For generations the dramatic landscape of Jackson Hole has lured visitors, but long before they came for the world-class skiing, or renowned Western art scene, people flocked to Jackson’s dude ranches.
The valley was settled like much of the West, by cowboys and ranchers. The romantic idea of riding a horse below the stunning jagged peaks drew the area’s first tourists who came to stay at the dude ranches.
Alfred Eisenstaedt, a LIFE photographer, captured the valley in 1948 when “cowboy” was still a common profession in the valley and tourists visited real working ranches staying for weeks at a time.
Time Magazine shared 22 of these Technicolor images. Check out the gallery. While much has changed, you can still find solitude- and plenty of fish- in the area rivers. You can still grab a drink at the Cowboy Bar and might even find yourself talking to some “real” cowboys. And the beauty- both the wildlife lining the roads and majestic mountains- set a scene that never gets old.