Jackson Hole is known for its spectacular mountain views, beautiful wildlife, small-town charm, and amazing outdoor recreation, but in order for everyone to keep enjoying these things we have to protect them. That doesn’t mean never visiting or missing out on your favorite pastimes. There are tons of ways to enjoy Jackson Hole responsibly so that you, local folks, and future visitors can take part for generations to come. Check out the list below for some tips on how to recreate responsibly here in Jackson Hole – you might discover something completely new to try!
1. View a variety of wildlife
Wyoming is home to a large network of migratory pathways for elk, mule deer, and bison, not to mention our unique population of resident wildlife like moose and the threatened sage grouse. Due to Jackson Hole’s proximity to multiple national parks and protected lands you have a chance to spot these beautiful animals anywhere during your visit or you can go the extra mile and hire a local guide, like EcoTours, to see all the best spots and learn along the way. You can also drive the Elk Refuge Road and come face to face with elk and bighorn sheep. Make sure to stay a responsible distance from wildlife, drive slowly, observe rules of the road, and watch for wildlife crossing signs on local roads.
2. Visit the Town Square
If you’re looking for great food, souvenirs for the family, and a taste of the Old West, consider stopping by downtown. From the Pioneer-era town square to the iconic elk antler arches, Jackson stands as the “Last of the Old West”. Walking through downtown Jackson and the Town Square gives you a chance to slow down and enjoy your time. Visit and support local artisans and businesses like Stio, get a delicious, locally cooked meals from restaurants on the historic Genevieve Block, or take a summer tour of the Jackson Hole Historical Society to find even more gems. Worried you won’t have time to see it all? The START Town Shuttle will help you get around while letting you take in the sights, save on gas, and reduce traffic congestion around busy areas. If you have plans outside the city check out our next tip for more ways to get around.
3. Rent an E-Bike
Jackson Hole is lucky to have a comprehensive network of bike paths and trails to help you get around town and enjoy the surrounding natural areas. To make it even easier, many businesses offer E-Bikes that make traveling a breeze. Skip the traffic and the carbon-footprint! Taking one of these bikes for a spin not only helps the environment but allows you to experience more of Wyoming’s sights and smells than if you were speeding down the highway.
4. Go for a hike
Hiking is one of the first things that comes to mind when people mention Jackson Hole and the nearby national parks. If you don’t feel like journeying deep into the wilderness, you can check out trails like Cache Creek and Game Creek with trailheads located right in town. Or, if you’re feeling more adventurous check out Hole Hiking for a wide range of tours throughout Jackson Hole and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Always make sure to keep yourself and the environment safe and recreate responsibly: bring bear spray, keep pets on leash, and avoid disturbing wildlife. And as always when visiting nature: take only pictures and leave only footprints!
5. Turn off the lights and stargaze
In Jackson Hole, breathtaking views aren’t reserved for the tops of mountains. Every night the sky lights up with views that are increasingly rare across the continental US. Wind down from a busy day by taking in a sky full of stars and even the Milky Way itself! Purchase a book from one of our local stars and spend the evening counting constellations or just grab a warm cup of hot chocolate and take it all in. These views are only possible because of Jackson Holes dark skies initiatives and make sure to do your part to keep it that way by turning exterior lights off when not in use.
Jackson Hole’s many mountains and wild slopes bring thousands of outdoor enthusiasts every winter. Winter sports are so popular that you can even snowshoe and cross-country ski on groomed trails in our national forests and parks. Be sure to stay on designated trails and areas during your adventure. Winter is a challenging time for wildlife. Always observe wildlife closures DON’T POACH THE POWDER. If you want a chance to see some of Wyoming’s unique wildlife, the Elk Refuge is open all year and even offers sleigh rides to get you in the winter spirit. Last but not least, keep warm both with the proper wilderness gear and visiting the Granite Hot Springs, which are accessible via snowmobile and dog sled through the winter months. Alternatively, drive to Astoria Hot Springs Park for a more casual soak.
This is not an extensive list of responsible ways to recreate here in Jackson Hole. As our world continues to change so will our responsibilities to it. Always take time to think about the effect your actions might have — if they’re harming local wildlife, helping local-owned businesses, or reducing your carbon footprint. Every little change makes a difference!