Buffalo on Jackson Hole Elk Refuge

5 Things You Should Know Before You Visit Jackson Hole

If you’re reading this, you’re probably planning a vacation to Jackson Hole.

It’s an amazing place, and you’re going to have a blast—but there’s a few things to know that will help you plan a better trip as well as have a better trip while you’re there.

I’ve talked to tens of thousands of travelers in Jackson, and over time I’ve homed in on a few things that can help almost anybody make the most of a trip to Jackson Hole.

  1. If you’re coming between May and October, you need to reserve your lodging in advance.

I love the spontaneity and adventure of a good road trip—but I’d definitely still recommend planning out the basics that will ensure the best trip possible. In the case of a summer trip to Jackson Hole, that includes booking lodging well in advance. Jackson’s a small town, and during peak season it fills up quickly.

There’s a grapevine among hotels as they try to help travelers find available rooms, and I had nights when I was working our front desk that the nearest available hotel rooms were in Logan, Utah—more than 2 hours away. That’s a little unusual, but it’s pretty normal for 90-95% of the hotel rooms in Jackson to get booked up by 5 or 6 PM on a busy night. Save yourself the hassle, buy some peace of mind, and book your trip in advance.

Note: If you need pet-friendly rooms, it’s going to be all the more difficult to find them as most hotels in Jackson don’t offer them. Call us (307-733-5276) to check out availability of pet-friendly rooms.

2. Most people in Jackson Hole not only love living there but love also talking about it and can be great sources of information.

When you’re in town, take time to make conversation with the cashier in the store, your waitress at the restaurant, or your Uber driver. Living in Jackson is expensive, meaning that almost anyone living there is doing it because they’re in love with the area and are willing to pay the price to live there—and they’re almost always excited to share their favorite spots, restaurants, or tips on getting the most out of the area. (Why do you think I write these blogs?)

Related article: 101 Fun Things to Do in Jackson Hole

You’ll also notice that nearly everybody in Jackson is really nice—I’m not completely sure why this is, but I think there’s a lot to be said for the happiness that comes with living someplace that you love.

3. The number of people will vary drastically depending on when you go.

Many people believe that since Jackson is a ski town and has a variety of different seasonal activities, it’s more or less equally busy year-round. In fact, while Jackson does attract plenty of skiers during the winter, there will be vastly more people in the area if you’re there between June and September than any other time of year.

There are always tradeoffs—if you’re there in April, for instance, the town is virtually abandoned—however, many businesses, especially restaurants, will be closed during this time. Personally, I recommend visiting in early October. The leaves are changing, so it’s absolutely beautiful, most of the summer activities are still viable but most of the crowds have gone, and the cooler weather means you’re likely to see more animals.

Which brings me to my next point:

4. The best months to see animals are usually May and October.

While you can find interesting wildlife at any time of the year, they’re the most plentiful and accessible in the shoulder seasons when it’s warm enough that none of them are hibernating but cool enough that they’re active in the daytime. Typically, this means late April through May and mid-September through October. In addition, you have a much higher chance of seeing wildlife within an hour of sunrise or sunset.

Check out this blog for more details on where to see animals.

5. Jackson is best known as an outdoor destination, but it also has an incredible food scene.

Budget some money to eat out a couple times while you’re in Jackson—you’ll thank yourself later. For a pretty small town, there’s a surprising variety of food—I’ve had everything from elk sausage bratwursts at the Local to mango duck curry at the Teton Tiger. (Both were delicious.)

If you’ve visited Jackson (or live in Jackson), what else do you wish you’d known before you came? Let us know in the comments.

If this was useful to you, subscribe to our email updates—we’ll keep you posted when we publish other stuff we think would be helpful for you.

Best of luck in your travels!

One response to “5 Things You Should Know Before You Visit Jackson Hole”

  1. Shaler Johnson says:

    Been to Jackson the first week of June and loved it. We will be back for a fall or early winter trip. Can’t wait.

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