Hotel at a Glance: Cowboy Village Resort
Just six blocks from Jackson's central Town Square—best known for its four towering archways made of elk antlers—lies Cowboy Village Resort, a 2013 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence winner. The lobby's oversize leather couches and a stone fireplace welcome guests as they begin their stay in the heart of Jackson, a convenient starting point for those looking to explore the Jackson Hole region or take day trips to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks.
- Best place for a hike: the trail around photo-worthy Jenny Lake in nearby Grand Teton National Park
- Distance to Yellowstone National Park: a scenic 75-minute drive
- Take a dip: The resort has an indoor pool and hot tub.
- Must-see museum: The National Museum of Wildlife Art displays a variety of works depicting animals, including an impressive collection of original Carl Rungius paintings.
Jackson, Wyoming: Wildlife and World-Class Skiing in the Old West
Jackson may be the only place on earth where you might see a rodeo cowboy, rock climber, and Hollywood starlet on the same block. The former frontier outpost draws visitors of all stripes for its special blend of Old West flavor and jaw-dropping natural beauty. Old-fashioned saloons and high-end galleries line the town square, but a few miles north in Grand Teton National Park, you’ll find nothing but wilderness.
Though summer and winter are Jackson’s high seasons, you’ll encounter lighter crowds in spring and spectacular foliage in the fall. As the snows begin to melt in May, the rivers swell and fill with rapids. There are about a dozen rafting outfitters in Jackson that run whitewater trips on the Snake River and scenic floats on a calmer stretch upstream, where you’ll have a chance to see eagles, moose, and pelicans.
By early December, the ski lifts are up and running at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, famed for its challenging terrain and laissez-faire backcountry policy. Back in town, the much smaller Snow King Resort boasts the only night skiing in the area; unlike the slopes, the lift tickets aren’t too steep—about $40 for a full-day adult ticket.
Ski bums are seduced by Jackson’s epic snowfalls, but a different species objects to the cold. Each winter, about 12,000 elk migrate to the valley floor, where the temperatures are milder. At the National Elk Refuge, which borders downtown Jackson, conservationists lead horse-drawn sleigh rides to view the mammals up close, mid-December through early April.
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