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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. 

From Flat Creek to Teton Village: Cycling Jackson Hole

Over Easter weekend, my wife and I took a few days to stay in Jackson Hole. It’s the off-season, so Jackson was free of the usual state of siege by fellow vacationers, leaving us plenty of room to do our thing. Our thing this weekend, we had decided, was cycling from Jackson to Teton Village. 

As the weekend drew near, we monitored the weather forecast, watching the storm clouds gathered and considering that we just might need to find an alternate activity, like staying indoors and gorging ourselves on Oreos. This wasn’t necessarily an objectionable course of action, but it’s not something we had to go to Jackson to do, either. 

Luckily for our waistlines (and this blog post), the rain miraculously cleared up that fateful Saturday morning, leaving blue skies. 

Biking in front of the Flat Creek sign.

For us, the trail started right across from Flat Creek Inn. At the time we went, that particular section of the actual biking trail was closed for the season, making it necessary to ride about a mile down the road to hop on the trail, but it’s been open since the end of April. From there, it’s a simple matter of heading right through town, turning right on Broadway (at the elk arch), and staying the course until you follow the turn toward Teton Village. You can’t miss it. From there the trail remains easy to follow. 

I was actually pretty impressed by how clearly marked the trail is. These handy guideposts are installed at every fork, letting you know exactly where you want to go. 

Helpful signposts

The day was breezy but warm, the skies blue with a healthy feathering of cloud. With this being the offseason, our fellow cyclists remained few in number, but every now and then we passed someone and offered a friendly nod. 

Before leaving, I had grabbed some ice for our water bottles in the Flat Creek store. The clerk asked me where we were planning to bike. When I told him, he said I was likely to see some moose. Regrettably, the moose were a no-show on our ride (maybe, unlike us, they’d chosen the stay-in-and-gorge-yourself-on-Oreos course of action that morning), but I did take a picture next to this big fake moose, which was more considerably more obliging than the real thing.

Me with a fake moose

At Teton Village, we stopped for lunch. We found a seat next to the log fence and munched on Epic Bars and other snacks. This is not a sponsored post, but if Epic Bars wants to sponsor me, I wouldn’t say no. Man shall not live on bread alone, but I’m pretty sure he could live on Epic cranberry bison bars.

On the way back, my bike was a little low on air. Luckily, like an oasis in the desert, the trail provided this handy bike repair station a few miles from Teton Village. I was able to top off my tires and make it the rest of the way despite a few persistent leaks. 

The helpful bike station

Our journey came in at just under 30 miles and took us about two hours and forty minutes, not including the respite for lunch in the middle. It was long enough to feel like we’d gotten a good workout, but short enough that it wasn’t too taxing. If you’re in town with a bike and want a few hours of consistently enjoyable calorie burning, I highly recommend retracing our steps. Or treads, or whatever. 

My wife in front of a bridge

We’ll be back later this year to do some more biking. Jackson is crisscrossed with lovely bike trails, and we’ve hardly scratched the surface.

Maybe next time we’ll actually see some moose. 

Planning Jackson Hole summer vacations? Make us your vacation base camp.

Welcome to the Flat Creek Motel, one of the premier accommodations in Jackson Hole, Wyoming! Using the motel as your starting point, get out there and explore what the area has to offer. While you’re deciding where to go first, enjoy the most convenient home base for Jackson Hole summer vacations, and take advantage of our gas station and C-store, which are now open for business.

Our C-store and gas station are ready to supply your Jackson Hole summer vacation.
Our C-store and gas station are ready to supply your Jackson Hole summer vacation.

Summer Events

So . . . you’re here. Let’s pretend you came here to Jackson Hole without any plans at all, or maybe you just want to keep your summer vacation options open. What kinds of great activities exist for you to choose from? The Jackson Hole Rodeo starts June 1 and continues every Wednesday and Friday throughout the summer at 8 pm.

In July, listen to some of the world’s finest musicians at the Grand Teton Music Festival (starting July 5). If you’re planning to be in town for Independence Day—and we recommend that you do so—check out the Fourth of July parade, Music in the Hole, and Town Square Shootout. (Nobody celebrates freedom like us.)

If you can’t quite make it for the Fourth, you should still make it to our Art Fairs, family-oriented events that feature up to 170 international, national and local artists, along with live music, great food and art activities.

We look forward to taking care of you while you explore the natural and social attractions of the area. Check back often so hear about deals, events, and opportunities to get out and enjoy Jackson Hole summer vacations.

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