Things to Do in Jackson Hole, Wyoming#PNW . Outdoor Recreation . Travel . Wyoming
Yellowstone Vacation – Recommended 7 Day Itinerary (Day 5)
You are viewing Day 5 of our 7-Day Itinerary for Yellowstone National Park, “Things to Do in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.” Click on any of the days in the list below to view the post for other days. You can also click here to view our full, printable 7-Day itinerary with highlights from each day to help you plan your own adventure to and through Yellowstone National Park.
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- Drive through Driggs and the epic front range of the Tetons
- Bike to Jackson’s town square and the iconic antler sculptures
- Eat, drink, and be merry
- Tour local historical and wildlife museums
- Drive to the Teton National Park Visitor Center overlooking the magnificent Teton Mountains
If you’ve never been to Jackson Hole and the Tetons, be prepared for some awe-inspiring views. Regardless of your approach, the Tetons stretch on and on and never seem to end. Jackson Hole and the city of Jackson sit to the East of the Tetons, South of Yellowstone and the Bridger-Teton National Forest. On the West side, too, you’ll find green, rolling hills and fertile farmland near Ashton, Driggs, and Victor, Idaho. What’s more, this entire region expands from one mountain range to another. And Yellowstone sits in the center of it all.
Things to do in Jackson Hole and the Tetons: #1 – Drive through Driggs and the epic front range of the Tetons
Jackson Hole, the region to the South of Yellowstone Lake and East of the Tetons, could easily occupy weeks of your time. In fact, we’re planning to come back soon to spend more time in and around Jackson and the Tetons. But if you only have a day or two, we’ve got just the things to do so you can make the most of your visit. First up: scenic drives for miles! We drove South from Henrys Lake State Park, because we’re staying closer to the West entrance of Yellowstone. So to get to Jackson, we’ll drive through Ashton and head toward the mountains through Driggs and Victor.
Driggs, Idaho’s Best Restaurants: Big Hole Bagel and Bistro
Driggs is one of the larger rural communities along the Western front range of the Tetons. And Driggs not only has incredible views of the Tetons. It also has a surprising selection of great restaurants and cafés. Exhibit A: Big Hole Bagel and Bistro. Perhaps a bit suggestive, the name evokes Jackson Hole (among other things). But the name comes from the café’s bagels, freshly made and delicious. We arrived just in time for coffee and breakfast, because we left early for our long drive to Jackson. While you’re here, be sure to also check out the incredible photography of Mark N. Roberts, on display for purchase. Mark’s photography of the region is some of the best you’ll find, and we love his emphasis on the environment and natural history. His bear and wildlife photos are pretty incredible, too.
There are many roads to Jackson (Wyoming, not Mississippi). If you have the option, drive through the fertile farmland near the forested foothills of the Tetons for the very best views. You’ll also find barns, silos, and scenes like these to photograph and enjoy. (Click to view our “rural landscape” stock photography collection while you’re here). And crank up “Jackson” by Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash. Even though it wasn’t written for this Jackson, it’s the perfect song for this drive!
Things to do in Jackson Hole and the Tetons: #2 – Bike to Jackson’s town square and the iconic antler sculptures
Where to Rent Bikes in Jackson: Hoback Sports
We threw our bikes in the back of the truck so we wouldn’t have to fight the traffic downtown Jackson. If you don’t have your bikes with you, we recommend parking at Hoback Sports and renting bikes so you can explore the downtown area without the frustration of finding parking. This is one of the best ways to explore Jackson, because you can cover more ground and see more than if you’re on foot or driving around in circles. And although there aren’t tons of biking lanes, there are several bike corridors and protected lanes to get you to and from Hoback safely.
I’ve linked our bike route to Google Earth, so you can click on the image above to see our entire route, including the street view from Hoback Sports to the fairgrounds and around downtown. As you can see, there are more direct routes, but we wanted to visit the Phil Baux Park and ride past the ski hill on our way downtown. West Snow King Road, the long stretch of road to the South, also has a wide, protected bike lane. Then, South Willow Street leading all the way up to E. Deloney Avenue and the visitor’s center has less traffic and bike lane markings, so it’s safe for casual cyclists, families, and children.
Explore Downtown Jackson, Wyoming
Once you bike downtown, we recommend locking your bikes up near the visitor’s center, just a block or two away from the main square. There’s also a large parking lot if you do decide to drive in, and it’s a great central location for walking around town. Everyone takes photos of the famous antler arches, but did you know there are four of them? Each of the four corners actually has its own antler arch, so don’t worry about being able to get in front of one for your own photos! (You can view and download full resolution images of the antler arches from our Western Wallpaper: Jackson, Wyoming Antler Arches gallery here).
One of the first things you’ll see downtown on the town square is the Jackson Hole Stage Stop and Castagno Outfitters’ vintage, horse-drawn stage coach. If you’re interested in a downtown cruise in an antique stage coach, you can book a tour at the stage stop. The central park also has plenty of spots to sit and unwind once you’ve had your fill of shops and restaurants. And there are a LOT of shops and restaurants to explore! Whether you’re looking for touristy t-shirts and gifts or more expensive jewelry and art, you can find it in Jackson.
We split our time between clothing stores, restaurants, and a downstairs toy store, because no walking tour is complete without a massive toy store. Teton Toys bills itself as “the #1 destination for kids of all ages,” and we have to agree, at least in terms of the variety of toys available. I’m not a particularly big toy store fan, but this is the place for everything from legos and puzzles to educational toys and science kits. The girls agree: Teton Toys is the best toy store in Jackson!
For the size of the town, Jackson’s food options are vast and varied. You’ll find just about anything here, from gastro pubs to sushi, because Jackson’s tourism industry is booming. Coffee shops are plentiful, and you can eat wood fired pizza at Hand Fire Pizza, located inside the historic Teton Building. Roadhouse Brewing Co. Pub and Eatery wins our pick for the best lunch spot in Jackson, though. This one of the best casual dining spots in Jackson because of its creative menu and a wide selection of in-house and local brews. And the illuminated bar sign upstairs is pretty cool, too.
The Roadhouse Brewing Company restaurant seats guests upstairs alongside its brewing operations and on the outside patio overlooking the town square. Also, next door to the main entrance, you’ll find the restaurant’s store, where you can buy t-shirts and other branded gear. If you only have a day in Jackson and limited time to try new restaurants, take our advice and head to the Roadhouse Brewing Company. Life is too short to not enjoy great food and delicious beer, especially if you’re only in town for a short time!
We always try to balance any walking tour of tourist stops (shops, shopping, and restaurants) with something a little more cultural or historical, because we can only walk through so many t-shirt shops before we need something a little more interesting and engaging. We also love learning about local history and the context of places we visit, whether it’s Jackson Hole, Tulum, Mexico, or the West Coast of New Zealand.
Jackson has a lot of interesting history, partly because of its location at the base of the Tetons and the natural crossings between them and around the surrounding valleys. Because of their locations close to downtown, we visited the town’s two historical museums. One contains exhibits about Historic Jackson Hole and a Retrospective on Newspapers in Jackson Hole. The other contains more indigenous and natural history. The natural history exhibits also contain storied exhibits like the one on English trapper, trader, and government guide “Beaver Dick,” who eventually learned Shoshone and Bannock and served as an interpreter in and around Jackson Hole.
Living West: Stories of Historic Jackson Hole
“You must search for the loveliness of America. It is not obvious; it is scattered. But when you find it, it touches you and binds you to it like a great secret oath taken in silence. I wish that it were possible for me to see the Rockies once more for the first time.”– Struthers Burt (1881-1954), author and Jackson Hole dude rancher
One other museum we didn’t have time to visit but will definitely come back for sits on the outskirts of town, on a hill overlooking an elk preserve. The aptly named National Museum of Wildlife Art also offers a discount on admission if you scan the QR code on the artistic moose mural downtown, next to Hand Fire Pizza in the historic Teton Building. We drove past the museum’s impressive hillside property between Jackson and Grand Teton National Park. For now, until we have a chance to go back and visit, check out the Museum’s great website and digital collection of its works.
Things to do in Jackson Hole and the Tetons: #5 – Drive to the Teton National Park Visitor Center overlooking the magnificent Teton Mountains
As you climb up out of Jackson on the drive North toward Moose and Yellowstone National Park, the first thing you’ll see is the National Park Service sign for Grand Teton National Park. It’s worth a quick stop, because this is one of the first full views of the Tetons after you pass the hillsides surrounding Jackson to the South. It’s also a good spot to look for elk in the National Elk Refuge on the East side of the highway, where you can snap photos of the range and the National Park sign.
Grand Teton National Park: The Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center
A little further North down US Highway 191 and the village of Moose, you’ll find a turnoff that leads to the Grand Teton National Park Headquarters. This area has several shops, restaurants, and a service station. It also houses the contemporary Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center, an interactive facility with expansive views of the Tetons. Guided and self-guided tours provide rich information about the Tetons. Hands-on displays also allow visitors to get a first-hand look at antlers and other artifacts.
Outside of the Visitor Center, the Tetons stretch North and South as far as you can see. Their jagged peaks push skyward while clouds float by. If you also plan to hike or camp in the Tetons, you can get permits and information at the Center. Besides, if you’ve come this far, it’s worth exploring the range up close, too. Even though we didn’t plan any Teton hiking this time around, we took our time driving back along the front range. We even saw a large black bear meandering up and over a hill between Moose and Wilson. If you drive that route, though, be prepared for narrow, winding, gravel roads.
The road to Moose also crosses the Snake River, not far from where Ansel Adams shot his iconic photo of the Tetons. If you want to try and replicate his masterpiece, visit the Snake River Overlook just 9 miles further North. (Spoiler alert: No one can replicate Ansel Adams’ work, but you’re welcome to try!)
Driving to (and from) Jackson Hole, Wyoming: Country Roads and Sunsets
Driving back to Henrys Lake may be even more beautiful than the drive to Jackson. If you time it right, you can also enjoy the best light East and West of the mountains. We got lucky enough to enjoy both dawn and dusk in the Tetons, in part because of our long drive. But if you can catch sunrise from Jackson and sunset from Driggs, you’ll have the best light for photos and scenic views. And besides, there’s nothing quite like winding country roads and sunsets.