Most visitors to northwest Wyoming come to Jackson, which remains a small but booming Western town that’s "howdy" in the daytime and hopping in the evening. For active types, it’s a good place to stock up on supplies before heading for outdoor adventures in Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone, and the surrounding Jackson Hole area. It’s also a great place to kick back and rest your feet while taking in the wealth of galleries, Western-wear shops, varied cuisines, a $35-million arts center, and active nightlife centering on bars and music.
Unfortunately, Jackson’s cachet and popularity have put it at risk. On busy summer days, traffic sometimes slows to a crawl on the highway that doglegs through downtown. Proposals for new motels and condominiums sprout like the purple asters in the spring as developers vie for a share of the upscale vacation market. Old-timers suggest that the town—in fact, the entire Jackson Hole—has already lost some of its dusty charm from when horses stood at hitching rails around Town Square. However, with national parks and forests and state lands occupying most of the real estate in the county, only 3%–4% of it is unprotected ground on which to build. These limitations, along with the cautious approach of locals, may yet keep Jackson a delight to visit.