Jackson is a town in Wyoming’s Jackson Hole valley, home to 3 ski areas: Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Snow King Mountain Resort and Grand Targhee Resort. The Town Square features arches made of shed antlers from the nearby National Elk Refuge. The National Museum of Wildlife Art has works by Andy Warhol and Georgia O’Keeffe. North are the peaks of Grand Teton National Park, as well as vast Yellowstone National Park.
History of Jackson, WY
Jackson was originally populated by Native American tribes including the Shoshoni, Crow, Blackfeet, Bannock, and Gros Ventre. In the early 1800s, the locality became a prime area for trappers and mountain men to travel through, one example being John Colter. After being discharged from the Corps of Discovery of the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1806 at Fort Mandan, in present-day North Dakota, Colter visited Jackson Hole during the winter of 1807/1808. Among other mountain men who visited the valley include Jim Bridger, Jedediah Smith, and William Sublette who are responsible for many of the names in the area. David Edward Jackson gave his name to the valley after a winter spent on the shores of Jackson Lake.
As part of the Hayden Expedition of 1871 and 1872, William Henry Jackson took the first photographs of the Teton Range and Yellowstone. His photographs along with the sketches by Tom Moran, were important evidence to convince Congress to protect Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone National Park became the first National Park in 1872. Grand Teton National Park was created in 1929 and greatly expanded in 1950 through the generous efforts of John D. Rockefeller Jr. who purchased and then donated over 30,000 acres.
The town of Jackson was named in 1894 and incorporated in 1914. Some of the early buildings remain and can be found throughout the area of the Town Square.
The town of Jackson elected an all-woman city government (including town council and mayor, who in turn appointed women to town marshal, town clerk and treasurer) in 1920.
The first ski rope tow was built at Teton Pass in 1937 and Snow King Resort was established in 1930. Teton County now has three excellent ski areas including Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Teton Village, Grand Targhee Ski, and Summer Resort located on the western slope of the Tetons as well as Snow King Resort.
Things To Do at Jackson, WY
The abundance of “things to do” in Jackson can be overwhelming, leaving visitors feeling like they need more time, and that they need to return for the other season. Whether you visit in the summer or winter or shoulder-season, Jackson Hole offers it all!
With world-famous ski areas Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Grand Targhee Resort and Snow King Resort, white water, unparalleled wildlife, and robust cultural offerings, it’s hard to create the perfect itinerary–without feeling like you missed a great downhill bike ride, a chance to ride iconic Tram or hit a quiet fishing spot and picnic for the day. Thankfully, there are activities for every season, deep powder in the winter and nearly endless daylight during the summer to try and get it all in.
Hiking, backpacking, and camping may just be the most popular outdoor activities during the summertime in Jackson Hole. Whitewater rafting, and scenic float trips, horseback riding, hot springs, and world-class fishing provide nearly limitless entertainment possibilities.
And guess what—there’s more to do than just downhill ski in the winter. From groomed cross-country skiing to winter skis and snowshoeing in the park to dog sledding, snowmobiling, and skating on Jackson Lake.
The town of Jackson is the county seat of Teton County and the only incorporated municipality in the region. Less than 3% of land in Teton County is privately owned. Of the 2,697,000 acres in Teton County, 97% are federally or state owned/managed.
In 2009, the town of Jackson was designated as a Preserve America Community. This designation recognizes that, as a community, the town protects and celebrates its heritage, uses historic assets for economic development, and encourages people to experience and appreciate local historic resources.
In September 2016, the town went viral due to an ongoing livestream on YouTube consisting of various views of the town, especially a webcam angled on the town square. Notable interests were the abundance of red trucks in the streets and a sheriff performing the dab in front of the live webcam. To date, the webcam is still operational.
Jackson, WY Tours
One of the best ways to make sure you mark off seeing a grizzly bear or a bison on your bucketlist is to book a tour.
Jackson Hole, Grand Teton National Park, and Yellowstone National Park are part of the largest intact ecosystem in the world – the Greater Yellowstone Ecosytem. There are animals you can see here that you will likely never see anywhere else.
The area is steeped in history as well from frontier beginnings with fur trappers and cowboys to the first National Park in the United States. Jackson Hole’s national parks, wildlife, history, and photographic opportunities are abundant and nearly require booking a professionally guided tour just to make sure you get it all in.
Explore the area by boat, on foot, by car, bike and from the air! Choose from tours that are self-guided, private and customized, family friendly or specific to looking for wildlife or botany as well as public art.
Tours offer endless opportunities for photography with unique and unsurpassed options that showcase our heritage. In addition to bike tours, boat tours, and hiking tours, in the winter, try a dog sled tour, snowmobile tour, or snowshoe and crosscountry ski tour.
What else is there say? Jackson Hole is a world destination for enjoying the outdoors year-round. Skiing, mountain biking, hot springs, hiking, paddling…one visit to the Tetons and you’ll quickly understand why so many world-class athletes and nature enthusiasts have chosen to make Jackson their home.
With the proximity of two national parks and an abundance of public land, it’s easy to see how open space and conservation help maintain a high quality of life for wildlife and adventure seekers.
Lodging in Jackson Hole
Where to hang your hat in Jackson Hole
Experience the authentic Western ambiance of Jackson Hole’s finest accommodations. Whether you’re seeking the rustic charm of a historic lodge or the unique character of a dude ranch, our area offers a range of options that are sure to impress. Downtown boutique hotels offer personalized service and modern amenities, while cozy bed & breakfasts provide a serene retreat from the hustle and bustle. No matter where you stay, you’ll be surrounded by unmatchable natural beauty and endless opportunities for outdoor adventure.
Climate in Jackson Hole
Jackson experiences a humid continental climate (Köppen Dfb), with warm summers and very cold winters. Due to its location in a very narrow river valley, Jackson and the rest of the Snake headwaters experience a unique microclimate that gets considerably more precipitation–much of it snow–than the majority of Wyoming and has higher humidity during much of the year. Its elevation is also responsible for extreme differences between day and night temperatures, which makes the climate very close to being classified as subarctic (Köppen Dfc). Extreme temperatures range from −52 °F (−47 °C) on December 20, 1924, to 101 °F (38 °C) on July 17, 1934 and July 20, 1934, and on average 236.0 mornings fall below freezing and 34.7 of these below 0 °F (−18 °C); the 1991 to 2020 average window for subzero Fahrenheit temperatures is from November 22 to March 3, while the window for freezing temperature is from August 22 to July 5, but freezing temperature have been recorded on every single day of the year except for July 25.
Snowfall averages 78.2 inches or 1.99 meters, but the highest monthly total has been 56.0 inches (1.42 m) in January 1969, and the most in one season being 153.3 inches (3.89 m) between July 1966 and June 1967.
Jackson lies at the junction of US 26/US 89/US 189/US 191 and Wyoming Highway 22 (the Teton Pass Highway).
The town is served by Jackson Hole Airport, the busiest airport in the state of Wyoming. A public bus system (“The START Bus”, or Southern Teton Area Rapid Transit) services the town of Jackson, the route to Teton Village, and adjacent communities in Star Valley, Wyoming and Teton Valley, Idaho. There are also airport buses to Salt Lake City, and places in between.