Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park offer more activities than any other destination in the world. Here are some of the not-so-obvious ways to enjoy your summer days.
Family Rock Climbing for the Day
The Tetons have been a world-renown climbing mecca since the early days, and with Exum Mountain Guides you can take the family — or send the kids for a day — on a program that reaps the authentic Jackson Hole climbing experience. Exum’s family program at Hidden Falls is customized to your crew, assuring a day everyone will remember as you push through your comfort zone. Alternatively, send the kids and utilize the day for some adult quality time.
Paragliding at Teton Village
No experience necessary to soar like a bird of prey around Rendezvous Mountain and the base of Teton Village. Enjoy exceptional views of the valley as you ride the thermals giving you lift during your 10- to 15-minute flight from the mountaintop to the base. Owner, Scott Harris, and his guides have an amazing safety record and I recommend this for the whole family. Learn more.
Biking the Jackson Hole Pathways
With over 56 miles of pathways and counting in Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park, your bike excursions can safely take you in many directions. I have some favorite itineraries with both the family and my wife given time and energy levels.
- From the town of Jackson to Dornan’s and back. Enjoy lunch on the deck, tour the National Museum of Wildlife Art, Craig Thomas Discovery Center and the Menor’s Ferry Historical District along the way. Approx. 26 miles round-trip; rent a bike at Teton Mountain Bike Tours & Rentals.
- Ride from Dornan’s to Jenny Lake Lodge for lunch and back. Take time to nap around Jenny Lake and enjoy the views of being immediately under the Teton Range. Approx. 16 miles round-trip; rent a bike at Adventure Sports in the Dornan’s complex.
- Wilson to Teton Village. You can start in either location and make a loop. It’s a nice way to see the “Westbank” and you can break it up by stopping into the Aspen’s Market or Elevated Grounds for a treat. Approx. 16 miles round-trip. Rent a bike at Jackson Hole Sports in Teton Village or Wilson Backcountry Sports in Wilson.
Paddleboarding the Jackson Hole waters
Our area lakes and rivers are perfect for paddleboarding. One of my favorite spots is String Lake in Grand Teton National Park, a smaller and shallower lake in the chain at the base of the mountains, which makes it warmer! When our kids were little they’d play for hours around the lakeside, which attracts many families given the beautiful setting, and access to water the kids can play in. You can also take the short portage to Leigh Lake and expand the number of miles of paddling. Paddling while standing up gives you a new perspective of seeing what’s below and is also a great workout.
If you are a beginner or would like a guide, Rendezvous River Sports offers trips on the Snake River and instruction. Rent paddleboards or canoes in the town of Jackson at Rendezvous River Sports, Leisure Sports or in Dornan’s at Adventure Sports.
Scenic Aerial Flights
Admittedly, I love flying — as a lifetime student of aviation I think one of the best ways to gain perspective of a place is to take an aerial flight. Even better at sunrise or sunset with the dramatic light.
Fly Jackson Hole offers scenic trips around the valley and the Tetons. You can also book a photo trip to Yellowstone National Park with them and see the geysers from the air. For an up-close view of the Teton’s and the magic of quite flight, try a glider in the summer from Teton Aviation. It takes you right into the high alpine environment for views you’ll never see from the ground. Located in Driggs, Idaho, just a 45-minute scenic drive over Teton Pass.
Hot Air Ballooning
We all marvel each morning at the balloons rising and falling in the morning light, wishing we were taking in the view and experiencing the morning unfolding from the basket of a balloon which is thousands of feet off the ground. Generally after a hot air balloon ride, you are back on the ground while most folks are finding their coffee maker for that first cup, giving you the whole day in front of you. www.WyomingBalloon.com
Boating on Jackson Lake
The area has the nickname the “little Switzerland of America.” When you are out on Jackson Lake you’ll see why with how the Tetons just jump straight up out of the water, towering upwards of 7,000 feet above you. Some of my favorite evenings are spent sailing on the lake. You can rent a pontoon boat or runabout at Signal Mountain Marina or Colter Bay (runabout only) to tour the lake and have a picnic lunch on a remote island.
Photos by Latham Jenkins