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Article: VOGUE Delivers - The Ultimate Travel Guide to Jackson, Wyoming

VOGUE Delivers - The Ultimate Travel Guide to Jackson, Wyoming

VOGUE Delivers - The Ultimate Travel Guide to Jackson, Wyoming

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Mormon Row in the winter.Photo: Scott Smith/Getty Images

When Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote “never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful,” he might as well have been referencing Jackson, Wyoming, the Western mountain town that serves as the gateway to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. It’s where purple mountain majesties aren’t just something you sing about, where false-front storefronts aren’t just replicas on an HBO set, where Ansel Adams found a muse in the Snake River, where the buffalo roam and there’s plenty of homes. (They just cost, uh, millions of dollars. Hello, tax haven!) Even the flight there has a certain transcendental splendor: the Jackson Hole Airport is the only commercial airport in the United States set inside a national park.

For those who are inspired to go west, here’s Vogue’s guide to Jackson, Wyoming, whether you're visiting in the summer, winter, fall, or spring. (Although for those latter two seasons, which are considered the off-season, know that many places may be closed.)

Where to Stay

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The living room at one of the suites at Caldera House.Photo: Courtesy of Caldera House

Caldera House is not your traditional hotel: partly because traditional hotels don’t boast framed Ansel Adams photographs and Lindsey Adelman light fixtures, and also because it only offers two-or-four bedroom suites. Impeccably designed and right at the base of Jackson Hole mountain, it’s both lavish and conveniently located. Plus, with its discreet après ski lounge complete with fire pits, plunge pool, and locker room, Caldera House also feels a bit like a private club—if Soho House went snow. And, if this kind of thing matters to you: Gigi Hadid and the Kardashians stayed here!

Located in Jackson town, the Anvil Hotel is a modern take on the rustic rancher’s getaway: there are iron cast bedframes and woolen blankets, yes, but also stylish bath products and Justin’s Peanut Butter cups in the minibar. (The design is by Studio Tack, now known as the Post Company. They were asked to live in Jackson for a full year before embarking on the project.) For those in search of an economical option, The Anvil also has a simple yet stylish hostel called Cache House on its property. Bonus? The restaurant Glorietta is also on site (but more on that later).

With a heated, year-round pool, a kids club complete with foosball and X-box, ski-in ski-out access, and a very close proximity to Jackson Hole’s famous bungee trampoline, Four Seasons Jackson Hole is the preeminent place to say if you have little ones. Adults will have plenty of fun too: the rooms are spacious and warm, the food excellent, and there’s a spa perfect for a post-hike or ski massage. An added bonus? Their outdoor winter bar, Fahrenheit Forty-Seven (named for the ideal temperature to serve champagne), is the absolute perfect place for a civilized aprés ski cocktail.

Airbnb Luxe

Looking for a home rental rather than a hotel stay? In Jackson, Airbnb offers dozens of homes that qualify for their Airbnb Luxe tier—which means it passes a 300-point quality checklist. Their Jackson listings include a ranch on 67 acres of land as well as lodges perched right upon Fish Creek. 

What to Do

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String Lake.Photo: Getty Images
Go wild in Grand Teton National Park

This entry is almost too broad, but no trip to Jackson is complete without a trip through this miraculous wonder. Go paddle boarding at String Lake, a tranquil body of water with spectacular views of the mountain, or take a hike on the Solitude Lake Trail. Rent an e-bike and ride to Jenny Lake. Hell—if you couldn’t tell, any activity that involves a lake is a wonderful idea. Soak in the splendor of the mountain tops, especially Sleeping Indian. And keep a lookout for animals along the way: it’s almost statistically impossible to see a moose, elk, or buffalo while you’re there. (Although, if you’re back-country hiking: make sure to pack some bear spray.)

Ski Jackson Hole

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is one of the hardest mountains in North America, with only 10 percent of its terrain meant for beginners. But for the intermediate to advanced skiers, it’s a challenging, adventurous dream. If you’re a (skilled and experienced) risk taker, descend Corbet's Couloir, which, with its steep, rocky drop-in, is known as “America’s scariest ski-run.”

Climb the Via Ferrata

In the summertime, skiing is off the table, but adrenaline junkies can still get a rush climbing Jackson’s Via Ferrata. (For the uninitiated, the Via Ferrata is a route that allows you to scale rock faces with cables and steel rungs.) There are beginner, immediate, and advanced routes, with challenging man-made obstacles thrown in for fun: think suspension bridges, or a 35-foot vertical “sky ladder.”

Visit Mormon Row

Tucked off the Antelope Flats Rd is Mormon Row, a collection of abandoned structures that date back to the 1890s. Not only is it a preeminent example of classic Western homestead architecture, but it has one of the best views you can see without hiking: its plains flow seamlessly into the Tetons.

Where to Eat

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Photo: Courtesy of Caldera House

You can order high, you can order low, but you can’t order wrong at Corsa, Caldera House’s on-site restaurant at the base of Teton Village. Those looking for apres-ski comfort food can go for a classic margarita pizza or spicy vodka rigatoni, whereas those who want more elevated fare can order the braised short rib or scallops. Save room for the apple crisp dessert.

Snake River Grill has been a fixture of fine American dining for over thirty years. With their Western, log-cabin-esque dining room, you'll feel an utter sense of place dining on distinct dishes like steak tartare pizza, bone-in pork chop, and roasted duck.

Located at the Anvil Hotel, Glorietta can best be described as an Italian-Western trattoria: what else would you call a restaurant that serves elk bolognese, bone marrow with amaretto shots, and bison? For dessert, order the donuts with winter spice sugar and apple cider reduction.

Coelette offers “snowline cuisine,” or dishes comprised of ingredients found, grown, and raised in alpine environments cooked with mountain-honed techniques. It’s an innovative concept—most ski towns, after all, focus on hearty comfort food—and Coelette succeeds in embracing literally and figuratively elevated cuisine.

The menu changes seasonally. When this writer visited for the first time, she ate a yak ribeye accented with long-fermented vegetable sauce as well as Japanese snow trout. (More current menu items include a sturgeon with ramp emulsion and beet pasta with wild boar.) Housed inside the historic Coe log cabin, the inside is warm, Western, cozy, and even a little playful—a glass disco ball hangs from the dining room. Bask in the refined yet rugged ambiance.

Don't let Jackson's thousand-mile distance from the ocean fool you—this town serves up some seriously good sushi. Stop by Kampai, which serves up both local fish and delicacies flown overnight from Japan.  You won't forget you’re in Wyoming, however: Some menu items aim to cheekily embody a contrarian spirit: take the “John Galt” roll, a nod to Ayn Rand's libertarian manifesto Atlas Shrugged

Hand Fire Pizza offers up a wide array of—you guessed it—hand-fired pizzas inside the historic Teton Theater building. It's perfect for, well, everyone: Kids will go for the classic cheese pizza. Adults, meanwhile, can opt for artisanal pies like the “squashed,” comprised of winter squash, dried cherries, caramelized onions, mozzarella, and local goat cheese. An added bonus? Hand Fire Pizza pledges to use locally grown, organic produce and sustainably raised, fairly sourced meats.

Need to warm up when it’s below freezing? A spicy dish from Teton Thai in Teton Village should do the trick. Bonus: if you’re staying in a home rental, it makes for perfect takeout.

The fantastic, no-frills Nora’s Fish Creek Inn has been a local institution since it opened in 1982. (In 2014, Guy Fieri filmed an episode of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives there.) Go for breakfast, where you can order hearty dishes like the huevos rancheros or banana bread french toast. 

No trip to Jackson would be complete without a stop at Persephone, the charming bakery that was a 2020 James Beard award nominee for best pastry chef. If you’re stopping by for lunch, order the chipotle chicken sandwich. Otherwise, you can’t go wrong with a rose cardamom  latte and a pack of their double chocolate walnut cookies.

Picnic is a café in West Jackson from the same team behind Persephone. The warm and airy design, done by local firm E/YE Design, took inspiration from what they describe as the “Jackson uniform”: used denim. It's open for breakfast and lunch, and you can't go wrong with anything on its health-focused menu. Especially the Jackson Hippie breakfast sandwich, which may or may not helped with this writer's serious hangover.

Right off the town square is Cowboy Coffee, a casual breakfast spot with rugged interiors yet a mean cold brew. On the weekends, the line sometimes extends out the door for their breakfast burrito, eggs, pepper jack, red peppers, avocado aioli, and hash browns all wrapped in a flour tortilla.

Is it touristy? Sure. Is it still a blast? Absolutely. Million Dollar Cowboy Bar is the ultimate western watering hole, with horse saddle bar seats, longhorn taxidermy, and an extensive whiskey collection. At 8:30 p.m. almost every night, a live country act takes the stage—bringing the crowd to the dance floor (if they aren’t playing pool, that is.)

Every mountain needs its classic après ski bar—and for Jackson, that’s the Mangy Moose. Order some chicken wings and beer while defrosting from hitting Hobacks. (Although be prepared: sometimes the place gets pretty rowdy.) An added bonus? There's usually some live music around the classic ski quitting time of 3:30 p.m.

There is no better place to get ice cream than Jackson Drug, which handmakes its creamy confections in-house with dairy from Idaho Falls. A scoop of the huckleberry is a must-order (if Wyoming had a state fruit, it would be the huckleberry which grows wild from June through August). 

Where to Shop

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Mountain Dandy in Jackson, Wyoming.

 Photo: Courtesy of Mountain Dandy/Katherine Goguen

As the name implies, Mountain Dandy is a fine purveyor of masculine goods—there’s beard oil, bowties, leather furniture, vintage Sports Illustrated covers, and whiskey glasses. However, no matter your interests, you’ll find something enjoyable to peruse—whether it is their impressive Assouline coffee table book offerings, unique barware, or antique finds. (Sitting in one corner? An old apothecary cabinet.)

This vintage and consignment shop specializes in high fashion with a Western edge: when this writer last visited, she spied a rare Ralph Lauren corset from the 2003 runway, suede Khaite boots, and guinea-feather Celine skirt, just to name a few. And those are just the brand names: there’s also old turquoise jewelry and fine-crafted belts, whereas the whole back room is dedicated to statement fringe jackets and quality denim. You’ll likely leave with more than one find.

It takes three weeks for Christy Sing Robertson to make one of her hand-crafted cowboy hats. But her customers think it is well worth the wait—currently, she has a waiting list of over 12 months. Her workshop just outside the town square is a fascinating visit: make an appointment, and Robertson will show you how she makes her Western accessories on equipment (Some of which dates back to the 1800s.)

The immensely popular Aspen store recently set up shop in Jackson, offering hats, boots, buckles, bolo ties, and more. (More, in this case, means fine diamond jewelry and vintage Gucci bags.) A Kemo Sabe signature? Getting your initials branded on your hat—meaning you’ll have a truly custom creation.

MADE is a well-curated gift shop offering everything from National Park-themed playing cards, to huckleberry honey, to artisanal mugs. It’s the perfect place to pick up a souvenir for both yourself and anyone else in your life who wants a piece of the West.

This high-end boutique in town offers the latest wears from brands like Guest in Residence, Raquel Allegra, and Wales Bonner—as well as funkier, cutting-edge pieces from Dutch artist Rop Man Mierlo’s Wild Animals line. Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean you can’t make a fashion statement.

When to Visit: Jackson Weather and More

No matter when you visit, the experience here is always focused on the outdoors. In the winter, the culture revolves around snow sports like skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling. In the summer, most gravitate to activities like hiking or water sports such as rafting or paddle boarding.  Jackson weather in the summer usually lands somewhere in the high seventies and low eighties, while in the winter, the temperature hovers in the low twenties and teens. Single digit days, especially on Jackson Hole Mountain, are not uncommon.

Summer is the high season, so expect more people and longer waits. Winter, especially during holiday weeks, also sees a significant influx of visitors.  Those looking for a quieter time to visit should opt for September or early-to-mid October. However, those who opt for November or April may find themselves wanting, as many restaurants and shops temporarily shutter to prepare for the upcoming peak seasons. Likewise, although Grand Teton National Park is open every day of the year, many facilities such as campgrounds and visitor centers are closed or have reduced hours from November through April. 

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