The Jackson Hole Bike Park offers lift-serviced mountain biking on well-built trails for all ability levels. If you’re an advanced rider you’ll want to spend some time at the bike park as well as on some of the singletrack on Teton Pass.
Ahhh…winter in Jackson Hole. As we head into spring the snow melts into water and fills up our lakes and streams, home of whitewater rafting and world-class fishing. But we can’t forget about the snow that came first:
A night time view of the town of Jackson below and the groomers hard at work at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in the distance (more…)
Where else can you slay 12″+ trout, kick it with deer, and be literally in the middle of town?
Welcome to The Adventures of Throttle category of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort Blog. Blog Correspondent Throttle wears may hats at JHMR and in life. Follow his adventures and enjoy his musings as he showcases Jackson Hole as only he can.
We never know what April, May and June weather in Jackson Hole will have in store for us. Some years we can get on the bikes, trails and rivers as soon as we put the skis away for the winter. Other years we find ours chomping at the bit waiting for the snow and rain to stop so we can get outside and enjoy everything that Jackson Hole has to offer. During these waiting periods I find myself creating a checklist of things I want to do this summer. It usually consists of a mix of things I have loved in the past as well as new trails to ride or hike, new rivers to fish or mountains to climb. As I look out the window this morning, gazing up at mountain still have covered with snow and the remnants of another great ski season the list is starting to solidify for this summer. I am left wondering what other people are thinking about as we wait for the trails to dry out, the streets to be swept and the grass to green. So I ask you, what are you going to do this summer in Jackson Hole? Whether you are here for entire summer, a week or a weekend. Will you climb the Grand Teton or catch a trout with a fly rod? Will you hike the Teton Crest Trail or plant the perfect garden? Jackson Hole is a paradise in the summer. Don’t let a moment of it pass you by.
Thanks for joining us. We’re gearing up for regular blog updates right here so be patient with us. In the meantime, please read about Grand Teton National Park.
Grand Teton National Park is one of the most spectactular, awe-inspiring places in America. Occupying a majority of the Jackson Hole valley, the park is home to overwhelming, massive mountains, pristine lakes and rivers, and abundant, teeming wildlife.
The Teton Range – with peaks rising as much as 7,000 feet off the valley floor – is the centerpiece of the park. Views from either of the two main roads, which run north-south through the park, are nothing short of spectacular. The highest, most prominent peak is Grand Teton, standing at 13,770 feet. South of the Grand are Middle Teton, South Teton, and Cloudveil Dome, among others. To the north of the Grand are Mt. Owen, Teewinot, and flat-topped Mt. Moran.
While the scenery is nice from the road, the park is best experienced on foot! Hundreds of miles of hiking trails wind around the lakes and through the mountains; the choices are almost limitless. From easy day hikes to multi-day backpacking trips, each trail has a distinct, uniquely dynamic character all its own. Incredible, often breathtaking scenery and wildlife sightings (elk, moose, black/grizzly bears, bison, deer, and more!) are guaranteed. Favorites, to name just a few, include Cascade Canyon, Granite Canyon, and Amphitheater Lake.
While the park has a magnetic draw for photographers and wildlife enthusiasts, the Tetons also offer some of the most demanding and technical mountaineering experiences anywhere in the world, especially during the winter. Climbers and mountaineers flock to the Tetons to hone their skills before moving on to the huge mountains of the world. Even so, during the summer the summits are accessible to almost anyone who’s properly equipped; the experience is incredible for those who take on the challenge!
Jackson Hole prides itself on its plentiful pathways, cross-country and downhill mountain bike trails. With a bounty of bike shops ready to rent you wheels and trailers, the whole family can set out on a half- or full-day excursion. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort’s downhill mountain bike park is a great place for all ages to learn how to mountain bike. Once you have honed your skills apply them to the trails and pathways that are found throughout the valley. Thanks to a wide web of routes, a day spent biking as a family guarantees good sights and good times. Lauren Smith, program director for the valley pathways advocacy group Friends of Pathways, recommended these routes:
Test out your legs by riding from Teton Village to the southern entrance of Grand Teton National Park. At less than 2.5 miles round trip, the graceful route takes you past fields and furrow, and back. A beautiful mini-ride.
Grandmother’s house might as well be at the end of this route with its “over the river and through the woods” feel. Follow the Moose-Wilson Trail south as it meanders past the Shooting Star golf course and over Lake Creek. After a pit stop at the Aspens Market – 4 miles in – continue another 2.14 miles to Stilson Ranch. Park your bikes, cross the road and take a gander at what will soon become Rendezvous “R” Park – a 40-acre property on the banks of the Snake River that will open as a natural park next summer. Reunite with your bikes to return to Teton Village – it’s 6.18 miles back – or those with energy to spare can continue on to Wilson for a game of volleyball beside the Stagecoach Bar, a loop that adds about 3 miles to the day.
A great route for toting a trailer. The 7.93-mile rolling course runs from the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center to the Jenny Lake. Aside from one hill early on, this is a mellow bike along the foothills of the mountains. Pack a picnic for a lakeside lunch. Stroll around the lake. Take the boat across, or meander through the Jenny Lake Visitor’s Center, the former studio for park photographer Harrison Crandall. A geology film tells you how the Tetons were made. On the ride back, you can take a pit stop hike to Taggart Lake, a quiet pool at the mouth of Avalanche Canyon. End the day with an ice cream – or beverage – at Dornan’s. Intrepid cyclists can venture the 5.89 miles into downtown Jackson, but be aware that a headwind greets folks traveling south.
Take a sweeping tour of the valley by biking from Teton Village to Moose to Jackson back to Teton Village. The nearly-40 mile loop crosses the Snake River twice, passes four post offices and countless coffee shops, and cruises by every feature the valley has to offer. Pit stops include the Aspens market for morning fuel, Creekside Deli for a sandwich and numerous pullouts prime for picnics, and the Snake River dyke for an afternoon stroll or sunbathe. Treat yourself to a hearty dinner in Teton Village. While the route is mild in terms of elevation gain and loss, there are some rough stretches – like the dirt patch of the Moose-Wilson road – so be sure to pack a tire repair kit (and know how to use it). Be car aware as well: a third of this route finds you biking on shoulders, so make sure you feel comfortable with cars whizzing past you. Add-ons include venturing out to Kelly and having an espresso at the Kelly store, continuing on in the park to Colter Bay, or biking up East Gros Ventre Butte for a cocktail at Spring Creek Ranch or Amangani Resort.
KJ Morris strives to inspire imagination and creativity in kids and families. As the founder and director of the Jackson Hole Children’s Museum, she encourages families to explore the world – particularly this exceptional patch of it – through interactive exhibits and programs in the arts, sciences, ecology and history. A longtime valley resident, Morris shared her favorite things to do as a family in Jackson Hole.
The Kids Ranch at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
The Kids Ranch welcomes with open arms and myriad activities every kid, age 6 months to 18. From the Wild West Woods to the educational ski and snowboard program, children spend the day discovering the mountain. Parents too enjoy the time to explore alone, and the afternoon reunion with their parents makes the day away all the more special. Together again, families can frolic on the snow castle in the Teton Village Commons, followed by hot chocolate at the new General Store.
Experience the Clubhouse – Jackson Hole Children’s Museum
A river exhibit, up until the end of December, includes a tank filled with indigenous species including the rare blue cutthroat trout. The Snow Patrol exhibit returns this winter with its model of the Aerial Tram, driveable snowplow and Go-Pro skiing simulation. The Clubhouse hosts daily programs, including exciting Saturday sessions like kitchen experiments.
Snow King Sports and Events Center hosts midday public skating. Outdoor rinks include the frozen horse arena at Owen Bircher Park on Main Street in Wilson – an illuminated rink that features a daily family skate and an enclosed warming hut. For a more wild skating experience, venture 20 miles northeast of Jackson to Slide Lake, a frozen expanse perfect for skaters.
Grand Teton National Park rangers lead guided snowshoe hikes from the Craig Thomas Discover and Visitor Center along an easy route that criss-crosses animal tracks. The program runs from late December through mid-March; call (307) 739-3399 for details and to make reservations. Or venture out on your own with a pair of rental snowshoes. Family-friendly spots include Whitegrass Ranch (on the southern edge of Grand Teton National Park) and Ditch Creek (past the Kelly campus of the Teton Science School). The slight uphill of Ditch Creek turns into downhill all the way back. On the drive home, don’t forget to stop at the Kelly store for hot cocoa.
Visit the Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum
Regular kids programs take a hands-on approach to history. Call (307) 733-2414 for details.
Be Young at Art at the National Museum of Wildlife Art
Most Mondays, the wildlife museum stages a 45-minute-long exploration of its exhibits – a perfect follow-up to a weekend spent skiing. After Young at Art, continue to wander through the museum and its preeminent collection of art inspired by animals.
Take a walk along the Snake River
Turn off at Emily’s Pond (on the east side of the Snake River Bridge, approximately 4 miles west of Jackson on Highway 22), park at the trailhead and walk along the levee. The county grooms 2.2 miles of flat terrain plus the “lollipop loop” at the end. The pounded pathway is perfect for little feet in boots.
Volunteer at a local nonprofit or arts organization
Volunteers are welcome at nonprofits like the Animal Adoption Center and museums like the Jackson Hole Children’s Museum where, if a family calls in advance, a special project will be waiting for them.
Ride with the wapiti
Bundle up for a sleigh ride through the elk herd that resides on the National Elk Refuge. The rides run all winter long from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily including weekends and holidays (except Christmas Day). Buy tickets ($18 adults, $14 for children ages 5 to 12, free for children under 5) at the Jackson Hole and Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center (532 North Cache) and board a free shuttle bus to the refuge entrance three miles north of Jackson. To make a reservation (not required, though seats are first-come, first-served), call (307) 733-0277 or 1-800-772-5386.
King Tubes, at the base of Snow King Ski Area, brings out the kid in everyone. From mid-December through mid-March, King Tubes runs afternoon and evening tube rides on its rope tow.
Dine in a corner booth at Rendezvous Bistro
After a long day adventuring, take the kids to the family-friendly Rendezvous Bistro. Corner booths offer ample room for squirming and plenty of paper to draw on (crayons come on every table).
Teton Village and Grand Teton National Park are neighbors, so there is no excuse, as a Village guest, not to spend a day or two (or three or four) in the park.
Excursion possibilities abound, from biking along the new park pathway to hiking up into the Tetons. All routes should end at Dornan’s Pizza and Pasta in Moose, where the outdoor deck overlooks the panorama you just explored.
Step into History
The Murie Ranch, a historic landmark within the park, is the birthplace of the modern conservation movement. In 1945, the Muries bought the dude ranch, removed fences so wildlife could roam free and welcomed a long line of wilderness advocates. The Muries’ crusade culminated in the passage of the 1964 Wilderness Act. In 1998, Mardy Murie received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The Murie Ranch lies just before the Moose-Wilson Road connects with the park road.
Take a Hike
Bypass the boat and walk around Jenny Lake – a 6.8 mile stroll past a panoply of different features from scree fields to wildfire burnout. For a full-day hike, venture up Cascade Canyon. Serene Lake Solitude lies 8 miles back. Taggart Lake is another leisurely 3.9 mile loop with an 2.5 mile add-on to Bradley Lake. Or, from the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve, circumnavigate Phelps Lake, which lies at the mouth of Death Canyon and affords staggering views of the crags above (a 6.6 mile loop). Whatever lake you choose, lap it up.
Captain a Vessel
Start at the Colter Bay Village Marina, where the shop stocks everything you need for a day spent on Jackson Lake – from buying a fishing license to renting a canoe or kayak. For a culinary adventure, the Lake Cruise ferries foodies to a secluded site on Elk Island to enjoy breakfast or dinner (think eggs and river trout or cowboy steaks and fruit cobbler). Set sail, Teton-style.
Play the Strings
Shallow and relatively warm water and low wind make String Lake the perfect getaway on a hot summer day. Whether traveling by canoe, kayak, inner tube or your own swim strokes, explore the nooks and crannies of this long, skinny waterbody. String Lake is the starting point for several prime day hikes like Holly Lake, or loop the lake itself (a 3.7 mile jaunt). Sandy banks speckle the shore and invite picnicking and lounging. Pack the cooler and spend the day at String Lake.
Break from downhill and venture downtown. From Wild West antics to Andy Warhol prints, exploring Jackson as a family can be fun and freewheeling.
Old Time Photos: Refashion your family as a brood of carousing cowhands or grizzly gamblers at Old Time Photos. The transformation is made complete with vintage costumes – feathered and festooned – and kitschy sets – think rustic saloon or western boardwalk. With portraits printed in minutes, you can frame a memory that will make your family smile for years to come.
Ripley’s Believe It or Not: From a two-headed deer to a collection of barbed wire, Ripley’s Believe It or Not blows minds, young and old. From the truly odd to the deeply mysterious, Ripley’s is a distinctly curious experience for the whole family; everyone will puzzle over the more than 200 exhibits. Kids delight in the zaniness of it all, while adults leave with a list of things to Google.
Jackson Hole Playhouse: Only in Jackson could you see a professionally-produced musical in a classic Western saloon setting. Enjoy sarsaparilla and popcorn in the ornate lobby before the show begins, and then file into the intimate theater. Tucked in seats feet from the stage, everyone feels part of the dramatic action.
Art galleries: Soak up some culture by hopping between the 30-plus art galleries that pepper downtown Jackson. From wildlife art masters like Carl Rungius to modern icons like Andy Warhol and emerging talents like Jackson’s own Craig Spankie, the galleries cover wide territory. Pick up a copy of the Jackson Hole Gallery Association’s map – tucked inside local magazines – and plot your own educational stroll.
Local shops: Locally-owned and -loved shops ring Town Square, and many stock items for all ages. For toys, turn to Teton Toys with its bounty of top brands or MADE and Workshop for their artisan-made playthings. Jackson Bootlegger features treads of all sizes, while Teton Mountaineering and Skinny Skis carry all the gear and garments you need to adventure outside. For refreshments, Yippy I-O Candy Co. specializes in sugary treats, Moo’s Gourmet Ice Cream scoops only natural ingredients and Betty Rock Café mixes killer milkshakes.