When simply "seeing" a destination just won't do
FEATURE ADVENTURE: THE AIR UP THERE
On summer evenings starting at 5:15 p.m., you’ll learn the basics of weight shifting, brake toggles, and gearing up for your tandem flight before taking Snow King’s Scenic Chairlift Ride nearly 8,000 feet up the mountain. You and your instructor break into a jog that lasts anywhere from two steps to 10 yards (stronger winds mean fewer strides) before the fabric paragliding wing inflates, sending you aloft. On your descent to a trio of landing zones, which could last from 10 minutes to an hour (again, depending on the wind), you’ll get a bird’s-eye view of town as the sun illuminates the valley and the Tetons in the distance.
SKI MOUNTAINEERING CLINIC: EXUM GUIDES
SPECTACULAR AND ACCESSIBLE SKI MOUNTAINEERING
One day spent learning the basics of ice axes and rope work and two days on the rugged, beautiful terrain of the Tetons’s highest peaks. After your hard work, strap on your skis and carve down the mountain you just climbed for an exhilarating, adrenaline-pumping experience of a lifetime.
DOGSLEDDING: JACKSON HOLE IDITAROD SLED TOURS
AN AUTHENTIC MUSHING ADVENTURE
Join a guide or lead your own team of Alaskan racing dogs on a half- or full-day sojourn to Granite Creek Canyon or Bridge-Teton National Forest. For beginners, special arrangements can be made to train with eight-time Iditarod veteran, Frank Teasley (providing Frank is home and not in Alaska racing).
LUXURY MEETS WORLD CLASS FLY FISHING
Join our resident fly-fishing instructor Spencer Morton, owner and founder of the Jackson Hole Fly Fishing School. Spencer is a two-time winner of the Wyoming One Fly Fishing Tournament and truly enjoys sharing his extensive knowledge about fly fishing in Jackson Hole.
Quirky, under-the-radar highlights only a local could recommend
This unpretentious burger joint off Highway 89 has become a local favorite for its laid-back atmosphere, copious kegs, and a mouthwatering menu of four- and nine-ounce burgers. We suggest the Cabo Gregg, dressed in guacamole and salsa verde, or the Breakfast Burger, topped with bacon and a fried egg. And if you have a draft too many, take the complimentary shuttle back to town.
Some 30 miles south of Jackson and surrounded by the Gros Ventre Mountains, natural hot springs flow into a 50- by 50-foot man-made swimming pool. Built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, it’s a toasty, picturesque respite at 7,000 feet above sea level. If you’re heading out in winter, bear in mind that the destination can only be reached by snowmobile or skis.
With less than 24 hours lapsing between their exit from the ocean and arrival in the kitchen, daily shipments of fresh fish are the secret to making world-class sushi in this mountain town restaurant. Order the thai-suda – a signature sushi roll with tempura shrimp, daikon sprouts, hiramasa, avocado, house green curry sauce, and micro Thai basil – and have a drink at the glass bar backlit with alternating LED colored lights.
HOW TO SPEND 36 HOURS IN JACKSON, WITH SNOW KING AS YOUR BASE CAMP
5 P.M. | EXPLORE TOWN SQUARE
George Washington Memorial Park, with its iconic arches fashioned from naturally shed elk antler at its entrances, is locally known as the Town Square for all the shops, restaurants, and buzz that surround it. Pick up a signature glass belt buckle at MADE boutique, or browse the display cases at Dan Shelley Jewelers if it’s a special occasion.
8 P.M. | SEE A SHOW AT JACKSON HOLE PLAYHOUSE
Stroll on over to this cozy century-old dinner theater – the oldest framed building in town – for a family-friendly Broadway play and a plate of comfort food served by actors who routinely break into song. Check online for the current schedule; show time is at 8 p.m., and dinner reservations are optional.
10 A.M. | VISIT GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK
You could spend weeks getting acquainted with the photogenic peaks of this national park, but if you’ve only got a few hours, try a hike on the Death Canyon Trail. The full trail – which starts west of the White Grass Ranger Station out to Fox Creek Pass – runs a whopping 10.5 miles but features shorter options that splinter off into loops around Phelps Lake.
1 P.M. | WANDER AROUND TETON VILLAGE
Twelve miles outside of Jackson, Teton Village is the perfect detour for a low-key summer afternoon. Grab a carnitas burrito or a slice of pizza (and maybe a bottle of red for later) at the specialty grocery store, Bodega, then take a 15-minute ride to the top of Rendezvous Mountain aboard the Jackson Hole Aerial Tram, soaking in the surroundings while climbing 4,139 feet.
4 P.M. | UNWIND IN OLGA’S DAY SPA
If an active lifestyle is taking its toll, you’re in good hands when you enter the low-lit, five-treatment-room facility upstairs from the front desk. In addition to two decades as a massage therapist in Jackson, the spa director was an Olympic-caliber gymnast, Cirque du Soleil veteran, and trained physical therapist. Wind down with a couple’s massage, or, in ski season, consider stopping in for a 7 a.m. personal tune-up before hitting the hill.
9 P.M. | NIGHTCAP AT THE ROSE
Tucked away upstairs at the Pink Garter Theatre Plaza music venue, this 80-seat craft cocktail lounge as a speakeasy’s ambience – velvet wallpaper, crystal chandeliers, red-tufted booths – and a menu of 20-plus original cocktails. Try the Howitzer, a blend of rye whiskey, cognac, red wine, cinnamon, lemon, and angostura bitters. On Saturdays, local three-piece bands take the stage for low-key entertainment.
7 A.M. | BREAKFAST AT HAYDEN’S POST
Wipe the sleep from your eyes in Snow King’s restaurant, equipped with rustic beams, a wood-burning fireplace, and broad windows that afford views of Snow King Mountain. After a few buttermilk biscuits with gravy or a cinnamon roll with sour-cream icing served in a cast-iron skillet, you’ll be ready to face the day.
12 P.M. | NATIONAL MUSEUM OF WILDLIFE ART
A few miles outside of town on a cliff that overlooks the National Elk Refuge, this museum devoted to creative depictions of animals and wildlife houses more than 5,000 paintings, sculptures, and other works from around the world in 14 galleries. Take a stroll on the adjacent Sculpture Trail, a three-quarter-mile outdoor path designed by landscape architect Walter Hood and dotted with some 30 three-dimensional works.
The best food artisans, farms, and local markets
With culinary skills and techniques straight out of a Parisian boulangerie, this bakery and café emphasizes the artisanal on its menu, from the chocolate croissants to the house-made sauerkraut atop the pork schnitzel sandwich. Don’t leave without a seasonal loaf of pain au levain (you know it better as sourdough) made with special wild yeast and baked in a stone hearth.
If you thought popcorn only came in two varieties – microwave and movie – this Jackson popcorn maker will broaden your horizons. Along with staples, like butter and caramel, the menu of artisan flavors wanders into truly outlandish territory: cinnamon sticky bun, chili pepper bacon caramel, wasabi, and many more. You can find it at local stores, and watch for POP’s roving food truck adorned with a comic book–style logo.
SNAKE RIVER ROASTING CO.
This family-owned coffee company specializes in fresh small-batch organic roasts rendered in Northern Italian style. The varieties are often named for Jackson Hole icons: Jumpin Joe’s Crazy Dark Roast, for instance, is a French roast named for the local skiing legend who completed a 40-mile-per-hour launch into Corbet’s Couloir.
JACKSON HOLE WINERY
The grapes may be sourced from Napa and Sonoma, but the wine style is all Jackson Hole. All wines at Jackson Hole Winery are produced and cellared at 6,229 feet next to Spring Creek at the base of the Grand Tetons – conditions that ensure slow fermentation and robust flavor. Start with the Rendezvous Red, a blend of cabernet franc and syrah grapes with a rich and complex taste.
ROADHOUSE BREWING CO.
This Wilson beer maker – brewing beer “as bold as the Tetons” – dispenses libations for every palate, from the hop-forward flagship Rhombus IPA to the Beautiful Buzz Espresso Stout brewed with hundreds of espresso beans to the best-named beer of the bunch: the Belgian-style Patrick Swayzon. Grab a pint, and learn firsthand why they’ve spent so much time in the winner’s circle at the Great American Beer Festival.