If you are considering an epic United States road trip, Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming are places I definitely recommend spending a few days. Not surprisingly, most people combine them with Yellowstone National Park. Use my Jackson Hole travel guide to plan your trip and find the best places to eat, stay and shop in this quintessential mountain town.
Jackson Hole Travel Guide: Best Place to Eat
Jackson Hole offers a number of great eateries to refuel before and after your epic hiking and road trip adventures in Grand Teton National Park.
For breakfast, don’t miss Persephone Bakery. Every person we spoke to before visiting recommended this hot spot.
Their flaky egg and cheese croissant sandwich is delish. Vegetarians can substitute sautéed kale for the ham/bacon and add avocado.
Given they are famous for their cinnamon brioche, make sure you leave room and splurge on this sweet treat. Or, save it as an afternoon pick me up.
Since we visited in the fall, I indulged in hot apple cider, hitting the spot after a brisk morning photographing sunrise at Oxbow Bend in Grand Teton National Park. I saw other patrons sipping hot chocolates with homemade marshmallows.
We also noshed on the pumpkin bread with maple frosting and their citrus bread, made with the ideal amount of lemon zest. The banana bread with nutella frosting tempted me as well, but I decided to exercise a bit of self-control.
We also bought their quinoa granola. If you become addicted, you can order online and have it shipped.
TOP TIP: Arrive by 9:30am to avoid the crowds as this place gets quite busy, especially on the weekends!
Trio Bistro impressed us so much that we ordered takeout from them two nights in a row!
Their asparagus risotto is perfectly prepared. Since I make a pretty mean zucchini and pea risotto myself, I tend to be hypercritical of this dish at restaurants.
In addition to its balanced flavor and texture, the serving is sizable enough for two people to share or to have leftovers the next day. If you are craving protein, you can add grilled flat iron steak.
Their Caesar salad with homemade croutons is scrumptious as well.
TOP TIP: Vegetarians should make sure to order the Caesar without prosciutto.
We also devoured their fried fingerling potatoes, which reminded us of a triple baked version we’ve dreamt about since having them in South Africa. The crisp outer skins and truffle salt are an ideal combination.
Their peanut butter cup is next level good. This giant Reeses like bonbon is one of the best desserts we’ve ever consumed. Make sure to pace yourself and save room in your dessert pocket!
I commend Trio for using compostable packaging for all take-out orders and only giving plastic cutlery if requested. To minimize our environmental footprint, we always travel with our own reusable cutlery, straws and cups, which you can read more about in my favorite Sustainable Travel Essentials.
Craving homemade chips and salsa, we opted for Jackson Hole’s oldest Mexican restaurant, Merry Piglets.
Since rice and beans accompany their massive and flavorful portions, the dishes are great for sharing or leftovers. Bonus points for the fact that their meats and poultry are free range with no antibiotics or growth hormones.
TOP TIP: Order your burrito, taco or chimichanga with their tangy green chili sauce, for which they are well known. It has a great flavor, but isn’t too spicy.
We heard Pica’s Taqueria is another great option for quenching Mexican food and margarita cravings.
If you are seeking a unique huckleberry margarita, head to the Blue Heron Lounge at Jackson Lake lodge.
Moo’s Gourmet Ice Cream
To satiate our sweet tooth, we seek out the best local ice cream everywhere we travel. Since Moo’s won the Food Network’s 50 states/50 desserts challenge for the state of Wyoming, we knew we couldn’t miss stopping here.
TOP TIP: Since huckleberry is unique to this part of the United States, I highly recommend you try their Wild Huckleberry flavor. It’s the best huckleberry ice cream we’ve tried! While huckleberry is in the blueberry family, it has its own unique taste.
Hats off to Moo’s for using compostable rather than plastic spoons.
Other places to eat and drink in Jackson Hole
Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, a Western themed establishment, is a popular place to stop for a drink as many famous country singers have performed here.
If you are craving Italian food, try Glorietta Trattoria in Jackson or Osteria in Teton Village. While in Teton Village, you can check out Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, which offers primarily advanced and intermediate skiing.
Are you a breakfast burrito fan? If so, check out D.O.G Breakfast, located just next to Trio.
Since one can never go wrong with delectable baked goods, The Bunnery is worth stopping by for indulgent snacks to accompany you while hiking, biking or horseback riding. Spring Creek Ranch offers one to two hour horseback rides, allowing you to marvel at the Tetons from a different perspective.
Jackson Hole Travel Guide: Where to Stay in Jackson Hole
Rustic Inn Lodge
Looking for a cozy deck with Adirondack chairs to sip your morning coffee, tea or hot chocolate? Rustic Inn Lodge’s cabins offer a relaxing place to start or finish the day and immerse in a good book.
TOP TIP: We opted for the Double Queen cabin and didn’t upgrade to a river view or spa suite given we weren’t spending much time in the room.
Since we were traveling with substantial photography and camping equipment, we valued the convenience of parking in front of our cabin and quickly unloading.
Added perks of staying include divine smelling Molton Brown bath products, breakfast, and a refrigerator to chill drinks, leftovers and snacks.
Although they offer a shuttle into town, you probably won’t use it since the lodge is a short half-mile (10 minute) walk from Jackson’s Town Square.
If you are seeking a Historic Hotel of America located downtown, the Wort Hotel is a charming option to consider. Operating since the 1940s, you’ll be transported to the Old West with the décor throughout the hotel, lobby and rooms.
Flat Creek Inn
Despite September being “shoulder season,” we found Jackson Hole completely sold out when we arrived at 11pm on a Thursday night.
Fortunately, after calling 12 places for over an hour, we snagged the last available room at Flat Creek Inn. In addition to being the closest lodging to Grand Teton National Park, they share a parking lot with a gas station, making it convenient to refill your vehicle.
We also appreciated the accessibility afforded by parking right in front of our room and having a refrigerator to store the food we had prepared for our camping trip in Yellowstone.
TOP TIP: Book accommodation in advance in Jackson Hole as all places we passed had no vacancy signs for the four nights we stayed in mid-September. I imagine it’s even busier during the summer and winter high seasons.
If you don’t mind staying 25 minutes outside of Jackson in Teton Village, a friend of ours raves about Four Seasons Jackson Hole, located in Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.
Jackson Hole Visitor Guide: Best Places to Shop
If you stop at one gallery in Jackson, this should be it!
Thomas Mangelsen is a world-renowned wildlife photographer and conservationist, who has been photographing Grizzly 399 and her cubs for 15 years. He has some exquisite and heartwarming photos of her and her four cubs captured in Summer 2020 for sale in the gallery.
Mr. Mangelsen has written a book called “The Grizzlies of Pilgrim Creek,” which delves into Grizzly 399’s story. This masterpiece shares striking images of her and highlights the importance of maintaining federal protections for grizzly bears.
Grizzly 399, the most famous bear in the world, is special for many reasons. This 24 year-old sow has raised her cubs near Grand Teton National Park roads to avoid aggressive male grizzlies in the backcountry.
People were astounded when she emerged from her den in May 2020 with four cubs. Her three sets of triplets, a set of twins and one single birth prior have played a role in repopulating the grizzly population in Grand Teton National Park.
I personally loved learning about the platinum palladium, silver gelatin and handmade Japanese papers this gallery uses for printing.
A kind gentleman here gave me the tip to drive through Snake River Canyon to be spellbound by the majestic mountain maples that had just morphed to brilliant orange and red colors.
Wild by Nature Photography Gallery (95 W Deloney Avenue)
I enjoyed perusing Henry Holdsworth’s landscape and wildlife prints and holiday notecards on display throughout the gallery.
Scandia Down (165 Center Street)
This home goods store offers a number of sumptuous bedding options and smells divine as a result of myriad diffusers imparting lovely scents throughout the store.
Since the proprietor has lived in Jackson for 25 years, she enthusiastically shared suggestions for places we might find moose as well as restaurant recommendations. She introduced me to Agraria diffusers and Elizabeth W hand sprays. I’m happy to have discovered two new San Francisco-based brands.
A family-run boutique, Penny Lane, offers stylish face masks, aromatherapy Epsom bath salts and other distinctive gifts from local artisans.
If you love wandering bookstores like I do, don’t miss this one.
I enjoyed perusing the “Staff Picks” and discovering new authors and book ideas. The delightful shop keeper brightened my day when she began searching for an out of print title I’ve been seeking for months, suggesting some other vendors I might also check.
This endearing store stocks handmade items from 360+ artisans, including cards, jewelry, notepads, and pottery. If you are looking for unique gift ideas, MADE is worth stopping by.
While wandering around downtown, be sure to stop in Jackson Town Square and photograph the elk antler arches built by the Jackson Hole Rotary Club.
FUN FACT: These arches, gathered from the 7,500 elk that reside in the National Elk Refuge each winter, have flanked the square since 1960. After shedding their antlers each spring, local boy Scouts gather and sell the antlers in the square each May.
Best time to visit Jackson Hole & Grand Teton National Park
Many say that the last half of September is a great time to visit Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park – we wholeheartedly agree.
When we initially came through Grand Teton National Park the second week in September, the fall colors hadn’t arrived. Just one week later, the aspens had transitioned to a brilliant yellow and mountain maples in the Snake River Valley displayed vibrant red hues.
When I visit again, I’ll plan to visit in late September for optimal fall colors, especially at Schwabacher Landing and Oxbow Bend. Capturing these colors reflected in the water is the perfect way to start or end your day.
By coming in September, you’ll also avoid the crazy crowds typically experienced in July and August. That being said, in September 2020, Grand Teton National Park had a record number of visitors due to international travel restrictions.
Although I’m not a skier, I think it would be magical to see the Tetons covered in snow. My husband, Jason, would love the double black diamond runs. I had a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that people ski down those steep slopes, dodging trees as they go and surmounting moguls. My back and knees ache just thinking about it. I’ve never skied and think it’s definitely something best to learn when you are young and flexible like a Gumby doll.
Jackson Hole Vacation Guide: Travel Logistics
Many people visit Jackson Hole from around the US. We saw license plates from as far away as Maine, Virginia and Florida. You can also fly directly to Jackson or a nearby airport via the following:
- Jackson Hole Airport (JAC) – 15 minutes from Jackson Hole. American, Delta and United Airlines all fly into here
- Idaho Falls (IDA) – 1.5 hours from Jackson Hole
- Salt Lake City (SLC) – 5 hours
I hope my Jackson Hole travel blog has provided you valuable ideas and recommendations to maximize your time during your Jackson Hole trip.