Highway 89 Road Trip Day 8: So Many Things To Do In Jackson Wyoming

Dive into the heart of Wyoming with our curated list of things to do in Jackson Hole. This mountainous enclave is a blend of rustic charm and modern luxuries. From the iconic Teton Range backdrop to vibrant town squares filled with art and entertainment, Jackson Hole serves as a perfect midpoint in your Highway 89 adventure.

This photo by WitGorski

Morning: Bear Lake to Grand Teton

As the first light of dawn breaks over the horizon, your day begins with the anticipation of witnessing some of nature’s most majestic creations. Departing from the serene shores of Bear Lake, you embark on a scenic drive towards Jackson, Wyoming, the gateway to the awe-inspiring Grand Teton National Park.

The journey itself is a visual delight. The road winds through the picturesque landscapes of Northern Utah and into Wyoming, with each mile introducing you to changing vistas of rolling hills, rustic farmlands, and the distant peaks of the Rocky Mountains drawing nearer.

Frequent pullouts along the route offer perfect opportunities to pause and capture the beauty of the unfolding scenery. The crisp morning air and the gentle light of dawn enhance the tranquility of the drive, setting a serene tone for the day ahead.

As you approach Jackson, the iconic silhouette of the Teton Range emerges, commanding the skyline with its jagged peaks and pristine slopes. The town of Jackson, with its unique charm and Western flair, serves as your threshold to the grandeur of the Tetons.

Here, you can take a moment to stretch your legs, grab a quick breakfast or a coffee, and prepare for the adventures that await in the national park. The anticipation builds as you ready yourself to explore the rugged beauty and untamed wilderness of Grand Teton National Park.

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Afternoon: Mid-Day at Grand Teton

Upon arrival at Grand Teton National Park, you’re greeted by the awe-inspiring sight of the Teton Range, its rugged peaks reaching for the sky in a dramatic display of nature’s artistry. Your afternoon is dedicated to exploring the pristine wilderness and engaging in the park’s abundant recreational activities.

Begin your adventure with a visit to Jenny Lake, one of the park’s crown jewels. The crystal-clear waters of the lake, set against the backdrop of the towering Tetons, offer a scene of unparalleled beauty. Consider renting a kayak or a canoe to glide over the lake’s serene surface, providing a unique vantage point to appreciate the grandeur of the surrounding mountains.

For those who prefer land-based activities, the area around Jenny Lake offers numerous hiking trails. The Jenny Lake Loop or a trek to the Hidden Falls are excellent choices, offering stunning views and a chance to immerse yourself in the tranquility of the park’s alpine environment.

As the afternoon unfolds, wildlife enthusiasts have the opportunity to witness the park’s diverse inhabitants. The areas around Willow Flats or the Moose-Wilson Road are renowned for sightings of moose, elk, and sometimes even bears. Remember to maintain a safe distance and respect the wildlife’s habitat.

Your exploration of Grand Teton doesn’t end with its natural wonders. The park is also rich in history and culture. A visit to the Menor’s Ferry Historic District or the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center can provide valuable insights into the area’s heritage and the legacy of conservation efforts that preserve this natural wonder for future generations.

As the day draws to a close, the shifting light of the setting sun casts a golden glow over the landscape, offering a moment of reflection on the profound beauty and serenity of Grand Teton National Park. It’s an ideal time to find a quiet spot, perhaps near one of the park’s reflective lakes, to soak in the views and collect memories of an unforgettable afternoon in the wilderness.

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Evening: Exploring Jackson, Wyoming

As the sun begins to dip behind the grand peaks of the Teton Range, painting the sky in shades of pink and orange, your day in Grand Teton National Park transitions into a tranquil evening. This is the moment to settle into your chosen accommodation, be it a cozy cabin within the park, a comfortable lodge in Jackson, or a campsite under the vast Wyoming sky.

If you’re camping, set up your site early enough to enjoy the twilight hours. The crisp mountain air and the natural soundtrack of the park provide the perfect backdrop for an evening by the campfire. Share stories, roast marshmallows, or simply bask in the quietness of the wilderness around you.

For those staying in Jackson or other nearby towns, the evening offers a chance to explore the local dining scene. Jackson, in particular, is known for its blend of rustic charm and culinary sophistication. Choose from a range of restaurants offering everything from hearty Western fare to gourmet dishes.

[Recommended Dinner Spot] is known for its inviting ambiance and exquisite menu, ensuring a delightful dining experience. Alternatively, [Alternative Dinner Spot] offers a unique take on local ingredients, serving up flavors that resonate with the spirit of Wyoming.

After dinner, consider a leisurely stroll through the streets of Jackson. The town’s Western-style storefronts, art galleries, and public art installations add to its unique character. If the night is clear, another opportunity for stargazing presents itself. The Tetons are far from city lights, offering a dark sky perfect for observing the stars, planets, and constellations in their full glory.

Finally, as the night deepens, retreat to the comfort of your accommodation. The serenity of the Tetons, combined with the day’s adventures, promises a restful sleep and sweet dreams of the natural splendor that awaits you in the days to come.

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Dining Recommendations

  • Recommended lunch spot: [LOCATION]
  • Alternative lunch location: [LOCATION]
  • Recommended dinner spot: [LOCATION]
  • Alternative dinner spot: [LOCATION]
  • Breakfast, snacks, dessert, and more: [INFORMATION]

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Lodging Recommendations

While there are ample camping and vacation rental options all over Highway 89, I personally highly prefer staying at Hilton-branded properties when traveling to national parks and during road trips. As such, here is three recommendations for places to stay in Jackson, Wyoming on day 8 of the ultimate Highway 89 road trip.

  1. Lodging Recommendation 1
  2. Lodging Recommendation 2
  3. Lodging Recommendation 3

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Quick Things To Note

While wildlife sightings are a thrilling part of the Grand Teton experience, it’s crucial to observe animals from a safe distance. Never approach or feed wildlife. Keep your food items secured, especially in camping areas, to avoid attracting bears or other animals.

Whether you’re kayaking on Jenny Lake or hiking the park’s trails, ensure you’re well-prepared. This includes carrying enough water, wearing appropriate clothing and footwear, and having navigational tools like a map or a GPS device, especially in areas where cell service may be limited.

Grand Teton and the surrounding towns, especially Jackson, can be quite popular, particularly in peak seasons. It’s wise to book your accommodation and make dining reservations in advance to secure your spot and avoid any last-minute inconveniences.

Grand Teton National Park has regulations in place to protect its natural beauty and ensure visitor safety. This includes rules about where you can camp, light fires, and hike. Familiarize yourself with these regulations to help preserve the park for future generations.

Even during summer, temperatures in the Tetons can drop significantly at night. If you’re camping or planning to stargaze, dress in layers and bring extra blankets or a suitable sleeping bag to stay warm and comfortable.

Mountain roads can be narrow, winding, and sometimes steep. Drive cautiously, respect speed limits, and use pullouts to let faster vehicles pass. Keep an eye out for wildlife, especially during dawn and dusk when animals are most active.

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Frequently Asked Questions

The Jenny Lake Loop offers beautiful views with relatively easy terrain, making it perfect for a relaxed half-day hike. For something a bit more challenging, Taggart Lake Trail provides stunning vistas without requiring a full day.

Boat and kayak rentals are available at the Jenny Lake Boating. They offer a variety of options for enjoying the lake, including canoes, single kayaks, and double kayaks. It’s best to arrive early as rentals are popular and operate on a first-come, first-served basis.

Besides Jenny Lake, don’t miss the iconic views from Oxbow Bend, the historic buildings at Mormon Row, and the breathtaking panorama at Snake River Overlook. Each offers a unique perspective on the park’s natural beauty.

Willow Flats, Oxbow Bend, and the areas around Moose-Wilson Road are renowned for wildlife sightings, including moose, elk, and occasionally bears. Remember to keep a safe distance and never approach wildlife.

Jackson is home to a diverse culinary scene. The Local Restaurant & Bar offers modern American cuisine with a Wyoming twist, while Snake River Grill presents upscale dining with an emphasis on local ingredients. For a more casual but equally tasty experience, try Persephone Bakery for fresh pastries and excellent coffee.

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Our Final Thoughts on Highway 89 Day 8

As we reflect on Day 8 of our Highway 89 journey, the majestic beauty of Grand Teton National Park lingers in our minds. The day was filled with awe-inspiring landscapes, from the rugged peaks of the Tetons piercing the skyline to the tranquil shores of Jenny Lake reflecting the mountains in its crystal-clear waters.

The moments of serenity by the lake, combined with the thrill of exploring the park’s pristine trails and witnessing its rich wildlife, created a symphony of unforgettable experiences that resonate with the spirit of the American wilderness.

The evening in Jackson or near the Tetons offered a perfect blend of rustic charm and tranquil wilderness, providing a peaceful retreat to unwind and reflect on the day’s adventures.

Whether it was indulging in local culinary delights, strolling through the streets of Jackson, or simply gazing at the starlit sky, each moment added a unique flavor to our journey, enriching the tapestry of memories we’re weaving along Highway 89.

As we look ahead to Day 9, our hearts are full of gratitude for the natural wonders we’ve encountered and eager for the new adventures that await. The journey continues to surprise and inspire us, reminding us of the endless beauty and diversity of the landscapes and communities that line this historic route.