Thank you to Visit Jackson Hole for sponsoring this post. All opinions are 100% my own.
Wyoming has been on my bucket list for the last few years, and with good reason. The state as a whole has so much to offer in the form of national parks, wildlife, and stunning landscapes. Jackson Hole in particular piqued my interest because it has all of those things rolled into one. And it’s all easily accessible from town! So I was more than happy to visit and compile this list of fun winter activities to do in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Because masks are required everywhere in Jackson Hole and social distancing is being enforced, I felt good about my decision to embark on this particular trip. You can find the latest up-to-date COVID information before your trip at jhcovid.com.
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Winter Activities to Do In Jackson Hole
While Jackson Hole, in my opinion, is a great place to visit all year round, some activities offered in the area are only available during the winter months. On the other hand, some activities are just more enjoyable in winter. So if you’re down for some fun in the
sun snow, keep reading.
Skiing At Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
I spent a day at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort learning to ski and it was definitely a highlight of my trip. I can’t believe I’m a skier now! No really, it’s hard for me to wrap my head around this. ME! A skier!
While there are lodging options at the resort, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is just a 20 minute drive from the center of town. However, it can be longer depending on traffic. There are also shuttles that go to the resort and mine happened to be free straight from my hotel. You also don’t have to worry about packing a lunch as there are several eateries and shops at the resort whether you’re looking for a quick bite to eat or an elegant, dine-in experience.
As I mentioned earlier, masks are required everywhere in Jackson and the slopes are no exception. When you’re skiing or snowboarding, using a thicker, double layer buff is perfect! Once you’re in the common areas or enjoying a bite, don’t forget to switch to your dry, cloth face covering.
Now back to the skiing. My ski instructor for the day pushed me past what I thought were my limits and constantly encouraged me to try new trails and terrain. I can’t imagine a better first skiing experience.
Although I worked exclusively with one instructor, I think it’s safe to say that all of the instructors on the mountain are well trained and able to teach skiers of all ages and skill levels. Every time I saw a baby zooming down the slopes sans ski poles, or tiny human snowboarders, I couldn’t help but grin. I even saw instructors gliding on skis with one toddler on their hip while instructing another kid on the ground. And the best part was witnessing children with special needs get the chance to ski as well.
You won’t be shocked to know that every kid surpassed me with their skills, but that’s neither here nor there.
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is just one of the alpine skiing and snowboarding options in Jackson. There’s two other alpine skiing and snowboarding resorts available to enjoy.
Go For A Sleigh Ride At The Elk Refuge
My first activity in Jackson Hole was a sleigh ride through the National Elk Refuge. Because there is currently limited occupancy for each sleigh, I recommend reserving your ride in advance. You may miss out on your desired time slot or day otherwise.
I chose this particular activity because it was a guaranteed way to see wildlife and I was able to squeeze it in on the day I landed. It also helped that I was able to walk over to the shuttle pick-up spot from where I was staying.
The sleigh went through a seemingly small portion of the refuge when you think about the fact that it’s nearly 25,000 acres. It’s also important to note that the elk return to the area we rode around every winter on their own. They’re literally creatures of habit.
We got to learn interesting facts about the elk and the “drivers” were knowledgeable enough to be able to answer any question that popped into our head. I now know that male elk, also known as bulls, shed their antlers every year and the size of their antlers has more to do with genetics and diet than anything else. If a bulls father had huge antlers, then the son will most likely have a large set as well, assuming that his diet is pretty decent.
This is a fun activity for kids and adults alike. You get to learn a little about the wildlife while getting close enough to get Instagram-worthy photos.
Go Fat Tire Biking
Although it was snowing on the day I enjoyed a fat tire bike tour with Teton Mountain Bike Tours (many other fat tire biking options are available, too!), I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I drove out with David Hunger, the owner and operator of the company, to Grand Teton National Park to experience what felt like my most intense workout of my trip.
By the way, Teton is pronounced tee-tahn. Don’t be like me ordering the tet-an mule at restaurants and embarrassing myself.
Anywho, we rode out to GTNP and unloaded the fat tire bikes for our adventure. Because of the snow, the visibility of the surrounding mountains was nonexistent. David mentioned to me that we should’ve had a perfect view of the Teton Range but there are sometimes entire months in Jackson Hole where you just can’t see them. Luckily for me, the day I flew in I had the perfect view of the mountain range for miles and miles and could see them every day up until my bike ride.
As we rode through the park we spotted moose tracks along our trail and were hoping to spot some along the way. We didn’t see any, but on our drive to and from the park we could see several moose in the distance. Be sure to have your binoculars ready.
The ride in seemed a little too easy, even with the small amount of snow on the ground. However, it was the ride back that almost did me in for some reason. And this was a good thing. I wanted to take this ride to get some exercise along with exploring the park. If at any time I needed to take a break, slow down, or simply turn down my resistance drastically, David happily obliged. So if you’re not really a bike rider or if you ride every day, Teton Mountain Bike Tours can accommodate you.
Visit Snow King Mountain
I have never felt more like a kid than during my day at Snow King Mountain. When I decided to spend a day here I had no intention of skiing although it seems like a great place to do so. What caught my eye were the activities offered on the mountain outside of skiing and snowboarding, and they should definitely be on any list of winter activities to do in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
The first thing I did at Snow King Mountain was take the scenic chairlift ride to the top of the mountain. While I thought I was just getting to experience the lift and the stellar views that came with it, little did I know there was a disembarkation point at the top. After ascending 1,600 ft, lift riders can take in a 360 degree view of the town and surrounding areas. It’s said that on a clear day you can see as far as Yellowstone.
My next activity was tubing on what looked to be basic lanes, or so I thought. I’ve been tubing many a time in my day, but the lanes were never as fast as the ones at Snow King Mountain. I was taken aback by not only the speed, but the natural gliding from side to side and spinning that took place. On my last run down the attendant even gave me an extra spin on purpose and you couldn’t tell me I wasn’t going to go flying into the next lane. There are lanes designated for single riders, such as myself, kids, and multi-person tubers who want to ride down together.
I ended the day on this particular mountain with a few rides on the Cowboy Coaster. I had no clue what to expect as I didn’t see many riders come down. Your main view is watching peoples’ slow ascent to the top. Please don’t let that fool you. I spent the entire ride down yelling, smiling, and trying to keep control of my cart. You can essentially control how fast or slow your descent is but I kept mine on full speed each time for maximum effect. And it was awesome.
Take A Dip In Nearby Hot Springs
I avoided renting a car for my trip and it worked out perfectly. However, one thing I would’ve done had I rented a car was to visit a nearby hot spring or two. There are several in the Jackson area so it’s really up to you to take your pick.
These natural springs offer some much needed warmth especially on those days where the temperature can get to below zero. Thankfully with the proper attire, the low winter temps really aren’t all that bad.
I also read that some hot springs are accessible by snowshoe, fat tire bike, or snowmobile, so make sure to plan your hot spring journey accordingly. Here’s a great site for more information.
Go On A Wildlife Safari
A wildlife safari was at the top of my list of fun winter activities to do in Jackson Hole but there just wasn’t enough time.
Keep in mind that some companies are only offering private tours at the moment, so be prepared to budget for that if you’re a solo traveler or a part of a small group.
A safari can range from a half day tour to a multi-day trip. You also have a pick of which park to visit.
There might be sightings of moose, big horn sheep, bison, or even bears. You may have better luck with a safari than you would just riding through the park on your own, but the choice is yours to make. I just know that when I do return to Jackson Hole, a safari will be on my itinerary.
Where to Stay In Jackson Hole
There are many places to stay in and around Jackson Hole and most provide easy access to all of the above mentioned activities. Below you can find local lodging for every budget.
Mountain Modern Motel
I stayed at the Mountain Modern Motel and I left a happy camper. This no-frills lodging was clean, safe, and beautifully decorated.
This motel has a cafe with yummy food options, an indoor pool and hot tub, and even a workstation in the lobby. They also took the guess work out of getting to Jackson Hole Mountain Resort as there’s a free shuttle that departs several times throughout the morning and picks you up at the curb.
Not only would I recommend staying at Mountain Modern Motel, but I would happily stay here again…especially because I walked everywhere from the location.
Snow King Mountain Resort
If you want to be in close proximity to snow activities while also staying in town, I recommend Snow King Mountain Resort. It is blocks from the downtown area, has an outdoor pool and hot tub, and even has a restaurant on site.
If you’re looking for a high end hotel within walking distance to the town square and mountain views, then Hotel Jackson is a great contender. The onsite restaurant, Figs, was actually recommended to me but I didn’t have the chance to visit. I’ll definitely stop by on my return to the area.
The Wort Hotel
The Wort Hotel is the perfect place to stay if you’re looking for a rustic elegance vibe. In less than a minute you’ll be in the heart of Jackson with a plethora of restaurants and shops to choose from. This luxury boutique hotel also has an onsite restaurant and after looking at the photos, I’ve decided I’d visit just for a meal.
Huff House Inn and Cabins
The Huff House Inn and Cabins offers both rooms and cottages depending on what you may need. The rooms are equal parts charming and modern and just a couple blocks from the town square. It was built by Dr. Charles Huff, a pioneer doctor, so if you stay here it’s truly being a part of history.
Where to Eat In Jackson Hole
I’m going to be honest, I knew where I was going to eat most of my meals well before arriving in Jackson Hole. So many restaurants looked amazing, and I couldn’t wait to give them a try. It’s important to note that bars and restaurants close at 10pm and reservations are highly recommended if you have your heart set on a specific restaurant. Keep in mind that there is limited seating in the restaurants that currently allow patrons to dine-in and other restaurants are take-out only.
My favorite meal in Jackson Hole was at Gather. I admittedly had trouble choosing what to eat as everything sounded delicious. Thanks to my waiter, Katie, I was able to decide on the pork bao buns, the scallops, and the house made donut holes. As far as adult beverages go I opted for The Becky and the Cold Killer Hot Toddy. I can’t stop raving about my meal and highly recommend stopping by.
I strolled past Bubba’s several times during my trip and while I have to be in the mood for BBQ, it came up during my search for good breakfast in the area so I made a reservation. The google reviews did not lie. If you’re into traditional American breakfast then you have to visit. I ordered the two eggs breakfast and a pancake and *chef’s kiss* it was just what the doctor ordered.
I stumbled upon Persephone one morning as I was walking around town. Because I didn’t have much of an appetite I walked in thinking I’d get one of their mouthwatering pastries and some tea to go, but I ended up ordering the quiche Lorraine and unbeknownst to me, an entire teapot of earl grey. It turned out to be the best slice of quiche I’ve ever had in my entire life, and of course you can’t go wrong with earl grey.
When I arrived in Jackson Hole I stopped at BAPP to grab a quick bite for a late lunch. I decided to try out their ginger beef rice bowl and although I was surprised it was made with ground beef instead of skirt steak, it was still delicious and I devoured it. If you’re in search of some quick and delicious takeaway, it won’t disappoint.
I was able to make a reservation the day before I visited The Kitchen. I decided it was a must as it was recommended to me by Jake, who also works at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. I’m glad I got to try it out. I realized afterward that I essentially got the same meal that I had at Gather consisting of bao buns (beef, this time) and scallops. In my defense everything was prepared differently.
This place is directly across from Hotel Jackson and a little pricey, but worth the splurge and the service is outstanding.
Pearl Street Bagels
When I was roaming around looking for Bubba’s I ended up walking past Pearl Street Bagels and decided I’d pay them a visit on my last day in Jackson. I was in the mood for something sweet so I went with the Honey Sunflower bagel with honey walnut cream cheese and a soy chai latte. These were three firsts that worked out well for me. They have both sweet and savory breakfast options plus they offer more than bagels! Definitely pay them a visit during your trip.
My Lyft driver actually recommended FIGS to me during my drive into town and that’s why it gets an honorable mention. They serve Mediterranean fare, one of my favorites, and they’re located in Hotel Jackson so I think it’s a trustworthy recommendation.
For me, Jackson Hole, Wyoming turned out to be a 12 out of 10, WOULD RECOMMEND. The food, the adventures, and the people really sold me on the town. I’m extremely eager to get back and see what the summer in Wyoming brings.
Learn more about winter activities in Jackson Hole on visitjacksonhole.com.