The valley of Jackson Hole is 48 miles long and 8 to 15 miles wide, and the valley floor slopes from 6,779 feet above sea level in the north to about 6,069 feet at the southern end. The Snake River, originating in the high country of Yellowstone, makes its meandering way through the valley, fed by streams and rivers, such as the Gros Ventre River and Flat Creek. Along the western side of the valley, the famous Teton Mountains rise into the sky, a sharp soaring of rock without the preamble of foothills to separate the massive mountains from the valley floor. Several lakes lie along the base of the range; among them is large Jackson Lake. Grand Teton, the tallest mountain in the range, is 13,772 feet above sea level, towering over Jenny Lake at its base. In the valley to the east, the Gros Ventre (Big Belly) Mountains roll up a little more gently from the valley floor.
Grand Teton National Park occupies most of the valley of Jackson Hole, preserving the towering peaks of the Teton Mountains and the beautiful glacial lakes. The native wildlife includes moose, mule deer, pronghorn antelope, elk, grizzly and black bear, bison, and trumpeter swans. To the delight of the park's visitors, many of the large animals roam undisturbed across the valley floor, and numerous trails lead into the mountains to satisfy adventurers. Today the park includes 485 square miles or 310,000 acres.
The town of Jackson is located near the southern end of the valley, nestled between the Hoback Range, which contributes Snow King Mountain to the southern boundary of the valley, and East Gros Ventre Butte. The butte is one of several that punctuate the valley, varying the flatness of the Snake River plain with the rocky humps of ancient landforms.
Jackson is the seat of Teton County, which was created in 1921, over thirty years after Wyoming became a state in 1890. As of 2000, Teton County had a year-round population of about 18,251, and Jackson had a population of 8,647. A number of temporary residents swell the population totals during the tourist seasons – in the summer months by 52,000 and by 5,000 in the winter months. The county has a large land area – 2,697,000 acres or 4,214 square miles. Nearly 97% of the county is public land.
With a great expanse of public land, including two national parks, tourism is the most important industry in the area. Grand Teton National Park lies in the heart of Jackson Hole, and Yellowstone National Park is only a few miles to the north. The town of Jackson serves as a gateway to both parks. Grand Teton National Park typically hosts between 3,000,000 and 4,000,000 visitors each year. The total indicates the popularity of the area and the health of the industry. A few ranches remain in operation in the valley, reminding the residents of the area's original economic base. Many of the ranch operations, however, supplement their income with tourism, as guest ranches and headquarters for outfitting hunters and fishermen.
Jackson Hole is a dream for the outdoor enthusiast. The arena is vast with rivers, mountains and valleys that encompass an endless opportunity for all. With neighboring national parks of Yellowstone and Grand Teton, national forest and national wilderness, you can begin to see the possibilities. Summer allows for easy and safe access into the backcountry for fly fishing, hiking, boating, biking, climbing, wildlife viewing and camping. For those who enjoy these activities without the backcountry, the convenience in Jackson Hole is like none other, with driving right to your interest. This valley offers an abundance in recreation, the only obstacle is that there are so many things to do and usually not enough time.
Jackson Hole Summer
Summer is Jackson's busy season. The National Parks are open, the wild flowers are blooming and the weather is almost always perfect for being out side. Whether you are a biker, climber, kayaker, rafter, backpacker, runner, paraglider, hunter or somebody who just likes to stroll in nature, Jackson is a wonderful place to be.
Teton Pines has an 18-Hole Championship Layout Designed by Arnold Palmer. One of Golf Digest's "Top 75 Golf Resorts in America"
Snake River Rafting
With an average annual snowfall of 190 inches per year on the valley floor it is no wonder boaters from all over the world flock to this area each spring when the snowpack begins to melt. From the expert kayaker to the first time floater, the Snake River provides every type of river adventure one could hope for.
Fishing and Fly Fishing
Angling in the pure waters of the Yellowstone ecosystem usually involves a pilgrimage of sorts - a journey from an office complex, perhaps, to the inviting lakes and streams surrounding Jackson Hole. Consequently, you want to make the trip worthwhile and be fishing in promising water from the get-go.
As one of the birthplaces of American mountaineering, Jackson Hole is home to hundreds of climbing routes ranging from easy scrambles to extremely remote and technical routes that have been climbed but by only a few. The Grand Teton (13,770 feet) is the tallest peak in the range and the goal of many beginning and advanced climbers.
In summer and fall Jackson Hole is an avid bicycling community. Miles of trails wind in and around the valley supplying mountain bikers with varied terrain and varied difficulty levels. From steep climbs and descents to flat, smooth roads with spectacular views, the area has rides for bikers of all abilities.
Golf & Tennis
Jackson Hole may be a paradise for extreme athletes, but that doesn't mean the valley is lacking when it comes to club sport activities. With two world renowned golf courses less than 15 minutes from town, and tennis courts scattered throughout the valley, Jackson Hole offers the more traditional athlete just as many opportunities as it does the family coming here to raft the rivers.
Kayak & Canoe
Wild, fast running rivers and streams as well as serene, flat waters are found in ample quantities in Jackson Hole. Local outfitters in Jackson and in Grand Teton National Park, are glad to provide you with equipment and advice on activities that suit the individuals skill level.
Hiking & Camping
Hiking and camping anywhere in the mountains around Jackson Hole is spectacular. The terrain is varied and the opportunity to see wildlife is ever-present. And for exercise and relaxation, hiking proves beyond all doubt that we are a species well-adapted to the outdoors and wandering.
From cowboys and Indians to the modern rodeo and Wrangler jeans, riding horseback has become ingrained into the minds of the public as a prototypically "western experience". And, a vacation in Jackson Hole is just the place to explore this facet of the west.
Take an exhilarating ride in a balloon over the Teton Valley. Capture the true beauty of Jackson Hole from a bird's eye view as you experience the sights, smells, and sounds of this unique location.
Paragliding, running off the side of a mountain with a parachute on your back and soaring onto the air currents is not as scary as it might at first sound. Jackson Hole offers several services that will help you experience the exhilaration with the safety of having an experienced guide accompanying you in a tandem paragliding adventure.
Trams & Chairlifts
In the summertime the local ski areas open their lifts to families and individuals who want to get into the high country to hike or see the sights. Riding to the tops of Snow King, The Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, and Grand Targhee offer unique and beautiful views of the area. If you like, hike to the top and ride back down for free.
Health Clubs & Spas
An active lifestyle means you must take special care of your body. Here are some Jackson Hole facilities that will help you tone or relax those muscles.
Choose a glider or motorized airplane to soar around the valley and see a little more territory up close. Any way you choose, you'll be far from the clouds and in a world usually experienced only by the birds Or charter a flight to take you exactly where you want to go.