Jackson Hole, Wyoming Travel Guide
- Jul 13, 2017
- Category: Travel
As you fly into Jackson Hole, Wyoming, the Grand Teton mountain ridge marvels you, making you wonder why it took you so long to explore this area of the country many consider the greatest outdoor destination. High-end, high-altitude, high vibes all around. Here is my Jackson Hole, Wyoming travel guide slash best tips to make your trip as awe-inspiring and fun as mine was!
Summer or winter, this town’s got all the feels! I spent 12 nights in JH, exploring its mountain ridges, its lakes and ponds, its restaurants and cafes, and everything else that makes this town magical. So here we go…
A short 10-minute drive to downtown, the Jackson Hole Airport couldn’t be more convenient. Extremely well maintained and designed, you’ll immediately feel at ease. Rent a car, have a friend pick you up, or Uber (yes, they finally got Uber!) into town (or even just outside of town) check into your hotel or vacation rental, like an Airbnb. In fact, you’ve got so many choices from which to choose. Stay on the cheap or splurge—your choice! But remember, there’s so much to do in Jackson, so don’t stress too much about where you’re sleeping since that’s really all you’ll be doing while in your room. Just look for a nice view, a great location, and a clean, quiet, comfortable place to sleep. (Next time I visit, I’m going to stay at a few hotels in town so I can review those for you too!)
Like any tourist destination, Jackson Hole has a seemingly unlimited supply of hotels, many of which are breathtaking and cozy. One in particular I want to highlight is the Fireside Resort.
The Fireside Resort offers guests a chance to reconnect with nature while still enjoying luxury. Their sustainably built cabins are designed with rustic touches. All 25 rectangular cabins are equipped with a fire pit, a designated parking spot, and a fully furnished interior with modern amenities, including a kitchenette. Relax in front of the living room fireplace watching television after cooking dinner, enjoy a hot shower after a dip in the jacuzzi, and snuggle up in their decadent queen-sized bed while dozing off to a movie. Enjoy a romantic getaway or bring the kids who can sleep on the pullout couch. A 15-minute drive from downtown Jackson, on the way up to Teton Village, Fireside Resort is perfectly situated to enjoy the best of both worlds—the hustle and bustle of downtown and the peacefulness of the Teton wilderness. Dog friendly!
The food in Jackson didn’t disappoint! Satisfying and fresh is a necessity because you’ll be so active, you must replenish your body! Fortunately for you meat-eaters, my meat-eating friend dined with me, so my recommendations below aren’t just about my favorite veggie spots and dishes in town! You’re welcome.
The Kitchen, one of 9 restaurants in the JH Fine Dining Group, is a modern American restaurant with worldly influences. The front patio deck is ideal for a breezy summer night; inside the restaurant feels like it’s a mix of Asian and new age, modern design. Sit at a table or cozy up on a barstool for an upfront view of the kitchen. The seaweed salad and cucumber-watermelon-mint salads were two of my favorite things I ate on my trip!
Intricately presented and flavored, they made me so happy! Also, if you’re a seafood lover, this is a must visit. All their seafood is flown in fresh. My friend loved their tuna tartados. Be sure to check out the other restaurants in the JH Fine Dining Group arsenal.
MOE’S ORIGINAL BBQ, JACKSON
I might have left Austin in 2015, but Texas still has a place in my vegan heart! So I’m including Moe’s Original BBQ into the mix. I stopped in and chatted with some customers, who were engulfed in smoked meats, side dishes, and corn bread. If you’re itching for some BBQ while in Jackson, this is the spot! Plus the interior was fun with a guitarist at the entryway and an indoor shuffleboard table.
NORTH GRILLE at THE JACKSON HOLE GOLF & TENNIS CLUB
The Jackson Hole Golf & Tennis Club isn’t just a spot for golfers and tennis players. The mountains surrounding the 18-hole course make the view seem almost fake. Take a stroll or play a round, and then head into the North Grille that’s open to the public. The staff is over-the-top friendly, and the view at dinner simply can’t be matched! When night falls and it gets a bit cooler, cozy up on the patio at the fireplace. Very romantic! The chefs made a couple special dishes for me, including a broccolini and mushroom sauté.
THE ORGANIC LOTUS
Known locally as simply “Lotus”, this health-conscious eatery is a vegetarian’s dream…as well as a meat-lover’s haven because you’ll find options for both on the menu! While the service was a bit haphazard, the hosts and servers are very friendly, and the interior design impeccable. I wanted to move in, it’s so beautiful! I ordered the Asian Glass, a sweet potato noodle dish with stir fry veggies in a basil-lemongrass sauce that tasted almost pesto-y it was so rich! (I added two cashew-shiitake cakes for some protein, seen pictured. Truth, I wasn’t that wowed by them, so the second time I went to Lotus later that week I got the Asian Glass without the patties.) I heard the Paleo Bowls are also best sellers on the menu. Salads, appetizers, sandwiches, burgers, bowls, and all-natural desserts, like vegan brownies and cookies. Go with a group so you can try a bunch of dishes at once! And if it’s nice out, definitely sit upstairs on the deck, overlooking downtown Jackson.
ORSETTO BAR AND ITALIAN EATERY
This fine-dining Italian spot recently opened in winter 2016. A block off the main square, with an unobstructed view of Snow King Mountain, you just can’t go wrong. Orsetto defies the stereotype of poor service in Jackson. Their staff is on point, timely, helpful, and real. Our experience eating here was top-notch! The vibe is romantic, upscale, yet comfortable. My friend devoured his salmon oreganata; I devoured roasted and sautéed veggies on top of veggies. We both loved the mouth-watering fingerling potatoes. Trust me, get those! They also have an extensive wine collection. Be sure to check out their other restaurant Café Genevieve for a more home-cooked style meal, open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
This adorable, boutiquey café stole my heart. Persephone’s interior design is airy and weathered, inviting creatives to grab a coffee, a homemade pastry, or a bowl of roasted sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts like I did! Be sure to check out the notes on the wall next to the restroom. The old-school typewriter will make you wish you didn’t live in the time of smart phones…for a few minutes at least.
Sit inside and enjoy the lively yet calming ambiance, or go on the deck, where friends and family gather.
If you’re trying to avoid gluten for allergy or gut-related reasons, don’t worry. Persephone isn’t just a bakery. There are definitely still fresh, all natural, unprocessed eats to enjoy!
For a bit, you won’t feel like you’re in Jackson. This coffeehouse is all about clean, innovative design and funky colors. Picnic is less boutiquey than its sister café, Persephone, and more rooted in structure. It’s the type of coffeeshop at which I usually work in whatever city I’m living and traveling. You walk in and immediately feel productive. You’ll want to get shit done, yet at the same time enjoy yourself and socialize. Small gatherings, thoughtful conversations, delicious foods. Again, everything is made locally, the pastries are their signature, and while I only drank my decaf coffee because I was about to hit up a yoga class, the homemade potato chips looked divine!
Head up to Teton Village in the Jackson Hole Ski Resort, to the base of Rendezvous Mountain for a daytime getaway where you can not only ride the Tram ($42 round trip), hike, and ski (weather depending), but also indulge in a fine-dining experience at Spur, part of the Teton Mountain Lodge & Spa. The interior is a modern twist on Western design—upscale, aesthetically pleasing, and homey. Romantic dates, families with kids, large groups gatherings—it’s a place for all to enjoy. In other words, it’s fine dining in a casual setting—a sophisticated menu and drink list with options still for children. Chef Kevin Humphreys, who has won Jackson Hole’s Best Chef for the 9th year in a row, crafts locally sourced dishes catered to a range of pallets. Spur gets their food as locally and regionally as possible–the farthest they’ll go is California for a few cheeses. They even use Jackson’s own Vertical Harvest, one of the world’s first vertical greenhouses, for many produce options, such as greens.
Their hand-cut Kennebec fries are delicious! I asked for them without seasoning and lightly cooked, just the way I like them! I also enjoyed the grilled asparagus and sautéed mushrooms. My friend had the mini Mahi tuna tacos. For those with a raging sweet tooth, my friend also thoroughly enjoyed the brownie drenched in vanilla ice cream.
WESTBANK GRILL at the FOUR SEASONS
Iconic and luxurious, Four Seasons Jackson Hole is what you’d expect a mountain town resort to be. Western-themed, the interior design strikes the perfect balance between homey and refined. In fact, that’s exactly what their Westbank Grill is all about. Walk in and take a seat at one of the most upscale restaurants in Teton Village, if not all of Jackson Hole. During ski season, many, including hotel guests and locals, literally ski directly from the slopes to the hotel for a comforting meal and well-deserved drink. With an open-air kitchen and wood-burning fireplace, their leather chairs and couches will make you forget you’re not in your family’s living room. You’ll feel at home, relaxed. Our meal was as delicious as you’d hope a meal at a Four Seasons would be. As much as possible, they buy produce from the local farmers, including Jackson’s coveted Vertical Harvest greenhouse, and they ship in most meat from Prairie Harvest in South Dakota. In fact, the high-end specialty foods owner occasionally comes to Jackson for dinner at Westbank Grill to taste his own product and ensure it meets his expectations.
While the steakhouse was my meat-loving friend’s dreamworld, it didn’t disappoint my veggie-loving self! He ordered an 8-ounce corn-fed beef tenderloin, golden potato puree (mashed potatoes), and a 2014 Iconoclast cabernet sauvignon from Napa Valley. I ordered roasted mushrooms with Wyoming Whiskey (which you absolutely must get!), hand-cut french fries (possibly the best I’ve EVER eaten), asparagus (cooked in oil instead of the garlic butter because I’m allergic to milk), and the Vertical Harvest Greens.
Our friendly and accommodating waiter encouraged us to top it off with the Cowboy Cookie. Topped with vanilla ice cream, this iron-skillet baked cookie is of what dessert dreams are made! It’s safe to say, our fine dining experience was impeccable!
ACTIVITIES + ADVENTURE:
If you know me, you know I’m all about being active and playing. It makes my soul happy. So no matter where I travel, I always seek out fitness studios, especially yoga, and outdoor adventure to sweat and move my body. (Check out this blog post for my suggestions on how to stay active while traveling.) Vacation to me means doing as much physical activity as I can fit into my day! These are my hiking, biking, and paddling suggestions during the summer months!
Just off the highway from Teton Village, the Ski Lake hike is perfect for those wanting to envelop themselves in unbelievable beauty without a straight uphill battle. The trail entrance is off the WY 22. Park along the dirt road on the pullover, and start walking the 2.2 miles up to the lake. It’s a slow incline, yet will get your heart racing. The photo opts along the way and at the lake are breathtaking. Take a dip in the water if you want to be refreshed!
Time Commitment: Approximately 1.5 hours
The ski hill just on the outskirts of downtown Jackson turns into a hiker’s haven during warm months. Switchbacks crisscross Snow King Mountain with 4-foot wide paths. Or, as I did, you could venture up the smaller, less traveled paths vertically uphill for a much more challenging hike. At the top, where the ski lift is, you’ll get a wild view of town as well as the rest of the mountain range around you. It gets quite windy, so prepare for that. On the way down, if you bush-whacked your way up, I recommend taking the more traveled switchback path to protect your knees!
Time Commitment: Approximately 2 hours
This is another hike you can take directly from town. Hop on the bike trail that mirrors the Snake River. Walk a bit until you see the Josie’s Ridge Trailhead. This is a challenging switchback trail, including both shaded and blue-bird-exposed areas. Be sure to take water as you’ll be huffing and puffing up this mountain ridge. The view at the top is spectacular! On one side of the ridge, you’ll overlook all over Jackson Hole and the other side you’ll get the rolling hills and mountains.
Time Commitment: Approximately 1.5 hours.
I’m a water baby, so of course when given the option, I’ll always say yes to surfing, swimming, kayaking, canoeing, and paddle boarding which is what we did in JH. String Lake didn’t disappoint. We rented two paddle boards in town for $100 total, tossed them on the car’s roof, and drove 30 minutes into Grand Teton National Park toward Jenny Lake. Due to the holiday busyness (July 4th week), we drove a mile farther down to the Spring Lake entrance. Solid choice! The parking lot and water were way less crowded. The vibe from all the other locals and tourists was light and peaceful. Families having an outdoor excursion, couples paddling, friends partying for wedding celebrations. The backdrop—the Grand Teton Mountains—made this an afternoon delight. Highly recommend! Of course, there are trails to hike and run, so you’ve got options.
Time Commitment: At least 2 hours. Stay as long as you’d like!
As a yoga feign since age 10, I seek out heated studios that make me both sweat and embrace my individual practice. Inversion Yoga in Downtown Jackson is just that. They’re all about community and wellness. I loved every person there—teachers and students. Beyond friendly and welcoming. The amenities were great, offering free mat and towel rentals with a class pass. If you’re not a lover of heated yoga, the second studio room offers more room-temperature classes, including barre and dance classes.
Nothing makes me more happy than having the freedom of pedaling around town, exploring and seeing and feeling sunshine on my skin. So naturally I was all about hopping on bikes and riding the pathways in and out of town. Jackson Hole has done an impressive job of constructing endless concrete bike paths, encouraging people to use it as a primary means of transportation.
If you’re looking for something more physically challenging and in nature, I highly recommend renting mountain bikes and conquering a few trails. Cache Creek Bike Trail is just off the downtown area and offers miles and miles of narrow, nature-filled trails, for all levels. Visit and rent a bike from Tim at Hoff’s Bikesmith in town and peddle the mile to the trailhead for some sweaty adventure. Watch out for the horse flies on the trail! I suggest covering your legs and arms to minimize how much the grasses and flowers can scratch and irritate your skin. Also, while I’m all about bringing my pup Monkey and letting her run wild, I was happy I decided to leave her at home. The trail is very narrow, and, if you’re a beginner at mountain biking like I am, you’ll want to focus all your attention on biking and self-care!
TETON VILLAGE TRAM
For $42 you can ride the 12-minute tram up to the top of Rendezvous Mountain. Enjoy a bit of a thrill on this 100-person tram, and at the top, the air is cooler and you can enjoy the best, highest view on the mountain! The tram cost $31 million to build!
If you’re looking to let loose and socialize, head over to any of these hotspots for live music, dancing, and socializing.
SILVER DOLLAR BAR
- Silver Dollar Bar at the Wort Hotel for live music on select nights
MILLION DOLLAR COWBOY BAR
- Million Dollar Cowboy Bar for a super authentic, Western, two-stepping vibe, head here. They also have decent bar food. Great atmosphere!
- Brewpub, part of the Snake River Brewing, seems like the go-to, cool spot for locals, especially the single folk.
If I haven’t yet convinced you to visit Jackson Hole, Wyoming, then I don’t know what will! Get out and explore! Life should be fun!
I hope this Jackson Hole, Wyoming Travel Guide was helpful! Comment below with your thoughts, questions, and next travel destination! Give this post a share on social media, too!
Return to the Travel Homepage for more awesome, enlightening travel tips!
All photographs on this blog post by Travis Norris of Blue Text Direct, an SEO Marketing Service, that happens to have fixed a ton of my website issues! Highly recommend the Blutxt team!