My hand tightened on the grip of my paddle as our guide steered our raft. Our relaxing float down the river was about to take a turn for excitement. “All forward!” he yelled, and we all hopped into action digging our paddles as hard as we could into the surface of the water.
This was only one of many exciting things to do in Jackson Hole Wyoming.
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Last Updated: December 16, 2020
11 Incredible Things to Do in Jackson Hole Wyoming
Whether you want to relax, challenge yourself with a hike, or get a taste of the wild west, we’ve put together this list to help you decide what to do in Jackson Hole Wyoming.
1. Grand Teton National Park
Q8R9+57 Jenny Lake, map
You can’t have a list of the top things to do in Jackson Hole without including Grand Teton National Park. There are over 230 miles of hiking trails and the easy access to epic mountain views makes this one of the best National Parks out there. If you’re planning a visit soon, don’t forget to check out our Grand Teton National Park guide. Also, Yellowstone National Park is a short drive away.
2. Snake River White Water Rafting
1450 US-89, 83001, map
We met early morning at Sands Whitewater & Scenic River Trips and got into the river 25 miles south of the city. Ours felt like the perfect mix of enjoying the scenery and an adrenaline rush, which made it one of our favorite Jackson Hole activities. The rapids are typically class 2-3, and they run tours May to September depending on the water levels. If you’re looking for something more relaxing, you can opt for the scenic float trips down the river. We also saw some people fly fishing during our trip, which made Jacob want to try it on our next visit.
Photographers are positioned along the river to take shots of you at pivotal moments, so don’t forget to smile! Although, I love my terrified face in the second photo. There are two photography companies, and we recommend Float-O-Graphs. They have a store in the heart of Jackson and helpful staff. Plus you get a huge discount if you buy it there vs online.
Pro Tip: According to our guide, you should visit in July if you want a more exciting ride. The water is warmer and there are the most rapids.
3. Soak in the Granite Hotsprings
Granite Creek Rd, 83001, map
Granite Hot Springs is a local favorite spot for a soak and is about an hour drive outside of town. It has been around since the pioneer days and has transformed over the years and is now an established pool. There is a small fee ($8 adults, $5 children) and onsite bathroom facilities.
Just before arriving, you’ll get views of Granite Creek Falls. It’s great stop and if you dare, you can even wade across Granite Creek to find two natural pools. As a warning, it’s not easy since the water moves quick. I would highly recommend a hiking pole to stabilize yourself.
Pro Tip: The road gets rough driving out to the creek so take it slow or have a high clearance vehicle.
4. Take a Scenic Drive
One of the best ways to enjoy the area is by going on a scenic drive. Not only do you get epic views of the Tetons, but you may even spot wildlife. These are some great drives:
- Moose Wilson Road – windy 8-mile road between Grand Teton National Park and Moose. They say if you want to see a moose, your best chances are here. Also, take time to explore the beautiful Laurance Rockefeller Preserve area.
- Inner Park Loop Road – 20-mile path through the National Park right under the Tetons.
- Jenny Lake Scenic Loop – 3-mile road giving you plenty of viewpoints.
- Kelly Loop – 16-mile loop where you’ll find herds of bison, Mormon Row, Moulton Barn, and more.
Pro Tip: If you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of wildlife, just look for a mass of cars stopped on the side of the road. Driving along the Gros Ventre River is a great place to start, and it’s where we spotted the moose below.
2820 Rungius Rd, 83001, map
If you love nature or you are an art enthusiast, visit the National Museum of Wildlife Art. There are 14 galleries, sculptures outside the building, and more.
If you’re looking for other museums to visit, check out these:
- Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum – been around since 1958 and tells you all about the history of the area
- Jackson Hole Children’s Museum – great if you have little ones
Check their site for updated hours and guidelines this year.
6. National Elk Refuge
675 E Broadway Ave, 83001, map
The National Elk Refuge is a sanctuary for the Jackson Elk Herd and home to roughly 11,000 animals. During the summer, they are harder to find in the area, but you may spot other animals such as bison, bald eagles, trumpeter swans, and wolves. Unfortunately when we went, they were roaming elsewhere.
In the summer, you can follow a trail to get some great views. In the winter, they also do sleigh rides that get you closer to the elk making it one of the best places for Jackson Hole wildlife. That’s something I would love to come back for.
Pro Tip: If you head up to the parking lot of the National Museum of Wildlife Art, you can get great views looking down on the refuge.
7. Hop in a UTV and Explore the Backcountry
27655 US-26, 83013, map
Get off the main roads and explore the backcountry on a UTV. Since we were staying at the Togwotee Mountain Lodge, we picked ours up from the front desk and took it around the Bridger Teton National Forest area. Usually you get great views of the Tetons, but the entire west coast was on fire when we visited. It just means there’s another reason to come back. They also have a location in town if that is closer for you.
Pro Tip: The UTVs are street legal too, so you can drive the scenic roads.
8. Explore Downtown Jackson
532 North Cache, 83001 map
If you need a break from all the outdoor adventure and want to relax during your Jackson Hole vacation, spend an afternoon in town. If you’re not sure where to start, stop by the visitor center and they can point you in the right direction. They usually know all the best spots and any special Jackson Hole offers.
Don’t miss the four elk antler arches at George Washington Memorial Park also known as Town Square. The Boy Scouts collected 1000 pounds of antlers from the National Elk Refuge.
9. Experience the Wild West
Wyoming is the Cowboy State, so what better excuse for some Western fun. Here are a few options to channel your inner cowboy.
- Horseback Riding – There are plenty of options when it comes to Teton horseback adventures, so hop on the back of a trusty steed as your guide takes you through beautiful trails.
- Chuck Wagon Dinners – Have dinner with a cowboy as they serve dinner out of traditional covered wagon cook-out.
- Stagecoach Rides – Ride around town in a real stagecoach pulled by beautiful horses.
- Jackson Hole Shoot-out – Clear the streets at 6 PM between Memorial Day and Labor Day to watch a re-enactment of a shootout presented by the Jackson Hole Playhouse. It easily makes the list of the best free things to do in Jackson Hole from May to September.
- Jackson Hole Rodeo – Get a real rodeo experience every Wednesday and Saturday night.
10. Take to the Sky
If you want to see the Jackson Hole area from a completely new perspective, then head up to the sky! Since most of us can’t fly (yet), here are a few options to get a solid bird’s-eye view.
- Hot Air Balloon – If you’re looking for unique things to do in Jackson Hole, hop into the basket of a hot air balloon and head up for a dreamy scenic view of the area.
- Jackson Hole Aerial Tram – From Teton Village, ride this Jackson Hole Mountain Resort tram 4,139 vertical feet to get stunning 360 views. It’s one of the best things to do in Jackson Hole in winter and in summer.
- Paraglide – If you’re looking for something more adrenaline pumping, then join your pilot as you run off the summit of Snow King Mountain mountain and truly take flight. You get to see the Teton Mountain Range as the birds do.
11. Grab a Drink
We were initially going to keep the list at the top 10 things to do in Jackson Hole, but we couldn’t leave this out. After all the adventurous activities, wind down and quench your thirst at one of the local spots. Whether you’re a beer drinker, wino, and prefer something stronger, here are some good options.
- Snake River Brewing (map) – A staple since 1994, this brewpub is in a beautiful old warehouse.
- Jackson Hole Winery (map) – This is a family owned and operated winery that is set along one of the most scenic areas in Jackson Hole.
- Jackson Hole Still Works (map) – This is the only craft distillery in the area made from locally sourced ingredients and mountain water.
We stayed at Togwotee Mountain Lodge during our visit. Located about 30 minutes east of Grand Teton National Park, it’s still convenient for exploring the area, but far enough away from the busiest of town to give you a secluded hideaway.
On site, you have the option to stay in the main lodge or private cabins. There are two restaurants on site and they even hot tubs to relax in after a long day. See more Tripadvisor reviews of the lodge or book your stay here.
Have you been visited before? What else should make this list of best things to see in Jackson Hole?
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“Discovery consists not of seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes” – M. Proust