Jackson Hole is a favorite travel destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature buffs. With a vast range of natural features and adventures like climbing, skiing, shooting, and golfing, it’s easy to see why this Midwestern town is such a great tourist destination.
Its unique location (a valley nestled between mountains) also makes it home to many wild animals, including mountain lions, marmots, grizzly bears, elk, mule deer, moose, and bison.
Since all such features are based outdoors, the weather plays a critical role when planning to visit this town. A good rule of thumb is to plan a vacation based on the activity you want to explore.
However, knowing the best time to visit Jackson Hole and the worst and best time to get the cheapest deals is necessary. Don’t worry — we’re travel experts, and we know exactly when to go. Read on to learn all you need to know!
Why You Should Visit Jackson Hole
Wyoming and Jackson Hole, in particular, hardly come to mind when planning a vacation. The town has remained largely isolated from the travel industry owing to its remote location and focus on other industries like ranching, logging, and fur trading.
The narrative recently changed following the establishment of ski resorts, art, and performance venues. The town has opened up to tourists looking to explore outdoor sports, activities, and nature.
The Grand Teton National Park is one of the major attractions in Jackson Hole. The park’s vastness, jagged peaks, diverse trail networks begging to be explored, and astounding wildlife will leave you in awe. Every season, new sights make the park a great place to visit at any time of the year.
The summer months are perfect for exploring the picturesque lakes, while the fall reveals the stunning golden Aspens. Winter is the perfect time to go snowshoeing and skiing, while spring is for camping and other outdoor activities.
Exploring the Grand Teton National Park involves visiting the Laurence Rockefeller Preserve. Spanning 1,106 acres of the park’s land, it offers the most immersive wilderness experience.
The visitor center is the focal point of the preserve. Visitors come here to learn about Rockefeller’s legacy in conservation stewardship by looking at the visual, auditory, and tactile exhibits. There’s a resource room where visitors relax, participate in a ranger program or head out to Phelps Lake.
Your next stop should be at the National Elk Refuge, especially if you love wildlife. Located at the heart of Jackson Hole valley, the area is home to an assortment of wildlife like swans, bison, and eagles.
It’s also the perfect place to take photos and perform other activities like biking, sledding, and hiking. Another reason you must visit Jackson Hole is that you have a chance to go on a rafting trip on the famous Snake River.
Ranked as Wyoming’s best fly-fishing destination, the river provides the most scenic views of Jackson Hole valley. There are two ways of exploring the Snake River.
The first involves going over Class III rapids, perfect for adrenaline junkies, but if you’re looking more laidback experience, go on a float trip through Grand Teton National Park.
If visiting Jackson Hole during winter, a trip down the steep Snow King Mountain is the best way to spend the chilly days. Its summit sits 7,808 feet above the ground, making it the steepest mountain and racing course in the continental U.S.
Avid skiers and snowboarders explore the 400 acres of trails equipped with three lifts. If you’re not big on skiing on the steep terrain, take one of the lifts providing access to beginner and intermediate trails.
Alternatively, hop on the Cowboy Coaster, a mile-long roller coaster that opens year-round. The summer months introduce even more fun activities at the Snow King Mountain Resort.
Visitors indulge in various activities, including horseback riding, ziplining, and sliding on the alpines. Treetop ropes and mini-golf courses add to the adventure. If visiting with kids, head to Phil Baux Park at the base of the mountain.
The park has a children’s playground, picnic tables, and shelters for families to enjoy lunch while savoring the scenic landscape. Adults get to hit the boulder walls and the slopes for an adrenaline-packed climb.
Overall Best Time to Visit Jackson Hole
The best time to visit Jackson Hole is during fall (September-early November). The town operates like the summer season, except it’s calmer and cooler.
The temperatures average between 50 and 70, allowing you to enjoy outdoor activities like hiking and fishing. This season is less rainy than spring and has its beauty as the leaves change color and the aspen tree leaves bloom into bright yellow colors.
The National Park roads remain open until early October, making fall an excellent time to visit the town without the large crowds. Since kids resume learning in the fall, kids’ programs end, and adult-only programs resume.
Fall is an excellent time to relax and unwind if you haven’t rested during the busy summer. You may find the 12-day Falls Arts Festival in session if you’re lucky.
The feast highlights Jackson Hole’s calendar as up to 50 art events occur, including art shows, a food/art crawl, lectures, and gallery openings. Fall also marks the beginning of Wyoming hunting season.
Locals go out to hunt big game like Elk, deer, and bison as they unwind while enjoying the mountainous landscape. If setting out on a hunting excursion, having a local guide by your side is best because non-residents aren’t allowed to hunt alone.
Cheapest Time to Visit Jackson Hole
The winter season (January-March) is the cheapest time to visit Jackson Hole. It marks Jackson Hole’s off-season as the town transitions from fall to winter.
The temperatures fall to 30 F and below, with snowfall accumulations of 400-500 feet. Such high levels of snowfall make Jackson Hole the best place to go skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling.
If you’re not big on hitting new lines, you can take a sleigh ride to the National Elk Refuge or snow-shoeing at Grand Teton National Park. Towards the beginning of December, the city comes to life with Christmas lighting.
Jackson Hole has shorter days and longer nights, and lighting it up is the best way to make the city lively. The city is also abuzz with events ranging from festive shows to musical performances, celebratory events, and art shows.
Come New Year’s Eve, the residents throw fireworks and make torchlight parades to mark the beginning of a new year. Jackson Hole, Snow King, and Grand Targhee Mountain Resorts are busy as most tourists lodge here to mark the festivities.
Such festivities can cause hotel rates to skyrocket, so you want to plan your vacation around mid-January to March to garner cheap rates.
The crowds also die down, and the temperatures are extremely low. You must be extra cautious when driving during this period because the roads develop black ice and experience blizzards owing to the low temperatures.
Least Busy Time to Visit Jackson Hole
The least busy time to visit Jackson Hole is during the Spring season (April-May). The crowds aren’t as large because the south entrance to Yellowstone National Park remains closed, and the weather is highly unpredictable.
Although it’s not as chilly as the previous winter months (temperature ranges between 30 F and 60 F), the weather is a mixture of winter and summer.
Sometimes it rains all day, and other days it’s sunny, making it an excellent time to go hiking and see wildlife. Many animals emerge from hibernation along with their little ones; if you’re lucky, you may see some younglings take their first steps.
Many businesses are closed or operate within a limited period as most locals take a break from the busy winter ski season.
There are few activities during this period, but if you plan your vacation towards the end of May, you might find the Elkfest and Old West Days festivals in session. Locals hold the festivals to pay homage to their history and western heritage.
Typically, the Elkfest is held on weekends and is a beehive of activities centered around the famous Jackson Hole Boy Scout Elk auction.
It’s the best time to celebrate outdoor skills like hunting and nature and learn about ecological education. On the other hand, the Old West Days fest is held on the last Saturday of May to commemorate Jackson Hole’s early days.
The feast is spread across two weekends and is characterized by activities like tours of working ranches, country music concerts, chili cook-offs, and the famous antler-sale auction.
Worst Time to Visit Jackson Hole
The summer season (June-August) is the worst time to visit Jackson Hole due to the high number of people and skyrocketing hotel prices.
The town bursts at the seams as tourists from far and wide come here to relax. The weather is warmer, with most days being sunny and receiving little or no rain, with temperatures ranging between 70 and 80 F.
It’s perfect for camping, rafting, fishing, biking, golfing, wildlife tours, and hiking. Moreover, the Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks are open, offering excellent opportunities for a day trip.
Since the parks are flooded with tourists, you should expect crowded trails and peak-season rates. The Grand Teton Music Festival marks the beginning of the busy summer season.
The festival features a combination of solo, orchestral, and chamber performances by renowned world-class artists. Come July, the Art Association of Jackson Hole hosts the annual the Outdoor Art Fair.
The activity is held during the early summer weekends showcasing artists’ art pieces like paintings, ceramics, jewelry, photographs, and other crafts. There are family performances like the outdoor concert at the Snow King Ball Park and lots of kids’ activities.
Like the other parts of the country, Jackson Hole celebrates Independence Day by holding the Fourth of July Parade, making this period even busier. Classic cars, horseback riders, and fancy floats are showcased to draw visitors and locals to the festival.
Things to Consider
While knowing the best time to visit Jackson Hole is essential, the following tips go a long in making the most out of Jackson Hole:
- Natives can be excellent sources of information. Whether you interact with a waitress, a cashier, or other service providers, make time to talk to them. They might direct you to the best place to save on costs
- Bring a flashlight. The streets and sidewalks can get extremely dark. Since most of them are not well-lit, a flashlight may come in handy
- Layer up. Jackson Hole can get extremely cold during winter, and layering up is the best way to keep warm
- Make reservations early. Accommodation in Jackson Hole is pretty expensive, so making reservations early may help you find affordable lodging and save some bucks
- Plan for the vacation early. Excursions like fishing and rafting fill up quickly, so you want to plan for such events early. It applies to all activities, including dinner and breakfast, because the wait times can stretch to an hour
- Crowds vary depending on the places visited. Jackson Hole is known as a skiing spot, attracting visitors in winter only, but the town is busy year-round
- Jackson Hole is different from Jackson town. Many people assume they’re similar, but they’re not. Jackson Hole is a valley at the base of the Teton Mountain Range, but Jackson is one of the towns in Jackson Hole
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the commonly asked questions regarding visiting Jackson Hole:
Which are the warmest months in Jackson Hole?
July is the warmest month in Jackson Hole, recording temperatures as high as 79 F and lows of 44 F. This is the perfect weather for outdoor activities like hiking.
Is Jackson Hole a great vacation destination?
Jackson Hole is the best place to visit for outdoor fanatics. There are many hiking trails to explore, and if visiting during winter, you can hit the ski or snowboard on the steep slopes of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.
Does Jackson Hole have an off-season?
Jackson Hole has off-seasons in spring and fall. Also referred to as the mud season (between mid-October and Thanksgiving), the town grows quiet to gear up for winter.
What is the best time to visit Grand Teton National Park?
The best time to visit the park is early summer and late spring. The warm temperatures allow wildlife to move, and the crowds aren’t as big as during the summer season.
What’s the best way to get around Jackson Hole?
The best way to get around Jackson Hole’s scenic areas and parks is by car. However, Jackson Hole residents are eligible for free bus rides in town. The bus charges a small fee if visiting Teton Village.
So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Jackson Hole?
The best time to visit Jackson Hole is in the fall (September-early November). The crowds are much smaller, and the rates lower than in the busy summer season, making it the best time to visit Jackson Hole, especially for adults who haven’t rested during summer.
However, it would help if you planned the vacation after activities such as the Falls Arts Festival and Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival as the town gets busy.
If traveling on a budget, the best time to visit is in winter, but if you don’t mind paying a premium for accommodation and food, the summer period is also a great time to visit. Either way, you’ll love your trip. So what are you waiting for — book your trip today!