When the snow begins to fall in Jackson Hole, folks from all over the world arrive in town to experience the area’s world-class powder skiing.
Although a popular destination for winter sports enthusiasts, as well as a popular home base for people visiting Grand Teton or Yellowstone in winter, Jackson, WY has fun in store for everyone – even non-skiers!
From sightseeing and exploring Western U.S. heritage to riding the slopes at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and snowy sleigh rides, Jackson Hole is an inclusive wintertime retreat that all can appreciate.
Perfect for adventurers, couples, families, and friends, Jackson, WY is a must-visit winter destination with a seemingly endless list of activities to offer!
If you’re planning on visiting Jackson Hole in winter, here’s a variety of fun things to do — but first, let’s quickly go over a few essential things to know before visiting Jackson Hole in winter!
Ideally, in January or February, after the Christmas rush but before all the schools have their spring break and snowbirds descend on Jackson Hole for some spring break skiing.
However, I know that for many Americans with limited vacation time, time is just as important as money when it comes time to planning your trip.
Parents who have to plan their travels around the school calendar will have little choice but to opt for a trip over the winter break or possibly spring break if it’s early enough.
If you’re from the East Coast and have a mid-winter break and a spring break (something which absolutely blew my mind when I taught in NYC, as we only have spring break in California!) going during your mid-winter break would be perfect.
It won’t be nearly as crowded, as Jackson Hole is more popular with West Coasters than East Coasters, and West Coasters tend not to have time off during February the way East Coasters do.
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Grand Teton absolutely is open in the winter; however, several roads are closed to vehicle traffic and become maintained snow lanes for all kinds of winter sports, such as cross-country skiing and snowshoeing! It’s a ton of fun, and you absolutely should plan for some time in Grand Teton in the winter.
Yellowstone, on the other hand, is harder to access in winter. While on a map, you may assume that Yellowstone is super close and therefore easy to access, note that a lot of the roads through Yellowstone are closed in the winter.
There’s a way around this, of course: you can take a snowmobile tour into Yellowstone to see attractions such as Old Faithful and other geothermal features, but it’s pretty much an all-day affair and needs be done by guided snowmobile tour or by booking a snowcoach transfer, which is very time-consuming.
Personally, I’d only try to visit Yellowstone on your Jackson Hole trip if you have 3 days or more OR are not planning to ski or snowboard. Otherwise, it’s a lot of time to dedicate to a day trip.
It’s impossible to predict this with any certainty, as it totally depends on the year’s snowfall thus far. Jackson has steeper slopes and therefore requires more snowfall than less steep ski resorts.
However, statistically, Jackson has a 82% open rate by Christmas Day. Those aren’t odds that I would want to hinge an entire ski vacation on, so be sure to either plan enough activities to keep yourself busy in case ski season hasn’t begun yet or plan for a later ski vacation, such as in February or March, when there definitely should be enough snow!
Jackson Hole has earned a reputation for being expensive, and unfortunately I have to concur!
Skiing is expensive. A full-day lift ticket costs around $160 at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and around $60 at the smaller Snow King Resort. You can get deals for weeklong passes, but that’s an expensive baseline to start at.
Accommodation in Jackson in winter is also expensive simply because of supply and demand. I suggest opting for an Airbnb if budget is a concern — and I have several I’ll recommend at the end of this post!
Yes! Jackson is the name of one of the main towns in the area, whereas Jackson Hole refers to the valley encompassing several towns in the Jackson area, including Teton Village (the main ski resort area) and other small towns like Moose, Wilson, and Moran Junction.
Best Things to Do in Jackson Hole in Winter
Snowmobile in paradise!
Jackson Hole receives multiple feet of snow every winter, making it a popular destination for snowmobiling! The area boasts a wide variation in terrain along with hundreds of trail miles to explore.
If you’ve never been snowmobiling in Jackson Hole before or are completely new to the sport, scheduling a trip with a local guide is highly encouraged and easy to do!
There are many outfitters to choose from, and with an area expert in the lead, you can be sure you’re traveling through the scenic landscape safely.
Not sure which snowmobiling tour to go with? I suggest this well-reviewed outfitter, which runs full-day tours of their ranch and other beautiful backcountry areas you’d absolutely never get a chance to see in winter on foot.
Backcountry snowmobile to Granite Hot Springs
For a snowmobile adventure unlike any other, book a guided trip to Granite Hot Springs in the Gros Ventre Mountain Range.
Your guide service will provide transportation to the trailhead, which is 24 miles south of Jackson, WY.
From the trailhead, riders will follow their professional guide deep into the Bridger-Teton National Forest through a wintery wonderland before reaching the steamy hot springs.
This wilderness hot tub usually measures 105 °F but can reach up to 112 °F! The excursion to Granite Hot Springs is about 20-miles of riding round trip and takes a half-day.
Guests are expected to bring their own towels and bathing suits to soak in the springs.
Do a full-day adventure into Yellowstone National Park
If you’re seeking a full-day snowmobiling adventure, consider taking a guided trip into Yellowstone National Park to see Old Faithful erupt!
Beginning early in the morning, your guide service (I suggest Brushbuck Tours) will shuttle you to the trailhead where you will begin your 90-mile snowmobile journey through Yellowstone’s pristine landscape.
While riding past the mountain vistas, keep your eyes peeled for wildlife. This national park adventure offers the opportunity to see bison, elk, deer, moose, and even wolves!
Take a magical sleigh ride through the National Elk Refuge
Get ready to dash through the snow on a horse-drawn sleigh! You’ll want to bundle up for this sleigh ride adventure.
The 1-hour ride takes visitors into the National Elk Refuge, just outside of Grand Teton National Park, for a wildlife tour you’ll never forget.
In the company of a professional guide and experienced naturalist, you will be taken across the refuge to get a closer look at the elk that winter there.
I recommend booking with this trusted tour company who is taking lots of safety precautions, including mandating face masks for participants and guides, regular temperature checks for guides, and sanitization of all surfaces in between uses.
In addition to that, it’s a top-rated attraction with a 5-star rating and tons of verified positive reviews, and it includes transfers to and from Jackson.
This astonishing refuge is home to the largest migratory elk herd in North America and is frequented by a variety of other wildlife!
As you ask your guide questions and check out the residents, you’ll also have picturesque views of the Tetons in the background.
The sleigh rides operate between mid-December and early-April. Advanced reservations are highly encouraged – especially during the holiday season! This ride is great for families, couples, and friends visiting Jackson Hole in the wintertime.
Go shopping in Downtown Jackson
Shop ’til you drop in Jackson’s Town Square!
Begin your tour of the downtown stores at the Antler Arch, which also makes an excellent photo backdrop! From here, you can easily walk to any of these fun downtown stores:
Jackson Hole Resort Store: This is the perfect store for branded souvenirs and endless browsing!
Teton Toys: Find fun holiday gifts for the little ones in your life or a classic board game to bring back to your Airbnb.
Lee’s Tees: Rep your winter trip to Jackson, WY with a shirt designed by a local artist. Lee’s Tees has a wide selection of graphic shirts everyone will love.
Jackson Hole Jewelry Co.: Fall in love with handcrafted jewelry for yourself or as a gift for a special someone.
Stio: Here, you can find stylish clothing for recreation or everyday wear. Stio has timeless items that are rugged enough to stand up to the challenges of outdoor adventure!
Go dog sledding with a team of enthuastic pups!
I’ve gone dog-sledding several times, in Norway and Sweden, but I’ve still yet to go in Jackson — however, it is on my list!
Dog sledding is an extremely fun activity for both the humans and the dogs involved. The huskies are quite literally born to run, and every single time I’ve gone dog-sledding (three times) I’ve been impressed by the dog’s enthusiasm, energy, and absolute adoration for what they do.
This dog-sledding tour is a self-driving tour which, in my opinion, is the only fun way to do it! This is when you help out your team of pups by helping them steer the sled, control the brakes, and assist on running up any uphill portions so that the dogs aren’t the only ones doing the work. It’s actually quite a workout and it’s a ton of fun!
The dogs are well-loved and taken care of by the ranch, and the musher, Mike, has been dog-sledding and racing for over 30 years!
It’s also a great tour for recreating outside safely and maintaining physical distance, since it’s only one person per sled. Spots are limited and I expect this to be a popular tour this year so I encourage you to book ahead.
Snap a photo at the lit-up Antler Arch
The Antler Arch is a popular photo spot in Jackson Hole no matter what the time of year.
There’s no denying it gets even more festive in winter, when blue-tinted fairy lights adorn the snow-dusted antlers and make for the ultimate Jackson Hole Instagram stop.
Explore Jackson’s art displays, museums, and galleries
Interested in exploring Jackson’s diverse art scene?
There are over 10 galleries within walking distance of Jackson Town Square, and even more spread throughout the town.
Among all of these galleries, Jackson is also home to the well-known National Museum of Wildlife Art.
With over 5,000 pieces of art representing wildlife from around the world, there’s so much to discover at the National Museum of Wildlife Art!
In addition to a world-renowned art collection, including work from artists like Georgia O’Keeffe, Andy Warhol, John James Audubon, and Henri Rousseau, the National Museum of Wildlife Art offers guided tours with professional docents.
It also has a breathtaking location overlooking the National Elk Refuge, a museum store, dining on location at the Palate Restaurant, and a 3/4-mile trail to view beautiful bronze sculptures.
Also, be on the lookout for Jackson’s many public art displays, including the 4,000-pound sculpture of a bronco rider that welcomes all arriving in the Cowboy State from the Jackson Hole Airport!
Go sledding or tubing at Snow King
Who said sledding was just for kids?
In Jackson Hole, anyone with a need for speed is encouraged to try out the tubing at Snow King Resort!
Located right in the town of Jackson, Snow King has a specially designed lift with groomed lanes just for tubing! You can buy a Big King pass which allows you to do all the activity
Do a winter safari in Grand Teton National Park
Jackson Hole is so close to Grand Teton National Park that people commonly use it as the place they stay while visiting the national park, so it only makes sense that if you’re staying in Jackson in winter, you ought to visit Grand Teton as well!
Admission is $35 per vehicle for 7 days of access, so you can make return visits any time you like.
If you plan on visiting a few national parks this year, I highly recommend investing in an America the Beautiful pass! It gives you one year of free entry to all National Parks and other federally-administered protected areas (National Forests, National Seashores, etc. — over 2,000 sites!) for the low price of $79.99. Plus, 10% of that goes back into the National Park Foundation to keep the land pure, beautiful, and accessible for all.
Buy your America the Beautiful annual pass online here!
I have an entire guide to visiting Grand Teton in winter, and I recommend reading it here as you’ll be sure to add a few things to your Jackson Hole winter bucket list from this post!
If you prefer a guided but private experience, you can do a small-group winter safari tour of Grand Teton and its wildlife, limited just to you, your guide, and your family/pod. You can find moose, wolves, bighorn sheep, elk, and all sorts of wildlife in the winter (just don’t expect bears — they’ll be hibernating). Book it here.
For a similar experience but better suited to a single person or couple traveling, you can buy individual tickets on a Grand Teton winter wildlife tour, though do note it is shared with other people. However, masks are required and provided in shared areas. Book it here.
Visit the Ice Castle in Teton Village
If you are traveling with young kids, they’ll love the Ice Castle in Teton Village, in the Village Commons area.
It’s located right next to a small hill, which is perfect for sledding and snowplay.
The castle is made from snow and ice and has kiddos playing around it all hours of the day.
There’s also a skating rink here and the ice castles get lit up at night to make it a great place to spend an evening with the family.
Visit Jackson Hole Mountain Resort for skiing or snowboarding
If you love to ski or snowboard, a visit to Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is probably already high on your list of must-do activities.
After all, this powder paradise has exciting terrain for all experience levels and ages to shred!
I’m not a skier or a snowboarder, so I’ll let you peruse the official Jackson Hole tourism website which has all the info you’ll need to know to pick the perfect ski resort for you.
Ride “Big Red” to 10,450 feet
There are even fun winter activities for non-skiers to experience resort-life!
Anyone wishing to take in the alpine views at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort on foot should make time to ride the Aerial Tram (AKA Big Red) to 10,450 ft. There are even waffles waiting for you at the top!
After your 9 minute ride up the mountain, pop into Corbet’s Cabin for one of their world-famous waffles! They pair perfectly with the mountain scenery.
Enjoy an après-ski scene for all
Whether you’re coming from a powder day at the resort or an afternoon roaming downtown shops, après ski begins at 3PM!
For folks coming off the slopes, the Mangy Moose is widely-known for their après fun among visitors and locals alike. Cold beer, signature drinks, and filling nachos are only a few of the restaurant’s top attractions.
Grab a table after a long day of skiing or riding and listen to some live music as you recount the day’s excitement.
Downtown Jackson has an après scene of its own, and a local favorite is the Million Dollar Cowboy. You may recognize this bar’s famous saddle stools!
If you’re looking for some après-ski fun in town, pop into this lively watering hole for western ambiance, music, mouthwatering steak, and a refreshing beverage!
Enjoy the delicious Jackson Hole dining scene
Foodies, this one is for you! Jackson Hole is the heart of the west but home to cuisines from all over the world.
If your breakfast, lunch, and dinner were from all the best restaurants in Jackson, the lineup would look like this:
Breakfast: Delicious espresso drinks and gourmet French bakery items come together at Persephone Bakery. Take something to go or dine in. There’s something everyone will love here from light and sweet to filling and savory!
Lunch: Every town has its signature burger place, and in Jackson, it’s Liberty Burger. Reasonably priced with a wide selection of local brews on tap, there’s no wonder why Liberty Burger is a local favorite! Try your first bison burger with onion rings on the side. They even have great veggie burgers!
Dinner: For dinner, pass around a variety of European-style small plates at Bin22. Make reservations in advance or arrive early because this is one of the most popular dinner restaurants in Jackson Hole! Sip on hand-selected wines and indulge in the best flavors your palate has ever tasted.
Dessert: If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll want to stop by Moo’s Gourmet Ice Cream. Their all-natural ice cream made with 100% organic cream is to die for. For those out there that don’t like ice cream, Moo’s also has a wide selection of baked goods, truffles, and even offers house-blend coffee!
Hit up the local breweries
Jackson has a great brewery scene that you absolutely should check out while you’re there!
Roadhouse & Brewing Company is a favorite stop on the Wyoming Beer Trail. The brewery started as homebrewers and they’ve kept true to their roots, focusing on small-batch beers inspired by the landscapes around them.
Snake River Brewing is another local favorite, which also offers tours of their brewery — just e-mail them to set up a tour.
StillWest Brewery & Grill also operates in town and always has several beers which are standard (a kolsch, an APA, a red ale, a pilsner, and a porter) and 3+ seasonal offerings.
Jackson Winter Weather
In a word? COLD!
So cold, in fact, that the coldest temperature Wyoming ever experienced was measured in Moran, Grand Teton National Park, just 31 miles from Jackson — a bone-chilling -63 degrees Fahrenheit, back in 1933!
But don’t worry — that’s not exactly the average temperature in Jackson in winter.
Here are the breakdowns for winter temperatures and weather conditions in Jackson in winter, and what to expect on a month-by-month basis from November through March.
November: Average high of 40° F and an average low of 17° F, with 6 days of rain/snow
December: Average high of 28° F and an average low of 7° F, with 8 days of snow.
January: Average high of 28° F and an average low of 5° F, with 8 days of snow.
February: Average high of 33° F and an average low of 9° F, with 6 days of snow.
March: Average high of 42° F and an average low of 18° F, with 10 days of snow/rain.
What to Pack for Jackson Hole in Winter
If you’re going to do any winter hiking, skiing (cross-country or downhill), snowmobiling, or general snow play, you’ll want to bring waterproof outer layers like snow pants or waterproof hiking pants as well as a waterproof jacket.
Underneath, you’ll want lots of layers: think thermals, wool socks, and a cozy sweater. You’ll also need proper snow boots and winter accessories.
Waterproof Parka: In the snow and cold of winter in Jackson Hole, you’ll want something like this wonderful North Face parka. I’ve had this one for ten years and it’s held up beautifully from everything to biking in NYC in winter to visiting north of the Arctic circle in Tromso and Abisko. It’ll certainly do you well in Jackson in winter!
Waterproof Pants: If you’re doing any winter hiking, skiing, sledding, snowboarding (basically, anything more intense than just checking out viewpoints you can drive to) you’ll want waterproof pants: trust me, jeans just won’t do!
Thermal Layers: Underneath whatever clothes you choose to wear, you’ll likely need some thermal layers to keep you warm in the Jackson winter cold.
Snow Boots: For snow boots, I suggest these cute and cozy Sorel boots, which are waterproof and warm but also have plenty of traction. Add some Yaktrax to the bottom for grip on icy surfaces and pathways. These are a godsend!
Winter Accessories: No matter what the temperature, winter accessories like a hat, gloves, and scarf are always a good idea! They help you layer and protect your most sensitive parts (ears, head, fingers) from the cold.
Snowshoes: Many trails in nearby Grand Teton National Park in winter will require proper snowshoes (different than snow boots!) if you want to do some winter trekking.
Camera: You’ll want a camera to capture all that Wyoming winter beauty! I use and love my Sony A6000! It’s mirrorless, so it’s lightweight and perfect for a high-quality camera that won’t weigh your pack down.
Headlamp (and extra batteries): If you’re hiking in or doing anything in the mountains in winter, it can get dark early — and quickly. Bring a headlamp in case any hikes take longer than expected or if you are planning any sunset hikes. This Petzl headlamp is highly-rated and affordable.
Where to Stay in Jackson in Winter
Best Overall: Wyoming Inn
The chic yet laid-back Wyoming Inn at Jackson Hole is my personal pick for where to stay in Jackson, WY! This charming hotel is super cozy and is designed with Western-style decor.
The inn’s lobby comes with a roaring fireplace, is toned with warm colors with lots of wood elements, and has an overall rustic design that gives you serious cabin vibes with modern hotel amenities.
The Inn also has its own designated fitness center complete with fancy Peloton equipment, a big hot tub to soak sore muscles in, and complimentary tea, hot chocolate, and cookies by the fireplace! There’s also a great on-site restaurant for nights when you’re too tired to properly hit the town.
Best on a Budget: Elk Country Inn
If you’re traveling Jackson on a budget, look to the beautiful The Elk Country Inn. It’s highly rated by fellow travelers and affordable (well, by Jackson standards) for cost-conscious travelers.
It’s located just 4 blocks from Town Square in central Jackson, and the rooms are modern, spacious, and clean.
I’ll admit, the ambiance is a bit generic/standard hotel, and it doesn’t quite have the cool hipster points that. aplace like Wyoming Inn has, but it’s warm, comfortable, and well-appointed.
There’s also an indoor swimming pool and a lobby fireplace: two big wins considering its budget-friendly price tag.
Best in Luxury: Teton Mountain Lodge & Spa
If cost is not a factor, the stunning Teton Mountain Lodge and Spa (a Noble House Resort) is a no-brainer.
This hotel is as luxurious as it gets in Jackson Hole, located in Teton Village just about a mile from Grand Teton National Park. It’s perfect for people who plan on skiing while in Jackson because it’s basically a ski-in, ski-out hotel.
There are a variety of room types, all with a gorgeous fireplace and cooking area, so you can find everything from queen studios to bi-level two-bedroom suites. While none are particularly budget-friendly, you can find the best size and style to suit your needs.
In terms of luxury amenities, there is a phenomenal on-site restaurant, a chic bar area with a great apres-ski scene, indoor and outdoor hot tubs, an indoor heated pool, a massage and spa center, and a gorgeous outdoor heated pool that’s lit up beautifully at night for after-dark dips under the Wyoming stars!
There’s so much to do and see in Jackson Hole in winter!
There’s no denying, this snowy paradise is the perfect destination for foodies, outdoor enthusiasts, powder hounds, and view-seekers alike!
If you’re planning a winter escape, you may want to read these guides which will help!
- Grand Teton in Winter: 30 Things to Know Before You Go
- Yellowstone in Winter: 30 Useful Things to Know Before Visiting
- Best Places to Spend Christmas in the USA
- The 13 Best USA National Parks
- The Perfect 2 Days in Grand Teton Itinerary