Best Attractions in Jackson HoleIn an area with dozens of attractions and fun things to do, you may have trouble deciding where to spend your time. Here are the highlights for this destination, as chosen by AAA editors.
By Suzanne Lemon
Before you venture out into the majestic wonderland that is Grand Teton National Park , stop at one of the visitor centers to obtain maps and ranger assistance; there also are restrooms, bookstores and other facilities. Flagg Ranch Information Station has information about John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway and the Yellowstone area. Colter Bay Visitor Center has a general store, and you can watch videos about the park and its wildlife. A small museum of Native American art includes dolls, pipes and weapons from the Plains and Navajo tribes. At Jenny Lake Visitor Center , you can learn about regional geology or study a relief model, while Craig Thomas Discovery & Visitor Center educates guests about rare and endangered species.
While you're visiting the park, stop by the Menor's Ferry historic district, where in summer you can ride a reconstruction of a ferry that crossed the Snake River during the late 1800s (water levels permitting). A half-mile trail explores sites focusing on pioneer life and homesteading in Jackson Hole. The original cabin and country store of Bill Menor, one of the area's first settlers, contains historical objects and educational things to see. Above the altar of the Chapel of the Transfiguration , a large window frames a vista of the Teton's highest peaks. The tiny, rustic 1925 log structure is a popular site for weddings.
Cunningham Cabin Historic Site contains the remnants of a log cabin and outbuildings constructed by ranchers Pierce and Margaret Cunningham in 1890. The cabin is still standing, and you can peek through the windows to catch a glimpse of how these early homesteaders lived. Grab a brochure at the trailhead adjacent to the parking area.
The town of Jackson has an assortment of attractions that are educational and entertaining. Stop by the Jackson Hole Historical Society & Museum to see photographs and exhibits providing insight into the early settlement and development of the Jackson Hole Valley.
Jackson's National Museum of Wildlife Art highlights the beauty and grace of the Tetons' amazing animals. Some of the country's most fabulous wildlife works capture such creatures as the American bison—artists represented include John J. Audubon, Charles Russell and legendary big game painter Carl Rungius. Interactive exhibits and slide shows supply fun things to do with kids.
Of course, visiting the Jackson Hole area is all about experiencing the great outdoors and viewing the abundant wildlife. Some 7,000 elk migrate from their summer grazing spots to the grounds of the National Elk Refuge to feed during winter. It's thrilling to see these magnificent creatures up close. In fact, you can arrange to take Sleigh Rides designed to usher passengers across the snowy fields to come within close range of the elk—bundle up, and be sure to take your camera, as the photo opportunities are unrivaled. You also may spy other animals, like wolves or coyotes.
Learn about fish production at the Jackson National Fish Hatchery . Staff members are happy to explain the specifics behind generating eggs and rearing cutthroat and lake trout. The facility also encourages visitors to take a self-guiding walk to explore the outer hatchery raceways.
No trip to Jackson Hole is complete without some romping, stomping Wild West fun. The Bar-T-5 Covered Wagon Cookout & Show delivers, with a chuck wagon supper complete with barbecue chicken, corn on the cob and other fixings. After your feast, you'll be entertained with music and comedy acts performed by cowboys and Native Americans.
If you have more time to spare, saddle up for a Teton Wagon Train and Horse Adventure . These three-night covered-wagon adventures take you through splendid, wide-open countryside flanked by grandiose mountain peaks. There's plenty of time for horseback riding (ranch hands provide instruction), swimming, hiking, canoeing and singing around the campfire. Yellowstone Outfitters offers trips ranging from one to five nights. Ride in the wagon train or alongside on a horse, or arrange to venture into the surrounding wilderness with a guide. Cooks prepare your meals in Dutch ovens over an open fire as you relax at the campsite. At night, you can sleep in a tent, a wagon or under the starry sky.
See all the AAA recommended attractions for this destination.
Jackson Hole Grand Teton, WY
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480 W Pearl Ave. Jackson, WY 83001