When I visited Jackson Hole this year, it was a bit of a learning lesson. Following my experience, I’ve discovered that not many people have been (despite the frenzy over Wyoming’s new, famous resident – Kanye West). That’s why I wanted to share all there is to see and do.
Jackson Hole is the 10th largest city in Wyoming and is located in Grand Tetons National Park. It’s perfect for outdoor activities such as skiing, rock climbing, mountain biking, rafting and hiking. You’ll also find great food, restaurants, and a vibrant night life.
I’ll be honest. Except for the stories my grandmother told me about the two years she lived in Wyoming, and the time we drove through as we moved from Virginia to Idaho, I didn’t know much about the state. So, when I was invited on a press trip to Jackson Hole, I wasn’t even sure whether to accept. In fact, I was very open about my ambivalence to the organizers, who encouraged me to come and enjoy myself. I’m glad I went.
The press trip itself was physically grueling, but in the best kind of way (kind of like the other time I climbed a mountain). After leaving Orangetheory Fitness earlier this year, I haven’t been going to the gym regularly. This was a reminder that I need to recommit to my health. I deserve to fully enjoy the world around me. Jackson Hole truly gave me some unforgettable experiences
Jackson Hole, Wyoming Airport
You’re going to feel like you’re a celebrity as you land in Jackson Hole, the “only commercial airport in the United States located entirely inside a National Park.” The views of the mountains are absolutely outstanding, but be prepared for a bit of a bumpy approach to the landing strip. It was definitely a little nausea-inducing, but at least there was an amazing view!
The actual building is one of the most chic airports I’ve ever seen. You must deplane onto the tarmac and walk to the entrance, which is adorned with antlers. Inside, the arrival area is quite posh. There are luggage racks and carts specifically designed to tote ski gear from the baggage carousel to your vehicle!
Snow King Resort in Jackson Hole, Wyoming
If you’re looking for a place to stay while you ski and tube in the winter or raft and fly fish in the summer, you can’t beat the Snow King Resort. For a complete list of year-round activities, click here. This is where I stayed during my trip, and I’d go back in a heartbeat.
You can choose from a room at the hotel, a classic condo, or a luxury condo. The area’s western feel is reflected in the rustic décor, but it still feels modern and comfortable. Even though the property is a little older and hasn’t been renovated recently, everything was meticulously maintained in my spacious, one-bedroom condo, which included a Murphy bed in the living room.
What I really loved, though, was the grounds. It was beautiful at the end of summer, and I can only imagine how magical it looks in the winter. It just felt every bit of what you’d imagine a mountain resort would look like in Park City or Aspen, but in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Whole knew? My condo included a wonderful porch with enough space to walk out and breathe in the fresh air or sip a warm cup of tea — a really nice feature.
My main regret was that I was a week too late to get on the mountain coaster, which was right outside my window. If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that I’ve been using roller coasters to combat fear and anxiety, so I was crushed to miss it. If it’s anything like the Glade Runner at Bogus Basin, it’s fantastic. I’m planning to return to Jackson Hole in the spring, and I’ll have to make sure it’s open and ready for me!
Hiking in the Grand Tetons
You cannot appreciate the beauty of the Grand Teton mountains until you’re in Jackson Hole. They are absolutely stunning, and I’m so glad I was able to see them in person. Not only that, but our group did a little hike and/or run through the trails. Unfortunately, I was dealing with a knee injury (still am!) at the time. I had to take it slow, but that gave me more time to soak in the views.
We were there with AllTrails, an app that connects users to more than 100,000 trails around the world. It made it so easy to pick and follow a path without fear of getting lost. It allowed me to not worry so much about where I was going, giving me the ability to fully immerse myself in the beautiful, natural surroundings.
Some trails are more challenging than others, but this is definitely something I hope to come back and do with my kids. I think they’d really enjoy hiking in the Grand Tetons and I’m looking forward to coming back as a family.
Climbing the Via Ferrata
Want to see some of the most epic views of your life? Head over to the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and do the Via Ferrata guided climbing experience. It’s perfect for families, groups, or individuals (although, you must be 10 years or older). You’ll venture through high alpine terrain, above the valley floor, along granite walls, and across suspended bridges.
The Via Ferrata was recently expanded and now includes four new routes of varying levels of difficulty to give climbers more options. With my knee injury, I wasn’t able to do much as I’d hoped, so I took a raincheck. This is my whole motivation for wanting to go back (okay, and the mountain coaster). I’m going to climb the Via Ferrata!
There are a lot of things to enjoy at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, with a robust offering of activities for both summer and winter. While I was there, I rode the famous Tram up to the Via Ferrata. Here are some quick facts about it:
- Ride time: 9 minutes
- Length: 4,139 vertical feet
- Cable Length: 4.85 miles
- Capacity: 100 people
- Nickname: Big Red, The Red Heli
- Birthdate: December 19, 2008
Sometimes I’m afraid of heights, but I felt completely comfortable in “Big Red.” In fact, I was more worried about the people coughing around me than I was about anything happening to the Tram. That’s a testament to both how sturdy it feels and how strong my OCD can be. 🙂
While some of our meals were catered and prepared by Camp Chef (and they were delicious!), we did get to eat at two local Jackson Hole restaurants during our trip! I’m incredibly fond of Japan, especially the cuisine, so I was excited to check out Suda Izakaya.
We tried an assortment of menu items including gyoza, suda mixed greens, yakimono, rice, and a beef filet. There were a few other items, but I didn’t get to try them because the food was served family style and my germaphobia wouldn’t allow me to eat food that had already been handled by others.
That being said, what I did eat was fantastic. I’d go back to eat here again and again, if I could! For dessert, we were served green tea chocolate cake and Mochi Ice Cream, which consisted of cool “bubbles” mochi filled with creamy ice cream, and green tea chocolate cake. Considering how picky I am with Japanese food served at American restaurants, I’m happy to say that everything was very, very good!
Jackson Hole Roadhouse Pub & Eatery
We feasted like kings and queens at the Roadhouse Pub & Eatery. There’s no way I could afford all that they served as a family meal on my own, but the planned meal for our press group was really impressive. Course after course was brought to our table and everything was delicious.
For this meal, the host sat me in a spot that allowed me to handle the food before it was passed along to others. I’m learning that, the more open I am about my OCD, the more people surprise me for the better. That thoughtful gesture allowed me to enjoy this meal!
We started with Yazu Shishito Peppers, Thai Lettuce Wraps, and mini pork tacos; honestly, I could have just sat and eaten the lettuce wraps and tacos for hours. It was super good, and I really enjoyed it (even though I had to eat with my hands!).
Next we had a vegetarian cauliflower curry with rice and, even though I hate cauliflower, the flavors were outstanding. It was great to try something I never would have ordered on my own because I ended up eating a bunch of this dish! The last thing we were served before dessert was a spice-rubbed pork loin which was absolutely delicious.
We finished the meal with some tiny ice cream sandwiches (the mint one was so yummy!) and a bite-sized huckleberry cheesecake. Even though the fruit is so popular in Idaho, I’d never tried it. It was unique and entirely yummy. I’ve been missing out! All in all, Roadhouse is a fantastic option for families because the food appeals to a wide audience and, as a brewery, there’s also an impressive drink menu.
Late-Night Bar Scene in Jackson Hole, Wyoming
There’s a bustling bar scene in downtown Jackson Hole. Who knew, right? We went to the Silver Dollar Bar & Grill and Million Dollar Cowboy Bar and both were bumpin’ — on weeknights! Who could have ever guessed that an anxious girl like me would end up at a Jackson Hole bar!
Even if you don’t drink, there’s plenty of fun to be had on the dance floor! They play fantastic music, and the artist performing at the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar was great. It was just so much more than I was expecting from Jackson Hole. That probably sounds ridiculous coming from someone who currently lives in Idaho! Trust me, though. It was a fun experience all around.
Basically, what I’m saying is that there’s no shortage of things to do in Jackson Hole even though it’s only the 10th largest city in Wyoming. If you love getting outdoors, you definitely won’t be disappointed. Even if you just float down the river, you can’t beat the view of the Grand Tetons. It’s a one-of-a-kind city that you need to see to believe!
Helpful Jackson Hole Links and Resources
Have I convinced you to visit Jackson Hole? If you’re thinking of planning a vacation or doing any of the activities I’ve mentioned, here are some links to help you get started:
- Flights to Jackson Hole
- Jackson Hole Hotels and Resorts
- Car Rentals in Jackson Hole
- Jackson Hole Family Ski Vacations
- Jackson Hole Vacation Packages and Specials
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