Ever wonder what “purple mountain majesties” looks like in real life? Well, in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, you can see what writer Katharine Lee Bates was singing about.
Situated as the gateway to soaring Grand Teton National Park and untamed Yellowstone National Park, Jackson Hole, Wyoming boasts access to some of North America’s most awesome natural beauty. This is a place where the American West achieves its definition with bison wandering endless prairies, bighorn sheep dancing along craggy cliffs, and bald eagles coasting over mile after mile of hiking trails, rivers, and lakes.
In recent decades, the beauty outside has led to blooming inside town. Surrounded by multimillion-dollar homes (and tax shelters) are dozens of places to see, eat, and crash. Finding the right place to go might sound like an overwhelming task, but you’ve got The Manual here as a guide to Jackson Hole, aka, The Last of the Old West.
This land of multimillion-dollar homes does not encourage a budget trip, but if you’ve got the funds, Jackson Hole provides some amazing lodging to experience Western beauty outside and cushy range comfort on the inside. (Even flights into town offer splendor: the Jackson Hole Airport is the only commercial airport in the United States set inside a national park.)
The Cloudveil Hotel
Debuting last year, The Cloudveil Hotel offers a convenient location — the only hotel in Jackson’s historic town square, situated amidst Jackson Hole’s arts and business community.
Inside rooms, saddlebags are set on headboards, horseshoe-shaped handles decorate drawers, local/regional artists provide nature-inspired art adorning walls. Relax on L-shaped couches that cozy up to fireplaces and enjoy granite-lined bathrooms that wink to the Tetons outside.
The 55-seat lobby also maintains the mountainous vibe with stone bordering wood beams and leather couches in front of a fieldstone fireplace for ambiance. Upstairs, a 5,000-square-foot rooftop overlooks Snow King Mountain and the Jackson Hole town square. Grab a cocktail from the bar or enjoy daily scheduled events like yoga, meditation, live music, or evening stargazing.
Nearest Airport: Jackson Hole Airport
Time: 15 minutes
Distance: 9 miles
Hotel Terra Jackson Hole
Another option is to choose luxury away from town. The Hotel Terra, for example, sits right at the base of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, granting easy access to the region’s incredible recreational activities. From winter skiing, spring hiking, and summer mountain biking, this access is just the first reason to choose the Hotel Terra.
Guest rooms offers bright spaces that bring the Western wilderness inside — brown walls with green and blue wrapping. Amenities like heated floors, gas fireplaces, and flat-screen TVs cozy up to incredible views of trees and trails along mountainous hills. When you’re hungry, get fresh pasta and creative combinations from Il Villaggio Osteria, an onsite Italian kitchen, and soak off adventure-filled days at the infinity pool and Chill Spa.Visitors can also enjoy this luxury all in sustainable package as the hotel is LEED-silver certified thanks to its efforts to save water and improve energy efficiency.
Nearest Airport: Jackson Hole Airport
Time: 32 minutes
Distance: 22 miles
In a destination town known for wealthy visitors and dwellers alike, Jackson Hole has plenty of tasty options to satisfy the hungry beast. The culinary scene ranges across to world to put up foods from low end to high to meet the needs of sophisticated palates.
As always, stick to our handy key:
“$” = budget-friendly or cheap
At The Kitchen, be prepared for fresh fish flown in from the coast and local meat all prepared with an innovative, Asian twist on modern cuisine. The refined restaurant offers a modern, angular dining room that provides an uncomplicated, natural dinner experience inside of elegant architecture. In the summer, enjoy meals on a large outdoor deck and warm up the comfy dining room when the temps are still cool.
Fit for even the most discerning foodies, make sure not to miss The Kitchen on your trip into town.
Best for dinner
Looking for an unforgettable eating experience while you’re in Jackson Hole? Look no further than the Amangani Grill dining room where Executive Chef Manuel Fernandez combines global culinary influences with the finest regional ingredients. This includes caribou sausages, bison steaks, Idaho potatoes, and Utah honeycomb.
Enjoy this fine, seasonal farm-to-table produce, sustainable ranch meats, and fresh fish while looking out upon the Snake River Valley and snow-capped Tetons beyond. Eat in the main room’s warm, woody surroundings, fireside in the suites, or by the pool or on the sun deck in the warm weather.
Best for breakfast, lunch, and dinner
All four seasons in Jackson Hole offer world-class recreation. In the late spring and summer, when temps go from the sixties into the eighties, people gravitate towards hiking miles and miles of trail and getting into the water when it starts to get hot and activities like rafting and paddleboarding are available. In the winter, Jackson Hole becomes a wondrous winter spectacle and world-class snow sports like skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling are all on tap.
In the middle of the obvious many choices here are some special activities unique to Jackson Hole.
National Elk Refuge Sleigh Rides
Right on the north side of town is the National Elk Refuge where you can ride right into the action via your own pack animal-carted sled. Climb into a horse-drawn sleigh and slide through the refuge’s elk herds for a Western adventure unlike any other. Situated in the mountains, sleigh ride season typically runs from late November all the way into April.
Tickets can be purchased in the parking lot of the Jackson Hole & Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center; adults $30, children ages 5-12 $15, 4 and under free. Reservations are accepted by phone and you can hook up private sleigh rides upon request.
Jackson Hole Rendezvous Festival
The Jackson Hole Rendezvous Spring Festival is a free two-day music festival happening at the beginning of April every year. National acts like Nathaniel Rateliff are regulars at Rendezvous. Landing from April 1 to 2 in 2022, this year’s show is headlined by Fitz and the Tantrums and Grammy-winning blues/rock heroes Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals.
Historic downtown Jackson Town Square and the base of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort provide an incredible iconic backdrop for incredible music acts and the atmosphere throughout town remains festive all weekend.
General admission is free on a first-come, first-served basis with VIP tickets available. Make sure you bundle up for the outdoor festivities!
In addition to inexpensive sleigh rides and a free festival, you can also save on shows throughout the summer. Concerts on the Commons in Teton Village host local, regional, and national bands at 5 p.m. Sundays through July and August. Spread out on blankets and beach chairs on the huge lawn set out for concert-goers to stretch out on with blankets or chairs and make sure to bring your dancing shoes to boogie by the stage.
When the Motel 6 runs over $250/night, you know that you’re in an expensive place. The Flat Creek Inn, however, is rated over 8 stars on Kayak and can be scored for just $150/night during the right season. If you’re looking for an affordable and comfortable place with easy access to both Jackson and the Teton National Park, this is the spot. Economic rates come along with clean, quiet rooms, spectacular views, and friendly staff.
When renting a car in a mountainous location, it’s often best to secure an SUV or all-wheel drive vehicle. Fortunately, rates aren’t too different for different-sized vehicles on Kayak and begin at about $75/day.
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