I’ve included a transcript of this video below. See our article for a list of the things to do in Jackson, Wyoming.
Transcript of this video
Hi, I’m Matt.
And I’m excited to share more of the best of the West with you.
Today I’m going to cover some of the best things to do in Jackson Wyoming!
We will visit some historic buildings, ride to the top of a mountain, stroll in the town square, raft the river, and see some magnificent wildlife art.
Jackson Wyoming is a town of about 10,000 people that lies in northwestern Wyoming .
The town of Jackson is part of the Jackson Hole Valley, most of which is protected as Grand Teton National Park, although Jackson city is not part of the national park.
Our first stop is the Town Square, which is a quaint little park that’s most famous for the huge antler arches at all four corners of the park.
The park is actually named “George Washington memorial park,” but everyone just calls it the Town Square.
In the center of the park is the Jackson Veterans Memorial Monument, dedicated to all those from the area who have served in any war. Recently renovated in 2019, the top of the monument has a sculpture of the famous Wyoming bucking bronc and rider.
This bucking bronc and rider image is all over Wyoming, including it’s sports teams and license plates. Wyoming Soldiers who served in world war 1 used the image.
Many people believe the horse is Old Steamboat, Wyoming’s most famous horse who is actually in the pro rodeo hall of fame and who’s wildness is said to represent the spirit of Wyoming. Wyoming is an extremely proud state – it’s actually a lot like Texas but with a quieter confidence rather than the brash outspokenness of Texas.
The elk antler arches have been there since the 1950s, but they are rebuilt periodically by the Boy Scouts, who collect the arches from the nearby national elk refuge.
National Elk Refuge
Which gets us to number two. The National Elk Refuge was established over 100 years ago in response to an elk crisis in the valley.
Elk mostly hang out in Yellowstone during the summer but in the winters they come down to Jackson Hole where the winters are milder and they can still graze.
But a series of bad winters in the early 1900s left many dead elk all over the place. Locals donated what hay and feed they could, but it wasn’t enough.
So they petitioned Congress for help. A man named Stephen Leek used his new camera to take pictures of the crisis to get the word out.
Soon congress set aside land and gave assistance to feed the elk to keep them alive in the winters.
You can still see the elk in the winter and take a sleigh ride among them.
In the summer, it’s mostly birds and scenery.
National Museum of Wildlife Art
The national museum of wildlife art is close to the refuge and is located between Jackson and Grand Teton National Park.
This is a real treasure. Its goal is to house the largest collection of wildlife art in the world. It received the National designation by Congress in 2008.
But you don’t even need to go in to appreciate it. Outside is a magnificent sculpture trail, with gorgeous creations such as eagles, moose, and bison.
This is a must-see in Jackson.
Next up is the visitor center, which was closed the last time I was there due to covid. This is a great place to learn about the area and it’s located right along the river with some great scenery.
Next up is river rafting. The Snake River is world-famous for its river rafting.
There are two different kinds of rafting trips you can take in the area.
Scenic floats go along the lazy portion of the Snake River through Grand Teton National Park with the Teton Mountains as a backdrop.
But the most famous portion of the river is just south of Jackson. Here you can whitewater raft on a rapids graded 3 our of 5. Crazy, but not too crazy that families can’t do it.
This footage is us rafting the river before Hi Def was a thing. The best rapids have names, such as Lunch Counter and Big Kahuna.
This footage is from Jackson Hole Whitewater. You can book a guided tour through them. They offer guided scenic floats, white water floats, and combo floats.
Granite Hot Springs
Granite Hot Springs is about an hour south of Jackson. Some of the drive is on a dirt road. This little spot in the mountains packs quite a punch. It offers camping, a waterfall, and developed hot springs to soak in. It’s open year-round.
You can even take an Iditarod dog sled tour here in the winter.
The Jackson Hole Town Shootout
Here’s a touristy but free thing to do in Jackson: attend the daily shootout in town. This is held right by the Town Square.
This year we gathered around with a crowd only to be shutout on the shootout due to COVID.
So I’ve obtained this footage of the shootout from Tom Hall’s channel. Thanks, Tom.
The shootout claims to be the longest running shootout in the United States. The first shootout was held in 1957, which I find amazing.
So in the last 60 years, only two things have stopped the killing in the town square: COVID, and Sundays. There’s no killing on Sundays. It’s just not right to do that on Lord’s day.
Jackson Hole Playhouse
The shootout is put on by the Jackson Hole Playhouse, which is another thing to do in Jackson. This cute little playhouse puts on westerns and vaudeville programs.
The building was originally livery stable build in 1915. They claim it’s the oldest building Jackson.
One of the most iconic images of Jackson is the Million Dollar Cowboy bar with the bucking bronc on top.
This bar has been around forever and has hosted some famous country music musicians such as Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and Tanya Tucker.
The saddle barstools are quite famous, though they don’t look all that comfortable.
The building was recently renovated It continues to host live music just about every night.
Silver Dollar Bar & Wort Hotel
Nearby is the Silver Dollar Bar, not to be confused with the Million Dollar Bar. The Silver Dollar Bar literally has a bar lined with Silver Dollars.
This is part of the Wort Hotel, which was built in the English Tudor-style, an interesting contrast to the rest of the town, which plays primarily on the Old West theme.
Inside the hotel, however, is more western theming. It’s a gorgeous building with plenty of wildlife busts and paintings.
It was opened in 1941 and was the hotbed of underground gambling until Wyoming finally stamped it out.
Back outside, one of the more affordable things to do in Jackson is to take a horse and buggy ride.
I believe this ride costs less than $10 and it takes you around the town a bit.
Moo’s Ice Cream
When you’re done with the horse ride, walk to nearby Moo’s and wait in the long line for delicious homemade ice cream.
Jackson Hole Rodeo
The Jackson Hole Rodeo has been going for over 120 years. The rodeo runs nightly from 8 to 10, but arrive early because they do fill up. Bring a jacket in case it’s bad weather because these cowboys perform rain or shine.
You can even book a behind the chutes VIP experience if you want to see a rodeo from the other side.
About 15 minutes away from Jackson is Teton Village, which is home to the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, one of the most expensive ski resorts in the country.
But for us average joes, we’re content to visit during the summer when it’s a little more affordable.
The Mangy Moose is a popular place to get something to eat or drink, and their shirts are quite popular.
Or grab a snack and chill out in the common area where the kids can play.
We’re always looking for family-friendly things to do. Our kids enjoyed the Trampolines this last year.
While we were watching our kids jump, we were honored that this couple recognized us from our channel and said hi to us!
There are plenty of things to do here in the summer, including mountain biking and frisbee golf. Here we are only about 16 years ago when Cheryl was pregnant with our first child!
Finally, take the Gondola ride to the top of the mountain. It’s free after 5pm!
At the top, you’re rewarded with pizza and an overlook the entire Jackson Hole Valley.
Located about 15 minutes north of Jackson is Grand Teton National Park.
Grand Teton National Park encompasses the Teton Mountain Range and much of the Jackson Hole Valley.
We’ve made quite a few videos about Grand Teton, and we’ll make more. But here are some quick highlights.
The crown jewel is Jenny Lake. A 12-minute boat ride takes you across the lake to the base of the mighty Tetons. A short hike takes you to Hidden Falls, and beyond that is Inspiration Point.
Mormon Row is where photographers gather to take pictures of the famous Moulton Barn with the Tetons behind.
Nearby Antelope Flats often has wildlife like bison, moose, and antelope.
Up north is Colter Bay at Jackson Lake where you can play in the water, if you’re able to handle it like these two guys.
The stunning Jackson Lodge is located nearby and frames in some of the best views of the Tetons.
There are six glacial lakes you can hike to for spectacular views and a little playtime. Each offers something a little different.
Remember Stephen Leek, the guy who saved the elk? You can grab a bite at the famous Leek’s Pizza, on the shores of Jackson Lake.
Or visit the understated but classic Signal Mountain Lodge for a mound of nachos.
If you’re up for more adventure, rent some bikes from Dornan’s Adventure Sports
As you can see, there are so many incredible things to do in Jackson Hole and Grand Teton. If you’re planning a trip to Grand Teton, prepare for your trip by watching our trip planner video and our entire playlist of Grand Teton videos.
Thank you so much for watching and until next time, Go West, young traveler!