Spring is for Exploring Jackson Hole
I love spring and fall. These two seasons mark a time of change, but while fall says, “Let’s cuddle in front of a warm fire,” as Robin Williams once said, “Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!’” And there’s no better place to celebrate than Jackson, Wyoming.
Jackson has two May festivals that make a spring visit to this iconic Wyoming town even more memorable. It’s first important to understand that while its known as a ski destination for the rich and famous, the Jackson Hole area is steeped in real-life western heritage. There are still a number of working ranches in the area, and both of these May festival pay tribute to the region’s western roots.
ElkFest occurs on May 19-20, 2018, and kicks off with the 51st annual Elk Antler Auction. The National Elk Refuge, which borders the town of Jackson, provides thousands of pounds of naturally shed antlers that are collected by local Boy Scouts and sold to collectors and artisans. Most of the proceeds from this auction benefit the elk habitat.
On Sunday, the big draw to ElkFest is the Noon Chili Cookoff. At this culinary event, local chefs compete for the “Best of the West” title. If you don’t think chili is a gourmet food, you’ve never experienced Jackson’s dining scene; this town takes food very seriously, so come hungry.
Over Memorial Day weekend, May 25-28, 2018, the entire family will enjoy Old West Days. On Friday evening it’s all about cowboys and cowgirls at the Bar J Chuckwagon, a music and comedy venue that will feed you and make you laugh.
Don’t miss the horse-drawn Old West Days Parade on Saturday, followed by all sorts of entertainment on Jackson’s famous Town Square. Craft beer connoisseurs will love the Old West Brew Fest that’s also a competition for regional brewers who compete for the Golden Boot, a coveted people’s choice award.
During Old West Days, be sure to wander over to the Teton Fairgrounds to take in the Mountain Man Rendezvous and Traders Row where there will be competitions such as bow shooting.
Here are some other ways to keep yourself occupied during a spring visit to Jackson, Wyoming.
As this rich ecosystem in northwest Wyoming begins to thaw, the wildlife become increasingly active. It’s a wonderful time to take a guided tour into Yellowstone National Park or Grand Teton National Park. There’s no excuse not to venture into Grand Teton National Park during your visit, as the park entrance is just seven minutes from town.
Photo by Paul Brown/Wildlife Expeditions of Teton Science Schools
May is an excellent time to spot baby animals. To increase your chances of seeing wildlife, book a tour with an outfitter.
I also recommend visiting the National Wildlife Museum. Just minutes from downtown, the museum boasts an incredible collection of artwork; art-lovers won’t want to miss it. Afterward, stay for a meal at Palate. Located inside the museum, this restaurant has some of the best views and food in Jackson.
Spring means savings when it comes to lodging rates in Jackson. During this “off season,” hotels such as Mountain Modern Motel is offering rates from $110 to $179, and the recently opened Anvil Hotel has rates from $125 to $160. If you’re looking for a vacation condo, townhouse or house rental, Spring Creek Ranch offers luxury just 10 minutes from town and some of the most scenic vistas in Jackson.