6 Best Sights in Jackson, Jackson Hole and Northwest Wyoming

Jackson Hole Historical Society & Museum

Fodor's choice

At this excellent museum you can learn about historic homesteaders, dude ranches, and hunters, as well as Jackson's all-female town government of yore—a woman sheriff of that era claimed to have killed three men before hanging up her spurs. Native American, ranching, and cowboy artifacts are on display, some of them at the summer-only second location at 105 North Glenwood Street.

Each summer the society sponsors lectures and historic downtown walking tours.

National Museum of Wildlife Art

Fodor's choice

See an impressive collection of wildlife art—most of it devoted to North American species—in 14 galleries displaying the work of artists that include Georgia O'Keeffe, John James Audubon, John Clymer, Robert Kuhn, and Carl Rungius. A deck looks out on the National Elk Refuge, where you can see wildlife in a natural habitat. An elaborate ¾-mile outdoor sculpture trail includes a monumental herd of bronze bison by Richard Loffler trudging across the butte.

2820 Rungius Rd., Jackson, WY, 83002, USA
Sight Details
Rate Includes: $15, Closed Sun. and Mon., Mid-May–mid-Oct., daily 9–5; mid-Oct.–mid-May, Mon.–Sat. 9–5, Sun. 11–5

Bridger-Teton National Forest

This 3.4-million-acre forest has something for everyone: history, hiking, camping, and wildlife. It encompasses the Teton Wilderness east of Grand Teton National Park and south of Yellowstone National Park, the Gros Ventre Wilderness southeast of Jackson, and the Bridger Wilderness farther south and east. No motor vehicles are allowed in the wilderness areas, but between them are many scenic drives, natural springs where you can swim or soak throughout the year, and cultural sights like abandoned lumber camps in the forest. The peaks reach higher than 13,000 feet, and the area is liberally sprinkled with more than a thousand high-mountain lakes, where fishing is generally excellent.

Recommended Fodor's Video

Granite Hot Springs

Soothing thermal baths in pristine outback country await in the heart of the Bridger-Teton National Forest, just a short drive south of Jackson. Concerted local and federal efforts have preserved the wild lands in this hunter's and fisherman's paradise where ranches dot the Teton Valley floor. The Snake River turns west and the contours sheer into steep vertical faces. By Hoback Junction there's white-water excitement. The drive south along U.S. 191 provides good views of the river's bends and turns and the life-jacketed rafters and kayakers who float through the Hoback canyon. At Hoback Junction, about 11 miles south of Jackson, head east (toward Pinedale) on U.S. Highway 189/191 and follow the Hoback River east through its beautiful canyon. A tributary canyon 10 miles east of the junction is followed by a well-maintained and marked gravel road to Granite Hot Springs, in the Bridger-Teton National Forest. Drive 9 miles off U.S. 189/191 (northeast) on Granite Creek Road to reach the hot springs. People also come for the shady, creek-side campground and moderate hikes up Granite Canyon to passes with panoramic views. You'll want to drive with some caution, as there are elevated turns, the possibility of a felled tree, and wandering livestock that can own the road ahead on blind curves. In winter, the road is not plowed, and access is possible only by snowmobile, dogsled, skis, or fat bike from the highway. The 93°F to 112°F thermal bath at the end of the road is pure physical therapy, but it's closed from November through mid-December.

Granite Creek Rd., Jackson, WY, 83001, USA
Sight Details
Rate Includes: $8, Closed Nov.--mid-Dec. snow dependent. Check website for up-to-date information. In winter months the hot springs are accessible only via snowmobile, dog sled, skis, and fat bike

Jackson Town Square

You can spend an entire day wandering around Jackson's always-bustling Town Square, crisscrossed with walking paths and bedecked with arches woven from thousands of naturally shed elk antlers. Shops and restaurants surround the square, and there's often entertainment going on in the square itself, including a melodramatic "shoot-out" six nights per week in summer on the northeastern corner. At the southwestern corner you can board a stagecoach for a ride around the area.

Cache St. and Broadway, Jackson, WY, 83001, USA

National Elk Refuge

Wildlife abounds on this 25,000-acre refuge. From late November to March, more than 7,000 elk, many with enormous antler racks, winter here. Elk can be observed from various pull-outs along U.S. 191 or by slowly driving your car on the refuge's winding, unpaved roads. Other animals that make their home here include buffalo, bighorn sheep, and coyotes, as well as trumpeter swans and other waterfowl. In summer, the refuge is light on big game, but you can tour a historic homestead from June to September. From mid-December to early April, sleigh rides operated by Double H Bar (nersleighrides.com) depart several times a day from the Jackson Hole and Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center.