ski trip a year after cancelling a trip to Denver/Breckenridge, Colorado (thanks COVID). My father visited Wyoming several times, but we hadn’t considered a vacation there before.
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is listed as one of the top ski destinations in the country (more on our ski experience below). I was also looking to do some winter activities such as hiking and snowshoeing, so Wyoming sounded like a great option. As soon as we arrived at the terminal and stepped off the plane, a winter wonderland filled with large snowflakes welcomed us to Jackson. The mountains surrounded the airport in the distance, creating a beautiful, snowy landscape. As we rode a shuttle from the airport to our hotel, the driver pointed out several moose relaxing along the snow covered grass.
Where we Stayed
Initially, we looked at a bunch of Airbnb homes and apartments, but after taxes and fees, it was pricier than a resort stay. We ultimately choose to stay at Snow King Resort. It’s connected to Snow King Mountain so you can ski in and ski out. It’s a beautiful location alongside the mountain with a hot tub and heated pool, large stone fireplace, and a complementary shuttle (which we utilized often) going into town as well as Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. We didn’t ski at Snow King but wish that we would have. The prices are reasonable and there is an evening time to ski that costs even less. I would recommend staying at Snow King Resort as it’s very cozy, comfortable and close to downtown Jackson.
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
Once you arrive at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, it becomes evident why it is listed as one of the top ski resorts in the country. Let me start with this – it’s worth every penny! The best advice I will give you is know your skiing abilities and which color runs to stick to. Look at the map of the lifts beforehand if you can. For example, I should have stuck to the beginner/green runs because they are equivalent to the blue runs we have here in Minnesota.
I would say it’s a great resort for all ages and abilities, but it’s important to know your limits. As you get higher up the mountain with the blue and black runs, there are narrow pathways and cliffs with caution signs for advanced skiers only. I am not an advanced skier!
The 360 degree mountain views from the gondolas are truly unprecedented. They also sell some great ski gear and casual clothing in their onsite shop. I bought a hat, sweatshirt, and some stickers that I love. Be sure to check it out!
Grand Teton National Park
We visited Grand Teton National Park in late March, which I learned is a tricky time to visit because majority of the roads throughout the park are not plowed; you cannot drive on them until April at the earliest. Lesson learned. We drove as far as we could go into the park and hiked at Taggart Lake Trailhead. Super beautiful trail to explore. Lots of trees, snowy landscapes, greenery peeking out (springtime!), and a view of the lake. We did not bring bear spray, but it is highly recommended for you to carry some if you’ll be hiking there.
Grand Teton is a must-visit spot when you come to Wyoming. If you want to hike among beautiful mountains, trees, and lake views, put it on your list. It’s the lesser known park compared to Yellowstone, but definitely worth the visit. If you want to cross-country ski, snowshoe or do a guided tour, there are plenty of outdoor activities to try. All the locals suggested that when we return, we visit Grand Teton in the summer months. I imagine the greenery and flowers are beautiful!
Things to Do
Be sure to walk around downtown Jackson for at least a day and have lunch or dinner there. It’s a smaller, walkable area and there is plenty of transportation to help you get around. Jackson Hole’s iconic elk antler arch is in the middle of the town square for a photo-op. It’s pretty when it lights up at night! Admittedly, I wish the shopping in Jackson was better, but I did really enjoy our food. I’m going to highlight a few of our favorite places below...
Intrigued by this French coffee shop’s ratings, we decided to check it out. It was absolutely amazing! They have pastry options for a quick bite to eat, but if you have time, you’ll want to sit down and enjoy breakfast. I had the best omelette I’ve ever had here! (The herbed omelette – pictured below) It’s definitely elevated food for a coffee shop as it has that French feel. We loved it so much that we came back a second time during our trip (which we never do by the way!)
Hand Fire Pizza
From the marquee sign out front to the pictures of the pizza, we knew this place had to be good. We were right! I don’t know about you, but I go to a pizza joint every place that I vacation. This open kitchen style restaurant did not disappoint in terms of flavor options, crust, service, and overall experience. When I looked back at my pictures, my mouth starting watering again, thinking about that perfect pizza.
Astoria Mineral Hot Springs
This isn’t a ‘natural’ spring, but it’s a short commute from Jackson and will give you some needed R & R on your vacation. You can enjoy a beverage while soaking in the hot springs like we did. It as a nice break to do during the day! We spent about an hour there or so. When you book a soaking session there, you have a 2 hour limit, which is plenty of time. They had a limited number of spots in each spring due to COVID, but we were still able to enjoy it and switch from one spring to the next. You gotta book your session online because they do book up fast.
Other Things to Do
National Elk Refuge
This is a popular spot to visit to see the Jackson elk herd. There are other wildlife on the refuge such as bison, eagles and bighorn sheep. You can drive on National Elk Refuge Road to get some pictures of the wildlife. Keep in mind the elk herd can be far out in the distance, so if you want a closer look, you can book a sleigh ride through the refuge.
If you’re interested in seeing more wildlife, there are plenty of tours and excursions that will take you on half-day or full-day trips. I would have loved to do that, but they were out of our budget for this trip.
Granite Hot Springs & Camp
If you’re looking for hot springs with a view, check out Granite Hot Springs & Camp. We would have loved to visit, but realized that we’d have to hike or ride by snowmobile or dogsled in the winter to get there. In the summer months, you can get there by car. The views do look gorgeous though!
There is the Jackson Hole Rodeo in the summer months. I’ll put that on my list to check out when we come back to visit!
This area has tons of outdoor activities no matter the season. If you’re visiting in the winter, there is skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, sleigh rides, or dogsledding. In the summer months, you can mountain bike, go whitewater rafting, fly fishing, boating, horseback riding, or rock climbing.
Have you been to Jackson Hole? Any favorite experiences there?