Jackson Hole Trip Itineraries

I am providing a chart with short descriptions below in order to assist you with planning your trip to Jackson Hole during the summer.  It is best used for planning a three or five day trip.  I have grouped my suggestions in a manner that makes sense based on the geography of the valley (assuming you are staying near Teton Village or the Aspens) and in order to give a broad overview of what the valley has to offer.  However, you may want to pick different suggestions, many of which are described elsewhere in my blog, or do them in a different order depending on where you are staying.  In addition, the chart does not include the rodeo which is every Wednesday and Saturday night.  This is an event that should not be missed.

The descriptions below the chart contain a link to the website if it is a commercial establishment.  The chart contains a link to the appropriate blog article (if already written) where I go into more detail concerning my suggestion.

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5
Nora’ Fish Creek Inn for breakfast Bunnery for breakfast Pearl St. Bagels for breakfast Eat breakfast at home Great Harvest Bread Company for breakfast
Top of Teton Pass Images of Nature Back Rd. to airport Hike Solitude lake or bicycle & hike to Inspiration Point Buy Sandwiches at Creekside Market and Deli
Hungry Jack’s General Store Antelope Flats and Sandwich in kelly Cunningham Cabin Mangy Moose for drinks and then the Teton Mountain Lodge Bar for dinner Goodwin Lake hike
Taggart hike Death Canyon hike Oxbow overlook   Slide lake
Dornans for lunch Jackson Hole Whitewater rafting and dinner Lunch Jackson Lake Lodge   Amangani hotel for drinks
String Lake relax   Rent a boat at Signal Mountain Lodge   Snake River Grill for dinner
Jenny Lake Loop   Signal Mountain Overlook    
II Villaggio Osteria for dinner   Phelps Lake hike    
Star gaze at Granite Trailhead   Rendezvous restaurant dinner    


Day 1

Breakfast – Nora’s Fish Creek Inn – Has an outstanding breakfast in a large log cabin atmosphere.  This is a local institution located in Wilson on Route 22.  The pancakes and huevos rancheros are especially good.

Driving Activity – Leave Nora’s and head East to the top of Teton pass and turn off in the parking area on the left when you reach the summit.  Stroll a bit on the path leading from the parking lot and soak in the views and then turn around and head back East on Route 22 through Wilson.

Driving Activity – Look to your left when heading back East from Teton Pass as you drive through Wilson.  You will see the Post Office and next to it Hungry Jack’s General Store.  Stop in an authentic General Store and pick up some light provisions for your hike.

Hike – Taggart Lake – Approximately 3.5 miles round trip to a beautiful mountain lake with minimal elevation gain (mostly in the first half of your hike).  This is a great introductory hike and one that I return to every year for its unsurpassed beauty.  Make sure to refer to the map the Park Ranger will give you when you enter Grand Teton National Park.

Lunch – Dornans (www.dornans.com) – This is my favorite place to have lunch in the entire region.  If you do not have children be sure to eat on the upstairs deck where the views of the Teton Range will keep you rooted in your seats long after the meal is finished.  Also, if you are a Bloody Mary drink fan, you will find none better here.

Relax – String Lake – This lake is really not much more than a connection between Jenny and Leigh Lakes.  The water is extremely shallow and you wade in more than swim.  The proximity of the mountains will give you a wilderness feeling in an intimate setting.  It is a fabulous place to rest, read and contemplate the good fortune that placed you in this corner of heaven (for those that still have some energy walk north about a mile to Leigh lake until you reach the long sandy beach and you will find much more solitude.

Jenny Lake Loop – When you leave String lake turn right and take the 3 mile loop back to the inner park road.  On the way, stop at the overlook on your right to admire Cascade canyon and Jenny lake.  You might also want to turn left and take a look at the Jenny lake Lodge restaurant in the event it catches your fancy for an evening meal.

Dinner – II Villaggio Osteria  (www.jhosteria.com) – An excellent Italian restaraunt located in Teton Village.  If it is a nice evening ask for an outdoor seat.  A less expensive barbecue alternative is the Q Roadhouse (www.qjacksonhole.com) located at 2550 Moose Wilson Road (Route 390).

Activity – Star gaze at Granite Trailhead – If the moon is not full and the sky is clear, you will be treated to God’s canvas if you head out into the park, stop and gaze at the stars.  One of my favorite spots is a mile north of the entrance to Teton national Park near Teton Village.  Pull over into the parking lot at Granite Canyon and spend a few minutes looking at the heavens and howling to the wolves and coyotes.

Day 2

Breakfast – Bunnery (www.bunnery.com) – Located in the town of Jackson, the breakfast is outstanding and everybody knows it.  So get there early before the line is too long.  However, your effort will not go unrewarded because the omelets, especially the one filled with bacon, rank among the best you have ever had.  If you look at the images hanging on the walls you well get a feeling for the best in wildlife photography.

Activity – Images of Nature – No more than 100 feet down the wooden boardwalk from the Bunnery, is Images of Nature (www.mangelsen.com). This three floor photography gallery brings me back every visit to see what’s new and often results in another purchase (I own 8 images).  The photography is breathtaking and the views captured awe inspiring.

Drive – Head North out of Jackson for a few minutes and turn right at Gros Ventre junction.  Somewhere along the 15 mile loop you will be travelling on you are almost guaranteed to see at least one herd of buffalo, and possibly moose, coyote and antelopes.  After about 5 miles, you will see on your right the town of Kelly.  Next to the small Post Office is a deli where you can stop and get fresh sandwiches to take on your hike.  After the store, the road bears to the left and goes for another five miles before reaching an intersection where you should turn left (west) and head back towards the Teton mountains.  Along the way there will be some gorgeous opportunities for pictures.  Once you reach the main highway, turn left.  You will reach Moose junction in two minutes and should then turn right (stop at Dornan’s for sandwiches and extra provisions at the general store if still needed).  You will then shortly reach the Moose/Village road and should turn left onto it to begin your next adventure.

Hike – Death Canyon – Turn at the signed intersection for Death Canyon and head up the road until you reach the parking lot.  If you do not have a 4 wheel vehicle you may have to park earlier and walk the remainder of the way due to the ruts in the road.  I have included this trail with the intention that you hike it all the way to the ranger cabin – more than 10 miles round trip.  However, you can hike much shorter sections as well to Phelps ridge, or down the switchbacks to Phelps Lake or perhaps down the switchbacks and back up part way into Death Canyon.

Whitewater Rafting – Jackson Hole Whitewater (www.jhww.com)  – They will load you into a bus and take you South of Hoback junction for an exhilarating raft trip down the snake river.  The action ends with a steak dinner back in Jackson. 

Day 3

Breakfast – Pearl Street Bagel’s in Wilson – Located within a couple hundred feet from Nora’s, the bagels are great and the cookies even better.  Make sure to grab your food and head out back to sit along Fish Creek.

Drive – Back Road To Airport – You will be spending your day North of town.  Instead of driving through town, about 4 miles after the Snake river you will encounter a traffic light just before town.  Make a left and follow the road past a ranch and then Jackson Hole Gold and Tennis club until you come to a 4 way intersection.  Make a left and shortly you will be at another 4way intersection at Gros Ventre junction.  Make another left and you will be heading North towards your next adventure.

Activity – Cunningham Cabin – About 15 minutes after you pass the airport you will see a small sign on your left at an overlook for Cunningham Cabin.  Make the turn and follow the road about a quarter mile until it dead ends.  You will find a short path leading to an old cabin.  The views and the quiet make this short stop a must.

Activity – Oxbow overlook – At this overlook the Snake river bends around as it heads South.  It is worth stopping and soaking in the 360 degree majesty that surrounds you.  If you reach this spot in the early morning or evening there is a chance you might see grizzly bears roaming in the valley.

Lunch – Jackson Lake Lodge – Many people stay at this Lodge.  Although I have not, I always enjoy a meal and libation on the deck overlooking the stunning views of the meadows and Tetons beyond.

Activity – Rent a boat at Signal Mountain Lodge – This activity has become a staple event whenever I have guests staying with me.  Motorboats can be rented for an hour or more and they are easy to use, even for landlubbers like me.  Once on the water, you will gain a new appreciation for how special this valley is and how fortunate you are for being there.

Drive – Signal Mountain Overlook – This winding fifteen minute drive up Signal Mountain is missed by many, but sorely appreciated by those that experience.  The perspective at the top of the mountain is not one that can be found anywhere else in the valley and is well worth the extra hour it will take you to experience it.

Hike – Phelps Lake – On your way back to your lodging, you might want to stretch your legs by going on the short hike from to Phelps Lake from the Laurence S. Rockefeller preserve.  The three mile round trip is easy and includes bridges traversing bubbling creeks along the Lake Creek trail and rewards the hiker with beautiful vistas of the mountains and Phelps lake at the end of the trail.

Dinner – Rendezvous restaurant dinner – This local favorite is simply the best combination of price, elegance and taste in Jackson Hole.  No visit is complete without one dinner there.

Day 4

Breakfast – Eat in your room if you are hiking to Solitude Lake.  If not, have breakfast at the restaurant located on the ground floor of the building housing the Mangy Moose in Teton Village.

Hike – Hike Solitude Lake or bicycle & hike to Inspiration Point – The hike to Solitude Lake is 16 miles round trip and requires planning, but will be the highlight of your time in Jackson Hole if you are up to it.  It requires getting to the hiker’s boat at jenny Lake at approximately 7:30 Am (check the park web site for the exact time) and being ferried over to the West shore of jenny Lake.  You will then hike up past Inspiration Point and then drop into Cascade Canyon.  Solitude Lake is several miles beyond and if you encounter more people than Moose and amazing views along the way you are free to call it “Multitude lake” instead.  Just be sure you are back in time to take the last boat back across Jenny lake or you will add another three miles to the hike!

Alternatively, you can park your car at Dornans later in the morning and rent bicycles to journey to Jenny lake along the bicycle trails provided in the park.  This is an excellent way to feel as one with the surroundings without too much physical effort.  Once you arrive at Jenny Lake (ask for bicycle locks) you can either hike or take the boat across and then walk the short path to Inspiration Point.

Dinner – Have a drink at the Mangy Moose in Teton Village and then walk to the Teton Mountain Lodge Bar – The ambiance at the Mangy Moose should be experienced for drinks, not described, but the food is better at Teton Mountain Lodge, especially the buffalo burgers and my wife’s perennial pick, sweet potato fries.

Day 5

Breakfast – The Great Harvest Bread Company in Jackson – I have included this for breakfast because the bread is unbelievable and the free samples almost make a meal by themselves.  While I cannot guarantee you the full range of breakfast choices, you could do a lot worse than some bread, coffee and my all-time favorite, the Savannah bar.

Sandwiches for Purchase – As you drive North just outside of town you will see a one story shopping center on your left with a nondescript market named Creekside Market and Deli.  Stop in and place your sandwich order to take with you on a hike.  You will find them delicious and inexpensive.

Hike – Goodwin Lake – This hike is one I do every year when I return to Jackson.  It combines exercise (1,000 feet of elevation but not too many miles), a beautiful drive to get to it (you need to go through the elk range and East into the Gros Ventre mountains, mountain vistas, and a high altitude mountain lake that you can swim in.

Relax and Drive – Slide Lake – After your physical activity you might enjoy a drive along antelope and then a short excursion to the right one mile after Kelly that will take you to an exquisite lake created by the visible remains of a Mountain slide.  Stop at the lake, relax and sunbath and if you wish dip your toes into the frigid water.

Drinks – Amangani – After showering and dressing for dinner, make your first stop at the Amangani hotel (http://www.amanresorts.com/amangani/home.aspx) high up on a mountain ridge close to town.  While I have eaten there and thoroughly enjoyed the meal it is extremely expensive.  My suggestion, is to stop in and soak up the view over drinks on the deck.  It is an experience that will not be forgotten and a fitting end to a wonderful trip.

Dinner – Snake River Grill (www.snakerivergrill.com)  – This is the ultimate, but pricey, dining experience and a great send off to your stay in Jackson Hole.

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