With the political standoff over the government shutdown continuing without any apparent progress toward resolution, travelers planning trips to Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks are struggling to decide whether to cancel, or come up with an alternative itinerary outside the parks.
In the interest of providing some options for those who can’t cancel their travel plans without losing deposits, vacation days or other investments, Yellowstone Gate asked travel and tourism experts and industry insiders in gateway towns around the parks to offer their top picks for things to see and do at the fringes of Yellowstone and Grand Teton.
We’re presenting their ideas this week in an ongoing series, Next Best Things. Nothing quite matches the unique experiences you can have in Yellowstone and Grand Teton, but these ideas represent the Next Best Things in nearby communities.
Kate Foster, communications manager for the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce, offers a few of her picks for the Next Best Things to see and do in and around Jackson, Wyo.
The Next Best Things in Jackson Hole
By Kate Foster
Because 97 percent of the acreage in Teton County is federal and protected lands, many favorite spots are temporarily inaccessible during the government shutdown. However, there are a variety of wonderful ways to spend a few days enjoying the community of Jackson Hole and the natural beauty of the surrounding lands.
Take a hike
Many of the scenic trails around Jackson Hole are within the Bridger-Teton National Forest boundaries. These areas are open to visitors during the shutdown. Enjoy an afternoon hike up Cache Creek. The main trail features miles of access on wide dirt roads and offers a network of trails less traveled. Consider the challenging hike up Crystal Butte and down Woods Canyon. The fall foliage is stunning in October and wildlife is on the move. Be sure to bring bear spray! Looking for more insight? Hire a professional guide to find the best trails and learn about the history, heritage, and ecology of the area. Did you bring Fido along? Many of the trails around Jackson Hole are pet-friendly. Be sure to keep your dog on a leash. Respect fellow trail users and the wildlife.
Hole Hike: http://www.holehike.com/ or 866.733.4453
PAWS: http://pawsofjh.org/ or 307.734.2441
Go for a ride
Gain some perspective on Teton Pass. It’s the place to be for mountain bikers seeking the thrill of downhill trails. You will often see local bikers hitching a ride back up the pass to take another lap down extreme trails like Lithium and Jimmy’s Mom. The Teton Freedom Riders have championed downhill biking in Jackson Hole, and hold regular dig days to make trail improvements. If cross-country biking is more your style, consider the greater Snow King trail system or take the Cache Creek to Game Creek day ride. Many people love to spend time enjoying leisurely rides on the pathway system in town. Miles of trails, paved pathways, and clearly designated routes wind through the community and offer access to town parks and businesses.
Fitzgerald’s Bicycles: http://www.fitzgeraldsbicycles.com/ or 208.787.2453
Hoback Sports: http://hobacksports.com/ or 307.733.5335
Teton Freedom Riders: http://tetonfreedomriders.org/ or 307.699.3000
Teton Mountain Bike Tours: http://www.tetonmtbike.com/ or 307.733.0712
Go to the museum
The National Museum of Wildlife Art should be on everyone’s itinerary. The treasures located in the walls are only surpassed by the views outside. Wander the sculpture trail and enjoy the National Elk Refuge overlook. Consider making a stop early in the morning to see the fog rising from Flat Creek and stay for lunch at the Rising Sage Café. The Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum now has two locations. The brand new museum at 532 North Cache includes modern installments and a charming gift shop. The newly reopened Indians of the Greater Yellowstone Museum, on the corner of Deloney and Glenwood, offers a look into the traditional way of life for Native Americans. The convenient locations offer easy access to the self-guided tour of historical Jackson Hole.
National Museum of Wildlife Art: http://www.wildlifeart.org/ or 307.733.5771
Jackson Hole Historical Society & Museum: http://www.jacksonholehistory.org/ or 307.733.2414
Go to the movies
Jackson Hole is a small community, but the cinema selection is extraordinary. Frank’s Fall Film Fest offers a look at independent and unique films. The 23rd Annual festival will continue until Thursday, Oct. 10, featuring the quirky comedy “Frances Ha” and the documentary “Black Fish.” SHIFT JH, a new attraction to Jackson Hole, will host its inaugural run from October 11-13. Film and photography will play a key role in the festival. SHIFT celebrates the central role of conservation in Jackson Hole. Shift’s mission is to inspire communities to preserve the natural capital that is vital to their economic success.
Frank’s Film Festival: http://franksfilmfestival.com/schedule2013.html or 307.733.4939
SHIFT JH: http://shiftjh.org/ or 307.690.1561
Make Your Own Adventure
These suggestions are just a mall selection of the options available to visitors in Jackson Hole. For those visitors with more indulgent tastes, just relax! Enjoy the fine dining and spa options or participate in a yoga class. Visit with the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce. Visitor services agents will work with you to design your personalized adventure.
Contact Kate Foster, communications manager for the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce, at 307.733.3316.