The getaway we planned to Jackson Hole, Wyoming was the honeymoon of our dreams. Picture it: scenic views of snow-covered landscapes, adventures in skiing and snowmobiling, and when we were ready to relax-a rooftop hot-tub and cuddling up together by a cozy fireplace.
Having lived together since college, we had accumulated enough things to clutter our lives; the last thing we needed was more pots and pans. Friends of ours had used a Traveler's Joy registry for a honeymoon trip to Italy. We decided to follow their idea and use Traveler's Joy for our wedding road trip.
Situated in the Northwest corner of Wyoming, the Jackson Hole region is considered the gateway to Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park. With unparalleled mountain vistas around every corner, a wide range of accommodations, and an endless list of activities, it’s the perfect destination for newlyweds seeking that perfect balance of relaxation, exploration, and adventure. A trip to this remarkable region will surely make for a honeymoon to be remembered forever.
Located in northwestern Wyoming, the Tetons are a mountain range of the Rocky Mountains situated on the state’s border with Idaho and just south of Yellowstone National Park. The range is also home to Grand Teton National Park, named after Grand Teton, the tallest mountain in the range at 13,775 feet.
Meanwhile, the town of Jackson sits at the base of the mountain range and serves as the gateway to both Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. As of 2000, the town has a population just south of 9,000. Jackson features a charming downtown business district with numerous shops, restaurants and attractions, with many “embracing the region’s western traditions (See: Million Dollar Cowboy Bar and the Jackson Hole Rodeo).”
To the north of Jackson is Yellowstone National Park, which was the first designated national park in the world. Yellowstone is famous for its diverse features, including Old Faithful Geyser, plus hot springs and geothermal features, roaming wildlife, and overall just a beautiful landscape offering mountains, meadows, waterfalls, canyons, lakes, and rivers.
The seasonal variations for the region can be quite extreme. Grand Teton has a semi-arid climate, with the wettest months falling between November and January. Simply, the winter season is cold and snowy as more than 450 inches of snow falls in the mountains, with 191 on average in the valley. However, for both national parks and the town of Jackson, August visitors can expect mild temperatures and pleasant overall weather during the daytime. Average high temperatures typically range anywhere from the low 70s to the low 80s, while nighttime temperatures often fall to the 30s and 40s. In other words, be prepared to bring warm and cold weather clothing.
Remember, if you plan on making any treks to high altitude destinations, get ready for much cooler temperatures and unpredictable weather. Thunderstorms are common in the summer, especially in the mountains.
Whitewater Rafting — Couples shouldn't miss out on Jackson Hole's endless list of activities, particularly whitewater rafting, hiking, horseback riding, ranch tours, and rodeo events. Test your mettle on the Snake River through a half-day or full-day rafting trip. Jackson Hole Whitewater and Dave Hansen Whitewater both run a variety of excursions and provide friendly, experienced guides.
Horseback Riding — A trip to Jackson isn’t complete without embarking on a horseback riding excursion. With amazing mountain vistas featuring the snow-capped Grand Tetons around every turn, plus an assortment of terrain to choose from, you’ll be hard pressed to find a more visually stunning ride. Saddle up at Spring Creek Ranch, located 1,000 feet above the town of Jackson and set within a wildlife sanctuary. Enjoy a guided horseback ride on top of the East Gros Ventre Butte and select a trail ride that suits you best. Rides range from one to four hours and several even include breakfast and dinner rides.
Ranch and Rodeo — Get a true taste of the Wild West by experiencing the Jackson Hole Rodeo. The rodeo is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays during the summer and located at the picturesque Teton County Fairgrounds in downtown Jackson. Get ready to watch bull riders, bucking broncs, rodeo clowns and barrel racers in action as the sun sets over the nearby mountains.
Next, head to a local ranch for a traditional chuckwagon dinner and western music show. Bar J Chuckwagon is your best bet for an evening of “rib-sticking” food, music, stories, dancing, comedy, and more. It’s a Jackson tradition and overall a memorable evening around the chuckwagon.
National Park Pursuits — Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park both offer a seemingly endless list of unique outdoor activities. At the top of the list would certainly be a hiking excursion in Grand Teton. Set at the foot of the mountain range, the Jenny Lake Loop is simply amazing. Consider going early in the day to avoid the crowds and catch the mist rising off the lake. As for recommended points of interest, Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point are two detours worth taking.
It’s no surprise to find that the region is home to many of the country’s top fishing opportunities – especially in Yellowstone National Park. Madison River is a terrific fly fishing spot, particularly when it comes to catching trout. Keep in mind that fishing regulations are complex, so refer to the park guidebook and website for more details. Meanwhile, the Yellowstone River and Lake are tremendous spots as well. Peaceful Slough Creek in the NE section of the park is another good one. Check out the Wyoming Fishing Network for guides, maps, reports, and other info.
Hotel Terra — This renowned property is located slopeside to Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. In addition to featuring a contemporary and stylish design, the hotel stands out for its sustainable practices, from recycled steel to advanced water conservation systems. A great home base throughout the year, Hotel Terra is particularly convenient if you're looking to participate in many winter activities.
Amangani — Situated at 7,000 feet, this upscale and award-winning property offers jaw-dropping views of the Teton Mountains. Meanwhile, Amangani's heated, outdoor swimming pool overlooks expansive meadows. Oh, and did we mention that it's completely surrounded by spectacular mountains? The ample facilities can be enjoyed year-round and are particularly magnificent around sunset.
Spring Creek Ranch — A collection of inn rooms, condos, and mountain villas in a serene, ranch-like setting. On top of unsurpassed mountain views, the property features a spa, bar and restaurant, outdoor heated pool, fitness center, tennis courts, and horseback riding on site.
Snake River Grill - This Jackson Hole landmark stands out from the pack with its extensive wine list, inventive food, first-rate service, and warm atmosphere. First and main courses range from wild salmon to crispy pork shank to truffle fries with sea salt, thyme, and parmigiano reggiano.
Bar J Chuckwagon - Here you’ll head to a local ranch for a traditional chuck wagon dinner and western music show. The evening consists of “rib-sticking” food, music, stories, dancing, comedy, and much more. As a Jackson tradition, this will be a truly memorable evening around the chuckwagon.
Rendezvous Bistro - Expect innovative twists to American favorites — all in a sophisticated yet comfortable setting. From its raw bar selections to duck confit to vegetarian selection, Rendezvous is easily one of Jackson’s most enjoyable dining experiences.
The Bird - A laid-back restaurant and bar serving up some tasty burgers, wings, and sandwiches. Overall a great dining spot — and value too.
Jackson Hole Airport (JAC) is your best bet for flying into and out of the Jackson region. The facility, located entirely within Grand Teton National Park, is serviced by American Airlines, Delta, Frontier, Skywest, and United.