In and Around Jackson, WY
This summer we set out for an almost four week trek through some of the most incredible scenery in the Western United States. Our first stop was Jackson, Wyoming, where we visited Grand Tetons National Park and spent five days exploring the town and areas outside the park. There was so much to see here that we divided our videos (and blog posts) between “in the park” and “outside the park.” This video (and blog post) is about the “outside the park” highlights.
When we arrived in Jackson Hole and set up camp at The Virginian RV Resort, we were surprised to discover we were right in the center of town. This seemed like it might be a bit of a drawback at first, but turned out to be a major win. We loved being able to walk to food and supplies and shopping. We were right across the street from a public library!! The Virginian was a sweet spot to camp. As an RVer, you do have access to the amenities of the hotel, like the pool and the restaurant. We had breakfast on our last morning in Jackson in the Virginian’s diner, and it did not disappoint. Noah had been craving a cinnamon roll, and boy did the Virginian deliver. We were still eating this cinnamon roll five days later in Yellowstone. The spaces at the Virginian were fairly tight, but there was free coffee every morning, clean bathrooms with free showers, and some of the most affordable campground laundry I’ve ever encountered. For a short while, we had another camping cat parked next to us, which was exciting for both cats and humans.
Jackson Square was a short, lovely walk from the RV park, too. We spent two evenings roaming the square, shopping and eating and taking in the sights. We saw the Town Square Shoot Out on our first visit, perched on the brick wall by one of the famous antler arches. And we saw an excellent juggler on the lawn in the center of the square. We had burgers, fries and tater tots at Jackson Drug, and Hand Fire Pizza right on the square. The first of many ice cream cones on this trip came from Moo’s Gourmet Ice Cream. Miles discovered he likes burritos when he and I had dinner at Pica’s Tacqueria. Having this much restaurant food while camping was totally new to us, and completely wonderful.
We spent an incredibly fun day going up and down the trams and gondolas up Rendezvous Mountain at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. One of the challenges of planning travel with teens is keeping our activities varied and engaging. I could spend day after day exploring the easy day hikes of a national park, but the boys definitely weary of hiking repeatedly. So finding new ways to explore together is a must. The gondolas definitely fit the bill. I got us a family pass online, and for $116 we could ride as many gondolas as we wanted. We went up and down the mountain in every gondola or tram they had. The largest ariel tram takes riders to the very top of the moutain, more than 10K feet in elevation. We got off, had waffles for lunch at the waffle restaurant, and took a short loop on the Top of the World trail. The weather was spectacular, but super windy up top. Then we rode down the mountain, only to ride back up on the Bridger Gondola. We walked down a good portion of the Wildflower Trail, and hopped on the Sweetwater Gondola for the rest of the trip downhill. We loved watching the mountain bikers coming down the trails under the gondolas, and imagining the skiing in the winter. The Wildflower Trail was excellent, with, you guessed it, plenty of flowers, and long grasses blowing in the wind.
After Rendezvous Mountain, we explored Rendezvous Park, a sweet little spot tucked between Moose Wilson Road and the Snake River. There is a small lake, and an amazing sculpture of a giant troll, ready for climbing and exploring. The lake was great for wading and swimming, and both boys got their first chance to try a paddle board. We saw an osprey flying overhead with a fish. We sat on the lakeside and watched the sun go down for several hours, just enjoying the peacefulness of the water.
After Jackson, we headed to Yellowstone National Park, so keep an eye out for that video, coming soon.
Our planning resources:
Music from this video, all from Epidemic Sound:
- Talking Trees by Max Kershaw
- Mountain Springs by Alan Carlson Green
- Please Say You Do by Plain Strolls