Jackson WY Visitors Guide [y]
Jackson Hole has it all – World Class Skiing, Winter sports, wildlife, astonishing views, exciting nightlife, fantastic shopping, grand dining. What more could one need for a winter vacation? It is presented in the peace and serenity of a small western town. Without a doubt, the Jackson Hole valley has the finest all-around vacation for you. Our Airport is serviced by seven major airlines and is conveniently located fifteen minutes from town. Snow King resort towers over the south edge of town accommodating day and night skiers alike; and Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is only fifteen minutes from town with some of the finest slopes in the world, on-hill dining, and plenty of after-hours activity.
If the back-country is more appealing to you, hike to Glory Bowl for an exciting ski or rent a helicopter for the day and enjoy eight steep, deep-powder runs of over five thousand vertical feet.
If downhill skiing isn’t your bag, there is no shortage of alternate recreation in the valley. Take a guided snowmobile trip through Yellowstone National Park to see wild bison and Old Faithful or rent one and go solo through the Gros Ventre National Wilderness. Guided snow coach tours of both Yellowstone and Grand Teton parks are available to those who want a more relaxed environment for their viewing pleasure. Wild Elk can be seen on the National Elk Refuge just north of town or get a close, personal look on a daytime sleigh ride onto the refuge. Or learn the skill of dog sledding and actually mush your own team of dogs to Granite Hot Springs for a warm, relaxing, mid-winter swim. If hot springs interest you, try snowshoeing to Huckleberry Hot Springs just south of Yellowstone National Park for a more natural experience. Cross-country skiing abounds in the valley and you can have your pick of any hidden trails such as Shadow Mountain, or Cache Creek trail.
After your fun-filled day, the magical town is ready to wine and dine you. More than seventy-five restaurants await you with almost any cuisine imaginable. You’ll find local western history, good spirits, and grand company at any of the local saloons; and there is no shortage of reliable transportation to safely see you home. As you can see Jackson Hole and the area’s Ski Resorts are very special. Your custom winter Vacation is just a click away.
Jackson Hole Attractions
Most guests take the time to visit nearby Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. Several unusual activities center around Jackson’s abundant wildlife. Plan to spend a half-day at the National Museum of Wildlife Art (800-313-9553; 733-5771) combining a museum tour with lunch in the cafe. The museum houses the nation’s premier collection of fine wildlife artwork in varied media. Permanent and rotating exhibits are displayed in 12 galleries, but everywhere you look there’s art, from the pawprints on the floor to the sculptures in the reception area and on the grounds. Lunch is a treat. The semi-self-serve cafe, operated by Spring Creek Ranch, dishes delicious soups, salads, sandwiches, and kids’ favorites. The National Elk Refuge is home to as many as 10,000 elk during winter. You can take a horse-drawn sleigh ride, accompanied by a refuge biologist, out to the herd. The approximately one-hour trip provides an unrivaled opportunity to view wildlife in its natural setting. Sleighs depart from the Jackson Hole and Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center at the north end of town. Include time to wander through the interpretive displays at the visitor center. Sleigh rides are first-come, first-serve, but large groups should make reservations (800-772-5386).
An outstanding educational tour is offered through Wildlife Expeditions of Teton Science School (733-2623). On the school’s wildlife spotting tours, you ride with a biologist to help note the location and numbers of various birds and animals. Half-day, full-day and multiday tours, some into Yellowstone National Park, are offered. We spotted bison, elk, eagles, moose, deer, bighorn sheep, trumpeter swans and pronghorn. Everyone gets to use binoculars and a powerful spotting scope for up-close viewing.
Horse-drawn dinner sleigh rides are offered by Spring Creek Ranch (733-8833) and Solitude Cabin (733-6657; left). Bar-T-Five (733-5386) operates the sleigh rides on the National Elk Refuge and also has a winter dinner show with a barbecue dinner and “yarn-spinnin’ ” leading the entertainment.
The Jackson Hole Nordic Center (739-2629; 800-443-6139) has hour-long dogsled tours. Mush with Billy Snodgrass at Continental Divide Dogsled Adventures (800-531-6874), the main dogsled outfitter in the region. The territory covers some 400 miles of spectacular scenic trails in the Shoshoni, Teton and Targhee National Forests. Choose from half-day, full-day and multi-day trips that include going from Jackson Hole to Togwotee Mountain Lodge or Brooks Lake Lodge on the Continental Divide and from Grand Targhee Ski Resort into the backcountry. Eight-time Iditarod veteran Frank Teasley operates Jackson Hole Iditarod Sled Dog Tours (733-7388) at the entrance to Granite Creek, with full- and half-day options. We recommend the full-day trip into Granite Creek Canyon, which includes a soak in the hot springs and lunch. One child weighing less than 50 pounds is free with every two paying adults, and round-trip transportation from your lodging is available.
The Snow King Center (800-522-5464; 733-5200) houses a regulation ice rink, open to the public, where the local hockey team plays regularly. The center also hosts regular concerts and shows by big-name entertainers. Check local papers for events.
Other activities include snowmobile excursions to Granite Hot Springs, Yellowstone and Old Faithful, Togwotee Pass, Grand Teton, Gros Ventre, Grey’s River, and the Continental Divide. Most outfitters and there are many, provide transportation to and from your lodging. Llama Louie’s Reservations (733-1617), conveniently in the Mangy Moose, arranges snowmobile trips without a charge.
High Mountain Heli-Skiing (733-3274) offers helicopter skiing on untracked powder in five mountain ranges surrounding Jackson Hole. These folks have been operating for more than 25 years. A day trip usually delivers six runs of 12,000–15,000 vertical feet, with one guide per five clients. Rendezvous Ski and Snowboard Tours gives daily backcountry tours in Grand Teton Park, Teton Pass and other locations, while Snow King Mountain Guides operates trips off the back of Snow King and Teton pass for Nordic and alpine skiers.
The small, but full-service Wilderness Adventure Spa at Spring Creek Ranch (733-8833) is designed to incorporate feng shui principles of harmony and balance as well as to reflect Native American influences. Facilities include women’s and men’s steam rooms and a co-ed hot tub overlooking the mountains. Plan an afternoon here, perhaps followed by a sleigh ride and/or dinner in the Granary Restaurant. A 60-minute massage is $100.
The full-service, five-story Avanyu Spa (800-445-4655; 732-6070) at the Snake River Lodge has a free-form indoor-outdoor heated pool with waterfall hot tub in addition to rain and Swiss showers, hot tub, sauna and steam room in the locker rooms. Locker room lounges are inviting, with large-screen TV in the men’s and a fireplace in women’s. A 50-minute massage begins at $120. A spa menu is available.
In town, The Body Sage Day Spa (733-4455) at the Rusty Parrot Lodge offers traditional spa therapies including massage, facials and scrubs and exclusive treatments integrating local ingredients, such as rose petals. A one-hour massage is $100.
Shopping is plentiful. You can easily while away an afternoon browsing the boutiques, factory outlets and art galleries in Jackson. As a general rule, you’ll find the farther you get from Town Square, the less expensive the prices are. The covered wooden sidewalks encourage window shopping, even when it snows. There are far too many good shops to single out any of them, but you’ll find art galleries, plenty of Western clothing and items made from elk antlers.
Don’t miss Coldwater Creek, across the street from the famous antlered town square. This familiar catalog retailer also sports a basement discount area with true bargains. Valley Bookstore is your best source for books in all of Wyoming. Also across the street from the town square, this independently owned bookstore is a good source for books on the area as well as best-sellers and obscure finds. Another “must” is Thomas Mangelsen’s gallery (888-238-0177), a block from the town square. One of the world’s best nature photographers, Mangelsen documents only what’s captured in the wild and not in captive situations. Hard to believe, but he uses no computer manipulation.
You can pick up culture, shopping, dining or vacation-planning guides at the Wyoming information center on the north edge of town, or call the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce (733-3316).
Apres-Ski / Nightlife in Jackson WY
The Mangy Moose is by far the rowdiest spot in Teton Village for apres-ski and nightlife. It’s also one of the best spots in all of skidom. Big-name entertainers often provide an intimate concert here, so check the newspaper listings.
The Village Cafe near the base of the tram is crowded with locals at the end of the day. Cascade Grill House & Spirits in the Teton Mountain Lodge is a local favorite and delivers great apres-ski atmosphere. Dietrich’s Bar & Bistro at the Alpenhof Lodge attracts a sedate group, as does the lobby bar in Snake River Lodge, where you can curl up in an oversized chair by the fire. The Peak in the Four Seasons is busy and a surprisingly good value—the perfect place to swap stories over table games and TVs broadcasting sporting-event coverage. There’s also a slopeside outdoor deck here. Fine wine and cheeses from around the world set the tone for the ultra-modern setting at Vertical, in the Best Western Inn..
In town, The Million Dollar Cowboy Bar attracts tourists who love saddle bar stools and line-dancing to live country & western bands. Try it, corny as it sounds, though the crowd tends to be 40 and older. It’s cash-only, so leave the credit card at home. The Silver Dollar Bar, at the Wort Hotel, is similar, with 2,032 uncirculated 1921 silver dollars embedded in the bar. It serves great buffalo burgers and Starbucks coffee plus, on Sunday nights, all-you-can-eat pizza.
Locals say the Cadillac Grille has the best happy hour in town-two-for-one drinks every night from 5–7 p.m. Try their “signature” cosmopolitan. At Nikai, the “in spot” for sushi lovers, a DJ turns Friday night into hip-hop night.
The young set that likes to party hard heads to the Log Cabin Saloon to shoot pool, play foosball and darts, and drink heavily. Another hot spot is the Rancher, where drafts are $1 and mixed drinks $2 during Tuesday night Town Meetings. The Shady Lady Saloon at the Snow King Resort has live entertainment several nights a week.
The local crowd heads to the Snake River Brewing Co. for award-winning, yet affordable, hand-crafted lagers and ales as well as sandwiches, pasta and wood-fired pizza. Koshu is a tiny, laid-back wine bar. If you’re a fan of classical music, the Grand Teton Music Festival (733-1128) stages a monthly concert series in Walk Festival Hall in Teton Village.
Another local hangout is the Stagecoach, in Wilson. The busiest times are Thursdays for disco night (honest!) and on Sundays, when the legendary house band performs its mix of country & western, bluegrass and swing.
The Bull Moose Saloon (877-498-7993), 35 miles south of Jackson in Alpine, has mechanical bull riding every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday night. Ladies ride free; men pay $3 per ride, $10 for the whole night. The saloon also brings in exotic dancers about once a month, $10 admission.
Jackson WY Restaurant Guide
Soft lighting, a roaring fire, and an open kitchen accent the intimate Wild Sage Restaurant (744-0935; $$$; left) at the Rusty Parrot Lodge. Many locals consider it Jackson’s finest restaurant. The setting is elegant yet unpretentious, the wine list is excellent, the service is professional, the pace is leisurely, and the cuisine is exceptional in both quality and presentation. The pan-seared Alaskan halibut and the seared elk tenderloin are can’t-miss choices.
Off-Broadway Grille (733-9777; $$–$$$) features entrees such as lamb tenderloin with a Mediterranean black olive tapenade, Thai-steamed seafood with Asian flavors or sauteed sea scallops and leeks in a creamy tomato-saffron sauce. The Blue Lion (733-3912; $$–$$$), hidden away in a blue-clapboard house with several intimate dining rooms, is known for its roast rack of lamb, which we describe as cooked a la shake ‘n’ bake.
Ask locals to recommend their favorite restaurant, and it’s a good chance they’ll mention Rendezvous Bistro (739-1100; $–$$). The well-prepared homestyle menu defies the moderate prices. Salads and sandwiches satisfy lighter appetites, while entrees, such as a mouth-watering free-range half chicken, confit of duck, rustic lamb stew and curry vegetables with wonton strips, satisfy those who’ve worked up an appetite. Begin with oyster shooters at the bar, and don’t forget to ask about the daily plates. The atmosphere can be boisterous—its name is certainly fitting.
Another that earns accolades from locals is Koshu (733-5283; $$), part of the Jackson Hole Wine Company. An Asian-inspired menu showcases such items as kumamoto oysters, ahi tartare, pad thai and Peking duck breast. The small but sophisticated Nikai (734-6490; $–$$; right), two blocks north of Town Square, is where the younger, smarter crowd goes for sushi and Asian cuisine.
If you can’t decide what you’re up for, head to the fancy dinner setting of the Cadillac Grille and Billy’s Burgers (733-3279; $$–$$$) right on the town square. The dining room menu is heavy on meat and game but also has eclectic entrees like goat cheese ravioli. Billy’s Burgers serves, well, burgers—best in town, say the locals. And if you just want a drink, it’s 2-for-1 every night, 5–7 p.m.
Tired of Western kitsch? Try the Cyprus Restaurant (733-8220; $$–$$$$) a block off the main street with Mediterranean dishes like lamb and couscous and a signature dish the locals call lobster mac & cheese. Belly dancers entertain guests every Friday night. For casual inexpensive dining, the Jackson Hole classic is Bubba’s (733-2288; $–$$), featuring heaping plates of “bubbacued” ribs, chicken, beef and pork. Try the Mexican huevos for breakfast or sink your teeth into one of Bubba’s oversized omelets. No sense in giving you the phone number, because Bubba’s doesn’t take reservations (it’s on the main drag at 515 W. Broadway). Be prepared to wait, and while you do, send a member of your party to the liquor store—Bubba’s is BYOB and they encourage you to bring your own bottles.
Another casual place is Mountain High Pizza Pie (733-3646; $) and they deliver when you can’t quite get it together to go out. Nani’s Genuine Pasta House (733-3888; $$; left), two blocks north of Broadway, and Anthony’s (733-3717; $$), near the Wort Hotel, get raves from locals for authentic Italian regional cooking. For Mexican, head to The Merry Piglets (733-2966; $–$$) near the town square; for Thai, it’s Thai Me Up (733-0005; $–$$) a block from the town square.
The hearty-breakfast king is Bubba’s. For tamer breakfast fare try The Bunnery (733-5474; $) with excellent omelets, whole-grain waffles and bakery items, and Jedediah’s Original House of Sourdough (733-5671; $) for superb sourjack pancakes.