Flat Creek Inn

Author: Ryan Kunz

Presidents in Grand Teton National Park

Happy Presidents Day! Since 1789, forty-six men have occupied the office of President of the United States. Who’s your favorite? Was it the one who fought to unify the country during the Civil War? (Lincoln, obviously.) Or the one who got stuck in a bathtub? (Taft. Look it up.) Or the one who inspired the country to fight back against the alien invaders threatening our freedom? (That one wasn’t real. That was in a movie. Sorry.) Here at Flat Creek, we don’t play favorites. However, we have a soft spot for each of the presidents who visited nearby Grand Teton National Park and probably driven past Flat Creek. Here’s the list:

Nixon

The first record we can find of a sitting president in visiting Grand Teton National Park is Richard Nixon, who posed for a photo on the shores of Jackson Lake in 1971. The visit was part of his “Legacy of Parks” proposal to extend and improve the US National Parks system. See a video clip here

Carter

Seven years later, Grand Teton once again hosted a sitting US president when Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalyn vacationed here. Carter never signed any legislation that directly impacted the park, as far as we can tell, but he did take an interest in conservation. He signed the Alaska National Interest Conservation Act, which created ten new national parks and enlarged three others. 

Bush (the first one)

George and Barbara visited many national parks during their days in the White House, including the Everglades, Mount Rushmore, the Grand Canyon, and many more. Grand Teton was among those stops. 

Clinton

Bill Clinton visited the park with his family in 1995 to witness the release of wolves in the wild. During their stay, a thunderstorm dumped icy hail on the party. One particularly quick-witted park ranger quipped, “Hail to the chief.” We’re sure Clinton saw the humor in it at the time.

Bush (the second one)

George W. Bush took a break from official duties to stay with a family friend in 2002. That’s pretty much all we know.

Trump

Donald Trump, to our knowledge, has not visited the park. However, his wife Melania visited in 2019, meeting up with a group of elementary school children on a field trip to promote the Every Kid Outdoors program. 

Biden

We have no record of our current president, Joe Biden, visiting the park as a sitting president. However, in 2014, as Vice President, he spent four nights with his family in a lakeside cabin overlooking Mount Moran.

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Ryan Kunz is a copywriter and freelance writer who writes on a variety of topics, including media, the outdoors, and whatever else strikes his fancy. He knows who he’s going to vote for this year, but he’s not super happy about the choices. 

Above photo credit: William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum/NARA

Non-Skiing Winter Activities in Jackson

Not much of a skier? We get it. Some people live for the slopes, and other people sprained their wrists on the bunny hill twice in a row when they were thirteen and haven’t had much of a desire to get back out there since. (You know, some people.) For those in the latter category, Jackson Hole still has a lot to offer during the ski season. Come along and we’ll show you a few of our favorite non-skiing winter activities in Jackson.

Snowshoe or Cross Country Ski

Want to get outside without shooting wildly downhill at the mercy of gravity? Try snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. A favorite winter activity in our family, both cross-country skiing and snowshoeing provide excellent opportunities to get fresh air, exercise, and see the winter world from a different point of view. Don’t have your own skis or not sure where to start? Cross-country ski tours are available for all skill levels and ages. Not sure where to go? Here’s a good starting point.

Take a sleigh ride through the National Elk Refuge

Every year, thousands of elk, along with a variety of other animals, fowl, and mountain men (just kidding), migrate to the refuge for the winter. We recently wrote about what you can expect from the sleigh ride experience. Bring a blanket and your camera and get ready to immerse yourself in some of the most stunning winter landscapes the West has to offer.

Visit an art gallery

Need a break from the winter weather? Did you know that Jackson has an internationally renowned art scene? Jackson boasts over two dozen art galleries in town alone, including the famed Wilcox Gallery, which showcases art from some of the biggest names in Western art. But art isn’t limited to just the galleries. Businesses around town strongly support local artists and it isn’t uncommon to come across art displayed in unexpected places. If you somehow manage to make it through all the galleries in town, you can spend a lazy afternoon meandering through the National Museum of Wildlife Art. Founded in 1987, the museum holds more than 5,000 works of wildlife art from prominent artists including Georgia O’Keeffe, Andy Warhol, and John James Audubon. Visit the Palate while you’re there for lunch with an inspiring view of the elf refuge.

Take a dog sledding tour

For the most unique (and awesome) winter experience, try an authentic sled dog tour through some of the area’s most stunning scenery. Several local companies offer tours, including Call of the WYld and Jackson Hole Iditarod Dog Sled Tours. Both companies offer unique experiences that are sure to inspire your next Instagram post and make all your friends and family supremely jealous. 

Ride the aerial tram

In just 12 minutes, the aerial tram ascends 4,139 vertical feet to the summit of Rendezvous Mountain. With an elevation of 10,450 feet, you can enjoy sweeping panoramic views of the Teton Mountains, Jackson, Grand Teton National Park, and the Snake River Valley. For an even more stunning view, stop into Corbet’s Cabin for their Top of the World Waffles. If you find yourself in Jackson through the weekend, there’s a weekly interdenominational worship service (at the top of the mountain), which you can attend on Sundays at 9:30. If you board without ski or snowboard equipment, the ride to the service is free. Snag a complimentary ticket at guest services. 

If you’re not sure where to stay to experience all these winter wonders, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered here at Flat Creek Inn.

Everything You Need to Know about the Jackson Hole Shootout

Did you know Jackson Hole is home to the longest-running continuous shootout in the United States? Yes, that’s a real record, and yes, it’s absolutely true. The Jackson Hole Shootout has been going for more than 65 years, which is slightly longer than the gunfight at the end of the last John Wick movie.  

What can you expect?

If you’re in town and you have a hankerin’ to watch some rascally outlaws git what’s comin’ to ‘em (and you happen to be in town from Memorial Day through Labor Day because after that the outlaws are out skiing), be sure to stop by the town square every night (except Sundays, of course). Spectators can gather on the northeast corner of Jackson’s Town Square starting at about 5:30 pm, and by 6:15, the world’s most punctual outlaws have appeared and the bullets start to fly. It’s free to the public, and no reservations are necessary. 

The performers come from the nearby Jackson Hole Playhouse, and if you stick around you can usually see a Western-themed musical there. And here’s a fun fact: the guns are real, but they’re shooting blanks. 

How did it all get started?

Depends on who you ask. If you want the colorful local legend, the shootout began with the notorious outlaw Clover the Killer, “the meanest, ugliest, no-good hoss-thief this side of Teton Pass,” according to the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce. No doubt he also cheated on his taxes, kicked puppies, and left the toilet seat up. He went up against the Cache Creek Posse, the good guys, who would drag Clover into Town Square every night in an attempt to hang him. And every night he would escape, thanks to the intervention of his friends, the rope breaking, or some other unforeseen circumstance. At some point, you might think the good citizens of Jackson might have considered replacing the Cache Creek Posse with some more competent law enforcement, but apparently, they all thought it was great fun. (This was also 1956, so maybe the real police were off chasing actual modern criminals.) And then, as the story goes, the shootout just kept happening.

Or, according to another story, the shootout was just a clever marketing stunt to attract visitors to stay in local hotels and motels, eat at local restaurants, and buy souvenir T-shirts from local gift shops. But who believes that story? The other one is way more fun. 

This post is brought to you by Flat Creek Inn.

Featured image credit: Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce

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Ryan Kunz is a copywriter and freelance writer who writes on a variety of topics, including media, the outdoors, and whatever else strikes his fancy. He is sure the first story is historically accurate. 

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