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Wyoming Wanderers; Jackson, Wyoming

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Sarah Post
  • 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs

Day 1:

I visited Jackson, Wyoming, for the first time in July 2022 when my parents and I took a trip to Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton NP and the town of Jackson. I absolutely fell in love with the area because of how green and beautiful everything is there. We visited Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and rode the tram up to their tallest peak. Being a snowboarder, I knew I had to come back in the winter for a chance to snowboard at the iconic mountain.

I finally made it back with my sister in December 2023 and crossed snowboarding at JHMR off my Wyoming bucket list.

We left Cheyenne in the late morning and made the 432-mile drive in about 6.5 hours. Along the way we saw big horn sheep and a few small towns, but not much else until we reached Jackson. Once we got settled in our hotel, we went out on the town.

Jackson’s town square is a few blocks big and very quaint with signs of its western heritage mixed with modern amenities. Right in the center is a small park that has four elk antler arches for entrances. The antlers were collected from the National Elk Refuge down the road by local boy scouts.

There is a lot to see and do, including going to the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar. The Cowboy is unique and has a western atmosphere with horse saddle bar seats and other cool, unique décor features that you will just have to see for yourself when you visit. In addition to the bar seating for drinks, there is a small section of restaurant style seating where you can also order bar style, hand-held food. Seeing the town was a great way to kick-off our trip to the area.

Day 2:

We chose to spend Friday snowboarding in hopes of short lift lines, which worked out because the longest line we waited in was about 10 minutes for the tram, which only runs every 10 minutes anyway.

One of the reasons I love Jackson so much is for its beauty, like I mentioned above. And to me, the most beautiful part is being able to see the valley from above. The towering mountains surround the valley in a circle, which make it look like a hole in the mountainous terrain, which is where Jackson Hole comes from.

It was cold and foggy at the mountains base, but as we ascended the mountain the fog dissipated and we saw a beautiful blue sky, a sun halo from the ice in the air, mountain peaks above the fog and the fog covering the valley like a blanket. The combination of these things was the most beautiful view, and I physically couldn’t stop smiling at it the whole first run we went down.

The resort is made up of trails that are mostly intermediate and advanced terrain. My sister and I used every lift that was open and experienced many of the trails throughout the day. We even got to ride the tram for its season debut, which brought us all the way to the peak. Up there we got waffles from Corbet’s Cabin then went down Rendezvous Bowl. The tram only services black diamond or back country terrain, so if you are unable to ski at this level but still want to see the views and have a waffle, you can also ride the tram back to the base.

The base of the mountain also has lots of shops and restaurants to enjoy after your time skiing or snowboarding, but the longer you stay, the more you will have to pay for parking as well. We paid $30 to park, but we did not stay to walk around

Day 3 and 4:

On our third day, we explored the areas of Grand Teton NP that weren’t closed for the winter season. We drove down Gros Ventre Road in hopes of seeing moose or other wildlife, but didn’t, we saw the Chapel of the Transfiguration, Menors Historic District, the Snake River and Tetons from the Snake River Overlook and Mormon Row, which is where the famous T.A. Moulton Barn is located. If you are unfamiliar, settlers John and Thomas Alma (T.A.) Moulton built the barn in the early 1900’s and it now one of the most photographed locations in the park.

Even though not much was open, I thought it was cool to see the park in such an opposite climate as when I visited in summer. 

Next, we visited the National Elk Refuge. We took East Broadway to Nat’l Elk Refuge Rd and were able to drive the back road of the park to see the animals. We spotted one or two elk far off in the fields, but mostly saw more big horn sheep. When I stopped my car to take some pictures, they came up to us and started licking the road salt off my car! They covered my car in their tongue prints, which was too funny and made for unique photos.   

We ended this day walking around the town and experiencing the different stores and bars the town has to offer.

On the fourth and final day of our trip to Jackson, we checked out of our hotel and went to one of the hot springs in the area. There are a few different ones, some you can only get to via snowmobile or snow shoeing, but we went to Astoria Hot Springs so we wouldn’t have to walk to get to the pools.

They have six man-made pools filled and filtered with natural thermal waters containing many different minerals. The water was so warm and comfortable against the frigid air, but the steam and cold air caused our hair and hats to freeze. We had to make a reservation that got us an hour and 45 minutes of soaking time; however, it was so hot that we only lasted about an hour. If you visit Jackson in the winter, this is a must-do activity.

Finally, it was time to head back to Cheyenne. For our drive back, we took the longer, but more scenic route through Bridger-Teton National Forest and the Wind River Reservation. This route also took us through Casper, Wyoming, so we stopped at Hell’s half Acre. This scenic drive was a perfect end to our trip.