A travel guide to Jackson, Wyoming for all seasons
Caldera House isn’t your traditional hotel: partly because traditional hotels don’t offer framed photographs of Ansel Adams and Lindsey Adelman lighting fixtures, and also because it only offers two- or four-bedroom suites. Impeccably designed and right at the base of Jackson Hole Mountain, it is both lavish and ideally located. Plus, with its low-key après-ski lounge complete with fire pits, plunge pool, and changing room, Caldera House also looks a bit like a private club, if Soho House turns snow. And, if that sort of thing matters to you: Gigi Hadid and the Kardashians stayed here!
Perfect for: The Millennial Adventurer
Located in the town of Jackson, the Anvil Hotel is a modern take on the rustic ranchers getaway: there are cast-iron bed frames and woolen blankets, yes, but also sleek bath products and mugs. Justin’s Peanut Butter in the minibar. (The design is from Studio Tack, now known as The Post Company. They were asked to live in Jackson for a full year before embarking on the project.) For those looking for a budget option, The Anvil has also an elegant inn called Cache House on its property. Premium? The Glorietta restaurant is also on site (but we’ll get to that later).
Four Seasons Jackson Hole
Ideal for: families
With a heated swimming pool all year round, a children’s club with table football and X-box, ski-in / ski-out access and a very Close to the famous Jackson Hole bungee trampoline, the Four Seasons Jackson Hole is the perfect place to say if you have kids. The adults will have fun too: the rooms are spacious and warm, the food excellent and the spa is perfect for a massage after hiking or skiing. An additional bonus? Their open-air winter bar, Fahrenheit Forty-Seven (named for the perfect temperature for serving champagne), is the absolute perfect spot for a civilized après-ski cocktail.
Jackson Home Business
Perfect for: Long Term Rental
Looking to stay in Jackson for a while? The Jackson Home Company offers impeccably designed homes decorated in a Western Revival style right at the base of Snow King Mountain. The minimum rental period is one month.
Perfect for: independent vacations
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, some travelers are opting for homes over staying in a luxury hotel because it offers more privacy and gives you more control over your surroundings. In Jackson, Airbnb has dozens of accommodations that qualify for their Airbnb Luxe level: this home in Teton Village is the perfect spot for powder lovers, while this charming lodge is perfect for those looking to immerse themselves in nature. And, if you want to do it all, this cabin, set in the middle of a rocky ridge, offers expansive views of Jackson’s sprawling wilderness.
Things to do
Go wild in Grand Teton National Park
This entrance is almost too wide, but no trip to Jackson is complete without a trip through this miraculous wonder. Stand up paddleboarding at String Lake, a tranquil body of water with spectacular mountain views, or hike the Solitude Lake Trail. Rent an electric bike and set off for Jenny Lake. Hell, if you couldn’t tell, any activity involving a lake is a wonderful idea. Immerse yourself in the splendor of mountain peaks, especially Sleeping Indian. And watch for animals along the way: it’s almost statistically impossible to see a moose, elk, or buffalo while you’re there. (However, if you are hiking in the backcountry, be sure to pack bear spray.)
Ski Jackson Hole
The Jackson Hole Mountain resort is one of the hardest mountains in North America, with just 10 percent of its terrain intended for beginners. But for intermediate to advanced skiers, it is a challenging and adventurous dream. If you are a risk taker (knowledgeable and experienced), head down the Corbet Corridor, which with its steep and rocky slope is known as ‘America’s scariest ski slope’.
Go up the Via Ferrata
In the summer, skiing is not the order of the day, but adrenaline junkies can always rush up the Jackson Via Ferrata. (For the uninitiated, the Via Ferrata is a route that allows you to climb rock faces with cables and steel bars.) There are routes for beginners, immediate and advanced, with difficult man-made obstacles for the fun: think of suspension bridges, or a 35-foot vertical “sky ladder”.
Visit Mormon Row
Tucked away on Antelope Flats Rd is Mormon Row, a collection of abandoned structures that date back to the 1890s. Not only is it a preeminent example of classic Western farmhouse architecture, but one of the best views you can see without doing hiking: its plains flow into the Tetons.
Hit the stores
The main town of Jackson is full of charming shops, art galleries and purveyors of outdoor equipment. Two of this writer’s favorites? Mountain Dandy, a quaint boutique on Pearl Street that specializes in vintage and artisanal goods that exude a masculine aesthetic, and Womenfolk, which has a delicious range of western vintage.
Where to eat: restaurants, bakeries and more
Old Yellowstone Garage
You can order high, you can order low, but you can’t go wrong at the Old Yellowstone Garage in Teton Village, which serves up fancy dishes like pan-roasted pheasant. . . but also sausage pizza. (Hey, after a long day on the slopes, sometimes a slice hits the mark.)
Coelette offers “snow cuisine”, or dishes made from ingredients found, cultivated and raised in alpine environments cooked with mountain techniques. It’s an innovative concept – most ski resorts, after all, focus on hearty comfort food – and Coelette manages to embrace elevated cuisine both literally and figuratively.
A sirloin of yak is embellished with a long-fermented vegetable sauce, while a plate of golden oyster mushrooms is sprinkled with fresh crushed juniper. When this writer visited, a Japanese snow trout was on the menu. Housed inside Coe’s historic log cabin, the interior is warm, western, cozy, and even a bit playful – a glass disco ball hangs over the dining area. Soak up the refined yet robust ambience.
Don’t be fooled by the thousand mile distance between Jackson and the ocean – this town serves great sushi. Stop at the newly opened Kampai, which serves both local fish and stolen overnight specials from Japan. You won’t forget, however, that you are in Wyoming: some menu items are insolently intended to embody a contrarian spirit: take the “John Galt” roll, a nod to Ayn Rand’s libertarian manifesto. Atlas shrugged.
At the Four Seasons is the Westbank Grill, a sprawling dining room that overlooks the Jackson Hole base. It’s open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but it’s the first meal of the day that we especially recommend going there. Watch the skiers descend to the gondola while enjoying French toast drizzled with blueberry compote, or perhaps a Waygu beef breakfast burrito. (Don’t worry, you’ll burn everything on the slopes afterwards.)
Hand Fire Pizza offers a wide variety of hand-baked pizzas, you guessed it, inside the historic Teton Theater building. It’s perfect for everyone: kids will opt for the classic cheese pizza. Adults, on the other hand, can opt for artisanal pies like “squash,” made with winter squash, dried cherries, caramelized onions, mozzarella and local goat cheese. An additional bonus? Hand Fire Pizza is committed to using locally grown organic produce and fair trade raised meats in a sustainable manner.
Located at the Anvil Hotel, Glorietta can best be described as an Italian-Western trattoria: what would you call another restaurant that serves moose bolognese, bone marrow with amaretto shots and mozzarella sticks with pomodoro? For drinks, order the “Perma Grin,” their version of a spicy margarita or a glass of buttered rum.
Need to warm up when it’s below zero? A spicy Teton Thai dish in Teton Village should do the trick. Bonus: if you are staying in a rental house, this is perfect for take out.
No trip to Jackson would be complete without a stop at Persephone, the charming bakery that was nominated for the 2020 James Beard Award for Best Pastry Chef. If you’re going for lunch, order the truffled prosciutto sandwich. Otherwise, you can’t go wrong with a Gingerbread Latte and a packet of their Double Chocolate Nut Cookies.
Picnic is a cafe in West Jackson from the same team behind Persephone. The warm and airy design, made by local company E / YE Design, was inspired by what they describe as “the Jackson Uniform”: worn denim. It’s open for breakfast and lunch, and you can’t go wrong with its health-focused menu. Especially the “Jackson Hippie” breakfast sandwich, which may or may not help with this writer’s serious hangover.
The grill in Amangani
For a special occasion, head to the Grill at Amangani, located on a sprawling view overlooking the Snake Valley. It offers sustainable ranch meats and farm-to-table cuisine.
When to visit: Jackson Weather and more
No matter when you visit, the experience here is always one of the outdoors. In winter, the culture revolves around snow sports like skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling. In the summer, most turn to activities like hiking or water sports like rafting or paddle boarding. The weather in Jackson in the summer is typically between the 70s and 80s, while in the winter the temperature hovers between the 20s and teens. Single digit days, especially on Jackson Hole Mountain, are not uncommon.
Summer is peak season so expect more people and longer waits. Winter, especially during the holiday weeks, also sees a large influx of visitors. Those looking for a quieter time to visit should opt for September or early to mid-October. However, those who opt for November or April may find themselves in need, as many restaurants and stores are closing temporarily to prepare for the upcoming peak seasons. Likewise, although Grand Teton National Park is open every day of the year, many facilities such as campgrounds and visitor centers are closed or have reduced hours from November through April.