See a whole new side of winter in Jackson Hole
When most people think of Jackson Hole in the winter, skiing is the first thing that comes to mind, and for good reason! With 2,900 skiable acres, 19 lifts, and 165 named runs, between Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and Snow King Mountain, the locals - and pretty much everyone who is in ear shot, dream of waist deep powder and blue bird days on the mountain. But skiing isn’t all Jackson has to offer.
Most people don’t realize that Jackson’s opportunities for winter recreation span so much further than just the confines of the resorts. Though summer dominates the expanse of possible activities, if you put in a little extra effort (and an extra layer or two) winters in the Tetons can offer a world of possibility, exploration and adventure.
Often regarded as a basecamp for those looking to explore the national parks, Jackson Hole is situated in a prime location with quick and easy access to the resorts, Grand Teton National Park, and Yellowstone National Park.
Although park roads are closed in the winter season, that doesn’t mean there isn’t fun to be had. Here are some of our favorite winter activities:
Hiking and sightseeing doesn’t have to be limited to the summer months. Snowshoes allow a world of possibility to tour the parks via foot and offer a great alternative to skiing. Similar to walking on sand or running on a beach, snowshoeing can also be a great work out depending on conditions and snow depth. You can rent snowshoes and pretty much any outfitter and head up to the top of Teton Pass for a non-guided experience as you traverse the many different ridges and roads. Or, search through a myriad of guided or experiences in Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park for a curated trip.
The winter views of the Greater Yellowstone Area are enough to leave a lasting impression for the entirety of your life. Capturing the expansive landscape and wildlife is a favorite pastime of locals, and visitors alike. If you ask to scroll through the cameras on their phones you will most likely be met with a barrage of the most beautiful photos you’ve ever seen – much of what you would expect to find on the memory card of a National Geographic Photographer. Many outfitters and guides offer photography tours that will take you to the right places at the right time, leaving only footprints and taking only photos.
With a professional guide who knows the right spots at the right times, a wildlife tour can really make a trip. Gaze upon packs of wolves in Yellowstone, Moose snacking on trees and branches, birds cresting above and more. The many guiding services in the area offer an interpretive experience that goes far beyond just scoping larger than life animals through a set of binoculars.
ELK REFUGE SLEIGH RIDE
While not actually located in either of the national parks, the National Elk Refuge – especially in the winter – should not be overlooked as a destination or non-skiing activity for those visiting in the colder months. Led by a horse drawn sleigh and adorned with blankets and hot drinks, the sleigh rides in the Elk Refuge offer a once in a lifetime chance to see close-up, wildlife viewing of the thousands of elk that migrate down from the mountains every winter.
SNOW COACH TOURS
Snow coach tours are an especially unique way to tour around Yellowstone National Park. Outfitters replace the wheels on their tour vehicles with different tire tread, often in the form of low pressure, larger tires or a rotating belt (like a snowmobile) that allows for safer travel on snow and ice. From the comfort and warmth of a Snow coach, you’ll be able to travel to the many sights of Yellowstone – think Old Faithful, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, and more – that become inaccessible in the winter due to road closures.
Snowmobiling offers a unique way to tour the Wyoming backcountry in the winter. With several feet of snow on the ground, so many of Yellowstone, Grand Teton, and Jackson Hole’s most beautiful places are easily accessible by snowmobile in the winter. A number of local guides can take you on an exciting exploration enjoying nature and seeing some of Wyoming’s famous wildlife.
Jackson Hole is the birthplace of A favorite among locals and tourists alike, a hot spring visit is definitely worth your time while visiting the Jackson Hole area in the winter time! There are numerous destinations to soak outside in natural fed thermal features, including established, built up pools and natural pools often found on the side of rivers and lakes. Brand new for winter 2020-2021, the Astoria Hot Springs pool is located just south of the town of Jackson past Hoback Junction and would be a perfect locale for those looking to soak close to town.
Regardless of the activities and places you choose to explore, the winter season in the Tetons should be recognized as just a good of time as any to adventure. Just be sure to bring an extra layer or two for good measure – and a camera to capture your adventure.
To learn more about what it’s like to live in Jackson Hole, please reach out to our dedicated team of agents.