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Jackson Hole - Wyoming

Jackson Hole

Mountain Meadows, Jackson Hole - Fraser Bridges

This all-year resort town in Jackson Hole is filled with the ambience of the Old West, combined with the modern frills of one of the top ski resorts in the country. The community lies at the south end of Jackson Hole, a valley which was occupied only by Indians until shortly after mountain man and guide John Colter discovered the area in 1807.

Originally a member of the Lewis and Clark expedition, Colter came to the area alone and spread the word about this beautiful valley with its distinctive mountain range which were later named the Tetons.

After Colter, the fur trade dominated Jackson Hole. This was the period of the "Mountain Men", those rugged characters who opened the western frontier during the next 20 years. Among the residents of the hole were Jim Bridger, Jedediah Smith and David Jackson after whom the valley and the town were named. Jackson was a hub for the fur trade, where six major fur trails converged. The trappers had disappeared by 1845 and the Tetons were largely left alone for forty years, except for nomadic Indians who passed through the valley.

The Hayden expeditions of 1871 to 1878 surveyed the valley and its geological features, giving names to the Teton peaks and several of the lakes. By the 1880s, settlers entered the region and homesteads were established.

What to See & Do in Jackson

Today, Jackson is a fine mixture of the old days and modern chic. Snow King Mountain provides good powder skiing from mid-December to April. The ski lift operates during the summer, taking tourists to splendid views of the Grand Tetons and the "Hole" below.

Most people come to Jackson before or after a visit to Grand Teton National Park. The park is located just north of town, and the route running north through the park is the highway to Yellowstone National Park. The Tetons are among the most scenic mountain range in North America -- with jagged peaks and high walls on the Wyoming side, while on the Idaho side, the mountains are much less dramatic.

The western boundary of the Teton Wilderness is less than a mile from the town. This is 585,000 acres of backcountry through which there are no roads. The wilderness is accessible by foot or horse and offers views of waterfalls, evergreen forest, large meadows and lakes. It is possible to hike to the Continental Divide. The highest point in the wilderness is Yount's Peak (el. 12,165 feet). Gros Ventre Wilderness is another large preserve, with dramatic Rocky Mountain peaks and deep canyons. A dozen or more fishing lakes are in this area, with many fishing streams where cutthroat, eastern brook and rainbow trout are caught. There is an extensive network of trails running through the Gros Ventre Wilderness. Wildlife species include black bear, moose, bighorn sheep, mule deer and elk. There are large subalpine meadows in the wilderness, surrounded by Engelmann spruce; the lower slopes are populated by lodgepole pine.

Jackson has been a summer haunt of President Clinton and his family, in the early years of the presidency. The area, with its rustic-looking but deluxe lodges, has been attracting the high and the mighty for many decades.

Where to Eat: a Guide to Game

Eating in Jackson provides a choice from burgers to fine dining, including several which serve game including JJ's Silver Dollar Bar and Grill in thehistoric Wort Hotel.

The Gun Barrel Steak House specialties include mesquite grilled steaks and game, with bison and elk leading the menu. The Snake River Grill , at 84 East Broadway is another local restaurant that has an innovatime menu, including game dishes.

Hayden's Post Restaurant and Bar, at the Snow King Hotel in Jackson, is the most uscale of these restaurants serving game dishes, along with o'ther dishes which could be classified as Northwest cooking. Opened in the hotel in 2013, the dinner menu includes bison chili, smoked duck, elk sausage, and braised Bison Brisket. And there's a lot on the menu other than game dishes. The same is true of all of the above restaurants.

For more on Jackson Hole,
go to our page on Grand Teton National Park


Wyoming Destinations







Grand Teton National Park

Green River






Yellowstone National Park



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