The more things change, the more they stay the same.
The town of Jackson has changed.Gone are the days you could stay in a motel for a song and stroll through town square in solitude.
Now, motel rooms under $50 a night are scarcer than snow in summer and when tourist season heats up in July and August, you'll run into traffic jams in the heart of town. At some eateries you'll wait in line for dinner.
Crowds are part of the Jackson scene now more than ever. Visitors stop on their way to two of our nation's venerable treasures, Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks.
The area's visual arts are as good as ever. The three Ps - painters, potters and photographers - look to the mountains around Jackson Hole for inspiration. Their works are displayed in town, where you meet up with a gallery at almost every turn. The National Wildlife Museum, now located in cramped quarters kitty-corner from town square, will move to spacious new digs north of town in July.
Luxury resorts have sprung up to counter-balance everyday motels that for so long have been the mainstay of the area's accommodations.
But it is the call of the wild that lures tourists to Jackson Hole. When it comes to mountain scenery, you can't do much better than the Tetons.
In that respect, Jackson Hole stays the same.
Utahns consider the area a family getaway. A weekend in Jackson Hole is as much a Utah tradition as a day at Lagoon. But vacations to this slice of western Wyoming are less passive than they used to be. Rather than driving in the family sedan, we're pedaling, paddling or riding a horse through the scenic valley.
We stop to smell the wildflowers, listen to an outdoor concert or take a personal enrichment class.
With that in mind, we've compiled this run-down of what's going on in and around Jackson this summer.
Among the highlights of this summer's special events:
Grand Teton Music Festival June 28-Aug. 20 at Walk Festival Hall in Teton Village. Full symphony concerts Friday and Saturday evenings. Chamber music performances Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. "The Barber of Seville" will be presented July 1 and 2, and Utah harpist ShruDeLi Ownbey will perform during the festival's final week. Tickets: chamber music concerts, $12; full orchestral concerts, $20; and the opera, $35. All are available at the door but festival organizers strongly suggest you purchase tickets for the opera and full orchestral concerts in advance. Call 1-800-959-4863.
Michael Martin Murphey West Fest July 29-31 at Grand Targhee Resort. The resort is a 40-minute drive from Jackson over Teton Pass (Highway 22). Western art, culture and music with Michael Martin Murphey and Waddie Mitchell.
Other Grand Targhee events include Rockin' the Tetons July 16 and 17, a weekend of rock, blues and reggae featuring the Marshall Tucker Band; and the Bluegrass Festival Aug. 12-14 with Tim O-Brien and the O-Boys with Mollie O-Brien. 1-800-Targhee.
Arts on the Hill at the base of Snow King Mountain in Jackson. Free cultural activities geared for children beginning July 9 and every evening in July thereafter. Examples: music and dance performances, storytellers, etc.
Snake River Institute one-day programs June, July, August and September. Examples: Dancing at the Barns (learn to do the country swing, tango, polka, two-step, Western waltz and more); Calligraphy for the Timid (suitable for beginners); Indian Beading; Minutia: Photographing the Small (bring your own 35mm SLR camera that can focus 15 inches or closer); Natural Basketry (create baskets from natural materials foraged from the area); Jackson Hole Tales (history comes alive as you listen to Jackson's "story king"). Fees range from $5 for the dance lessons to $48 for basket weaving. Preregistration is not required but advised. Classes are offered intermittently throughout the summer. For a schedule call the Institute at 1-307-733-2214 or write it at P.O. Box 128, Wilson, WY 83014. The Institute also sponsors children's activities throughout the summer. The Institute is housed in a red barn east of Wilson off Highway 22.
Fall Arts Festival Sept. 16-Oct. 2 all around town. Pick up a schedule and set your own itinerary for special exhibitions, gallery open houses, symposiums and more. "Chefs in the Square" takes place at the town square. Ditto for finger painting for the children. For a free Fall Arts Festival brochure write the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce at P.O. Box E, Jackson, WY 83001 or call (307) 733-3316.
Quilting in the Tetons Oct. 2-8 at various locations around town. Workshops, quilt shows, fiber art fashion show.
Art galleries are a dime a dozen in Jackson. Turn virtually any corner in the heart of town and you'll come face-to-face with one. They are well worth your time but the creme de la creme is the National Wildlife Art Museum at 110 N. Center St., kitty-corner from town square. It has a collection of works by more than 100 artists, living and dead, including a solid showing from Carl Rungius, Charlie Russell, Albert Bierstadt, Karl Bodmer, John Clymer, Bob Kuhn and George Catlin. The collection spans 170 years. There is bad news, however. The museum will be closed July 11-Sept.11, after which it will re-open at a bigger and better facility. The new museum is off Highway 89/191 two miles north of Jackson's town square. The grand opening will be Sept. 12-18 and will feature "Artistry and Enterprise," an exhibit of 30 original watercolors, print and memorabilia of John James Audubon.
Properties in the area range from motels to dude ranches to luxury lodges. Examples with approximate nightly rates, double occupancy:
Spring Creek Resort on the outskirts of Jackson has hotel rooms, condominiums, swimming pool, horseback riding and a restaurant with wonderful food. They're all within view of the Tetons. Hotel rooms have lodge pole furniture and fireplaces. Prices range from $188-$195. Condos are $325-$625.
The Lodge at Jackson Hole is a suite-only hotel in town with an indoor/outdoor swimming pool and the Fun Stop game arcade next door, which makes it great for kids. $59 to $150.
Angler's Inn is a few blocks from the Jackson town square and across the street from a park with a small playground. Newly renovated rooms are $70-$95. The Teton Inn is a sister property also near the park. Rooms range from $60 to $80.
Rooms at the Snow King Lodge Motel near Snow King Mountain are $38-$58.
Rooms are the Antler Motel, in town, are about $66-$92. Reservations are a must for this simple but comfortable motel because the Antler and its loyal clientele go way back.
Several eateries are particularly popular with families.
Bubba's has great barbecue at reasonable prices. One drawback: It's so well-liked you'll probably have to wait in line. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Does not take reservations.
Jedediah's Original House of Sourdough is also a well-liked family restaurant with reasonable prices. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Shelley Simonton, public relations coordinator of the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce, suggests these outside-Grand Teton National Park family hikes:
- Ski Lake is a 11/2-mile trek (one-way) with lovely scenery. To reach the trailhead, follow Highway 22 west toward Teton Pass and turn north (right) at Phillips Canyon. Mountain bikes and dogs are welcome along with hikers.
- Goodwin Lake is a three-mile (one-way) trek that opens up to spectacular meadows and views of the Tetons across the valley. To reach the trailhead drive to the National Elk Refuge north of town and follow the signs. The road is dirt but suitable for the family van.
- Cache Creek Canyon is a nice hike if you're staying in town. It's also popular with mountain bikers. Follow Cache Street to its end where you begin a gradual canyon ascent. Easy hiking and biking.
There are a number of National Forest Service campgrounds in the area. We recommend one near Granite Hot Springs in the Gros Ventre Mountains. The dirt road to the springs takes off from Highway 189/191 about 10 miles east of Hoback Junction. Look for a Forest Service sign that says Granite Creek Recreation Area. Turn north and follow the road for approximately 10 miles. The gravel road is sometimes bumpy but the family sedan can make it.
Half the campground's sites are available first-come, first-served. The price is $7 a night per site. The other half are available with reservations by calling 1-800-342-2267. The reservation fee is $5 in addition to the campground fee.
Granite Hot Springs pool, which is fed by a natural hot spring, is open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Teton Mountain Bike Tours, owned by David and Teresa Hunger, caters to people of all ages. "We've taken some ladies from Germany who were about 65 years old down to kids who are as young as 11/2 or 2," says Teresa.
They use Burleys (a child trailer that you pull behind your bike) for young children.
For that reason they can offer good suggestions for family bike rides. Teresa recommends Antelope Flats on the east side of the valley beginning at Mormon Row. The route makes a big loop around Kelly Warm Springs. The trip is about 12 miles long, is smooth and relatively flat.
The company offers a Yellowstone tour that follows dirt roads only open to hikers and bikers. "It's a nice way to see Yellowstone because it gets you out of the traffic," she says.
Prices begin at $30 per person for the company's Elk Refuge tour. The Antelope Flats ride is $40 per person. The all-day Yellowstone tour is $90 per person. The Yellowstone tour includes lunch and roundtrip transportation from Jackson.
Free visitors brochure
For a copy of the 1994 Jackson Hole Spring, Summer, Fall Vacation Planner, call 1-800-782-0011. The booklet is a comprehensive list of accommodations, campgrounds, restaurants, outfitters (fishing, horseback riding, river running, mountain biking, mountain climbing) and special events.
Other important telephone numbers:
Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce, 1-307-733-3316
Grand Teton National Park, 1-307-733-2880
Yellowstone National Park, 1-307-344-2107
Grand Teton Lodge Co., 1-800-628-9988
Signal Mountain Lodge, 1-307-543-2831
TW Recreational Services in Yellowstone, 1-307-344-7311
For details on accommodations within Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks, see the Regional Calendar on T3.