Visiting Jackson Hole Wyoming in the Summer

Jackson Hole Wyoming in the Summer

One of my very favorite ‘traditions’, is that each year for my birthday or anniversary; Mike gives me some sort of trip (or experience) to look forward to and plan in place of material gifts.

2016 – we took our very first long road trip along the scenic Highway 1 California coastline.

2017– we ventured off on a a 3-day hike to Havasu Falls in Arizona.

2018 – we explored the land of fire and ice on an adventurous trip to Iceland.

2019– we conquered our fear of heights and slept cliff-side in the Sacred Valley of Peru.


Last but not least, in 2020 he gave me the gift of planning a trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming (I know, I know… a gift to PLAN a trip might not be a gift to some- but lucky for him, I absolutely LOVE planning trips so it is the perfect gift that keeps me busy and anxiously awaiting our getaway all year long.)

After a very long awaited five months of staying within driving distance due to COVID-19, it was time to hop on a plane and head out to the mountain west! The itch for travel was coming on strong; exploring a new town, soaking in fresh scenery and meeting new people were all things I had taken for granted before this global pandemic truly took hold. I quickly went from traveling regularly for work, weddings, and family/friend outings; to complete lockdown – working from home 24/7 and saying goodbye to 99% our planned travel for the year.

With every passing week, it felt like our chances of traveling to Jackson Hole were dwindling. It took until just days before departure before I truly let my excitement take over. The moment my Delta app notified me that it was time to check-in was the same moment I allowed all of the anticipation and excitement to flood in – and we were off!

Below is an overview of my recommendations on where to eat, drink, stay, and what to see along the way while in Jackson Hole Wyoming.

Traveling via airplane during COVID-19 pandemic
New Travel Norm

Getting There:

First and foremost, you have some options as far as flying into Jackson Hole. Unless you are one of the lucky ones who live close enough to drive; there are two choices to fly in. Jackson Hole Airport or Salt Lake City International airport.

We chose the latter of the two because of budget reasons. Our flight into SLC was significantly cheaper than the flight options into Jackson and during the summer months (at least right now), there are no direct flights from Atlanta to Jackson Hole so either way, we were stopping in Salt Lake. Although we would 100% recommend flying directly into Jackson if you are able (who wouldn’t want to land right in a national park, mountain-side nex to the Tetons themselves); if you are trying to save money, flying into SLC is not a bad move.

We stayed over night at the Hilton Airport hotel and hopped in our rental car at sunrise to kick off our ~4-5 hour drive to Jackson Hole. Depending which route your GPS takes you, a majority of the drive can be filled with scenic views. TIPThere are lots of speed traps as you go from 70mph highways to 30mph small towns. Drive the speed limit or you will (seriously) get pulled over.

Air Travel During the Pandemic

Before I jump into all of the fun details of our trip, I figured it might be helpful to address what it was like to travel by air during these crazy times. We flew with Delta Airlines who in my opinion, is an airline that can be trusted. They are going above and beyond to keep their customers healthy.

Everyone was required to wear masks the entire time *unless eating or drinking*. Also, they are not currently serving the typical beverage service but they do come around with water bottles and zip-lock bags of snacks.

All airlines are different but as of now, Delta will continue to keep the middle row seating open until January 2021.

Mormon Row and the most photographed barn in the country outside of Jackson Hole
Mormon Row [the MOST photographed barn in the country]


Downtown Jackson Hole Wyoming at the elk arch
Downtown Jackson Square antler arch

With so many spots to stay in Jackson Hole, it was nearly impossible to decide. (literally, I switched up where we were staying at least 3x before firming up our decision). Notoriously, Jackson Hole is not the most budget-friendly town and that translates directly to the hotel options as well.

However, we were lucky enough to come across Snow King Resort via my Chase travel credit card rewards during a big sale. We were able to stay for < $300 a night, less than a mile from downtown. Snow King is the perfect option for families; especially those with kids. Located right on the mountain side; there is a pool, hot tub, fire pits (with complimentary s’mores), an on-site restaurant, complimentary shuttle service and on-site putt-putt golf.

OTHER HOTELS (We almost stayed at):
  • ANVIL: A super hipster, boutique hotel right near the town square. Extra bonus: Glorietta Trattoria is located right on-site for all your italian food cravings!
  • HOTEL TERRA JACKSON HOLE: Located in Teton Village; this luxury mountain resort has a lot to offer. In addition to a top-rated full-service spa, there is a rooftop hot tub, infinity pool, wine bar and more.
  • HOTEL JACKSON: This luxury 4-star lodging is located right on the town square. A rooftop spa, on-site restaurant (Figs), and its’ close walking proximity into town make this a great choice.
  • FIRESIDE RESORT: In comparison with the many different in-town options, Fireside Resort is a mix of rustic, yet luxury cabins rentals. Love the thought of camping but don’t actually want to rough it? This might be your spot.
  • AMANGANI: Last but not least, a luxury 5-star resort on a secluded hilltop not too far outside Jackson Hole. Amangani is serious luxury and although I can only DREAM of staying here… if you are down for a splurge, this place is it.
Snow King Resort front in Jackson Hole Wyoming
Snow King Resort

Eat & Drink

Jackson Hole and the Teton Village are full of unique and highly-rated restaurant options. In fact, the town has so much to offer that it was nearly impossible to choose which spots to check out during our short four day visit. From a carb-loaded dinner full of pasta and bread, to creamy gelato to end the night – there is something for everyone and for every craving.

The below is just the tip of the iceberg as there are so many other restaurants, bars and breweries that we would have loved to check out. Guess we will just have to come back!

Outdoor eating at Calico restaurant in Moose Wilson Wyoming; outside of Jackson Hole
Outdoor pizza dinner beneath the stars at Calico restaurant in Wilson
  • Calico – A delicious and quaint Italian restaurant located right outside of Jackson in Wilson, WY. It was established all the way back in 1966 but has since been remodeled into an upscale pizza joint. Enjoy pizza and wine below the front porch canopy or at a picnic table in the yard.
Salt and vinegar crusted halibut at The Blue Lion restaurant in downtown Jackson Hole, WY
Salt and Vinegar crusted halibut
  • The Blue Lion The Blue Lion sits in what used to be a residential home in the late 1930’s and it has kept all of that cozy charm- open nightly for dinner. The lamb, elk and fresh fish are all musts on their menu. Leave room for their homemade mudpie dessert; complete with local Moo’s ice cream. Make reservations ahead of time as the restaurant is fairly small and very popular with both tourists and locals.
Sipping on an adaptogenic mushroom latte in downtown Jackson Hole WY
7-Mushroom Adaptogenic Latte @ Healthy Being Jackson Hole
  • Healthy Being Cafe and Juicery– Looking for a healthy spot on the downtown Jackson square? Look no further. I frequented this spot multiple times for delicious smoothies, salads, specialty toasts, and superfood lattes. (Try out the wild side, the ceremonial hot cacao, adaptogenic 7-mushroom latte or the beetnik smoothie)
Spritz and margarita at Glorietta Trattoria in Jackson Hole WY
Aperol Spritz and margaritas at Glorietta Trattoria
  • Glorietta Trattoria – A laid-back hipster vibe and tasty Italian food is exactly what this restaurant located at the Anvil hotel has to offer. The dining experience is made complete with handmade pasta, refreshing cocktails and a huge wood-burning fire where you can watch your meal get cooked.
Happy hour at the Cowboy Bar in a horse saddle bar stool right in the town square of Jackson Hole
Happy hour @ the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar
  • Million Dollar Cowboy Bar – Horse saddles, country music, and cocktails make for a fun evening out on the Jackson Hole square. Expect to pay a small $5 cover charge if you go on an evening with live music but it’s one of those spots you just have to check out when your in town!
Glorietta Trattoria in downtown Jackson Hole Wyoming
Glorietta Trattoria @ the Anvil
  • Persephone Bakery – There is nothing like a warm latte and fresh pastries to kick off a day exploring the Tetons. Order online or expect a wait at this extremely popular cafe & bakery in downtown Jackson (especially during current COVID times).
  • Cowboy Coffee – Another coffee and breakfast spot that is perfect for an on-the-go early morning to the park. I’d highly recommend a huckleberry latte and their cowboy burrito.
  • The Kitchen – We visited The Kitchen after I saw that they had great looking dairy-free menu options and I did not leave disappointed. We enjoyed their wagyu burger, ahi tuna tostadas, miso noodle bowl and the vegan berry cheesecake. It also has the perfect patio deck for a lit dinner right on the outskirts of the Jackson town square.
  • Hatch – We never go anywhere without finding some sort of Mexican restaurant and this trip was no exception. Treat yourself to some queso and a fresh, spicy watermelon margarita. You won’t regret it.

Below is a list of other top restaurants we were hoping to frequent but due to time restrictions we will have to visit next time!

  • TETON THAI: Mike and I’s go-to Monday night meal is almost always asian food and unfortunately this spot wasn’t open this time around. Teton Thai is located right in Teton Village and is a top-rated Thai restaurant in Jackson.
  • DORNAN’S: Located up in Moose-Wilson area; Dornan’s is known to have great breakfast and a perfect spot for casual, laid-back pizza joint.
  • JACKSON DRUG: Jackson Drug (Original Soda Fountain) dates back nearly 100 years sitting right on the corner of the town square. I was very sad we didn’t get to pop in fo their homemade ice cream milkshakes and burgers.
  • BIN22: Tapas and a wine bar! What else can you ask for?! Another place I was sad that we did not get the chance to frequent.

Where to Hike in Jackson Hole Wyoming

For my adventure seeking friends who love to get their heart rate up, breathe in fresh mountain air, and capture new scenic views at every turn; the Tetons National Park is the place to go. The Grand Tetons National park is located a quick 20 – 35 minute drive from downtown Jackson Hole and it is full of hikes for every type of adventure-seeker. From 1 mile trails, to off-the-beaten-path bouldering, to full-day treks through the canyons; there is truly something for everyone.

The trails provide everything from turquoise blue lakes, skyline mountain views, to roaming wildlife and possible bear sightings. ALWAYS be ‘bear aware’. Although we did not stumble across any bear activity, there are plenty of signs and reminders to be prepared… Make noise, carry bear spray, never feed a bear and never ever run.


  • Get there EARLY! The parking lots fill up quickly especially at the most popular tourist hiking spots (i.e. Jenny Lake or smaller parking lots like Phelps Lake, Taggart Lake, Lupine meadows, and more)
  • Buy / Rent Bear Spray – It’s not cheap but no one wants to be the person who didn’t buy bear spray and then finds themselves in a situation with a charging grizzly… Some shops will rent the spray which is a cheaper alternative but all of the downtown shops were completely sold out when we showed up. The only place we had any luck finding bear spray was at the local ACE Hardware.
  • Bring plenty of water – In the summer months, it starts out crisp and cool in the morning but quickly turns to hot temperatures in the middle of the day and once you make your way up a trail, there are no more water fill stations.
  • Never feed a bear if you do happen to encounter a bear, it might seem like common sense to throw food to distract the bear away from you. However; as we learned from the locals, ‘ a fed bear is a dead bear ‘. A fed bear means that the bear will associate humans with a food source and the park rangers will then have to put the bear down. So do everyone a favor and never, ever feed a bear.
Standing at the top of Delta Lake trail in Teton National Park outside of Jackson Hole Wyoming
Views of Delta Lake

Delta Lake

From our time hiking in Peru to our three days camping around Havasu Falls; I was not expecting to find a hike on our trip to Jackson Hole that would rival those other breathtaking views. But boy was I wrong! I came across Delta Lake via Amphitheater lake hiking trail while randomly scouring through other bloggers hiking recommendations but after further trail details, I felt intimidated and decided against adding this trail to our itinerary.

However, arriving in Jackson Hole, we were encouraged by not one, but two locals (our waiter AND our scenic float tour guide) that Delta Lake was a must and that we could in fact handle it.

That was all it took to convince us to take on the challenging, 9-mile round trip hike to the stunning Delta glacier lake. The ascent takes you on a ~2300 ft. elevation gain and once you turn off onto the unmarked, unmaintained trail; you’ll find yourself navigating fallen trees, ‘scrambling’ boulder fields, and trekking straight up loose dirt. All that being said, it was one of the most scenic hikes we have ever done together and we would 100% do it all over again.

Scrambling up the boulder fields on the Delta Lake Trail in Teton National Park
Scrambling up the boulder fields
Hiking up the switch backs to Delta Lake in the Tetons - Exploring all that Jackson Hole has to offer
Views from the trek up the switchbacks to Delta Lake

The hike took us approximately 6 hours round trip since we took a little over an hour at the top to relax by the turquoise water and soak it all in. {Highly recommend grabbing snacks at Jackson Hole Grocer to enjoy at the top!)

Turquoise water at Delta Lake in the Tetons National Park

Jenny Lake

If you are visiting Teton National Park, then you cannot NOT visit Jenny Lake. This spot has a hike or activity for every adventurer. Whether you are looking to get some exercise and decide to trek the entire 7.7 mile loop, or you’d rather hike 1/3 of the loop and take the ferry boat back; you have options!

Waterfalls and rushing creeks on the hike around Jenny Lake in Tetons national park
Hiking the 7.5 mile loop at Jenny Lake in the Tetons about 30 - 40  minutes outside of Jackson Hole Wyoming

Heck, maybe you don’t want to hike at all. In that case, bring your bathing suit, kick back, dive in and relax in the sparkling blue waters of Jenny Lake while overlooking the Tetons in the background.

Crystal clear water while swimming in Jenny Lake in Teton National Park

This hike took us about 3 hours total but we took our time absorbing all of the views. There are multiple ‘turn offs’ along the hike if you want to make it longer; head up to Inspiration Point for a panoramic photo op, wander off to the Hidden Falls, or go seek Moose at ‘Moose Pond‘.

8 mile hike overlooking Jenny Lake which is located about 30 minutes outside of Jackson Hole
Completing our trek around Jenny Lake

Phelps Lake

Although we were planning on making Phelps Lake an all day hang-out; we ended up adding more hikes to our itinerary so our time there was cut short.

Views on the hike to Phelps Lake in the Tetons National Park - Another quick drive outside of Jackson Hole

This is the perfect, easy-to-moderate hike for anyone looking to explore and get light exercise along with gorgeous lakeside views. If you choose to do the entire loop, it is 7 miles with 725 ft. of elevation. Ask someone at the visitors center for directions to the parking lot because it can be a bit confusing (and it’s a small one so get there early!!).

Views after hiking 2 miles to Phelps Lake in Tetons National Park

Due to time restrictions, we chose to hike in to the lake and then turned around and went back which ended up being roughly 4 miles total.

Lake Jenny shoreline on 7.5 mile hike - a quick hiking getaway outside of Jackson Hole


  • String Lake– Good for all level hikers. 3.7 mile loop
  • Leigh Lake – Easy hike. 7 mile trail there and back.
  • Amphitheater Lake – 8.9 miles round-trip. Difficult trail. 2,942 ft. elevation gain.
  • Hidden Falls + Inspiration Point- Turn-off points along the Jenny Lake Loop
  • Taggart Lake – 4 mile loop
Hiking around the loop of Jenny Lake in the Tetons National Park
Taking in the scenic views surrounding Jenny Lake in the Grand Tetons National Park
Beautiful views overlooking a turquoise lake while hiking up to Delta Lake
Views from the top of Delta Lake Trail

What to See & Do in Jackson Hole

With only a few short days to explore Jackson Hole, I am sure we barely touched the surface of what there is to do and see around town… i.e. Golf, biking, white water rafting, and more.That being said, we did our best and below are a few of our favorite tours, activities, shops and sights during our trip. Remember – this is only covering the Summer activities…. not to mention all there is to do during ski/winter season.

A herd of bison on our Jackson Hole wildlife safari
Wild Bison near Mormon Row

Go on a Wildlife Tour

If you have never been to Teton National Park; it can be a bit overwhelming trying to roam the park in search of wildlife on your own. If you are like us and you’re a bit directionally challenged or just enjoy having someone else at the wheel then taking a wildlife safari might be your best bet.

We had a great experience with Jackson Hole Wildlife Safaris! After an early morning sunrise hotel pick-up, we were off to explore the park. Along the way we were luck enough to spot a tiny black bears bottom running into the woods, two massive herds of beautifully strong bison, dainty pronghorns, elk, and more.

Unfortunately we did not come across any moose and we didn’t get any great ‘clear’ views of bears. However, seeing wildlife is never a guarantee. With a super well-educated guide and gorgeous mountain views the entire time, we got much more familiar with the park for our future days ahead.

Bison herd on the roadside during a wildlife safari in Jackson Hole WY
One of the many bison sitting ~30 ft. from our van

Take a Scenic Float on Snake River

What started as just a fun ‘filler’ in our Jackson Hole itinerary, turned out to be one of our very favorite decisions of our trip. I read all about how awesome scenic floats could be on Rhyme & Reason’s Jackson Hole blog post here.

Some float trips allow you to bring alcohol, snacks and a cooler so check ahead of time. However, given COVID times, things were a bit more strict. If you want to do a ‘party’ float, then I would recommend renting out an entire float to yourself (and your group).

We decided to float the Snake River with Solitude Float Trips and would highly recommend the company. Our amazing guide brought all the positive energy for our roughly two hour sunset float. Bald eagle spottings, angry beaver tail swats, and the shadow-like Tetons disappearing with the sun; our float was unforgettable. If we ever get back, you better believe we’ll be back for another float (maybe even one of white-water rafting trips instead).

Scenic float down the Snake River in Jackson Hole Wyoming
Sunset Scenic Float down Snake River with Solitude Floats
Scenic sunset view from the Snake River overlooking the Teton Mountains
The best kind of golden hour views
scenic boat ride down Snake River for sunset

Watch the Sunrise at Schwabacher Landing

Are you night owl? Or do you enjoy waking up at the crack of dawn with a cup of coffee at hand? If you are the latter of the two, then Jackson Hole and Teton NPS is the perfect place to get out and explore at sunrise.

As the sun comes up glowing on the mountain peaks, go no further than the Schwabacher Landing Trail . If you are lucky, you might spot a moose taking a morning bath in the river but regardless you will leave with breathtaking views of the mountains and treetops reflecting in the river. Not only are the views top notch but you can sit in complete peace and quiet, not a stress in the world (and a bad internet connection – which always helps!). If you ask me, that is the PERFECT way to kick off a mindful morning.

Mountain reflections at Schwabacher Landing - located about 30-40 minutes outside of Jackson Hole
One of many times that we visited Schwabacher Landing for these views
Schwacher Landing in the Teton National Park outside of Jackson Hole for morning walks
Mid-day exploring @ Schwabacher Landing

Explore the Jackson Town Square

Eat, drink, shop and be merry!

Jackson Town Square reminded me of a mix between Athens, Georgia and the Highlands, North Carolina downtown. Both filled with charm and surrounded by mountain views; full of restaurants, bars, breweries, and boutique shops.

  • MADE: Full of local Jackson Hole goodies, gifts, and greeting cards. This store has homemade products from all over the US; everything from wall art and candles, to mountain inspired jewelry.
  • ROAM: Another boutique shop full of handmade, fair trade goods. Artwork, jewelry, paper goods, apothecary; you name it. I wish I had an empty suitcase so that I could have loaded up here.
  • LEE’S TEES: I am embarrassed to say how much we somehow managed to buy from here… Western hats and Jackson Hole tee shirts, hats, and other souvenirs galore. We left looking extra touristy and we don’t regret a it a single bit.

Other Shops (we didn’t get the chance to visit but … next time!)

Downtown Jackson Hole Square and all of its' charming glory
Downtown Jackson Hole town square
Cowboy Bar in downtown Jackson Hole Wyoming
Live Music & Horse Saddles @ Million Dollar Cowboy Bar

Explore on a Mini-Road Trip

Last but not least, jump in your car and drive away. There are beautiful views, scenic turnoffs, and chances of wildlife sightings at every turn. Sometimes one of our favorite things to do, is to put all the windows down, blast our favorite tunes and let the fresh air and scenery do the rest.

Leaving Jackson Hole for a road trip through the Grand Tetons National Park
Road trip views into Teton National Park

For more inspiration for outdoors vacations, hiking adventures, and USA travel during these crazy times; check out my Colorado, Zion National Park, or Maine blog posts.