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Top 9 Things to Do in Jackson Hole (That Aren't Yellowstone or Grand Teton)

Head beyond the parks’ borders for a wide variety of adventures.

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Hi, I'm Jacqueline!

Jacqueline Kehoe is a freelance writer and photographer with work seen in National Geographic, Thrillist, Travel + Leisure, and more. Find her out on the trails or at jacquelinekehoe.com.

The corridor between Yellowstone and Grand Teton has long been a parade of crowds and cars. Together, these two national parks offer some of the most iconic adventures in America’s venerated public lands. Even the scenery of the drive itself is downright striking, taking you from jagged peaks and alpine lakes to boiling fountains and rainbow hot springs in just 30 miles (48 kilometers).

But here’s a secret: beyond park boundaries, and the scenery is just as stunning—and there are far fewer crowds. Here are just a few adventures you’ll find if you choose to wander the wild outside.

1. Take a fishing day

A fisherman fishes in the Snake River in Jackson Hole in Wyoming.
Snake River is a popular fishing spot.Bildquelle: Kevin Cass / Shutterstock

One of the most beloved rivers in the country, the Snake River winds right through Jackson Hole, where it runs through meadows and canyons and offers boaters lots of rapids to tackle—up to Class V. The river’s more serene stretches draw anglers from all over the world and offer some of the best trout fishing around.

Imagine being surrounded by national-park-level scenery, the gentle waters so smooth that they only break when you make your next catch—it’s practically meditation. Hop on a tour to get your license covered, access the most pristine spots, and even helpful tips and instruction from local guides or opt for a private guided fly fishing trip for more hands-on instruction.

2. Float down the Snake River …

Paddlers enjoy floating the Snake River in Jackson Hole in fall.
Float down Snake River on a guided trip.Bildquelle: CherylRamalho / Shutterstock

The section of the river between the Grand Teton National Park and the Bridger-Teton National Forest offers a chance to take an adventure that requires no skill and virtually no work—and still comes with all the wild scenery the American West is known for. A guided rafting trip down this 13-mile (21-kilometer) stretch takes you down a particularly stunning and serene stretch of the Snake River, away from humans and into the terrain of moose, falcons, osprey, and more. It’s perfect for all ages and abilities.

3. ... or white-water raft it

A white-water raft tour takes place on rapids in Jackson Hole.
Ride the white-water rapids of the Snake River Canyon.Bildquelle: B Brown / Shutterstock

You’ll look good in a splash jacket, trust us. On a white-water rafting tour, you and roughly 10 others will team up to take on Class II and III rapids (depending on your tour) navigating features like Champagne and Big Kahuna before floating into the Snake River Canyon. Most tours cover about 8 miles (13 kilometers) over four hours, and whichever one you choose, the views will be stunning.

4. E-bike around town

An e-biker enjoys spring in the hills around Jackson Hole.
Explore by e-bike.Bildquelle: Umomos / Shutterstock

There’s one surefire way to avoid crowded parking lots and traffic—traveling via e-bike. Get your wheels delivered right to your accommodations in Jackson Hole, where 56 miles (90 kilometers) of paved bike trails link Jackson, Teton Village, and Grand Teton National Park. When you’re finished, your bike will be picked right back up at your lodging.

Insider tip: This activity is very sustainable.

5. Sleigh through the National Elk Refuge

Elk in the snow at National Elk Refuge.
Visit the National Elk Refuge to witness wildlife.Bildquelle: moosehenderson / Shutterstock

Run by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Elk Refuge is a nearly 25,000-acre (10,117-hectare) area packed with wildlife—and it’s right in the shadows of Jackson Peak. Unlike Yellowstone and Grand Teton, the Refuge is best in winter: the elk are most visible mid-December through early April, and the refuge runs fantastic sleigh rides along the onsite trails. Roughly 5,000 of the massive creatures migrate here once it gets cold, but you can spot more than elk here: look for moose, coyotes, trumpeter swans, bald eagles, bighorn sheep, and wolves, too.

6. Go dog sledding

Dogsledding in Jackson Hole on a sunny day.
Dogsledding is a real possibility in Jackson Hole.Bildquelle: Brent Reeves / Shutterstock

Fur trappers of yore often navigated these harsh regions via dogsled during the winter, but they probably didn’t appreciate how efficient, sustainable, and cute their method of transport was. Dogsledding is still alive and well in the valley. Hop on a tour, and you can mush your way along the Buffalo Fork River, a super-scenic path that’s flat, well-maintained, and great for families. You’ll meet the pups, learn from professional mushers, and zoom through the Bridger-Teton National Forest behind your furry chauffeurs.

7. Hit the powder in a snowmobile

Snowmobilers head through the snow in Jackson Hole in Wyoming.
Snowmobiling is a great group activity.Bildquelle: Reimar / Shutterstock

The Jackson area has some of the best snowmobiling in the west: Around 600 miles (966 kilometers) of groomed trails unfurl from town in every direction. There are—quite literally—hundreds of options, so you may want a professional tour to help you get equipped with a machine and narrow down your options. There are open ranchlands to ride across, mountain trails to climb, alpine lakes to skirt, and more.

Insider tip: This is a great activity for groups of all fitness levels and gets you into the backcountry lickety-split.

8. Hop on a brewery tour

Flights of beers on a brewery tour in Jackson Hole in Wyoming.
Don't forget to try Jackson Hole’s craft beer.Bildquelle: Black Sheep Media / Shutterstock

While this area is best known for outdoor adventures, make sure to leave room in your itinerary for some high-quality sitting—with a pint in hand, of course. As you’d expect, Jackson Hole’s craft beer scene also comes with a helping of nature; when you opt for a brewery tour, you’ll also spend plenty of time soaking in views of Snake River Canyon, Palisades Reservoir, and Teton Pass.

9. Get on horseback

People ride through a sunny valley in Jackson Hole in Wyoming on horses.
Enjoy the valley views on horseback.Bildquelle: Eustacio Humphrey / Viator

One of the reasons Yellowstone and Grand Teton have such an exalted place in the American imagination is the confluence of the stunning landscape with a rugged, Wild West style of life. This is a land of cowboys and cattle ranches, and this landscape and way of life can still speak to a wild part of the soul in a way few places in the world can.

Tap into that. On a horseback riding tour through Bridger-Teton National Forest you’ll clip-clop or gallop—depending on your style—through a rugged stretch of the Rockies, traveling through aspen groves, along meandering rivers, and up, up, up to peaks with stunning views of the valley below.

Find more things to do in Wyoming

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