What’s the best thing to do in Jackson Hole? That very much depends on who you ask, what you’re into, and your personal feelings on brain-eating amoebas. (We’ll get to that.) But first, some things you can’t miss in Jackson Hole:
Granite Hot Springs
Take a trip to Granite Hot Springs where Mother Nature has kindly provided you with a way to soak the cares out of your weary body and meet all of your submersion-related needs. (Repay Mother Nature for her generosity by wearing a swimsuit, please.) In the winter, take a snowmobile, dog sled, or cross-country skis to the hot springs. Find out more here.
Sleigh Through the Elk Refuge
Jackson Hole is home to the National Elk Refuge, where thousands of elk congregate to stand around plotting the eventual hostile takeover of the surrounding area. Just kidding, obviously—we don’t speak elk, so we don’t know the extent of their ambitions. But the important thing is that you can take an exciting sleigh ride through their midst, bells and bobtails and all. (Find a great deal here.)
Stay at Flak Creek Inn
Planning to get out and explore the wild? Stay at the closest Jackson Hole lodgings to Grand Teton National Park, Flat Creek Inn. (In the interest of journalistic integrity, this blog post is written by Flat Creek staff, but to tweak the immortal words of the Reading Rainbow guy, don’t take our word for it. TripAdvisor thinks we’re pretty cool, too.)
The Jackson National Fish Hatchery was established over half a century ago to keep up fish populations in the nearby Snake River. It’s a lot like the elk refuge, except it has fish instead of elk, and you get in trouble if you try to ride a sleigh through the middle of the hatchery. You can, however, observe the fish, view displays about spawning and hatching, and try some fishing at the Sleeping Indian Pond.
Jackson Hole Playhouse
In town, an essential part of the Jackson experience is the Playhouse. It was originally a stable, then a stagecoach depot, then a Model T Ford dealership, then a bowling alley, a mercantile, and a post office. Finally, in 1948, it became a theatre dedicated to showcasing quality talent with a definite Western flavor. Whether you make it in time for Holidays at the Playhouse or enjoy one of the other offerings (like the Oscar Spoof and the classic Seven Brides for Seven Brothers), saddle up for some old-fashioned entertainment—in a good way.
Shop along Jackson’s renowned boardwalk streets and snap a family picture at the four Instagram-ready antler arches that surround Jackson’s Town Square (George Washington Memorial Park). In the winter they’re especially festive, the antlers bedecked in Christmas lights from bottom to top.
Honorable Mention: Kelly Warm Springs
There’s something in the water here at Kelly Hot Springs. The aforementioned brain-eating bacteria, as a recent sign warned visitors, have been something to watch out for when you take a dip. The sign appears to be gone now, perhaps indicating that the chances of catching these deadly single-celled parasites have gone down, so it’s up to you. But even if you don’t get in the water, there’s another reason Kelly Warm Springs earns an honorable mention on this list: the mysterious sounds. In recent years locals have reported a strange growling sound, like the snort of an invisible hippo, with no discernible source. Flat Creek Inn staff have even asked biologists about it, who are flummoxed. Stop by and formulate your own theories!
However you choose to spend your time in Jackson Hole, it’s almost certain it will be time well spent. Tell us your favorite things in the comments!
This guest blog was written by Flat Creek Inn, the Jackson motel closest to Grand Teton National Park.