We’ve already written about why Aspen is at its best in the summer, and now it’s time to reveal another ski town that’s positively in bloom this time of year: Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Jackson Hole is an open secret among travelers, and its jagged mountaintops are more inviting when the temperature is above freezing. Though the area is renowned for its terrain, its stunning beauty is best appreciated off the slopes.
Jackson Hole is a completely different town in the summer — gone are the ski people from out east, and here to stay are cowboys in town for the rodeos, bison herds roaming the plains, and fly-fishers on the Snake River. Book a trip in June or July to appreciate the clearest view of the mountain range, as the mountain range in August can be notoriously smoky — although the gray fog can provide its own haunted, romantic atmosphere for experiencing the American West.
From the best places to stay to the most hidden vistas to explore, read on to find out why this mountain oasis in Wyoming is even better as a summertime getaway.
Spring Creek Ranch: This gorgeous retreat offers a jaw-dropping 360-degree view of the Tetons. Book a two-hour ride through the butte to explore the pioneering vistas unchanged from centuries ago.
Snake River Lodge & Spa: Hop off your saddle and pick up a rod for a stay at the Snake River Lodge. With its relaxing spa treatments and gorgeous Western décor, this retreat is sure to appeal to the leisurely traveler as well.
Four Seasons Jackson Hole: Speaking of ambiance, the Four Seasons can’t be beat. Located at the foot of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, the accommodations are walking distance from the tram, so you can head to the top of the mountain for a morning hike and unwind in one of the hot tubs come sundown. The hotel is also right next to the Mangy Moose restaurant: the winter après-ski capital offers up tasty drinks and even tastier nachos year-round.
Jackson Hole Racquet Club at the Aspens: Assemble your friends and reserve a condo at the Aspens, situated ideally on Moose Wilson Road between the mountain resort and downtown Jackson. Head to the Aspens Market for some elk jerky before heading out for a day of adventuring. Early-morning travelers should keep a lookout for the moose population that also calls the Aspens home (it’s called Moose Wilson Road for a reason).
Eat and Drink
Million Dollar Cowboy Bar: If you travel to Jackson Hole and don’t pay a visit to the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, were you even there? Saddle up (literally) on one of the bar stools, order a round, and prepare for a night of dancing — the live music is consistently spectacular.
The Silver Dollar Bar: Speaking of live music, the Silver Dollar offers up traditional country fare in the nearby Wort Hotel. Leave your inhibitions behind for an evening of line dancing.
The Rose: For a more local option, head to the Rose, where the musical fare errs on the side of current favorites — think Cardi B and Drake. It’s also situated right in town for easy bar-hopping.
Local: Speaking of local, head to this neighborhood haunt for a bison burger before a night on the town square. The restaurant is right next to the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar.
Café Genevieve: A historic log cabin in downtown Jackson houses the go-to brunch spot in town. Book a table outside to enjoy the crisp mountain air and endless people-watching.
Westbank Anglers: Explore the famous Snake River with Westbank Anglers, headquartered near the Aspens. Request Pat Sheehy for a day spent fly-fishing, and you can pretend you’re starring in the Wyoming version of A River Runs Through It.
Jackson Hole Whitewater Rafting: Another fantastic option for getting out on the water and enjoying the pristine Wyoming wilderness is to spend a day rafting. Don’t be afraid of getting wet, and remember to look up: The excursion is a prime opportunity to spot eagles and hawks soaring overhead.
Jackson Hole Rodeo: A must-do activity in the summertime, Jackson Hole Rodeo is the best way to witness the skills and swagger of local and visiting cowboys. This ‘grammable event is enhanced by the dramatic view of the sunset on the Tetons — fire on the mountain, indeed.
National Elk Refuge: Though famous for its sleigh rides in the colder months, the refuge is also picturesque in the summertime. Get lost in the open fields at the foot of the mountains for an equally Instagram-worthy adventure.
Just Outside Jackson
Grand Teton National Park: Explore this picturesque national park for a day trip or an overnight stay at the iconic Jackson Lake Lodge. Summer is peak season in the park, so head to Two Ocean Lake to avoid the crowds for a day of kayaking. Embark on the Teton hiking trails around Ampitheater Lake for another can’t-miss adventure. A visit to Dornan’s is required for the incomparable pizza and even more incomparable views of the mountain range. The Tetons are snowcapped year-round, providing the perfect backdrop for your #WildWest Instagram. Pack a sweater and a raincoat, since blizzards are known to happen in June — though the park is always worth it, rain or shine.
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(Photos via Getty)