Jackson Hole is a gorgeous valley lying between the Teton and Gros Ventre mountain ranges in Wyoming. Besides the main town of Jackson and some smaller communities, the valley includes portions of Grand Teton National Park and the National Elk Refuge as well as several popular year-round vacation resorts. Jackson Hole vacation rentals offer convenient access to opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, wildlife observation, and other outdoor activities. The valley’s rivers and lakes are great for boating, kayaking, and whitewater rafting. In the winter, local mountain slopes provide some of the world’s best skiing. Here are the top things to do with children in Jackson Hole.
1. Hike the Trails
Hiking opportunities from your vacation rental in Jackson Hole range from easy walks to boulder scrambles and traversing steep slopes. The weather is warmest and trails are driest from late June to the beginning of October. Grand Teton National Park has numerous trails at all levels of difficulty. For more remote trails, head for the Bridger-Teton National Forest. A number of shorter trails are within the Jackson city limits, including trails at Snow King Mountain, Game Creek, and Josie’s Ridge. In the winter months, strap on your snowshoes or cross-country skis and follow the trails through a snowy wonderland.
2. Pedal a Bike
Jackson Hole is one of the most bike-friendly regions of the country. Over 65 miles of family-friendly bike paths called Pathways crisscross the valley, making cycling a popular form of transportation and sightseeing for visitors of all ages. Grand Teton National Park has a spectacularly beautiful 20-mile paved bike path that begins at Moose Junction, passes through alpine forest and glacial canyons, and winds up at Jenny Lake. Another popular route takes you from Jackson, at the valley’s southern end, to the village of Moose, in the northern corner. Bring your own bikes or rent them from sports shops in Jackson.
3. Ride Horseback
The Old West ambiance of Jackson Hole makes it a great place for horseback riding. Local outfitters can pair you with a horse that matches your size and experience and guide you on exciting trail rides. You can rent horses for an hour or take them on overnight family adventures. Your route takes you through incomparable scenery, and along the way you take photographs, watch birds and animals, and stop for fly fishing in the lakes or rivers.
4. Observe Wildlife
Jackson Hole is one of the best places in the country to observe wild animals in their natural habitats. In Grand Teton National Park, look for moose and bear at Oxbow Bend and Moose Wilson Road and pronghorns and bison at Kelly Loop and Antelope Flats. More than 7,000 elk spend summers in Grand Teton National Park and winters at the National Elk Refuge. At the refuge, you can also spot wolves, bighorn sheep, coyotes, and bald eagles. If you need help finding the habitats of wildlife for close-up observation and filming, you can join a guided eco-tour or wildlife safari.
5. Explore the Waterways
The Snake River, Jenny Lake, Jackson Lake, and other smaller lakes in the area offer great opportunities for leisurely exploration by boat, kayak, paddleboard, or floating tube. Take your own watercraft or rent from local outfitters. For gentle paddling and easy water sports for beginners and children, try the smaller String and Leigh Lakes. Part of the Snake River is made up of whitewater rapids, which is ideal for thrill seekers, and there’s a quieter section between Jackson Lake Dam and Pacific Creek. A highlight for many vacationing families is a scenic cruise of Jenny Lake with Jenny Lake Boating. In addition to providing spectacular photographic opportunities, each cruise is accompanied by a knowledgeable guide who explains the area’s history, geology, flora, and fauna.
6. Thrill to Whitewater Rafting
If you want to try the thrilling adventure of whitewater rafting, a four-hour excursion through the Snake River Canyon is the perfect place to begin. Outfitters supply you with everything you need, including life jackets, wetsuits, and paddles, and experienced guides take you through the foaming rapids. In late spring and early summer when the river is higher due to snowmelt, the trips are normally restricted to passengers who are teens and older. However, from late July, even younger children ages six and up can enjoy the adventure of whitewater rafting.
7. Go Fishing
The rivers, creeks, and lakes around your Jackson Hole vacation rental are renowned for their excellent trout fly fishing. If you’re experienced anglers, pack your fishing gear and head out on your own. Alternatively, local outfitters can supply you with rods, reels, bait, and an experienced guide. It’s a great place to introduce your kids to the sport. Popular fishing spots include the Snake River, the Green River, Flat Creek in the National Elk Refuge, and the streams and lakes in Grand Teton National Park.
8. Enjoy Winter Sports
In the winter when the valley fills with snow, Jackson Hole vacation rentals provide numerous opportunities for families to enjoy winter sports. Local slopes offer easy routes for beginners as well as steep runs for experienced skiers. There are plenty of gentle hills that your kids can glide down in sleds, snow tubes, and saucers. The Jackson town square has an outdoor rink for ice skating. Taking a horse-drawn sleigh ride is a wonderful family-friendly activity and if you’re feeling adventurous, try snowmobiling, dog sledding, snowshoeing, or cross-country skiing.
9. Join the Cowboys
Jackson Hole is cowboy country, and the Jackson Hole Rodeo takes place several days a week all summer long. Join the crowd and watch bronco riding, bull riding, calf roping, barrel racing, and other competitions. The Teton County Fair is an annual event in late July in Jackson, and besides its rodeo, it includes a carnival, an agricultural show, a paintball arena, and other attractions.
Ready to go? Check out these amazing Jackson Hole vacation rentals on Tripping.com.