Jackson Hole, Wyoming – Yellowstone’s Southern Gateway

Jackson Hole, Wyoming Downtown. Photo by Jeff Vanuga

Jackson Hole, Wyoming Downtown. Photo by Jeff Vanuga

Wild West meets modern luxury in this outdoor recreation mecca.

Take one part historic cowboy charm, add a healthy dash of modern glamour, and finish with a heaping portion of world-class mountain scenery, and you’ve got Jackson, Wyoming—Yellowstone’s southern gateway town and one of the most beloved getaways in the Rocky Mountains. Situated on the doorstep of Grand Teton National Park and 57 miles from Yellowstone’s South Entrance, Jackson’s (Jackson Hole refers to the entire valley) fantastic dining, outdoor recreation, and cultural attractions make it more than worth a visit in its own right.

What to See in Jackson Hole

Jackson Hole Antler Arch in Town Square. Photo by Jeff Vanuga

Jackson Hole Antler Arch in Town Square. Photo by Jeff Vanuga

Start with a stroll through Town Square, home to four of Jackson’s famous arches made from elk antlers (built from antlers the local elk naturally shed at the end of every season). Here, you’ll find dozens of restaurants, galleries, gift stores, and ice cream shops. A few blocks south, check out what’s playing at the Center for the Arts, Jackson Hole’s hub for music, theater, dance, and literary events from local and national performers. The unique National Museum of Wildlife Art just north of downtown draws both art and animal lovers with its eclectic collections of paintings and sculpture. And while wildlife abound in nearby Grand Teton National Park, one of your best bets for an animal sighting in winter is the National Elk Refuge, which provides habitat for up to 7,000 elk.

Things to Do in Jackson Hole

Jackson Hole Ariel Tram. Courtesy photo

Jackson Hole Ariel Tram. Courtesy photo

Jackson Hole’s peaks and rivers make it outdoor-activity heaven. A number of whitewater rafting outfitters base themselves in town, offering lake paddling and Snake River trips ranging from a few hours to a few days. The river here offers Class II and III rapids, making for exciting and family-friendly splashing. Mountain bikers will find a popular network of trails at nearby Teton Pass. And in winter, Jackson is legendary for skiing and snowboarding. Options include Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, renowned for its steep runs and fantastic snow; Grand Targhee Resort, a quieter mountain on the Tetons’ west side; and locals’ mountain Snow King.

Eat & Drink

Jackson’s bustling tourist scene supports plenty of delicious restaurants and lively bars. Try Snake River Brewing for laid-back pub fare and local pints. Thai Me Up, another local favorite, serves upscale Thai and craft beers. For something a little fancier, head to Rendezvous Bistro for seasonal flavors and fine wine.

Million Dollar Cowboy Bar

Jackson Hole, WY Million Dollar Cowboy Bar

Million Dollar Cowboy Bar in Jackson, Wyom. Photo by Jeff Vanuga

For the wall displays alone, stop for a drink at Jackson’s iconic Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, an Old West saloon with live music. Sit on a saddle barstool at the knobbled pine bar. This isn’t your ordinary bar. It’s like a Hard Rock Cafe for cowboys. The interior is filled with animal mounts, cowboy memorabilia, historic photos, and cowboy murals. You can’t miss it; look for the neon bronco-rider sign on Town Square. milliondollarcowboybar.com

Stay in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

The Jackson Hole region is filled with resorts, guest ranches, and hotels, just 45 minutes from Grand Teton National Park and two hours from the south entrance to Yellowstone National Park.

View Hotels Near Yellowstone’s South Entrance