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top five guide: jackson hole, wyoming

Updated: Sep 7, 2023

Field of Horses Grazing in front of Grand Teton Mountains Outside Jackson WY

Jackson Hole, Wyoming is where the wild west meets refined luxury. Nestled snugly in the heart of the majestic Teton Mountain Range, Jackson is a year-round haven for adventurers, nature enthusiasts, and those seeking a slightly more glamorous approach to rugged cowboy life. As the gateway to Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone, this charming mountain town has something for everyone.

I've had the pleasure of visiting Jackson Hole (also referred to just as "Jackson") in both the summer and winter months and can attest that it's an equally worthy destination in either season. Whether you're into camping, skiing, fly fishing, hiking, or just drinking cocktails in a cute hat, you'll find what you're looking for here.

here are my top five tips for a trip to JACKSON HOLE:

Car Camping at Gros Ventre Campground Grand Teton National Park Jackson WY

1: where to stay

Whether you're a casual camper or a luxe resort-goer, you'll find something to suit your tastes in Jackson. Given that the town is adjacent to the magnificent Grand Teton National Park, summertime visitors can enjoy camping in an idyllic setting among the mountains and moose. My favorite camp spot was at Gros Ventre Campground (site "X" is pictured). Five-star Amangani is a truly bucket-list worthy stay. Marriott loyalists will enjoy The Cloudveil, An Autograph Collection Hotel. Finally, for a more unique yet affordable stay, visit the tiny cabins at Fireside Resort.

Jackson Hole Tram to Corbet's Couloir

2: winter activities

Wintertime is particularly magical in Jackson. Skiers and snowboarders will be spoiled with some of the best runs in the country at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. Don't miss a trip up to Corbet's Cabin for some warm waffles and hot chocolate at altitude, and then take the famous Corbet's Couloir down (if you dare). For less experienced skiers, or those without a death wish, you can take the tram down. After a long day on the slopes, the best spot to relax and aprés is with a beer, pizza, and live music at Mangy Moose.

Phelps Lake Hike Grand Teton National Park Jackson WY

3: summer activities

Summertime visitors will enjoy miles of pristine bike paths from town to the Tetons. Take the path along US 191/26 to Gros Ventre Road for a 12 mile round-trip, or extend it to Moose Junction or Jenny Lake. For a relatively flat yet undeniably gorgeous hike, Phelps Lake is perfect. This six mile loop around the lake has a jumping rock about 1/3 of the way through (if you take it counterclockwise). Wildlife spotting is another summertime must: we saw elk, moose, bison, and a bear on our trip. The best viewing times are dawn or dusk, and we had luck along the Gros Ventre and Snake Rivers.

Cheers Brunch Cocktails at Persephone Jackson WY

4: breakfast around town

No trip to Jackson is complete without a stop at perennial favorite Persephone. This bakery-slash-restaurant serves up delicious brunch fare and pastries in a charming converted house. The adjoining patio is simply perfect on a sunny day. If you are in need of a caffeine fix to fuel your shopping around the quaint town, then Cowboy Coffee Co. is your spot. Don't forget to take an obligatory photo underneath the antler arches in Jackson Town Square.

Spinning Cowboy Sign at Million Dollar Cowboy Bar Jackson WY

5: night out

You deserve to let loose after all the outdoorsy activities. Grab happy hour or dinner at Gather, which serves solid cocktails and small plates in a casual yet upscale setting (get a reservation). If you're with a larger group or craving something more casual, you can't go wrong with Hand Fire Pizza, which is housed in the old Teton Theatre. After dinner, you can't miss a drink at the most famous bar in town: Million Dollar Cowboy (pictured). Easily identified by its spinning cowboy sign, this sprawling bar has pool tables, live music, saddle bar stools, and even a stuffed bear. Late night visitors should expect a wait.


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