Your Guide to Summer in Jackson Hole
Jackson Hole, Wyo.-We call it the ‘sweet season,’ when tundra turns tropic for that fleeting moment. We wait eagerly for summer’s arrival – planning for all we’ll do when it gets here – and then it’s gone like our sunburns.
Sure, we’re known for our winters and we love them. Their fierceness tests our mettle. But summer in the Hole is elusive and fleeting. Go getchya some while you can.
Leaving Reality Behind
There’s something about roaming freely through the forest that quenches a primal urge, reminding us of a time when our survival was dependent on a close relationship with nature.
Escaping the chaos of traffic and the ever-presence of technology via one of the valley’s trails offers inimitable therapy and the feeling that, despite whatever adversity you may be facing in life, somehow everything is going to be all right.
Not to mention, hitting the trails allows you to see this area’s diverse terrain and chromatic landscapes, whether it’s the red and lavender hills of the Gros Ventre, Grand Teton National Park’s azure glacier lakes, the occasional special encounter with a moose or bear, or the gold and violet wildflowers that punctuate the valley’s scenery.
Goodwin Lake is a favorite mid-to late summer hike, where dogs are welcome for the trek, which climbs at a moderate grade through shaded forest along a quiet stream. It is roughly three miles to the placid waters of the lake where you can follow trails that border the water, or you can continue for another two and half miles to the summit of Jackson Peak. Bring ample water and warm layers if you plan to summit Jackson Peak.
Death Canyon in Grand Teton National Park offers a bevy of trails. Here you’ll find quick jaunts about a mile long that lead you to the awe-inspiring shores of Phelps Lake–where you’ll find the famed jumping rock–to more ambitious, steeper treks up to Static Peak, 16 miles roundtrip. Be warned that this is indeed bear country so have bear spray accessible and remember that dogs aren’t allowed in the park.
Find solitude and mystery by heading 30 miles north of Jackson to a hike that leads you to Holmes Cave, one of the largest caves in northwest Wyoming that extends more than 4,000 feet. The approximately 9-miles-roundtrip hike is a fairly moderate jaunt in the Togwotee wilderness. The unassuming entrance of the cave looks more like a small hole in the ground but once inside, you’ll see that this eerie cavern travels deep into the earth. Bring a headlamp if you plan to enter, or even peer into, the cave’s shadowy depths. For info, Jackson Hole Hikes by Rebecca Woods.
For more cave crusades, set out to Teton Valley, Idaho, to the Darby Canyon Wind and Ice Caves. Mystical waterfalls, dazzling wildflowers and scenic overlooks decorate the moderate hike, which has a few steep sections. After about two and half miles, you’ll reach a mammoth cave opening with water streaming out of its rocky entrance. Bring headlamps and a rain jacket for the damp, watery cave and leave claustrophobic friends behind. While the opening of the cave looks more like the mouth of a mammoth monster, the deeper you travel, the more narrow and eerie it becomes. Be prepared to crawl, scramble and succinctly maneuver through the cave’s cramped corridors. For info, Eastern Idaho Sweet Spots, by Jerry Painter and Matt Tengaio.
Wet n Wild Water
The spring runoff on the mighty Snake River has peaked early this summer, but thanks to the Jackson Lake Dam the river will keep on chugging all summer long. The Snake River Canyon provides the most consistent whitewater, with the massive wave-train style rapid Lunch Counter sending river-runners on a rollercoaster ride in the early summer. But as these rapids calm mid-summer, just a few hundred yards upstream, Big Kahuna will give rafters a solid punch in the face. This rowdy stretch of river provides excitement for well-experienced and novice rafters. For rookies looking to get their feet wet, jump on one of the many local commercial outfitters for a thrilling yet safe ride.
Looking for a more relaxing day on the river? Designated as “wild and scenic” by Congress in 2009, the Snake River is home to some of the most scenic stretches of river North America has to offer. The untouched riverbanks in Grand Teton National Park offer peace and quiet with unmatched Teton views. For the novice rafter, float from the Jackson Lake Dam to Pacific Creek for six miles of mellow water and abundant wildlife. For those with a little more skill, the current starts to pick up from Pacific Creek to Deadman’s Bar. Shortly below Pacific Creek the spectacular Teton Range comes into view for the entire float, and if you are motivated enough to wake up early for a sunrise trip, keep your eyes peeled for the wolves that den in the Potholes area of GTNP, just to the west of the river.
Now, if you feel you’re a “highly experienced river pilot” as the sign reads at Deadman’s Bar, continue on down the river for the most popular and scenic stretch of river in the valley. But use caution, as the next 35 miles of river below Deadman’s contains a deceivingly swift current, braided channels, and piles of trees and other debris. Every summer these “strainers” claim a handful of rafts, drift boats, canoes and kayaks. If you don’t feel up to rowing a boat yourself, try one of the many commercial outfitters that offer safe river trips in the park.
Rafting Outfitters in Grand Teton National Park
Barker – Ewing Scenic Float Trips
Grand Teton Lodge Company
Solitude Scenic Float Trips
Will Dornan’s Scenic River Trips
Whitewater and Scenic Outfitters
Barker – Ewing River Trips
Dave Hansen Whitewater
Jackson Hole Whitewater
Lewis & Clark River Expeditions
Sands Whitewater and Scenic River Trips
Teton Scenic Floats
Teton Scenic Float Tours
Jackson Hole Whitewater
Utilized for hunting on inland lakes, rivers and coastal waters, kayaks were originally developed by the Eskimos to use on the Bering Sea and Arctic Ocean. Kayaks have come a long way from the original boats the Eskimos constructed, made from stitched seal and other animal skins. Today, we paddle around kayaks made of plastic or inflatable rubber for hydro-thrills, and this area’s waterways are some of the best playgrounds these boats can find.
Yellowstone and Jackson Lakes provide opportunities for backcountry overnight trips. Stop by a visitor center in Yellowstone or Grand Teton National Parks to obtain permits for campsites and the islands or shores of either of these massive lakes. Ensure you’re prepared for variable weather and quickly changing lake conditions, then paddle out to Elk Island on Jackson Lake for an evening of quietude with the majestic Mt. Moran staring you in the face.
In Yellowstone, paddle your way out to the Flat Arm Mountain on Yellowstone Lake and enjoy the sunset from one of the most spectacular campsites the national park has to offer. For those with backcountry knowledge, pack up the truck and buy your permits, for everyone else, Snake River Canoe and Kayak and O.A.R.S. both provide guided trips on these and other lakes inside the national parks.
Interested in just paddling around for an afternoon? The Oxbow Bend of the Snake River is abundant with wildlife and calm waters. Be careful paddling into the thick willow brush, you never know where a moose might be hiding. (I’ve been within five feet of these 1,200 pound monsters while paddling around in the Oxbow.) For ease of transportation, canoe and kayak rentals are available on both Jackson and Jenny Lakes. Kayak across Jenny Lake to access the Cascade Canyon trailhead, Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point, and be much more fulfilled than if you chose to ride the motorized shuttle boat across the lake with 30 other hikers.
By mid-summer the crowds at popular Jenny Lake can be a bit overwhelming. For a little solitude, head to Two Oceans Lake up Pacific Creek Road in the northern end of the Park. Rent a boat from Dornan’s and bring a lunch to enjoy an afternoon on this hidden gem. And don’t forget your bear spray, as grizzly and black bears are often spotted along the shores of these pristine waters.
Canoe & Kayak Rentals
Adventure Sports at Dornan’s in Moose
Colter Bay Village Marina
Jenny Lake Boating
Rendezvous River Sports
Signal Mountain Lodge on Jackson Lake
Snake River Canoe & Kayak
Bring on fishing season. In 2011, local rivers ran at high levels well into July, making fishing hard to come by until late summer. Luckily, that’s not the story this summer as the rivers peaked a couple of weeks ago and are already starting to fish well. No matter where you’re headed, make sure and pop your head in one of the local fishing shops to gear up and get the inside scoop.
The upper Snake River is a world-renowned cutthroat trout fishery, and best accessed by a drift boat. Whether your guide is a paid professional, or your beer-drinking buddy, floating and fishing is the way to go. The stretches of river in the national park allow for great scenery and relatively low traffic (well, maybe not on the weekends), while tricking cutthroats into biting your bait. Ramp up a little action along with the fishing by floating the whitewater section down in the Snake River Canyon.
As the river spills out of the Palisades Reservoir just outside of Alpine, the South Fork of the Snake begins. The variety of trout increases here to include a lot more brown and rainbow trout, along with cutthroat. An overnight trip through the South Fork Canyon is a must-do for anyone that claims to be a river lover. Put in anywhere below the dam, and float your way into the stunning canyon. Here there are a number of designated campsites along the river, and with a little luck you can cook up the fish you caught that day.
The tributaries to the Snake River provide great fishing for those that don’t have access to a boat, or just plain prefer getting a little exercise while tossing the line around. The Gros Ventre, Hoback, Greys and other side streams all fish great at certain points in the summer, and not so great during other times. Again, check with local shops to get some advice from the pros. Hiking along the Hoback river is easily accessed by pullouts on the highway, but the rambling of 18-wheelers tearing by can take a little away from the day. For less traffic, you can head down to the Greys River Road just outside of Alpine. Be aware that in recent years the entire state of Utah seems to take over this area, so it can get a bit crowded.
Fish the Fly, 307-690-1139; fishthefly.com
High Country Flies, 866-733-7210; highcountryflies.com
Jack Dennis Fly Fishing Trips, 307-690-0910; jackdennisfishingtrips.com
Jackson Hole Anglers, 888-458-7688; jacksonholeanglers.com
Jackson Hole Fly Fishing Trips, 866-484-3464; jacksonholeflyfishingtrips.com
On The Fly, 877-733-3052; fishthesnake.com
Reel Deal Anglers, 877-744-0522; reeldealanglers.com
Snake River Angler, 307-733-3699; snakeriverangler.com
Teton Fly Fishing, 307-413-1215; tetonflyfishing.com
Teton Scenic Floats & Fly Fishing, 307-413-4464; tetonfloats.com
West Bank Anglers, 800-922-3474; westbank.com
World Cast Anglers, 800-654-0676; worldcastanglers.com
Taking the ultimate PLUNGE
I think we can all agree that the ‘Wilson beach’ is not a beach at all, and not really that ideal of a swimming hole, but it sure is convenient. The closest spot for a dip for some residents, the Wilson beach is often crowded with adults, kids and dogs along the rocky banks and cold waters of the Snake. For those just looking for a quick cool-down, it’ll do the trick, but here are a few other options around the valley.
One of the biggest problems with swimming in Jackson Hole is the streams and lakes are pretty damn cold most of the year. A drive out to the Kelly Warm Springs, however, brings the water temperature to a consistent 81 degrees, making a perfect natural pool to bring the kids to. The spring is shallow and the water is fairly thick with algae, making it a perfect spot for parents to have a picnic while oblivious kids splash around in the water.
Near the south entrance of Yellowstone National Park, Moose Falls is just off the road on Crawfish Creek. The 71 to 75 degree water is just warm enough to enjoy a soak under the 30-foot waterfall, and a nice break from the congested park roads. Although neither encouraged nor allowed by the park service, daredevils are often seen jumping off the waterfall into the shallow waters of the creek.
South of Jackson, Granite Hot Springs is the popular man- made pool at the end of Granite Creek road. The pool is filled by a natural hot spring, the water temperature dipping to the mid- 80s in the peak of the snowmelt, and reaching temps as high as 112 degrees in the middle of the winter. The $5 admission is well worth the clean, chlorine-free water and well-maintained pool. Pack up the camping gear and make a night of it as there are plenty of free camping spots along the road after you’re done soaking.
For those looking to brave cooler waters, String Lake might provide the best swimming without any hiking. At the base of the Teton Range, String Lake offers a refreshing dip in an alpine lake, and because of its shallow depth, the water is warmer than the neighboring Jenny and Leigh Lakes.
Phelps Lake, also in Grand Teton National Park, is accessed by a short hike starting from either the Death Canyon trailhead or the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve. Until just a few years ago, Phelps wasn’t so popular, until the park decided to build a trail along the lake, making the now famous “jumping rock” easily accessible. Starting from either trailhead, hike along the east side of the lake until you see the unmistakable huge boulder crowded with kids and adults ready to dive in.
Camping to Glamping
Jackson is a camper’s paradise. From RV hook-ups to multi-day wilderness backpacking, the valley has myriad options for the adventure traveler. The Jenny Lake, Gros Ventre, and Curtis Canyon Campgrounds offer easy access, family-friendly tent camping. Between Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks you can find the wooded Flagg Ranch Campground, complete with tent and RV camping sites. On the shores of Jackson Lake, the Colter Bay Village area includes areas for tent and RV camping as well as 166 relocated authentic Jackson Hole homestead cabins.
And for the dedicated mountain camping junkie, backcountry access to the Death, Cascade and Paintbrush canyons via backcountry permits is available off of the Jenny Lake camping area. Luxury lodging’s newest trend, “glamping,” can be found at Fireside Resorts off the Village Road, where luxury cabins, complete with fireplaces and full kitchens, are ready for your glamping pleasure, unless, you instead opt for a night in one of the resort’s furnished tents, complete with wood floors, luxurious bed and décor, private bath outhouses, and camping “butlers” a phone call away.
Flagg Ranch Campgroud, 800-443-2311
Colter Bay Village, 307-543-2811
Fireside Resort, 877-660-1177
This summer Jackson Hole and Teton Valley have tons of cycling events to keep you pedaling. You can race in the classic Jackson Hole Cache to Game, ride a multi-day tour with the Tour of Wyoming, or celebrate mountain biking at the Wydaho Rendezvous Mountain Bike Festival. Myriad riding options abound this summer, from lift-served mountain biking via two resorts, the Teton Pass gravity trails, and outstanding cross-country and road biking.
Race season in Jackson starts off with the Cache to Game Race June 27. This local and hotly contested race takes riders right from town up the Cache Creek trail system and ends in beautiful Game Creek Canyon. On July 7 Snow King hosts the Outerlocal Summer Games. This stage race includes bouldering, mountain biking, running and paragliding legs and is certain to be a popular event on the scene for years to come.
The Teton Pass Kicker, another new race on August 25, will offer two lengths, 25 and 50 miles. Racers tackle two of the best cross-country trails in the area – the Arrow Trail and the Phillips Ridge Trail – all while raising money for Friends of Pathways for trail construction and maintenance. The famous LOTOJA (Logan to Jackson) race comes to Jackson Hole Sept. 8. Racers start in Logan, Utah and ride more than 200 miles to Teton Village.
And while we love to race our bikes here in Jackson Hole, there are many other cycling events that are not competitive. The multi-day Tour of Wyoming starts in Jackson on July 15 with riders cruising down the Snake River Canyon to Star Valley. Bikers then head over Pine Creek Pass, north of Swan Valley, before spending two days exploring the fine road riding of Teton Valley, Idaho. The Wydaho Rendezvous Mountain Bike Festival, July 27 to 29, in Teton Valley, Idaho, will include daily group rides led by local experts, clinics, BMX demos, parties, the Targhee Hill Climb, mountain bike demos, as well as a Super D race at Grand Targhee Resort. Check the schedule of events at tetonmountainbikefest.tvtap.org.
And don’t forget Jackson’s pathway system has been extended into Grand Teton National Park. Now road riders can ride from the town of Jackson to Jenny Lake on the new bike pathway. This is one of the most beautiful road rides in the country and truly compliments our already fantastic pathway system.
This area is also home to two lift-service mountain bike meccas. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort’s bike park opened June 16 and focuses on free-ride and jump trails. You can catch a free afternoon of riding at the park June 30. The resort is also bringing back its gravity endurance race from last year, the Red Bull Final Descent.
This 12-hour endurance downhill race happens Aug. 11. Grand Targhee Resort, opening June 22, has added four new trails and a skills park this year to its already outstanding trail system. Targhee is also hosting a 12.5 mile-, 4,700-foot vertical Super-D race during the Wydaho Mountain Bike Festival; the NUE series race Pierre’s Hole on Aug. 4, and a new event this summer, the Targhee Enduro Sept. 15.
So if you’re not sure what to do during these warm summer days, grab a bike and get pedaling. Whether you like road, mountain or pathway cruising, Jackson Hole and Teton Valley offer some of the best riding in the West.
Paragliding in paradise
As one of those perfect summer days draws to an end the sky is often dotted with a familiar sight in Jackson Hole: paragliders. They’re everywhere! Jackson Hole Paragliding, the unofficial source on all things gliding and kiting, lists no less than 17 juicy launch points throughout the valley. Landing zones? Well, that’s more up to the thermals.
The only way to get your feet (out from) under you in the sport of paragliding is to start with tandem flying. Scott Harris is the owner of Jackson Hole Paragliding. He started paragliding in 1991 and began offering tandem flights in 1995. He now runs the No. 1 mountain flying school in the country. On a tandem flight Harris sits in the harness right behind his customer offering advice and inflight training tips.
Harris says, “The great thing about paragliding, especially when we tandem, is you fly from a training hill where if you run and things aren’t right or you don’t lift off the ground, you just stop and the wing falls on the ground next to you. It’s much safer than, say, base-jumping or parachuting or even hang-gliding, where the harness is so heavy and you are pitched forward so that you are sort of committed when you start going.”
Paragliding has quickly become the new hang-gliding because it offers more versatility and, as Harris noted, is considered safer. His company offers lessons and tandem flying every day from Teton Village. Flying is best in the morning and early evening when thermal activity is gentler and more predictable.
Harris says Jackson Hole makes for the ideal paragliding spot because of its numerous mountains and buttes from which to launch and the vast valley floor which offers spectacular viewing from on the wing and easier landings.
The longest flight ever recorded from the top of the tram at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort was about 150 miles to Boysen Reservoir outside of Riverton, Wyo.
Jackson Hole Paragliding, jhparagliding.com; 307- 739-2626.
Hot air ballooning at sunrise
One of the first things people say when they step out of the basket of a hot air balloon is how quiet it was. A big sky float trip, offered by two Jackson Hole ballooners, is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The sense of elevation is deceiving. People with a fear of heights often report they barely knew they were lifting off or rising higher. Modern technology helps alleviate any propane smell from the burners which fill the balloon full of hot air which is warmer than the denser, colder air on the outside. Today’s burners are also whisper quiet.
You won’t be required to know that ballooning is the oldest successful human-carrying flight technology, invented by the Montgolfier brothers in 1782. An understanding of Archimedes’ principle is also not important; your FAA-certified pilot knows all that.
What you will need is warm clothing. Both local balloon companies fly only in the early morning hours when the winds and thermal activity are at their calmest. Bring a camera, of course, and go easy on the coffee – you’ll be away from facilities for the most part.
Expect the balloon companies to give you a 5:30 a.m. wake up call. They will pick you up and return you up to your lodgings by 9:30 a.m. Trips last about an hour and you’ll fly over private land in the Teton Village area at heights ranging from a few feet to 4,000 feet above the valley floor.
The season of CREATIVITY
A massive buffalo, 150 times its actual size, a regal eagle and other birds will stand their ground and take flight at the National Museum of Wildlife Art this summer as the new sculpture trail comes to life. Take a stroll down the newly installed pathway and watch it unfold as artists from all over the world visit to install their masterpieces.
The winding three-quarter-mile path was designed by award winning landscape architect Walter Hood, of Oakland, Calif., with plenty of serene resting spots. It begins at Bart Walter’s Wapiti Trail and continues uphill across from the Elk Refuge. The sculptures compete with spectacular views from the sage covered hillside. When it is complete, the trail will feature nearly 30 permanent and temporary works of art. Seven pieces will be installed this summer. The free schedule of events is as follows:
July 12: British artist Simon Gudgeon will unveil the birdform, “Isis.” He will also offer afternoon clay modeling workshops July 12 to14.
August 9: A second Sandy Scott sculpture, “Moose Flats,” will be unveiled with live music.
September 13: Richard Loffler’s 64-foot-long “Buffalo Trail” will be unveiled at a special commemorative ceremony, part of the museum’s annual “Western Visions” show.
Every third Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m. beginning June 21, more than 30 art galleries throughout town roll out the red carpet and uncork a bottle of wine and spark conversation about their artwork. Strollers can see paintings from contemporary masters like Monet and Picasso to wildlife photography by Tom Mangelsen, Western landscapes and watercolors by local artists, and special exhibits that include modern painting, sculpture and jewelry. Here are just a few highlights:
• Heather James Gallery will feature prints of Marilyn Monroe in June, serene paintings by Andy Taylor and Kaoru Mansour in July and mixed media and sculpture in August along with the masters in their permanent collection.
• The art walks coincide with the opening of two exhibits at Tayloe Piggot Gallery this sumer. On July 12 there will be a reception for James Castle, a deaf artist with a remarkable story who learned to draw and build sculptures from found objects. Susan York’s graphite sculptures will also be on display. Both artists have an architectural quality to their work, which plays with space and perspective. August 16 there will be an opening for an exhibit featuring Paul Villinski, an artist who is known for his installations featuring butterflies, birds and other flying objects.
• At Trio Fine Art, three local Western landscape artists will take turns featuring their work. Bill Sawczuk will have a solo exhibition of his plein air painting July 12. Kathryn Mapes Turner will have a solo show of her watercolors and impressionistic paintings Aug. 2. And Jennifer L. Hoffman will take over the gallery Aug. 23. The trio will also have a presence at the Western Visions show, an annual fundraiser at the National Wildlife Museum of Art and will be among a number of artists painting on Town Square for the Quick Draw art auction on September 15.
The Fall Arts Festival
As sure as the leaves begin to fall, the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce sponsors the Fall Arts Festival the second week of September each year. This year, from Sept. 6 to 16, there will be art competitions, exhibitions and even more action at the art walk on Thurs., Sept. 15. The fashion forward Western Design Conference and the tasty Taste of the Tetons are held at the same time.
Amy Ringholz, whose insomniac drawings of animals are shown at Altamira Fine Art, is the featured artist for the 2012 Fall Arts Festival. Her piece “Dreamers Don’t Sleep” will be on display at the National Museum of Wildlife Art.
Sept. 8, 5 to 8 p.m.: Palates and Palettes Gallery Walk
Where art is consumed best with wine and food.
Sept. 9, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.: Takin’ it to the Streets
A bevy of local artists set up booths on Town Square to display and sell original artwork.
Sept. 15, 9 a.m.: QuickDraw Art Sale
Artists are given one hour to paint or sculpt under the public eye. The works are then auctioned off to help pay for the event.
Miller Park Art Fair
A riot of color and sounds, Art Fair Jackson Hole at Miller Park has something for the whole family. Diverse and inventive visual arts and crafts, many steeped in Western culture, will be on display for two weekends. Up to 170 international, national and local artists participate, along with live music, food vendors and hands-on art activities for kids. The art fair is set up in tents around the play structure at Miller Park on the corner of Millward Street and Deloney Avenue.
Art Fair Jackson Hole, July 20 to 22 and Aug. 17 to 19, at Miller Park. $3 per day. jhartfair.org.
Yoga under the sun
With three prominent studios and numerous other gyms that offer yoga classes, there are plenty of opportunities to practice yoga indoors and out this summer, many for free. The National Museum of Wildlife Art will offer free yoga classes at the north end of its new sculpture trail on Thursdays at noon.
On Wednesdays, there are two gratis classes. Inversions Yoga is hosting free meditation with Soul Reader Carol Mann on Wednesdays from 7:30 to 8:30p.m. And the Jackson Hole People’s Market will have Wednesday evening yoga classes at 5 p.m.on the corner of Gill and Willow streets. Akasha Yoga also offers Deeksha Oneness meditation on Thursdays from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. by donation. And Teton Yoga Shala will do free yoga at 5p.m., June 24, July 29 and Sept. 9.
On Saturdays in July, Inversions will host three workshops to learn stand up paddleboard yoga. In August, the upside down studio will host masters classes by Prana Flow teacher Gina Caputo. And Akasha Yoga will have a lawn yoga party with a DJ, details to be announced soon.
Music and yoga will join forces in Teton Village July 15 at a concert by MC Yogi that is part of the Concerts on the Commons series. Yoga Today, a Jackson-based Web site offering daily classes online, will be there to teach yoga at 5 p.m. before the hip-hop artist gets down.
Akasha Yoga, 150 E. Hansen. 307-699-7370.
Inversions Yoga, 290 N. Millward.
Teton Yoga Shala, 3510 N. Lake Creek.
Patio & Deck DINING
It’s finally summer in Jackson, Wyo., and that means locals again have three months to hurriedly soak up the sun before winter starts threatening to creep back in. June marks a time for the annual emergence of blindingly pale legs, finding new hikes in Grand Teton National Park, enjoying days on the Snake River, and lingering over sunny meals with friends on the decks of local eateries, finally reopening from the off-season break.
Luckily for valley residents and visitors alike, restaurants with deck dining options are plentiful, so whether you’re looking for an open-air brunch, lunch with a view, sunset cocktails, or a breezy, relaxed dinner, you can find it here in Jackson.
Lotus Cafe offers a variety of wholesome and imaginative Indian-inspired dishes with a Western twist. Open for brunch, lunch, and dinner, you can enjoy the deck shared with The Kitchen all day. The Kitchen brings everything from fresh octopus crudo to rich red deer with cherries on its creative dinner menu. Pizzeria Caldera gives a peek into Town Square for a slice and a beer anytime from mid-day to evening, and Town Square Tavern overlooks the most popular elk antler arch, serving cold brews and bar fare for lunch and dinner. Around the corner, you can find brunch, lunch, and dinner at the Southern-inspired Café Genevieve, more down-home cooking for lunch or dinner at Sweetwater, and breakfast and lunch at the locals’ haunt Shades Café.
At the base of Snow King, 43 North serves up cocktails and pizza from an oven on its rooftop deck. If you’re looking for Thai food, Thai Me Up offers microbrews and a $6 curry special for happy hour, and Bon Appe Thai opens up at lunch for its well-loved Pad Thai. At Snake River Brewpub, a local brewery and restaurant, you can find everything
from salads, sandwiches and soups to burgers, pasta and pizza.
Catch a quick bite or a juicy burger for lunch or dinner at
Sidewinders, or enjoy an upscale night out with everything from a
raw bar to Bolognese at Rendezvous Bistro.
In Wilson, the Sawmill Grill is the spot to hit for beers and a postvelo
meal at the base of Teton Pass, and Calico, on the Village Road,
serves up an Italian lunch and dinner on its popular deck with an adjoining
yard for games. For eclectic dishes from its new menu, such
as a pork belly and beet salad to tangy barbeque fare, stop by the Q
Roadhouse, where it’s encouraged you toss your peanut shells on the
Off the beaten path
South of town, The Bird fires up the grill for freshly ground burgers
with a view of the valley. Dornan’s, located in Moose, boasts one of
the best Teton views in town, and cold beers and cocktails abound
alongside a tasty lunch and dinner menu.
Il Villagio Osteria offers an authentic Italian lunch or dinner for the
family or a date. For a quick snack or lunch, hit Nick Wilson’s for its
widely popular portabella fries, and for lunch or dinner with Asian
flair, visit Teton Thai in the Ranch Lot. The Deck at the Couloir offers
stunning views from the top of the Gondola, and its happy hour
menu includes creative cocktails and tasty small plates to share.
Jackson Hole boasts a wide array of summer activities for the
equestrian. From novice to advanced, breeches to chaps, there’s
something in the valley for all different riding types. Flying W Stables
in Wilson offers lessons for the fledgling English or Western student.
Jamie and Scott Putnam of Putnam Horsemanship offer an “Intro to
Rodeo” lesson series that can be enjoyed by the entire family in a
single session or extended into a lesson series. Sabine Kallas, the
only USDF certified instructor in Wyoming, offers high-level dressage
training and one-on-one trail ride lessons out of her barn in
Jackson. And in general, horse owners and enthusiasts can enjoy
plenty of trail riding available throughout the valley, from Teton
County to Togwotee Pass.
For the social rider and spectator, the Jackson Hole Rodeo takes
place every week on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. Don’t forget
to mark your calendars for the annual JH Therapeutic Riding
“Stomping the Divots” Benefit at the Melody Ranch Polo Fields on
Aug. 4th. Game-faced trail riders can look forward to Sleeping Indian
Outfitters’ summer “Poker Rides” on July 14 and Aug. 18. Rent or
bring your own horse for a day of poker, beer, trail riding, and a culminating
fire-roasted pig dinner.
Flying W Stables, Wilson. 307-734-9186
Putnam Horsemanship, Wilson. 307-690-0676
Sabine Kallas Dressage, Jackson. 307-699-3290
JH Therapeutic Riding Association, Teton Village. 307-733-1374
Sleeping Indian Outfitters, Bondurant. 307-733-6740
With more summer options than ever before to see the concert of a
lifetime in the shadows of the Tetons, it’s time to sharpen your decisiveness.
With respect to shows in clubs, theaters and festival atmospheres,
here are JH Weekly’s top- four picks in each category. But
trust me—this only scrapes the surface and there’s something for
everyone. Check the all-inclusive summer calendar to pick your
Seeing music in a club has a sense of intimacy, grit, and at times,
rowdiness. Often you can get close enough to touch the performers.
(not that you would, or should), but it’s a front porch vibe that can’t
307 Live presents Hayes Carll, July 29, at Town Square Tavern ($10
advance; $15 day-of-show). For those that don’t know Carll, he’s not
up-and-coming anymore—he’s laying down the path of post-Robert
Earl Keen, Texas alt-country that doesn’t get much more sharptongued
Carll’s duet tune explaining how stereotypes of polar opposites really
do attract, “Another Like You,” was American Songwriter’s No. 1
Song of 2011. That album, KMAG YOYO, was the Americana Music Association’s
No. 1 Album in the same year, not to mention making Bestof
Lists for Rolling Stone, SPIN and The New York Times Critic’s Choice.
He’s the real deal, and won’t be at this price point for much longer.
James McMurtry with The Gourds, Sept. 21, at the Knotty Pine in
Victor (price TBA). Two of Austin’s greatest staples in the same night?
It’s hard to beat a club bill that’s stacked like so. McMurtry is a fine
wordsmith and story-through-song artist. Telling it like it is over heavy
electric guitar chords and backed by drums and bass, this is singersongwriter
country at its gritty core, unwashed and blue-collar.
The Gourds are an all-out party band that has been logging road
miles for the better part of two decades. They just released album
number 10, Old Mad Joy, though this is a band that must be seen to
307 Live presents Dirty Dozen Brass Band, July 12, at Town Square
Tavern ($20 advance; $25 day-of-show). Not just a band, Dirty Dozen
is an institution. Celebrating its 35th year, this project was born
straight from the second-line, funk and bebop rhythms you’d find on
the streets of New Orleans. There’s power in numbers, and you’ll feel
every nuance of this septet that stages trumpet, saxes, drums, guitar,
flugelhorn, and sousaphone. This is uplifting dance music. All you
have to do is let it in.
God Bless America Fest featuring Katchafire, B-Side Players, Mike
Dillon Band, The Lonesome Heroes, Gary Newcomb Trio, and Greg
Creamer with Ted Wells, July 4, outside at the Knotty Pine (free). Very
rarely are there this many acts on a club bill, much less this much
eclectic talent. From 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. you can celebrate America’s
independence with reggae, Latin funk, experimental fusion, psychedelic
country, folk, and Americana. BBQ will be the fare of choice and
a backyard vibe will be the icing on your day.
Saturday of the three-day, 8th Annual Targhee Fest features The
Wood Brothers, Black Joe Lewis and The Honeybears, Railroad Earth,
Chris Robinson Brotherhood and Drive By Truckers, July 14, at Grand
Targhee Resort (Saturday-only is $55 early bird or $65 week-of, threeday
festival pass is $119 early bird or $169 week-of).
Yes, by all means go all three days if you can, but Saturday would be
the go-to day if only one is feasible. I like this day because it incorporates
all of the key elements of hearing many different genres of music
—roots/rock, alt-country, soul/R&B, bluegrass/jamgrass, and
folk/blues. Aside from Railroad Earth, Saturday’s lineup also showcases
all new acts to the Targhee stage, which is certainly appreciated
by locals who attend this, the greatest little festival on Earth!
Teton Valley Foundation’s Music on Main series featuring Blitzen
Trapper with The Shook Twins, July 5, at Victor City Park (free). Hopefully
you don’t go too big on 4th of July because Blitzen Trapper could
be at the peak of its 12-year career. The experimental folk-country-rock
quintet stole Jackson’s heart at a packed Pink Garter Theatre last winter,
and it all spurs from a genuinely singular approach to songwriting
while maintaining the melodic elements that make us all feel good.
JacksonHoleLive! presents Justin Townes Earle with Screen Door
Porch, July 25, at Snow King Ball Park (free). For some, “Townes” and
“Earle” ring a bell, but not combined with the Justin part. Son of
singer-songwriter/country artist Steve Earle, Justin Townes Earle received
an Americana Music Award for Emerging Artist of the Year,
nominations for Album of the Year (Midnight at the Movies) and for
Artist of the Year in 2009. And last year, he received the Americana
Music Award in the Song of the Year category for “Harlem River Blues,”
from the album of the same name. And all for good reason—he’s a
quirky treasure of a songwriter and performer that will some day surpass
his father in name recognition.
Nicki Bluhm and The Gramblers with Benyaro, July 29, at Concert on
the Commons in Teton Village (free). Hearing Bluhm sing in person was
one of my favorite concert moments in recent memory. She’s going big
places and it’s worth perusing the band’s YouTube “van sessions,” which
has gone viral in recent months. Indie/acoustic/soul duo Benyaro is
your best reason to not miss the opening band.
Caldera Festival featuring Andrew Bird, Sharon Van Etten, and Kelly
Hogan in Center Park, Aug. 18, at the Center for the Arts ($20 general admission,
$75 VIP). Indie prince Andrew Bird is highly prolific, and few
artists can handle guitar, whistling, violin, and songwriting with such
grace and considerable thought. Brooklyn singer-songwriter Sharon Van
Etten has taken the music world by storm, receiving near unanimous
praise from Rolling Stone, The New York Times, Spin, Paste, Pitchfork,
and many others. Bonus: this outside show is priced right for everyone.
Heartless Bastards with Little Hurricane, Aug. 7, at the Pink Garter
Theatre ($15 advance, $18 day-of-show). Defined by
singer/guitarist/songwriter Erika Wennerstrom’s remarkable voice,
Heartless Bastards bring confidence and creativity in the form of a multidimensional
rock band that has honed to a razor’s edge since forming in
2003. Think The Black Keys, with a female flair. Wennerstrom can sound
primal and pleading, heartfelt and heroic, with a straight-ahead approach
to her music that raw rock fans are in love with.
Los Lobos, July 30, at Center Park ($25 single, $75 family). When
enough people tell you that this is one of the best live shows they’ve
ever seen, it’s worth taking notice. A multiple Grammy-winning American
Chicano rock band, Los Lobos is more than three decades into its
career. From Tex-Mex, country, folk, R&B and blues, as well as the traditional
Mexican songs from the its roots, the band fuses sounds from
Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit, Aug. 3, at the Pink Garter Theatre ($15
advance, $18 day-of-show). When Isbell left Drive-by Truckers in 2007
to pursue a solo career, it was a bold move for the up-and-comer to
ditch the huge crowds and go it alone. But look now—Isbell leads the
pack of 2012 Americana Music Honorees with four nods including
Artist of the Year.
Wrestling pigs, vehicular destruction and observing
the oddities of carnies are just some of the
reasons you shouldn’t miss the Teton County Fair
this year from July 22 to 29. Pig wrestling happens
at 7 p.m., July 26, and it brings together people of
all ages dressed in their most creative/farcical attire
(think men in stuffed bras and teenagers
decked in diapers), hoping to tame a screeching
swine as it runs like hell through the mud praying
for an escape. Civilized behavior and the PETA
philosophy fall to the wayside for this event that
brings us all back to our Wyomin’ roots.
An impressive scene of destruction and mayhem
happens 7 p.m., July 29, for the Figure 8
races. This is when beat-up rides race around a
figure eight racetrack while the crowd throws
back beers, cheering on the possibility of crashes,
collisions and t-bones. Dollar bills fly high as
spectators place their bets on which car will come
out alive. During last year’s event, much to the
crowd’s watching pleasure, Tim Hoff’s ‘87 Volkswagen
Jetta erupted into flames, sending Hoff arunning
from his VW.
Of course the fair wouldn’t be complete without
an evening concert. This year, bluegrass
Americana outfit One Ton Pig plays danceable,
down and dirty “outlaw-country” along with
cover band Mandatory Air rockin’ a set of pop
hits, 7 p.m., July 27. Victorious pig wrestlers with their mud drenched swine.
Mud, madness and music
By Robyn Vincent
Short, sweet and local
Since the valley’s growing season lasts a mere 90 days, locals and visitors alike delight in the short-lived Farmers Market, which happens 8
a.m. to noon every Saturday, beginning July 7, on Town Square during the summer. From verdant arugula, bok choy, basil and kale to ripe raspberries,
blackberries, and strawberries, this little market offers up some favorite summertime fare. Vendors also sling freshly baked goods, made
with love and local ingredients, such as pies, pastries and cookies. And each week a featured restaurant doles out samples of some of its tastiest
dishes. Live music completes the scene on Town Square that pulsates all morning long with crowds of locavores.
If you can’t make the Famers Market on Saturdays, head to the Peoples Market, 4 to 7 p.m., every Wednesday, at the parking lot of the Redeemer
Lutheran Church. The Peoples Market is a smaller, headier version of the Saturday Farmers Market. Here you can stock up on items such as local
produce, fresh herbs, flower starters, handmade and artisanal goods, and baked treats while listening to live music and sipping local brews.
For more fruits and vegetable hailing from Wyoming and the region, visit The Original Jackson Hole Famer’s Market, Thurs.-Sat, beginning
July 5. The market is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Movieworks Plaza.
Jackson Whole Grocer also holds a farmers market on Wednesdays in front of its store featuring local produce and goods. Whole Grocer rates
each participating farmer according to the farmer’s location, its
means of sustainable production and if the crops are certified organic.
Set the children free
Lose your kids in the Jackson Hole Amaze’n Maze, where children
compete with each other through twists and turns in labyrinthine passageways
to see who will be the first out of the maze. Certain mazegoers
will even win prizes for their superior navigation skills. After the
kids are sufficiently disoriented they can jump on a unicycle, travel
back in time to the Gold Rush days panning for gold or break out the
squirt guns to cool off. The Amaze’n Maze is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.,
Monday through Saturday. Maze entry is $5; $3 for re-runs.
Cinematic piece of the past
Drive-ins, which represent a less complicated time (before popcorn
prices reached the double digits), will never die and the Spud is living
proof. Two weeks after the Teton Valley, Idaho drive-in announced it
would be shutting down in June 2011, a former owner and a former employee
stepped up to the plate to save the drive-in. Around the same
time, a Facebook page dubbed “Save the Spud” had already garnered
more than 1,500 fans who rallied for the longtime drive-in–which is on
the National Register of Historic sites– to remain open.
Take a trip to Driggs, Idaho for a simpler, nostalgic movie viewing experience
underneath the starry sky complete with 1950s-style snacks.
Oh, and you can’t miss the Spud; just look for a giant potato resting on
a flatbed truck. Showtime is at 9:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays. 208-
354-2727. $7; $5 seniors; $3 children