Wilderness Adventures

Winter in Jackson Hole – WA’s Top Ten Must Do’s

By Wilderness Adventures December 18, 2018

For being one of the coldest places in the lower 48, Jackson Hole, Wyoming is a spectacular place to visit in the winter. It also happens to be the home of Wilderness Adventures. This holiday season, the WA Leadership Team wanted to share a personally curated list of the top 10 best things to do on your Jackson Hole winter vacation! Without further ado:

 10: Snow King Tube Park

 Skiing isn’t the only thing to do at Snow King Mountain. Head over to the King Tubes Park for some rope tow accessed snow tubing. You can race your friends or family down three groomed lanes, gaining speed and leaning into the snowy berms. NOTE: You must be 42” tall to tube at the King! And, keep in mind that Snow King Mountain is the home of our Base Camp Program come summer. Worth checking out, no matter the season.

9: Kick Back and Sip on a Local Craft Beverage

You and your family have been out adventuring in the biting cold all day and it’s time to fuel up and relax. Jackson Hole is home to 3 excellent local breweries (if you’re of age, of course – this one is for parents!): The Roadhouse Pub & Eatery, Thai Me Up (Melvin Brewing), and Snake River Brewing. Each brewery has a wide selection of locally brewed ales, lagers, porters, stouts, sours, excellent food and family environments. Watch classic kung-fu movies and hop in the tuk-tuk at Thai Me Up or play arcade games or ping pong at Snake River Brewing. Our personal favorite here at WA is the Roadhouse on the Town Square. It’s part brewery, part chic modern bar, and part gourmet eatery.

8: Take a Sleigh Ride in the National Elk Refuge

The National Elk Refuge, just north of the town of Jackson, is a great place to see wildlife any time of year, but especially in the winter. From December 15 through April 6, you can take a horse-drawn sleigh ride among the local elk herd numbering in the thousands. A winter naturalist will teach you about the elk population and their migration pattern. It is an absolutely incredible experience. Local Pro Tip – given the chilling winds that blow up the valley, we recommend that you and your family bundle up!

Tickets are sold at the Jackson Hole and Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center at 532 North Cache Street, $25 for adults, $15 for children ages 5-12 years old. Children under 4 are free. You’ll take a free shuttle from the Visitor Center to the sleigh boarding area about three miles north of Jackson.

Photo courtesy of USFWS Mountain Prairie.

7: Kick, Glide, Kick, Glide

Jackson may be known for its alpine resorts, but the valley is also home to some excellent cross-country skiing terrain. If you find yourself wanting to find adventure away from the big crowds at the resort then find a pair of Nordic skis and get out there! It’s a great low impact workout and allows you to access beautiful wilderness trails not too far from town.

Affordable full day and half day rental packages are available at Skinny Skis or Hoback Sports. Local trailheads to check out:

  1. Emily’s Pond Levee – Snake River Dike
  2. Game Creek Trailhead
  3. Cache Creek Trailhead
  4. Grand Teton National Park – Ski the flats on the park road, head to Taggert Lake, or enjoy moderate terrain on the Moose-Wilson Road.
Our International Coordinator, Meredith Bower, skiing in GTNP!

6: Let’s go Dancing!

For a town of 10,000 people, Jackson Hole has an extraordinary music scene. You can catch a show almost any day of the week and there’s a little something for everyone. Although the scene centers on country & bluegrass you might also find yourself at a rock, electronic, indie, or folk show. Some of the best venues in town are The Pink Garter Theatre, The Center for the Arts, The Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, and the Silver Dollar Showroom. And if you’re already in Jackson as you read this – don’t miss KHOL community radio presents Mojave Nomads at the Pink Garter this Saturday!

5: Venture into the Backcountry

Jackson Hole is home to world-class, easily accessible backcountry skiing. From the top of the Teton Pass highway you can boot pack up the iconic Mt. Glory or tour over to Edelweiss bowl for a steep, open powder run. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, you can head up to Grand Teton National Park and ski one of the many epic lines such as 25 short or Albright Peak. Wherever you go, make sure that you have the proper gear and training to travel safely in avalanche terrain. You can find a daily avalanche forecast here and hire a backcountry guide or take an avalanche course here.

4: Go Ice Skating in the Town Square

There are benefits to it being cold all the time. You can skate! From January 19th to February 28th,  the Jackson Hole Town Square (famous for the Elk Horn Arches) is home to a massive outdoor skating rink! Bring your own skates or rent them on-site.

If the ice is right, you might be able to adventure further out of town for a game of pond hockey. Slide Lake, located 20 miles outside of town in the Bridger-Teton Wilderness, is a beautiful place to go skating after an early season cold snap (snow generally makes it un-skateable later in the season).

3: Fine Dining

Jackson Hole is home to some truly inspired restaurants. Some of our personal favorites are Teton Thai, a gourmet Thai eatery with spectacular views from Teton Village, King Sushi, an oasis of excellent seafood in a landlocked mountain town, and Glorietta Trattoria, an exquisite Italian restaurant tucked into the side of the Anvil Motel. There’s nothing better than sitting down to a lovingly prepared plate of delicious food after a long day of adventures.

2: Soak Your Troubles Away

Does it feel like your legs are made of lead after a long day of skiing? Are your toes incurably cold after too much time in those tight ski boots? Don’t worry – thaw yourself out by spending a day in one of the Teton Valley’s natural hot springs. Astoria Hot springs (on the toasty side) is nestled right into the side of the Snake River just South of Jackson. You can nestle into a rock pool where the waters meet, or brave the steaming spring right at the source!

If you’re up for more of an adventure, rent a snowmobile or a set of cross country skis and head up to Granite Hot Springs! The road that winds up to this 100+ degree swimming pool is groomed for snow travel in the winter, but at 9 miles it’s a bit of an expedition getting up there. Trust us – it’s worth the trek!

1: Ski Teton Village or Snow King

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort has a reputation that rivals the town itself. The resort is home to some of the best snow in the country, 4,139 feet of vertical from top to bottom, 133 named trails, and miles of unnamed lines and side country. There’s plenty here for both the first-time skier and the seasoned veteran. If you feel like taking a few laps while you’re in town, hop on the lifts at Snow King! This little resort may be a fraction of the size of JHMR, but it has some wickedly steep terrain so don’t be fooled!