10 things you can’t miss on your first trip to Jackson, Wyoming


by Matt, Dec 2021

Jackson, Wyoming is famous for being an Old West town in the Jackson Hole Valley. It’s most often visited together with Grand Teton National Park.

Don’t miss out on the best that Jackson has to offer! Here are my top ten things to do in and around Jackson, Wyoming.

1. Grand Teton National Park

image of family in front of grand teton park entry sign
The park entry sign with the mountains behind

By far the main attraction in the Jackson Hole Valley, Grand Teton National Park receives over 3 million visitors per year.

It’s famous for the Teton mountains which are highlighted by The Three Teton peaks. The mountain range can be seen virtually anywhere from the Jackson Hole Valley floor.

  • Visiting Jackson & Grand Teton? Check out our trip planner page.

It’s open in the summer and the winter.

This will give you a MUCH better feel for all of these activities!

2. Teton Village

image of jackson hole valley
View of Jackson Hole from Teton Village

About 15 minutes away from Jackson, Teton Village is a famous and expensive ski resort.

But if you visit in the summer, there are so many affordable things you can do in Teton Village:

While not part of Teton Village per se, you can also Golf at nearby Shooting Star or Teton Pines.

Depending on when you’re visiting, you can check out the summer map or the winter map of Teton Village.

3. National Elk Refuge

image of elk in winter
Elk populate the refuge in winter

The National Elk Refuge borders the town of Jackson and Grand Teton National Park.

Winter

This is best visited during the winter when you can take a sleigh ride to see the many elk who have gathered for the winter.

image of river with birds
Elk refuge in summer

Summer

In the summer, it’s mostly birds and scenery. The best way to do it is to stop at the Jackson Hole and Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center on the edge of town. You’ll get nice views of the Snake River, the valley, and the mountains. And you’ll learn some things as well!

If you’re up for a little drive, you can visit the Historic Miller Ranch as well.

4. Town Square

image of family standing in front of arch made out of elk antlers
The famous Elk Antler Arches

Visiting the Town Square in the middle of Jackson is a MUST DO. Here are things you can do at the Town Square:

  • The famous Elk Antler Arches are on all 4 corners of the town square, and also serve as entrances to the park. EVERYONE gets their picture taken at the arches, which are collected by the Boy Scouts from the nearby National Elk Refuge.
  • The Jackson Veterans Memorial which honors everyone who served in any war from Jackson Hole.
  • Plaques to George Washington and John Colter. The park is actually named the George Washington Memorial Park (although no one calls it that). John Colter was a famous mountain man and possibly the first european to see Yellowstone and the Tetons.
  • Town Shootout. The free Town Shootout is performed every day but Sunday (no killin’ on Sundays!) during the summer. It’s located on the northeast corner of the Town Square; just look for the crowds gathering around 6pm.
  • Moo’s Ice Cream. Located just north of the same corner as the shootout is Moo’s Ice Cream. We knew it was good when we saw the long line.
  • Million Dollar Bar. Located across the street to the west of the Town Square. See below.
  • Stagecoach rides. Pay for this and board the horses on the south side of the Town Square. These are affordable carriage rides through Jackson Hole Stagecoach.

5. River Rafting

image of people on a raft in the river
The World Famous Snake River

The Snake River is WORLD FAMOUS for its river rafting. There are two kinds of river rafting you can do in Jackson Hole:

Calm Floats

Some of these go through Grand Teton National Park and some of them also offer dinner.

White-Water Rafting

These trips are for those who are a little more adventurous. They go on Class 3 water rapids (on a 1-5 scale). Families can do it, but you might not want to bring the little ones.

You can book either of these, or even a combination, through Jackson Hole Whitewater or many other companies in the area.

6. Million Dollar Bar

image of park and businesses
View of the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar from the Town Square

One of the most iconic images of Jackson is the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, with the bucking bronco on top.

This bar has a long history of live country music. People like Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings have performed here.

It was recently purchased and renovated by the Silver Dollar Bar. It’s a beautiful place to visit and you can even sit on saddles at the bar.

It’s located right next to the Town Square.

7. Silver Dollar Bar & Wort Hotel

image of entry to bar and hotel
Silver Dollar Bar & Wort Hotel

Here’s another historic place to get a drink.

The Silver Dollar Bar is so named because it has over 2,000 silver dollars embedded in the bar.

It’s part of the gorgeous Wort Hotel, which was built in the English Tudor Style, an interesting contrast to the Old West theming of the rest of the town.

8. Jackson Hole Rodeo

image of man riding horse in rodeo
The Jackson Hole Rodeo has been around for 120 years!

The Jackson Hole Rodeo has been running for 120 years! We love these small-town rodeos because they usually don’t last too long and they are very informal and fun.

They usually allow the kids to come into the arena for a game during the rodeo.

I haven’t been to this rodeo yet, but it’s on my bucket list.

9. National Museum of Wildlife Art

image of bison sculptures
The Sculpture Trail is FREE and it’s a MUST DO

I know, I know, you came here to see real wildlife, not wildlife art. But hear me out: this is an amazing place!

The National Museum of Wildlife Art has a goal to own the largest collection of wildlife art in the world.

If you do nothing else, stop here to see the FREE Sculpture Trail outside. It offers a nice little walk through gorgeous wildlife sculptures with views of the National Elk Refuge below.

10. Granite Hot Springs

image of people in a pool
This developed hot spring pool is run by the Forest Service

Located about an hour south of Jackson is Granite Hot Springs, which offers:

  • Granite Hote Springs Pool. You can soak here for $8/adult and $5/kids (bring cash!). There is only one changing room, so they encourage you to wear your swimsuit to the facility.
  • Granite Falls. It’s a short walk to this nice little water fall.
  • Granite Creek Campground. A first-come, first-served campground is located here with 51 campsites.

BONUS: Look for Moose!

image of moose
No trip to Jackson is complete without seeing one of these guys!

Jackson Hole is famous for moose! These incredible animals are found all over the Jackson Hole Valley.

Jackson Hole is part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE). The GYE is the best place in the lower 48 states for viewing wildlife.

If you’re visiting Jackson, Grand Teton, or Yellowstone, we have a great plan for you to see more wildlife.

We’ve seen moose, bison, antelope, elk, fox, deer, and more on our many trips to Jackson, Grand Teton, and Yellowstone.

We’ll not only get you to the right places to see these animals, but we’ll tell you about them in our audio guide.

Spending hours and hours trying to piece all this together on your own? Stop now, we got you covered.

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