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Jackson Area Guide
Jackson is a mountainous valley located in the southwestern corner of Wyoming amongst rushing rivers and lush national forests. As the only incorporated town in this unfettered frontier, Jackson has become home to the largest transportation depots, ski resorts, and national refuges in the state!
Home to the Nation’s first and most expansive national park, Teton County itself is home to nearly three million acres of federally and state owned lands including Yellowstone National Forest, the Grand Teton National Park, and the Bridger-Teton National Forest which occupies over three-and-a-half million acres itself! Nearly ninety-seven-percent of Teton County is federally or state owned property, making it an ideal location to enjoy the richness of nature.
Known for its abundant wildlife, tightly knit citizens, and outstanding public organizations; Jackson has become one of the most beloved habitats in the nation for both man and beast, and offers a rare lifestyle of adventure and escape!
The world’s first National Park, Yellowstone, was established in 1872. This was eighteen years before Wyoming was even ratified into statehood! Later this legendary geological oasis was joined by the Grand Teton Forest in 1929, but Jackson Hole’s history goes back much further than even that!
Early explorers arrived in the low-lying valleys of Teton County lured by the diverse populations of wildlife species. Native Americans arrived thousands of years ago while following Buffalo and other large game, while European and American visitors would later venture into the area seeking the valuable pelts of fur bearing creatures such as beavers.
In the summers prior to the nineteenth century, Native American hunters would fill the valley from the Shoshoni, Crow, Blackfeet, Bannock, and Gros Ventre tribes. The Jackson Hole Historial Society has passionately worked to preserve the evidential artifacts from these amazing cultures for the betterment of Jackson Hole’s current residents.
In 1803, Thomas Jefferson recruited Lewis and Clark to lead an expedition across the vast Louisiana frontier in order to conquer and chart the unknown. This expedition began along the Missouri River before crossing the foreboding Rocky Mountains and venturing as far north as Montana while en route to the Pacific Ocean.
One of the members of this expedition, John Colter, headed back into the mountains while on the return trip in the hope that he might establish a fur-trading business. This initiated early Jackson’s prolific fur trading industry, which occurred due to cooperation between American frontiersmen and Crow Indians, who sold their inventories to populations further east to make fine hats.
One of these early trappers, David Jackson, renamed the area after spending a winter along the shores of its lake in 1829. It was his trading partner, William Sublette, who referred to the area as “Jackson’s Hole,” as a hole was a high valley entrenched by looming mountains.
By the mid-1850’s, fur had diminished in demand and the area reverted to seasonal visitation by various hunting parties until the late nineteenth century, which saw numerous surveys. During these exploratory missions, the first photographs of the legendary Teton Mountains were captured by William Henry Jackson, leading to a surge in support to protect the world’s first national Park.
Following the establishment of this pristine and now protected wildlife refuge, hunters and tourists began flocking to the area clearing wagon trails and bringing their own domesticated herds. Bill Menor established became the first settler west of the Snake River, and established a ferry that remained active for several years as it was the only successful way to transverse the mighty Wyoming torrent.
By the early twentieth Century, cattle ranching had become a major staple of the Wyoming way of life, following the naming and incorporation of Jackson Hole itself. This administrative change meant an official layout for streets, major buildings, and a town square! These historic sites are maintained to this day to celebrate the rich history and diverse citizens of Jackson Hole.
Jackson’s concern for nature preservation was taken a step further in the early 1900’s by a team of photographers lead by Stephen Leek working with the U.S. Biological Survey to document and present the condition of endangered and threatened species in the surrounding area such as Elk. As a result, the National Elk Refuge was formed from one-thousand acres gifted by the State of Wyoming in 1912. Today, this refuge consists of over twenty-five thousand acres and supports nearly ten thousand elk each winter.
Wyoming also prides itself on its progressive civic arrangements, rendering the right to vote to women in 1869, making it the first government in the world to grant female citizens suffrage. By the time the 19th Amendment had been ratified to the U.S. Constitution extending this right to women across the county, Jackson Hole had already elected an all-female city council. These women worked ferociously to increase the town treasury, improve infrastructure, beautify the city, improve the roads, and much more in one of the most ambitious and successful municipal agendas in history.
Another legendary National Park was dedicated in 1929 including the mountains of the Teton Range as well as a strip of land dotted by Wyoming lakes. This Grand Teton National Forest further bolstered the growing tourism industry and was later expanded by John D. Rockefeller to include the Jackson Hole Monument. Today it consists of over three-hundred thousand acres of mountainous grandeur known for the best skiing in the world at resorts like the Snow King Resort, the Grand Targhee Ski and Summer Resort, and the legendary Rendezvous Peak at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. This breathtaking peak rises vertically over four-thousand feet about Teton Village!
The fame of Jackson has spread as far as its beautiful sky-scapes due to its diverse animal populations, mild summers, raging rivers, incredible mountain ranges, and sensational recreational opportunities!
National Museum of Wildlife Art
This premier collection of wildlife themed fine art serves visitors with the opportunity to connect to the deep attachment between humanity and nature through a collection of over five-thousand pieces. The museum itself sits overlooking the twenty-five thousand acre National Elk Refuge, and presents paintings, engravings, artifacts, and sculptures.
2820 Rungius Road
Jackson Hole, Wyoming 83001
Phone: (800) 313-9553
Museum of the Mountain Man
Step into the life of a 19th Century fur-trapper in this extensive collection of artifacts, period-pieces, and antique clothing!
700 E Hennick St
Pinedale, WY 82941
Phone: (307) 367-4101
National Bighorn Sheep Center
This educational center is dedicated to tracking and presenting the biology and habits of the majestic Wild Rocky Mountain Big Horn Sheep in order to encourage care and protection of this elegant creature. The collection consists of large-scale dioramas, interactive exhibits, theaters, and photographic galleries.
907 West Ramshorn
Phone: (307) 455-3429
The Jackson Historical Society lovingly oversees publically protected areas as well as an extensive collection of artifacts, photographs, documents, and other pieces of media. This collection consists of over thirty-thousand historical pieces organized and preserved in order to relay the stories of the valley to educate and engage students, visitors, and other community members.http://www.jacksonhistory.org/
23 Black Mountain Road
Jackson, NH 03846
Phone: (603) 383-4060
Attractions and Activities
Bar-T-5 Covered Wagon Cookout
Savor a taste of the old west whilst aboard one of this thrilling attraction’s covered wagons en route to beautiful Cache Creek Canyon for a night of Old West hospitality including good food, fine entertainment, and a hand-clapping good time amongst friends and neighbors! Enjoy the delectable fare turned out by the Dutch Oven style cooking team. Alternatively, you can choose to take a horse-back journey through the Tetons or embark on an adrenaline filled dog-sled trek through protected National Elk Forests! http://www.bart5.com/
812 Cache Creek Drive
Jackson, WY 83001
Phone: (307) 734-160
Jackson Hole Playhouse
This rowdy playhouse theater was constructed in 1916 and converted in the 50’s to serve as Jackson’s first live theater while hosting productions of family plays, Broadway musicals, and traditional western dramas! The playhouse has continued its proud tradition rowdiness and elegance in this fantastic showcase of the “last and best of the Old West!” http://www.jhplayhouse.com/
145 West Deloney Avenue
Jackson, WY 83001
Phone: (307) 733-6994
Mill Iron Ranch
The Mill Iron Ranch is a family run operation offering guided tours and horseback rides harkening back to the glorious cowboy traditions of old, as they have since 1921. Mill Iron Ranch also specializes in guided hunting parties. Join the Wheddon family on an authentic voyage through the untamed frontier of Wyoming’s expansive wilderness! Phone: (307) 733-6390
Jackson Hole Aerial Tram Rides
Climb aboard the steepest ride in the world as this open air tram soars four-thousand plus feet to the top of incredible Rendezvous Point! Known affectionately as Big Red, this two-thousand horsepower cable-car offers unrivaled panoramic views of Jackson Hole, the Snake River, and the unbelievable Grand Teton Mountain Ranges as well as access to paragliding, hiking, and skiing destination of untold wonder! http://www.tram-formation.com/
Granite Hot Springs
Jackson is home to thousands of phenomenal geological events and literal hotspots, some of which are entertaining, and others of which are restorative! This collection of pools, waterfalls, and natural hot baths draw visitors on both snowmobiles and skis wishing to soak in the one-hundred-five degree heat of these incredible natural pools.
Granite Creek Road
Jackson, Wyoming 83001
Phone: (307) 734-7400