Things to Do in Jackson Hole
Located primarily in Wyoming, though parts of it extend into Montana and Idaho, Yellowstone is considered the first National Park in the world. Established by an act of Congress and then President Ulysses S. Grant in 1872, Yellowstone is famous for its wildlife and geothermal activity—most notably, the geyser known as 'Old Faithful.' Note: bison hurt more people in the park than bears do, so make sure to keep a safe and respectful distance from all wildlife. With approximately 3,468.4 square miles of lakes, canyons, rivers and mountain ranges, plus one of the largest high-altitude lakes in North America (Yellowstone Lake) and the largest supervolcano on the continent (Yellowstone Caldera), exploring this national gem should be a must-do on everyone’s life list.
Located only 10 miles south of Yellowstone National Park (it takes a little more than an hour to travel through the park from the southern boundary to Yellowstone, not including stops), Grand Teton National Park is a lesser-known but no-less spectacular neighbor to Yellowstone. Visitors to Grand Teton National Park can enjoy a myriad of activities including fishing, hiking, camping, climbing, boating on Jenny Lake, rafting the Snake River, or viewing wildlife like moose, elk, bald eagles, gray wolves, bison and black and grizzly bears.
Part of the National Wildlife Refuge System, the National Elk Refuge is more than just a winter habitat for Jackson Elk Herd—it’s a habitat for many different species of endangered animals and big game. The Refuge has been part of the Jackson scenery for more than 100 years, created after conflict between the elk and humans significantly depleted the elk population. Today the refuge consists of approximately 25,000 acres dedicated to elk winter range. The elk stay on the refuge for approximately six months each winter and guests have the opportunity to learn more about the herd through interactive displays and educational programs. Get up close views of the herd during a winter sleigh ride or utilize one of the several wildlife viewing areas on the refuge.
Nestled into the cliffs as if it simply grew there, the National Museum of Wildlife Art is 51,000 square feet of space dedicated to wildlife art. With works dating from 2500 BC to the present, the collection chronicles the history of wildlife through art. As photography is a relatively new invention, this art collection allows us to get a glimpse of wildlife—and life—in a bygone era. Though there is a definite focus on American and European art, the collection includes pieces from around the world, including New Zealand and Africa.
The National Museum of Wildlife Art by the numbers:
14 galleries; 5,000 items of art in various mediums including oil, bronze, stone, acrylic, watercolor, gouache, pastel, pencil, lithography, photography and charcoal; works by more than 550 artists ranging from early American Tribes to contemporary masters; a new .75 mile (1.2 km) sculpture trail by artist Walter Hood and has more than 80,000 visitors per year
The heart of the town of Jackson, WY, Jackson Town Square (which is technically named George Washington Memorial Park) epitomizes the town of Jackson itself. A blend of 19th century log cabins next to modern western architecture, high-end boutiques next to western supply stores, it displays the unique blend of the people that call it home. The bulk of Jackson’s shops, restaurants and bars are located around Town Square, making it a shopper’s delight. Part of Hollywood history (it was the setting for the climactic fight scene between Clint Eastwood and Tank Murdock in the film "Any Which Way But Loose"), Jackson Town Square is also home to the often photographed antler arches. Curved over the four corners of the Town Square, these arches are created from antlers that elk shed annual and contain about 10,000 pounds (about 4536 kilograms) of antlers.