Winter in Jackson Hole, Wyoming | 8 Exciting Things to Do Besides Skiing

Situated in the valley beneath the majestic peaks of the Teton Range of the Rocky Mountains, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, is a winter wonderland that beckons adventurers from far and wide.

While skiing and snowboarding are undoubtedly the stars of the winter in Jackson Hole, this picturesque destination offers a treasure trove of experiences beyond the slopes. 

From thrilling wildlife encounters to serene snowshoeing and snowmobiling excursions, and cozy après-ski hideaways, Jackson Hole boasts an array of activities that will make you fall in love with the cold weather months. 

This travel guide to the best things to do in Jackson Hole in winter (besides skiing), ensuring that your visit to this rugged corner of the world is nothing short of unforgettable. So, bundle up and prepare to embark on a winter journey like no other.

Town park antler arches in Jackson
Winter in Jackson, Wyoming is magical and festive!

About Winter in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Winter in Jackson Hole, Wyoming is best known for skiing and snowboarding. The Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is one of the premier ski resorts in the United States, and boasts some of the most extreme ski runs in North America. But even if you aren’t a skier or boarder, there is so much to do in Jackson Hole in winter.

You’ll find plenty of great winter activities besides skiing that families can do in Jackson Hole.

If you are looking for a winter paradise or a great Christmas destination, look no further than Jackson Hole.

Although summer is the most popular time to visit Jackson Hole, winter in Jackson Hole is magical! Snow capped mountains surround the valley while strands of white lights decorating the entire town of Jackson.

Winter weather in Jackson, Wyoming

A wintry road in Wyoming
The weather is cold and snowy in Jackson Hole in winter.

From December through February, the Jackson Hole area experiences cold and snowy conditions that transform the landscape into a blanket of white.

Average temperatures during the winter months tend to hover around 20 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit (-7 to -1 degrees Celsius), with wind chills often in the teens and even below 0. 

With an average annual snowfall of over 450 inches (11.5 meters), Jackson Hole boasts some of the finest powder conditions in North America, making it a haven for winter sports enthusiasts and snow lovers alike.

How to get to Jackson Hole in winter

an airplane parked at Jackson Hole Airport
Flying into the Jackson Hole Airport is the easiest way to get to Jackson during winter.

The easiest way to get to Jackson Hole, particularly in winter, is to fly directly into the Jackson Hole Airport, located about 15 minutes outside the town of Jackson. 

By car, Jackson is about 4-5 hours from Salt Lake City, Utah or Bozeman, Montana. However, winter weather conditions may impact your drive time and make road conditions precarious.

9 Best Things to do in Jackson Hole in Winter

Although mountain sports like snowboarding and downhill skiing are the main draw during winter in Jackson Hole, there are lots of other Jackson Hole winter activities to keep you entertained off the mountain. 

Whether you are looking for something to do after you are done skiing for the day or you aren’t a skier at all, here are our top seven activities to do in Jackson Hole in winter, besides skiing or snowboarding.

Of course, you can also check out our guide to skiing and snowboarding in Jackson Hole if you are interested in hitting the slopes.

Snowmobiling in the Bridger-Teton National Forest along the Continental Divide

Snowmobiling in Winter in Jackson Hole
Snowmobiling along the continental divide during the winter in Jackson Hole.

One of the best ways to explore the Jackson Hole valley is on a snowmobile.

Two people can ride together, and children must (and should) ride with a parent. I am on the petite side and have trouble operating a snowmobile on my own, so even teenagers would likely have issues controlling the snowmobile.

Snowmobile tours can take you into Yellowstone National Park, to public hot springs for a quick swim, or up on the continental divide for some amazing views of the mountains and valley.

We had a blast snowmobiling, although, this is definitely not something you can do with babies or young children. It’s better to leave them behind in the childcare at the base of the mountain.

Visiting one of the nearby National Parks in winter is a great adventure, and doing so on a snowmobile only enhances the experience!

Many snowmobiling companies take you into one of the national parks or into the Bridger-Teton National Forest which offers incredible views of the Grand Teton Mountains.


Dog Sledding

Dog sledding along the continental divide.
Dog sledding along the continental divide. | Photo by Robbie Bracco from Pixabay

Dog sledding is another popular Jackson Hole winter activity and one in which children of any age can participate. For kids, it is usually the highlight of a family trip to Jackson Hole.

The dogs are all well-trained and friendly and love to go on the sledding adventure. It really is fun for them, and you can tell.

We are dog lovers and would never recommend anything if we thought it was remotely cruel or inhumane to animals. With that said, we recommend dog sledding. These dogs have a great and fun life.

Although on the pricier side, dog sledding tours in Jackson Hole in winter are an unforgettable experience, especially if visiting Jackson Hole with kids

You can book a 1-hour tour to give dog sledding a try or join a full day dog sledding and snowmobiling combo tour.


Sleigh Rides through the National Elk Refuge

a sleigh ride through the snow in the national elk refuge
Approaching the herd of elk at the National Elk Refuge in Jackson, Wyoming. Photo by Ben McLeod from Unsplash

Another activity that children of all ages can enjoy, horse drawn sleigh rides through the National Elk Refuge are a great way to get up close to the wildlife in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. 

The National Elk Refuge is located just outside of Jackson, between the town and the airport. This 25,000-acre refuge, managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, serves as a vital winter habitat for one of the largest herds of elk in the United States, numbering in the thousands. 

Visitors to the National Elk Refuge have the opportunity to witness these majestic creatures up close during the winter months, as well as a variety of other wildlife, including bison, bighorn sheep, trumpeter swans, and numerous bird species all while snuggled up on a sleigh.

The sleigh takes you safely next to a herd of thousands of elk on the protected land inside the refuge.


Snowshoeing in Grand Teton National Park

teenage kids snowshoeing
Snowshoeing is a fun winter activity in Jackson Hole that families can do together. | Photo by Aubrey Odom from Unsplash

Snowshoeing is a fun activity that anyone can do, and it is one of the best ways to experience Grand Teton National Park in winter. You can find various snowshoeing trails to explore during the winter in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, particularly in the scenic, snowy Grand Teton National Park.

The trails range in difficulty level, so families even with small children will enjoy this activity.

If you can walk, you can snowshoe, although admittedly it takes some getting used to. 

For a more challenging workout, snowshoe in the fresh snow that hasn’t been compacted yet and on steeper terrain. You’ll be warming up, if not sweating, in no time!


Visit Snow King for tubing and a mountain coaster

View from the top of Snow King mountain looking down at the streets of Jackson.
The view from the top of Snow King mountain looking down at the streets of Jackson. Photo by Danny Holland from Unsplash

Inside the town of Jackson you’ll find a small yet steep mountain resort called Snow King.

At Snow King Mountain you can find a variety of fun winter activities like tubing and a winter cowboy coaster. Kids need to be roughly 40 inches tall to participate (38″ for the coaster and 42″ for tubing).

On the mountain coaster you’ll ascend 456 feet up the mountain before coasting down a series of twists and turns, creating a rollercoaster-like journey down the mountain. 

After zipping down the mountain on a coaster, head to King Tubes at Snow King. With three groomed lanes and a magic carpet lift to take you to the top of the tubing lanes, this is a family-friendly activity that will have kids and adults alike squealing with joy.

Snow King is a great and fun place to spend the day if your kids (or you) aren’t quite ready to conquer the runs at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.


Learn to Cross Country Ski

Cross-country skiing is a delightful winter activity that lets you take in the natural beauty of this renowned destination when it’s covered in a blanket of white snow.

You don’t need any previous experience to hit the cross country trail systems in Jackson Hole. There are trails and guided tours that cater to all skill and experience levels. 

Whether you’re a beginner looking for a leisurely glide through tranquil wooded trails or an experienced skier seeking challenging terrain and stunning vistas, Jackson Hole has it all. 


Other things to do in Jackson Hole in Winter

If you’re looking for winter activities that are a little more relaxing and require less physical exertion, here are a few options for a more low-key Jackson winter vacation.

Stroll through a charming Wild West town

The Wort in the Town of Jackson Wyoming
The Wort Hotel is a historic hotel in the heart of Jackson, Wyoming that is a must visit during the holiday season.

Jackson, Wyoming is a cute town to just spend some time in, wandering down the covered, wooden sidewalks and ducking in and out of the local shops and stores.

There are a lot of great things to do in downtown Jackson, Wyoming from the theater to a stroll underneath the antler arches adorned with white lights in the beautiful Jackson Town Square.

Visit the iconic Million Dollar Cowboy Bar or Snake River Brewing for an après drink and appetizers. Both are kid-friendly and are among the best places to eat in Jackson, Wyoming.

If you’re visiting during the holidays, be sure to stop in the Wort Hotel located in the heart of the town. The Wort is one of the oldest and best hotels in Jackson Hole, and is decked out in Christmas decor during the winter holidays. 

Go on a winter safari

bison in the snow during winter in Jackson Hole Wyoming
Seeing some of Jackson Hole’s wildlife during the winter season is a unique perspective. | Photo by Leslie Driskill from Unsplash

You don’t have to strap snowshoes to your feet to see the wildlife in Jackson Hole, Wyoming during the wintertime. For those who would rather see Wyoming’s wildlife from the comfort of a warm vehicle, book a winter safari.

You’ll have the chance to watch moose, bison, elk, and maybe even wolves in their natural environment. And you’ll do it all with an experienced guide who can also fill you in on the region’s fascinating geology and history.


Have waffles with a world-class view

The tram at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort  seen through the trees
The tram at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort takes you to the top of the mountain, where you can either ski down or simply enjoy world-famous waffles on top of the world.

Even if you are not skiing at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, the Teton Village is worth visiting. 

Be sure to take a trip up the tram to have some incredible waffles with an even more incredible view.

At the top of the tramway in Jackson, you can have breakfast or even order waffles for lunch at Corbet’s Cabin while you stare out across the valley.

From the top of the tramway, you can see into neighboring states on a clear day. Just be prepared, if you go up the tram during the ski day, expect to be riding a tram full of snowboarders and skiers carrying their gear.

Things to know about winter in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Before planning a trip it is always good to do a bit of research on the climate, the cost, and the region’s clientele. Here are a few important things to know about visiting Jackson Hole in winter.

It’s really cold

clouds filling the valley in Jackson Hole while the sun shines high in the mountain
The cold air in Jackson Hole valley can often settle into the valley making it warm the higher in elevation you go. This meteorological phenomenon is called an inversion.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming is one of the coldest places we’ve ever traveled.

The cold air tends to settle down into the valley and just stay there. There may be a good 20 degree difference between the top of the mountain and the valley floor. But you’ll be fine as long as you dress for the conditions.

Even if you aren’t skiing, you will want to invest in a few key apparel pieces that skiers wear to stay warm.

It’s really expensive

There is a saying in Jackson Hole, Wyoming that the billionaires are driving out the millionaires. While the quote is referring to the unaffordable real estate trend in Jackson, it is also an indicator that Jackson Hole is not cheap.

In fact, it is known as one of the most expensive ski resorts in the United States.

It is easy to blow your budget in Jackson Hole. You will want to be selective of your activities, your lodging, and your dining options when visiting Jackson Hole.

This area of the country offers million dollar views, but at times it will feel like you’re paying – or overpaying – for them.

It is a really popular ski town

Little girl skiing underneath the Jackson Hole tram.
Our daughter and favorite skiing companion skiing underneath the Jackson Hole tram.

Whether you are a skier or snowboard, or you just want to see this stunning part of the country completely covered in snow, expect to find crowds of skiers each winter.

Jackson Hole is known as one of the United State’s top ski resorts, after all. If you don’t ski or snowboard, you can still have a great time in Jackson, just know you’ll be having a great time with a bunch of skiers and boarders, as well. 🙂

Believe it or not, as popular as Jackson, Wyoming is during winter, summers in Jackson Hole are even more crowded and more popular.

It really is the Old West

Jackson Hole takes pride in its cowboy heritage. And you will see the area’s Old West roots just about everywhere you go.

Western Wyoming was once the center of the fur trade in the Rocky Mountains, so don’t be surprised to see animal furs of all kinds and taxidermy animals everywhere… in stores, in restaurants, and in hotels. We mention this because we know how upsetting this can be to some travelers who love animals and believe sport hunting or fur wearing are unethical. 

Do you have a question or comment about visiting Jackson Hole in winter? We’d love to hear from you! Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Like it? Pin this list of winter activities in Jackson, Wyoming to save it for later!
This guide to the best things to do during winter in Jackson Hole was first written in December 2020 but was most recently updated in October 2023 for accuracy and current information.

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