Jackson Hole Must See Spots

Jackson Hole, Wyoming is filled with many must see spots. Use our list of the best destinations in Jackson Hole and make sure not to miss the most memorable and most photographed spots.


Jackson Hole must see spots include the Antler Arches in downtown Jackson.

Jackson Hole Must See Spots

  1. Grand Tetons

  2. Mormon Row

  3. Teton Village

  4. Antler Arches

When you hear Jackson Hole, what is the first thing to come to mind?  Maybe the Grand Tetons, Mormon Row, the Teton Village, or Antler Arches. Hands down, these are just a few of the most popular features in the valley.

1. Grand Tetons

No visit to Jackson Hole is complete without a trek to see the Grand Tetons.

Named by French trappers, the three peaks are now known as the South, Middle, and Grand Teton. They called the mountains “Les Trois Tetons,” or “The Three Breasts.” It is the youngest mountain range in the Rockies. Spanning 40 miles long and 8 miles wide, the highest peak measures in at 13,770 feet (Grand Teton) and it has 8 peaks that are over 12,000 feet!

The Grand Tetons are a highlight of any visit to Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Fact: Grand Teton National Park was approved by President Calvin Coolidge on February 26, 1929. This act protected the Teton Range and six glacial lakes but not nearby Jackson Hole.

Things to Do in Grand Teton National Park

2. Mormon Row

Mormon Row was an early homesteading settlement in Jackson Hole before the Grand Teton National Park was formed. Mormons from Salt Lake Valley set out to establish new communities, and they clustered their farms to share labor. Their community was known as Mormon Row.

The famous Moulton Barn is probably the most photographed barn in Wyoming, if not the world. Pretty logical considering its location directly in front of the Grand Tetons!

Moulton Barn is one of the most majestic views, placing it on our Jackson Hole must see spots list.

3. Teton Village

Located at the base of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, the Swiss-styled Teton Village offers restaurants, shopping and entertainment.

In the wintertime, this location bustles with skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts. Even non-skiing types will love activities like the sleigh ride dinners and dog sled rides.

During the summer, activities in Teton Village include scenic tram rides to the top of Rendezvous Mountain, horseback riding, tandem paragliding flights, hiking and mountain biking trails, and a disc golf course. Learn more about the Tram, called “Big Red”in our post Jackson Hole Aerial Tram.

The Jackson Hole Aerial Tram at Teton Village takes guests up to Rendezvous Peak and gives stunning views of Jackson Hole.

4. Antler Arches

Step off, McDonald’s! The Antler Arches put the golden arches to shame. The Antler Arches in Jackson’s Town Square are one of the most iconic spots in all of Jackson Hole. As Jackson transformed from a mountain man town into a dude ranch town, the Antler Arches grew in popularity with family travelers and locals alike.

The 4 Antler Arches flanking the corners of Jackson Town Square are some of the most photographed in all the area.

There are four antler arches, one marking each corner of the town square. Though there isn’t an exact date of when the first arch was built and placed on the town square, most sources cite 1960 as the year the first antler arch was added to the town square. In 2007, they began to replace the arches, and auctioned off the old weathered ones.

Each arch contains about 10,000 pounds of elk antlers. Don’t worry: not one elk was harmed in the making of the arches. Elk grow antlers that they shed annually. Unlike horns that must be cut off and are hollow inside, antlers, fall off naturally and are solid.

Horse drawn carriage tours circle Town Square in Jackson, Wyoming.

Starting May 1, locals, tourist, and the local Boy Scout club hit the National Forests and Elk Refuge in search of the all the antler sheds. Each year at the Old West Days, the Boy Scouts put on an auction where they sell their antlers. Others sell them to jewelers, furniture makers, private deals, dealers from overseas, or just keep them to enjoy in their own homes.

Did you know? See Jackson Hole hosts live webcams all around Jackson, including Town Square. Get your Jackson Hole fix by checking out the happenings around town and in Jackson Hole.

When heading to Jackson Hole, where to first? Here's a list of some Jackson Hole must see spots, highlighting a few of the standouts, including Grand Tetons, Teton Village, Mormon Row and the Antler Arches. #JacksonHole #Wyoming #familytravel #mustseespots

 

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What to Expect on a Jackson Hole Wildlife Safari

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Three Reasons to Choose a Wyoming Vacation

Are you searching for new travel destinations? Checking new states off the bucket list? Then Wyoming should be way up there on the priority list. From Jackson Hole’s attractions to the nearby national parks and Goosewing Ranch dude ranch, this is the trifecta of reasons to try a Wyoming vacation.

A Wyoming vacation wouldn't be complete without a visit to the Grand Teton National Park to see the Grand Tetons.

Wyoming tends to fly low on the radar when it comes to vacations. However, there are several gems that make this state stand out. In the northwestern corner lie Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Teton National Park, which attract tourists in the summer and avid skiers and snowboarders in the winter. As a result of these famous spots, Jackson Hole has flourished.

Wyoming: Just the Facts

Capital: Cheyenne

Nickname: Cowboy State, Equality State

Motto: Equal Rights

Admitted to Union: July 10, 1890 – 44th State

Size: 97,914 square miles, 9th largest state

State Sport: Rodeo

Highest Point: Gannett Peak, 13,804 feet

Lowest Point: Belle Fourche River, 3,100 feet

Average Annual Precipitation: 14.5 inches

Population (2010 Census): 563,626

Three Reasons to Choose a Wyoming Vacation

1. National Parks

The national parks draw a big crowd to Jackson and the Greater Yellowstone area. Yellowstone alone entices about 4 million people per year; the heaviest concentration falls between May and September.

Wyoming is home to two national parks: Grand Teton and Yellowstone, as well as national monuments, historic sites and trails.

Did you know? 96 percent of Yellowstone National Park is in Wyoming!

With 563,000 residents among 62+ million acres, there’s one resident per every 111 acres. 

The Grand Prismatic Spring at Yellowstone is one of many reasons to travel to Wyoming this year.

Learn more about Yellowstone National Park:

Visiting Yellowstone National Park: Tips for What You Should Know

Things to Do in Yellowstone National Park

Grand Teton links:

Grand Teton National Park Things to Do

What to Expect on a Jackson Hole Wildlife Safari

2. Jackson Hole

You may have heard about this region named Jackson Hole. Did you know it is just a popular nickname for the entire Wyoming valley and not an official location on a map? Back in the late 1800s, Davey Jackson was a famous tracker, and people referred to a valley surrounded by tall mountains as a HOLE. So that’s how Jackson Hole’s name came to be.

The antler arches in Jackson's Town Square are a sight to behold on a Wyoming vacation.

The town of Jackson is a historic Western town. Its Town Square and its famous antler arches are the hub of the town, along with shops, restaurants, and entertainment options. Learn more about the area at Wyoming Office of Tourism and read more about what sets Jackson Hole apart from other destinations.

3. Goosewing Ranch

Aside from being close to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, our ranch sits on the Bridger-Teton National Forest and is the perfect entry point into the Gros Ventre Wilderness. (True to its name, the wilderness has remained untouched by all motorized vehicles – accessible only by foot, horseback, or UTV.)

So if you ask us why you should pick Wyoming, or why you should pick Jackson Hole as your vacation destination, just take a look at this piece of country that is still truly wild. Not many people get to experience our isolated paradise.

Learn more about Goosewing Ranch:

8 Reasons to Take a Dude Ranch Vacation

Jackson Hole Glamping

Checking new states off the bucket list? Then Wyoming should be way up there on the priority list. From Jackson Hole's attractions to the nearby national parks and our dude ranch, this is the trifecta of reasons to try a Wyoming vacation. #Wyoming #thatsWY #vacation #duderanch #nationalparks

Dude Ranch Packing List

Summer is on the horizon, and that means VACATION! We may be biased, but dude ranch vacations offer some of the most active, adventurous experiences for families, couples, and even multigenerational or solo travelers. This Wyoming environment also requires some specific items to make the trip a success. Check out this dude ranch packing list for our Jackson Hole destination to get prepared for the ultimate outdoor vacation.

Dude Ranch Packing List | What to Pack for a Dude Ranch Vacation just might include clothes for a pack out. And the horses do the heavy lifting!

The countdown has begun and your summer vacation is quickly approaching. Now begins the task of preparing and packing. Packing for any vacation can be a challenge, and a dude ranch is no different. Whether you plan to pick up some essential items in Jackson, or bring them from home, we would like to give you some suggestions on what to pack and expect.

Our Dude Ranch Packing List will help you get in the saddle for a dude ranch vacation. Use our packing list to get ready for the ultimate vacation. Specific tips on what works best at our dude ranch, the climate, and what NOT to pack. #duderanch #packinglist #JacksonHole #GoosewingRanch #Wyoming

Jackson Hole Weather

Remember, Goosewing Ranch is located at 7,400 feet in the Gros Ventre Mountains, the sun is very intense, and the weather can change drastically very quickly. Typically the summer months in Jackson Hole are very enjoyable, with mild temperatures and a dry climate. Expect, warm, and dry days, with chilly temperatures in the evenings and nights.

The weather can be very different as you travel from Yellowstone to Jackson to the Ranch. We recommend always carrying an extra layer with you while traveling through western Wyoming. The ranch, town, and surrounding National Parks are all very causal and laid-back. You will be welcomed into most establishments in causal summer attire, or your cowboy getup.

Average Temps at Goosewing Ranch:
June High and Low: 68 / 35
July High and Low: 76 / 42
August High and Low: 75 / 43
September High and Low: 65 / 33

Using our Dude Ranch Packing List, guests will be sure to have everything they need on these epic trail rides-don't forget boots and hats!

What to Pack for a Dude Ranch Vacation

Aside from you cowboy or cowgirl gear we suggest that you bring along sunblock of SPF 15 or higher, lip balm with SPF, and make sure to apply throughout the day. Hats are a great tool in keeping you cool, and aid in sunburn prevention. A cowboy hat works well, because it keeps the sun off your face and neck. Just make sure it is a snug fit or purchase a stampede strap to keep it on your head.

We also recommend bringing a thin long sleeve shirt; this will also help keep you cool and from getting too much sun exposure. We have found that fishing or western button up shirts work the best.

For horseback riding, you will want to have a comfortable pair of jeans, and slick soled boots with about a ½” heel. We recommend this style of boot for safety reasons; bulky hiking boots could get stuck and shoes without heels can slide to far forward being very dangerous for the rider. Boots are fun for a night of line dancing, also.

Little buckaroos can be ready to ride using our Dude ranch packing tips

There can be a drastic temperature fluctuation between day and night, so we suggest that you bring a fleece or light jacket. For those of you coming in June or late September, bring a heavier jacket or more layers.

Don’t forget shorts, t-shirts, and comfortable hiking or walking shoes for touring the local area and parks. And a bathing suit for the pool, hot tub, and sauna!

One of the most important tips for our dude ranch packing list: pack a bathing suit for our pool, sauna and hot tub!

If you are planning on rafting the Snake River or floating the Gros Ventre, pack a pair of water shoes or sandals that will stay on your feet.

Did you know that tubing the Gros Ventre River is an adventure and something you should pack prepared for using our dude ranch packing list?

What You Don’t Need to Pack

For your convenience, we have a guest laundry facility located near our cabins. We will provide all riders with rain slickers in case of an afternoon shower. We also have a number of items available for purchase in of gift shop, such as gloves, hoodies, vests, lip balm, bug spray, sunblock, ball caps, and more.

In your cabin for your pleasure are hair dryers, robes, mini refrigerator, coffee maker, and eco-sential bath products. If you are planning on going on an overnight pack trip, we suggest bringing wool socks, warm hat, and an extra warm layer.

Dude Ranch Packing List Printable

Feel free to print and use this packing list to get ready!


Here's a printable of our dude ranch packing list-sure to help you get ready for that once in a lifetime vacation!

Contact us at 1-888-733-5251 or 1-307-733-5251 us or visit our website for more information.

And check out the Dude Ranchers’ Association website for more dude ranch packing tips.

Dude Ranch: The Perfect Multigenerational Vacation

Looking for a multigenerational vacation or family reunion destination that has options for every age, virtually all-inclusive, and easy to plan? Then choose a dude ranch vacation at Goosewing Ranch. We volunteer as tribute to serve as your family’s home base. Between trail rides, diverse activities, proximity to national parks, delicious meals, and cozy cabins, Goosewing Ranch checks all the boxes for multigenerational travel.

A dude ranch experience makes a great multigenerational vacation, including trail rides.

Searching for a family reunion spot or vacation for multi-generations? Then look no further than Goosewing Ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Our ranch—with 11 cabins of varying sizes and maximum capacity of 35 people—is the perfect place for your family reunion. Whether your family is 4 people or 20, you will enjoy cabins that are within easy walking distance to visit your loved ones.

Plan a Dude Ranch Multigenerational Vacation

Nestled in a remote location in the Gros Ventre River Valley. We are an hour from the nearest town, with only one road in and out. So get ready to get off the grid for vacation time!

We are surrounded by natural, untouched beauty. The Grand Tetons are a welcome view from the property.

What makes a great multigenerational vacation spot? Plenty of diverse activities and a stunning setting like the Gros Ventre Vally overlooking the Grand Tetons.

Our all-inclusive packages remove the stress from the family members trying to plan the reunion. Cabin lodging is cozy, spacious, and clean.

All cabins have an outdoorsy feel, from antlers and pelts to wildlife bedding adorned with moose, bears, and horses.

We provide three delicious meals a day (plus snacks), and all ranch activities are included. We take the worrying out of your vacation—the only major decision your family has to make is which activities they want to do the next day.

Planning a family reunion or multigenerational vacation? Goosewing Ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyoming has trail rides, exceptional food, and activities galore in an idyllic setting in the Gros Ventre River Valley. With the Grand Teton National Park in our backyard, the outdoors is your family's playground. So grab your boots and hat and saddle up for a memorable family vacation. #multigenerationalvacation #familytravel # familyreunion #duderanch #familyvacation

When you celebrate with Goosewing, there’s something everyone can enjoy. Here are some suggestions:

  • Tour the area, with scenic views of the Tetons and other impressive landmarks;

  • Enjoy a family trail ride all together with knowledgeable wranglers;

  • Go explore the lakes and roads off the ranch in the UTVs (utility terrain vehicles) provided at each cabin;

  • Try your hand at fly fishing, either taking a rod out on your own or taking a lesson on our stock pond; or

  • Hone your aim and competitive nature (or simply have fun) with skeet shooting, archery, target shooting, and hatchet throwing.

What makes a great multigenerational vacation spot? Plenty of diverse activities that appeal to all ages like archery, skeet shooting, and axe throwing.

As far as dining, our food ranks as some of the best around. From afternoon snacks like chocolate chip cookies and lemonade to prime rib dinners and family style cookouts, the atmosphere is family friendly and conducive to guests getting to know one another.

What makes a great multigenerational vacation spot? Wonderful food like prime rib dinners, cookouts, and smores over a firepit.

Click here to read all about our food: from the meals offered, how we work with dietary restrictions, and what to expect in your meals at Goosewing Ranch.

The Perfect Spot for a Family Reunion

We encourage guests to disconnect from their hectic lives and reconnect with each other. It’s easy to build memories that will last a lifetime when you can truly step away from your phone, tablet, and computer. So focus on the people who are most important in your life: your family. Reunion time in all senses of the word!

If looking for a truly rustic, unique experience, check out our glamping site. With covered wagons and a dedicated wrangler and chef, the entire family can dine under the stars and sit by campfires sharing stories and laughs.

Our glamping site can accommodate large groups planning multigenerational travel.

Whatever your family’s preference, contact us to see if Goosewing Ranch might be able to make this year’s family reunion trip or multigenerational vacation one they will never forget!

Pack those matching shirts for an epic Christmas card shot of the entire family on your dude ranch multigenerational vacation.

Jackson Hole Dining: Goosewing Ranch Is for Food Lovers

At Goosewing Ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, we pride ourselves on many things, and one element guests continue to praise is our outstanding food. When staying at a dude ranch, guests have had an activity-filled day, often spent horseback riding. So naturally, everyone works up an appetite! We’ve got the menu covered with diverse offerings and made-to-order entrees that are sure to hit the spot.

With all the activities to do while on vacation out West, dude ranch guests develop an abundant appetite.  From hiking in the Grand Tetons, touring through Yellowstone National Park, and horseback riding in the mountains surrounding Goosewing Ranch, you will enjoy the delightful meals being served.

Jackson Hole Dining: Goosewing Ranch Is for Food Lovers

Most meals are served family style in the Main Lodge where we have 3 chefs on staff. Our outdoor kitchen and dining area is a wonderful place for all to enjoy meals and family time. The outdoor dining area features a wood burning oven, covered seating, lighting, and propane above head heaters.

Breakfast

Breakfast is complete with eggs cooked to order, bacon, sausage, pancakes, French toast, and daily specials. In addition, there is a continental buffet with cereal, fruit and homemade pastries.

Breakfast

Lunch

Lunches are usually trailside picnics, but hot lunches are also prepared if you decide to stay at the ranch during the day. We can also provide picnic lunches if you would like to go off on your own for the afternoon.  Picnic lunches are your choice of deli sandwich, chips, fruit, granola, and cookie.

Dinner

Dinners are themed, and can include Prime Rib Night, Southwest Night, French Night, Cowboy Night (steaks), and Angler Night (trout and salmon). Depending on the cuisine, meals may be served plated or buffet style.

Once a week we do an open fire cookout in dutch ovens.  Enjoy an evening under the stars with friends and family while enjoying entertainment!  We encourage families to be together, but will be offering a kids’ cookout and adults dinner throughout the week.

Dining options for dinner include at least two main entree options, a vegetarian option, gluten free option, and a kids’ option. We can accommodate dietary restrictions with advanced notice.

Chef Clint will be serving up some amazing cuisine from basic ranch style food to more gourmet meals.

Wine List

We are pleased to offer a variety of wines from France and South America in keeping with both the French heritage of the area and the owner of the ranch. We are dedicated to giving you the best value possible, and our prices reflect that. Wine by the bottle is offered at retail price, while wine by the glass echoes restaurant price. We would be more than happy to stock a special bottle of wine for you to enjoy during your stay if you let us know before your arrival.

Jackson Hole Dining: Our Food Reviews

Don’t take our word for it. Here are some of the Facebook comments about our ranch:

LeTricia writes: “We just came back from an incredible vacation at Goosewing Ranch…The food was top notch. The staff and wranglers feel like family now. I highly recommend this place.”

“The people are so friendly, very knowledgeable the wranglers were very helpful and took care with everyone. If you went away hungry it was your own fault, Clint, Paula and staff did an excellent job. The scenery was amazing and sometimes breath taking. Would recommend this spot to everyone young and old.”-Michael J.

Read more of our ranch reviews to start planning your dude ranch vacation.

What to Expect on a Jackson Hole Wildlife Safari

One of the most memorable experiences while visiting Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park is a wildlife tour. We recommend wildlife safaris because guests will learn so much more about the national park’s history, wildlife, and the area than if they had driven through on their own. 

Expect wildlife if you are patient on a Jackson Hole wildlife safari; pronghorn are especially plentiful!

When in Jackson Hole, we highly recommend exploring Grand Teton National Park. And one of the most memory making ways is to do a wildlife safari. These guided tours give guests a wonderful way to learn about the natural history of the park along with sightings of its wild residents.

What to Expect on a Jackson Hole Wildlife Safari

Plan for at least 3-4 hours minimum touring time as well as travel time from the departure location for partial day tours. These tips will help you know what to expect of this wildlife encounter.

Choose What Time of Day Works Best for You (Usually Dawn or Dusk).

If morning people, go with a dawn tour; if not, stick with one at dusk. And have a camera at the ready all the way through to the very end of the tour. Animals are especially active at dawn and at dusk.

One of the best finds on a Jackson Hole wildlife safari: a moose.

Dress for the Outdoors.

Check the company website to see what is recommended for clothing. Most encourage that guests wear long pants, closed toed shoes, and bring a jacket. Shorts or capris are appropriate for summer months.

Most companies use open air vehicles and pair up groups. For private tours or more personalized service, private vans are available. So dress accordingly as temperatures fluctuate. Layers are key!

Expect to See Some Wildlife…But No Guarantees.

While safari goers will most likely see wildlife, keep in mind it IS wild animals, not animatronics.  There are no guarantees on what species will be seen. Actually, that’s part of what makes the experience so exciting! Guides do communicate via radio with one another on sightings, so that helps everyone to share in the wildlife spotting.

Be prepared on what to expect on a Jackson Hole wildlife safari by doing your homework-pick a reputable company and keep eyes peeled for wildlife.

Some of the potential animals include elk, moose, mule deer, pronghorn, bison, bighorn sheep, grizzly and black bear, and wolves can all be seen within the park boundaries.

Be prepared to use the tools of the trade.

Binoculars and spotting scope are tools of the tour during a wildlife safari. It may just mean glimpses of animals like wolves or bears, but still exhilarating! 

What to expect on a Jackson Hole wildlife safari: using spotting scopes to see animals like this moose.

Know What’s Included and What’s NOT.

Read the fine print to see what’s part of the tour and what costs extra. Most tours include snacks and refreshments; some dawn tours include breakfast and all day tours usually include meals. However, many do not include the park entry fee. The park entry fee is $20.00 per adult (16 and up), good for seven days. Guests who have a “Golden Age Pass” or an “Interagency Park Pass” can use these passes on the tour. Park passes can be purchased at the park entrance during the tour.

Recommended guide gratuity is also not included and roughly 10-15% of the tour price.

What to Expect on a Jackson Hole Wildlife Safari? Great scenery, tons of park history, photo worthy spots, and oh yeah, probably some wildlife! Whether a half day or full day tour, learn all about the ins and outs of these animal-centric tours and why you want to try one while visiting Grand Teton National Park. #JacksonHole #wildlifesafari #wildlifetour #nationalpark #GrandTeton #findyourpark

All Aboard Big Red: The Jackson Hole Aerial Tram

What’s rectangle shaped, red, and climbs almost 11,000 feet in less than 10 minutes? It’s the Jackson Hole Aerial Tram. Nicknamed Big Red, the aerial tram provides access to Rendezvous Peak (that’s 10,450 feet). What awaits at the top of this vertical climb of 4,139 feet?  360-degree views of the Grand Tetons and Jackson Hole valley!

The Jackson Hole aerial tram is worth taking a ride on; access is at Teton Village in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

The Jackson Hole Aerial Tram climbs to the top of Rendezvous Peak in only 9 minutes.

JACKSON HOLE AERIAL TRAM

Jackson Hole has many amazing modes of transportation, but one of the most memorable has to be the Aerial Tram at the Teton Village. Aptly nicknamed Big Red because…it’s red, this gliding gondola escorts passengers up to the summit of Rendezvous Mountain. It made us wonder: how this amazing feat of engineering come to be?

Originally, the Jackson Hole Aerial Tram was built in the heart of the Grand Tetons and completed in 1966 after 26 months of construction. In 2006, the tram was decommissioned and plans were put into place for a replacement. This new version was completed in unveiled in December 2008.

Tram Stats:

  • Base Area at 6,311 feet
  • Rendezvous Peak Summit 10,450 feet
  • Vertical drop of 4,139 feet
  • 12,463 feet in length
  • 2-car reversible tram carries 100 people per car
  • Uphill capacity of 650 people per hour

Tip: Purchase the Family Tram Ticket online for 2 adults and up to 4 juniors: $ 86/$97 peak season. Bonus: Kids 5 and under are free, so make sure you price it both ways to see if you need a family pass or would be better off individually.

Corbet’s Cabin

Once up top, take in the amazing views. And don’t miss the waffles! Corbet’s Cabin specializes in made to order with delicious toppings like brown sugar butter, Nutella and strawberries, lemon glaze, and peanut butter and bacon. They also has a great selection of hot and cold drinks, beer, snacks and tram souvenirs.

Waffles from Corbet's Cabin are one of the major draws for taking the Jackson Hole Aerial Tram

Between the views and the waffles at Corbet’s Cabin, this is a definite MUST DO. Drink plenty of water on the aerial tram day because the elevation is almost 11,000 feet. 

Corbet's Cabin has gorgeous views and delicious food served at 10, 450 feet.

Learn more about Jackson Hole, Grand Teton National Park, and why families should choose a dude ranch vacation.

What's rectangle shaped, red, and climbs almost 11,000 feet in less than 10 minutes? It's the Jackson Hole Aerial Tram! All aboard Big Red as we learn about the origins of this gliding gondola, how to save money on tickets, and where to find the most delicious waffles in Jackson Hole. #JacksonHole #TetonVillage #aerialtram #BigRed #Wyoming

Visiting Yellowstone National Park: Tips for What You Should Know

Yellowstone National Park is known for wildlife adventures, diverse ecosystems, and the most amazing scenery. This massive 2.2 million acre behemoth demands time and planning. Here are our Goosewing tips to make the most of your Yellowstone experience.

Yellowstone tips such as when to catch a rainbow at the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and when crowds are fewer will be a big help to guests.

Yellowstone National Park hit over 4.2 million annual visitors in 2016, with peak season during June, July and August. So it pays to pre-plan as much as possible for trekking to this behemoth national park. 

Yellowstone Tips: What You Should Know

1. Plan Ahead and stay in the park if you can.

Believe us when we say that park accommodations will fill up as early as a year in advance, especially for the busy summer months. Staying at one of the nine lodges or the campgrounds in the park will save TONS of time because Yellowstone is enormous.

Given that the best times to enjoy the park are mornings and evenings when others have left the park, then having inside the park lodging is a major advantage. 

Old Faithful Inn is one of the best lodges in Yellowstone National Park; staying inside the park is one of our Yellowstone tips.

Another perk staying on property is securing dinner reservations, which are required for Old Faithful Inn, Lake Yellowstone Hotel and Grant Village dining rooms. Note that priority for dinner reservations is given to hotel guests. Visitors not staying in these locations must wait until 60 days in advance to make a dining reservation.

2. Grab gas and supplies before entering the park.

Packing a cooler with food and drinks will prove to be worth it. Filling the cooler up nightly with ice from the ice machines kept everything cold. And although there are gas stations within the park, it’s wise to go ahead and fill up before entering.

3. Animal lovers, check out Lamar and Hayden Valleys.

If keen on seeing animals, these are the two areas that cannot be missed. Everyone we met who had see some variety of wildlife had done it in Lamar Valley. Bison are plentiful, even up close to the road! We also spotted elk, wolves, and brown bears.

Book the Lamar Valley Wildlife Excursion on the Historic Yellow Bus for a guided tour that will tap into all the hotspots for wildlife watching. Early birds, there’s also the Wake Up to Wildlife Tour. The key takeaway here is to capitalize on the early mornings and/or early evenings in Yellowstone.

 Lamar Valley is loaded with bison! Most our animal sightings in Yellowstone were in either Lamar Valley or Hayden Valley.

4. Must See Sights:

 

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

Two words: worth it! The Yellowstone River becomes a waterfall as it plunges 308 feet over the Lower Falls. This spot is awe-inspiring as visitors are fingertips aways from the waterfall as it roars past. A fabulous photo opportunity. But warning: the trail is steep and loaded with switchbacks, which means as challenging as it is to descend, it’s that much harder to walk back up! If this doesn’t sound appealing, go to Artist Point where no climbing is required.

Yellowstone tips include heading to Artist Point to take in views of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

Old Faithful

Yellowstone has almost 60 percent of the world’s geysers. There are at least 150 geysers within 1 square miles. 5 of these major geysers are predicted regularly by the Yellowstone staff: Castle, Grand, Daisy, Riverside, and Old Faithful.

Old Faithful is a must see, making it tops on our list of Yellowstone tips; seeing it early in the morning or late at night means fewer crowds.

Old Faithful is probably the most popular attraction at Yellowstone. Named for its relative predictability, Old Faithful’s eruptions are forecast daily by the park rangers (give or take 5 minutes). Don’t miss the Old Faithful Visitor Education Center, a treasure trove of wonderful information and great place to snag junior ranger badges.

Old Faithful draws massive crowds, so try to visit early in the morning or late in the day. Check immediately about eruption times on posted placards or using the National Parks app. Snag a spot early to watch as the geyser shoots water on average 145 feet in the air for 1 1/2 to 5 minutes. 

Grand Prismatic Spring

Thee jaw-dropping Grand Prismatic Spring at the Midway Geyser Basin is larger than a football field and deeper than a 10-story building! What captivates is its gorgeous colors. Alongside Grand Prismatic, you’ll find Excelsior Geyser, Turquoise Pool, and Opal Pool.

Yellowstone tips on what you should know include going to see Grand Prismatic Spring

5. Book Tours to Learn More About this Park.

The 2-hour Twilight on the Firehole tour (late May to early September) shows off the Firehole region in its best light.

Climb aboard a 1930s-era Historic Yellow Bus for the Geyser Gazers outing (late May to mid-August and mid-September to early October). The 1½-hour exploration along Firehole Lake Drive takes in Excelsior Geyser Crater, a colossal hot spring that spews 4,000 gallons of water per minute into the Firehole River.

We're sharing our Yellowstone tips: everything you should know about lodging, tours, must see spots, and best ways to spot wildlife. This massive first national park has more to offer for travelers: from waterfalls, hot springs, and geysers to bison, bears, and wolves. #Yellowstone #nationalpark #Wyoming #nationalparks #yellowstonetips

If you have a full day, the Yellowstone in a Day Tour (late May to early October) covers the entire 142-mile Grand Loop Road, including Old Faithful, Lake Yellowstone Hotel, the Upper and Lower Falls of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Canyon Village, Mammoth Hot Springs, and Fountain Paint Pots.

As for booking tours, don’t rely solely on the website because it only takes a request form. Instead, call central reservations at (307) 344-7311. If all else fails, call back within the cancellation window because other guests might drop a reservation. 

6. Respect the Wildlife.

To protect yourself and the animals you come to watch, always remain at least 100 yards from bears or wolves, and at least 25 yards from all other wildlife. Never approach or pursue an animal to take its picture: use binoculars or telephoto lenses to get a better view. If an animal moves closer to you, back away to maintain a safe distance.

Wildlife run rampant in Yellowstone National Park; our Yellowstone tips for how to maximize wildlife sightings like this fox.

Must-have supplies for wildlife watching would be binoculars, camera/lenses, and bear spray if hiking is planned.

Also expect to see a bison traffic jam. When they decide to use the road, all bets are off on how soon vehicles will make it through. Patience is definitely a virtue in the park!

7. Find the best park ticket price.

There are several deals going on park passes:

Annual Pass: Purchase an America the Beautiful Annual Pass ($80) if several national parks are in your plans.

Senior Pass: Available for U.S. citizens or permanent residents age 62 or over. Applicants must provide documentation of age and residency or citizenship. Cost: $80 for a lifetime Senior Pass and $20 for Annual Senior Pass.

Every Kid in a Park (4th Graders): And don’t forget if you have a 4th grader, the entire family gets free admission to all national parks as part of the Every Kid in a Park initiative.

Military Pass: FREE to current U.S. military members and dependents in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard as well as Reserve and National Guard members.

One of many hot springs is in Fountain Paint Pots, part of our Yellowstone tips.

Snake River: What You Should Know

Snake River weaves it way through the Western landscape in Wyoming, from Yellowstone down to Grand Teton National Park and into Jackson Hole and beyond. Learn more about this river and why it should be on every Jackson Hole traveler’s list for its awesome water-based activities.

Snake River runs through Grand Teton National Park and spans 6 states including here in Wyoming.

Here at Goosewing Ranch, we love the landscape in our neck of the woods, and one of the natural beauties is the Snake River. This rollicking river wows with Teton views, terrific rapids, and stunning scenery.

Snake River: What You Should Know

Did you know?

  • The Snake River is the 9th longest river in the US at 1,078 miles and the longest tributary of the Columbia River.
  • Its drainage basin covers parts of six states which are Idaho, Nevada, Wyoming, Oregon, Utah and Washington.
  • The average flow of the river is 1,553 cubic meters per second.

One of the main reasons to explore Snake River is the stunning scenery!

Its Name Was a Misinterpretation

The Snake River likely got its name from European explorers who misinterpreted the sign made by the Shoshone people. The Shoshone made swimming motions which appeared to these explorers to be a snake. In actuality, they were signing that they lived near the river with many fish.

Lewis and Clark were the first American explorers to discover it.

Between 1804 and 1806, Lewis and Clark sailed down the Snake River to the Columbia River. Lewis is credited as the first American to see this river’s drainage basin, so it is often called Lewis Fork.

Snake River offers rafting, scenic floats, and fishing just to name a few popular summer activities. What you need to know before you explore Snake River in jackson Hole, Wyoming and beyond. #JacksonHole #SnakeRiver #GrandTeton #nationalpark #Wyoming

Things to Do on the Snake River

In Jackson Hole, there are many activities centered on Snake River. From rolling rapids to calm waters through Grand Teton National Park, rafting makes the cut on many guests’ wish lists.

Whitewater Rafting

For outdoor fun and an adrenaline boost, whitewater rafting is the way to go. The most popular rafting section of the river stretches from Grand Teton National Park and travels through Jackson Hole.

Scenic floats along the Snake River are photo opportunities at every turn!

Scenic Float

If relaxation and soaking in the scenery is more your speed, then we suggest a scenic float. Enjoy a secluded trip down Snake River inside the Grand Teton National Park for a one-of-a-kind way to see the national park. Be sure to bring a camera and binoculars to take in all the wildlife and great shots. Most whitewater companies also offer scenic float excursions.

Fishing

Ask the experts and they will agree that Snake River is perfectly suited for fly fishing whether a beginner or expert. Plus, there are those incomparable views of the Tetons. Many outfitters offer fly fishing in the area and welcome all ages (kids should be old enough to sit in a small drift boat for a half or full day). All fishing in Jackson Hole is catch and release to keep population levels high. We also have fishing here on our ranch to give it a try before taking on Snake River.

If planning any of these activities, be sure to bring appropriate apparel. Check out our packing list of suggested items for a Western vacation.

Fishing is one of the best family activities whether at Goosewing Ranch or on the Snake River during your stay in Jackson Hole.

Things to Do in Yellowstone National Park

As the first and the biggest national park, Yellowstone requires some pre-planning but it is so worth the effort! From guided tours to fishing, hiking, boating and horseback riding, the activities are endless. So we’re sharing a list of Yellowstone Things to Do, links for best adventures, and tips to make this amazing park more approachable.

Yellowstone Things to Do include making sure to capture the entrance signs to document the trip.

Is Yellowstone popular? You bet! Especially during peak season in June, July, and August. In 2017, visitors to Yellowstone National Park totaled 4.1 million, the second highest attendance ever. Since 2008, annual visitation to Yellowstone has increased by close to 40 percent. So it’s imperative to choose activities and excursions wisely. We’re sharing ideas on the best Things to Do in Yellowstone National Park.

Yellowstone Things to Do

From guided tours aboard historic buses to stagecoach adventures and horseback tours, there is truly something for everyone as far as touring Yellowstone. Private touring companies abound as well as these offered by the Yellowstone National Park Lodges:

Scenic Tours

The 2-hour Twilight on the Firehole tour (late May to early September) shows off the Firehole region in its best light.

Climb aboard a 1930s-era Historic Yellow Bus for the Geyser Gazers outing (late May to mid-August and mid-September to early October). The 1½-hour exploration along Firehole Lake Drive takes in Excelsior Geyser Crater, a colossal hot spring that spews 4,000 gallons of water per minute into the Firehole River.

If you have a full day, the Yellowstone in a Day Tour (late May to early October) covers the entire 142-mile Grand Loop Road, including Old Faithful, Lake Yellowstone Hotel, the Upper and Lower Falls of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Canyon Village, Mammoth Hot Springs, and Fountain Paint Pots.

Geyser Gazers might see gorgeous star-filled skies, one of many guided tours that make our Yellowstone things to do list.

Wildlife Tours

Wildlife safaris are incredibly popular as a combination of education and wildlife sightseeing. There are multiple touring companies offering a wide range of excursions that teach visitors about the wildlife, geology, and natural history of the park. Book in advance because they will fill up fast.

For early risers, the Wake Up to Wildlife Tour (late May to late September) covers the Lamar Valley area in a 13-passenger Historic Yellow Bus. The roof rolls back for better wildlife viewing. Bison roam the Lamar Valley alongside bears, elk, bighorn sheep and even wolves.

Bison roam the Lamar Valley, making this area one to visit while looking for Yellowstone things to do.

Photo Safaris

Guides of the Picture Perfect Photo Safari (mid-May to early October) are educated in both the region and photography. Offering two 5-hour tours: one leaving from Old Faithful Inn and focusing on thermal areas north of the lodge, and the second one leaving from Lake Yellowstone Hotel that scopes out wildlife in the Hayden Valley, the north shore of Lake Yellowstone, and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

Old West Adventures

For a combination horseback and dining experience, try the Old West Dinner Cookout (mid-June to mid-September). Getting there via horseback or in a canvas-covered wagon is part of the fun. What awaits is steaks cooked to order, Roosevelt Baked Beans, potato salad, coleslaw, cornbread muffins, chuck wagon corn, watermelon, and fruit crisp. Add in hot coffee over a roaring campfire with Western tunes and it is truly an adventure!

Or there’s the Stagecoach Adventure from Roosevelt where guests will feel like pioneers and hear about the stagecoach’s history in Yellowstone.

Is Yellowstone popular? You bet! Especially during peak season in June, July, and August.Since 2008, annual visitation to Yellowstone has increased by close to 40 percent. So it's imperative to choose activities and excursions wisely. We're sharing ideas on the best Things to Do in Yellowstone National Park. From tours to wildlife, get ready to roll into your Yellowstone adventure with our links and tips. #Yellowstone #nationalpark #findyourpark #YellowstoneNationalPark

Other Yellowstone Activities

Wildlife Watching

Make your own wildlife tour by exploring on your own. Keep in mind that some of the best wildlife viewing areas include Hayden Valley and Lamar Valley. In Hayden Valley, look for bison, black bears, elk, grizzly bears, and wolves. Lamar Valley is home to bison, black bears, bighorn sheep, elk, grizzly bears, mule deer, pronghorn,  and wolves.

Yellowstone Things to Do include keeping eyes peeled for wildlife like wolves, bears, and bison

 

When in doubt and there are a lot of cars pulled over, there is likely a wildlife sighting (especially if many people have spotting scopes).

Horseback Riding

For horse lovers,  Yellowstone allows private, licensed outfitters who have been authorized to operate in the park to guide trips. Some outfitters offer day trips and some offer guided overnight backcountry trips. The Yellowstone National Park Lodges also offer 1 or 2-hour horseback rides  from Tower-Roosevelt and Canyon (early June to early September).

While we love for guests to do their horseback riding with us here at Goosewing, we can say that it’s an awesome activity no matter where you experience it.

Hiking

Yellowstone has more than 900 miles of hiking trails. The National Park Service has a great guide on all the hiking trails in the park. Keep in Mind: Many of Yellowstone’s trails are more than 7,000 feet above sea level. Additionally, most areas retain snow until late May/early June, and some higher elevation spots are snow-covered until late July.

Be Bear Aware: If planning on hiking, we recommend purchasing bear spray. Also it is vital to carry drinking water. Dehydration is common and can be serious. Most visitors will need to drink considerably more here due to low humidity and high elevation.

Yellowstone Things to Do include looking for elusive bears; be sure to stay back at least 100 feet.

Boating

Yellowstone Lake is the setting for a  1-hour Scenicruise (mid-June to mid-September) featuring eagles, osprey, and other birds from aboard the Lake Queen. Or go it on your own by renting a motorboat or rowboat at Bridge Bay Marina. Other companies offer guided services for canoeing, kayaking, and motorized boating.

If using your own boat/float tube, you’ll need a permit and a free Yellowstone aquatic invasive species inspection. You can speed up the inspection process by arriving with a boat that is clean, drained, and dry. Watercraft that arrive dirty or with standing water will be subject to decontamination; if they cannot be properly decontaminated, then the watercraft will be prohibited from launching.

Fishing

Of the approximately 4 million Yellowstone visitors each year, about 50,000 of them fish. Anglers 16 years of age or older must have a valid National Park fishing permit to fish in the park (state fishing licenses are not valid). 3-day permit: $18; 7-day permit: $25; and season-long permit: $40.

Fishing is popular in Yellowstone National Park, making it one of the best things to do in Yellowstone.

Ranger Programs

Join a ranger for a scheduled program to learn about the wild communities, history and geology of the park.

General Information about Yellowstone

Visitor Centers

Need information? Then check out one of the 10 visitor centers:

  • Albright Visitor Center (open June to September)-Mammoth Hot Springs.
  • Canyon Visitor Education Center (open late Spring through mid Fall)-Canyon Village.
  • Fishing Bridge Visitor Center & Trailside Museum (open May to September)-Lake Yellowstone.
  • Grant Visitor Center (open May to October)-western shore of Yellowstone Lake, a short distance south of the West Thumb Geyser Basin.
  • Madison Information Station & Trailside Museum (open May to October)-Located between Madison Junction and Old Faithful.
  • Museum of the National Park Ranger (open May to September)-off the Grand Loop Road at the entrance to Norris Campground.
  • Norris Geyser Basin Museum & Information Station (open May to October)-1/4 mile east of Norris Junction just off the Grand Loop Road.
  • Old Faithful Visitor Education Center (open daily throughout the year, with two month-long closed periods in the fall and spring)-Upper Geyser Basin at Old Faithful.
  • West Thumb Information Station (open May to October)-north of Grant Village and on Lake Yellowstone.
  • West Yellowstone Visitor Information Center (open May through September, and open weekdays, early November through April)-in the West Yellowstone Chamber of Commerce.

Old Faithful Visitor Center is chock full of educational information, making it one of Yellowstone things to do

Entrance Fees 

  • $35  Yellowstone-Private Vehicle (good for 7 days)
  • $30 Yellowstone-Motorcycle (good for 7 days)
  • $20 Yellowstone Hiker/Biker (good for 7 days)
  • $70 Yellowstone Annual Pass
  • $80 America the Beautiful Annual Pass (recommended if you’re going to multiple parks)

Use this Yellowstone Map to get familiar with the areas ahead of time.

Tips from the National Park Service

Here are some of the rules that the National Park Service has come up with to help protect the delicate balance between parkgoers and wildlife:

  • To protect yourself and the animals you come to watch, always remain at least 100 yards from bears or wolves, and at least 25 yards from all other wildlife.
  • Never approach or pursue an animal to take its picture: use binoculars or telephoto lenses to get a better view.
  • If an animal moves closer to you, back away to maintain a safe distance.
  • If you cause an animal to move, you’re too close. It’s illegal to willfully remain near or approach wildlife, including birds, within any distance that disturbs or displaces the animal.
  • Park in roadside pullouts when watching/photographing animals: do not block traffic.
  • Stay in or next to your car when watching bears. If a bear approaches or touches your car, honk your horn and drive away to discourage this behavior.

Yellowstone Must See Spots

Old Faithful

Yellowstone has almost 60 percent of the world’s geysers. Within one square mile, there are at least 150 of these hydrothermal wonders. 5 of these major geysers are predicted regularly by the Yellowstone staff: Castle, Grand, Daisy, Riverside, and Old Faithful.

Old Faithful is probably the most popular Yellowstone things to do.

 

“Old Faithful is one of nearly 500 geysers in Yellowstone and one of six that park rangers can currently predict. It is uncommon to be able to predict geyser eruptions with regularity and Old Faithful has lived up to its name, only lengthening the time between eruptions by about 30 minutes in the last 30 years. The reliability of Old Faithful inspired early developers to build special viewing areas, lodging, and concessions for visitors to watch eruptions.”

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

The Yellowstone River becomes a waterfall as it plunges 308 feet over the Lower Falls. Artist Point is the easier spot to view the falls or choose the Lower Falls trail. It’s quite steep (328 steps down) and loaded with switchbacks, which means as challenging as it is to descend, it’s that much harder to walk back up! But this spot is awe-inspiring as visitors are fingertips aways from the waterfall as it roars past. A fabulous photo opportunity.

On our list of Yellowstone things to do, The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone boasts epic views.

Grand Prismatic Spring

Also a MUST SEE is the jaw-dropping Grand Prismatic Spring at the Midway Geyser Basin. It’s larger than a football field and deeper than a 10-story building! What captivates is its gorgeous colors. Alongside Grand Prismatic, you’ll find Excelsior Geyser, Turquoise Pool, and Opal Pool.

Yellowstone Things to Do include Grand Prismatic Spring

Yellowstone Tips

Arrive early and/or stay late.

Park entrances are generally busiest from 9 am to 11 am. And since it doesn’t get dark during the summer until 9PM, stay late and there will be fewer crowds as dinner time approaches.

Get the apps.

National Park Service offers two free apps to help with planning your trip, understanding the stories of the park, and enjoying your visit. For planning and education, there’s the official National Park Service app.
Meanwhile, the NPS Yellowstone Geysers app provides eruption predictions (when available) for Old Faithful, Grand, Castle, Great Fountain, Daisy, and Riverside Geysers. They are great resources for the latest geyser predictions, campsite and lodging availabilities, and road conditions from Yellowstone’s live data feeds.

Be Patient and Prepared.

Summer is the busiest season of the year. It’s the best time to see a variety of wildlife – wolves, bears, moose, elk, and deer. Temperatures usually hover at 70F with cooler temperatures at night. Some elevations see freezing temperatures overnight. And watch out-thunderstorms are common in the afternoons.

Follow the Rules.

DO NOT approach the animals. It’s called WILDlife for a reason.

Stay on boardwalks and paths because they are designed to protect guests and the land. Hot springs are very dangerous! They injure/kill more people than any other natural feature in the park.

Stay on the paths in Yellowstone, one of the best tips pertaining to Yellowstone things to do.