The flora and fauna of Jackson Hole are so entrancing it’ll turn even the staunchest of indoor kids into Jeremiah Johnson.
Looking for a home where the buffalo roam? Look no further. There’s an isolated valley in Wyoming that preserves the unspoiled, natural splendor of the American West. Where national symbols like the bald eagle and the bison thrive. Where a National Park’s reach is so expansive it even includes the local airport. Where you find yourself wondering, Is it just me or are the stars brighter here?
Jackson Hole isn’t just a place for skiers to test their mettle—it’s a veritable treasure trove of wildlife and pristine natural scenery. Whether you go by foot, by ski, or by sleigh, you’re sure to encounter some of the most beautiful sights and majestic creatures that can be found in the U.S. Just stay alert for moose crossings!
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Hit the Slopes
As a skiing destination, Jackson Hole offers a uniquely thrilling venue for enveloping yourself in the natural world. Because not only is Jackson Hole considered one of the most challenging places to ski, it’s also one of the most beautiful. While racing downhill doesn’t allow for too much reflection on the beauty of the natural world around you, the leisurely pace and high vantage point of the ski lift make for a wonderfully bucolic interlude in between rushes of adrenaline.
But if you want the ultimate view of the valley Jackson Hole Mountain Resort’s famous aerial tram to the top of Rendezvous Mountain. Once you’ve reached the top you’ll find yourself high above the clouds with the landscape stretching out before you. Take it in with the naked eye, or opt for a coin-operated tower viewers. And don’t worry about getting back down if you’re not ready to tackle a black diamond run. The ride down on the tram gives you a second chance at taking in the wintry sights!
Star Gaze at Teton Lodge
The night sky in Jackson Hole is wonderfully dark and clear—the perfect recipe for stargazing. Jackson Hole nights are alight thanks to the brilliant array of stars and the glow of the Milky Way. And while there’s nothing wrong with simply tilting your eyes skyward and marveling at the plethora of astral lights there’s something to be said for having an expert act as your own personal Carl Sagan.
Teton Mountain Lodge & Spa will occasionally host stargazing sessions from the vantage point of its rooftop. This way you can navigate the night sky with a greater understanding and appreciation of the science behind the celestial bodies.
And if there are no formal stargazing events planned, guests of Teton Lodge can always hold their own impromptu sessions from the comfort of the rooftop hot tub.
Go on a Wildlife Safari
Jackson Hole is a great location if you’re interested in seeing wild animals in their natural environment. Bison, moose, elk, bighorn sheep, bald eagles, trumpeter swans, and more call the area home at some point during the year. But if you want your maximize your chances of sighting as many local critters as possible, go on a wildlife safari with Wild Things Wyoming. You’ll be guided around Jackson Hole by a naturalist with expert knowledge of the exact spots to visit in order to see these animals in their natural environment. And, if the conditions are right, their Best of Jackson Hole safari culminates in a sleigh ride on the National Elk Refuge.
Are you an aspiring wildlife photographer? They even offer a Photography Safari that’ll take you to some of Jackson Hole’s most photogenic locales and teach you basic to advanced techniques of capturing the natural world on film.
Visit the National Museum of Wildlife Art
If you occasionally like to take your love for the great outdoors indoors, check out the National Museum of Wildlife Art. The museum, which overlooks the National Elk Refuge, features over 5,000 pieces of art that span a plethora of eras, styles, themes, and mediums. But the one thing they have in common is that they all feature animals as their subject. You’ll find everything from photorealistic paintings to pop art to ink sketches by Pablo Picasso inviting you to consider the relationship between humanity and the animal kingdom.
Explore Grand Teton National Park
What’s your preferred way to drink in some of that sweet, sweet nature? Do you want to scale to the highest peak so that you might gaze down upon creation like a mighty mountain conqueror? Would you prefer to float along the river at a leisurely pace? Or maybe you’re interested in going full old west cowboy and exploring the outdoors via horseback. At Grand Teton National Park you can explore nature any way you like.
Visit the National Elk Refuge
Few things are as breathtaking as a trio of elk bucks, their antlers silhouetted by soft golden hour light—a tableau made possible and accessible by the National Elk Refuge. Because this is a refuge and not a traditional park, visitors are restricted to the main roads and a few designated trails. However, during the winter season, visitors are able to take a sleigh ride onto the refuge and get a close up look at the thousands of elk.
Day Trip to Yellowstone National Park
If for some reason you find yourself unable to get your fill of the natural world in Jackson Hole there’s always the number one place on just about every nature lover’s bucket list—Yellowstone National Park. The drive to the park’s south entrance from Jackson is roughly an hour by car. Visit Yellowstone’s famous geysers, hike to the overlook of the vibrantly colored Grand Prismatic Spring, or marvel at the geological wonder that is the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.