Crisp mountain air. The crunch of snow beneath your boots. Natural hot springs. A mug of steaming, freshly roasted coffee. Flat brim hats trimmed with braided leather. Turquoise set in Navajo silver. Cozy leggings and thermal socks under Pendelton blankets. Cedar embers in a wood stove.
If your heart rate increased a little bit reading that, then this travel guide is for you.
Our story starts one evening in late February when two girls – one from Oklahoma and one from California – attempted to make their way to the small but mighty location of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Little did we know that our girls weekend destination would be a little more difficult to get to than we planned. Our flights from our home states both landed in Salt Lake City, Utah where we were supposed to jointly get on the last leg of the journey, our flight to Jackson Hole. What we found out was that it actually takes a certain certification for a pilot to be able to fly into that specific airport due to the narrow, short landing strip and the treacherous mountain peaks surrounding the town. And, unfortunately, the Delta flight that we were scheduled to be on had failed to secure a pilot with that particular certification…and thus, we were stuck in Salt Lake City. But see the thing is, ya girl doesn’t like feeling stuck. I’m a forward movement kind of person and through a little networking and thinking-outside-the-box, we partnered with a couple we met at the airport that were headed to Jackson and rented a car to make the 4.5 hour journey ourselves. All good stories start with a certain flair of adventure, don’t they? And so, at 1:30 a.m after driving by elk and mule deer on the side of the road, encountering black ice, watching ice crystals swirl around the car like glitter and swapping life stories, we got to our final destination and tucked in to get some sleep.
The Anvil is right on the main drag of Jackson Hole so it’s central to everything. The “hotel lobby” is a mercantile, coffee shop and gathering spot and the rooms are cozy and clean although if you require daily room servicing, that is an additional charge.
For a girls weekend, it served its purpose well! When I make the trip back with my boo thang, I think we’d opt to stay at The Cloudveil or in nearby Teton Village but The Anvil is a great budget-friendlier option and I would definitely recommend it.
(btw – check out my Reels on Instagram @downinthehollowblog to see more of this place and other adventures on this trip!)
In Jackson Hole – no matter what season you pick – you will absolutely not be short on things to do. Again…small town with a mighty punch. In the winter you can get into all kinds of things ranging from the typical winter activities like skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing, ice skating, etc. to the more adventurous like snowmobiling, snowshoeing, dog sledding, wildlife eco tours, sleigh rides in the National Elk Refuge and more. In the summer there’s even more wildlife to see, camping, hiking, horse trail tours, canoeing and kayaking, fishing, hunting, visiting nearby Yellowstone and so much more. In short: you really cannot go wrong and, it seems, you really can’t go often enough!
Since we were there for a winter weekend, we chose two winter activities – one to fill our Saturday and one to fill our Sunday.
We booked a half day tour through Teton Tour Co. to snowmobile in the Bridger-Teton National Forest, stopping at Granite Hot Springs to soak in a natural hot spring with incredible views. I honestly had a little anxiety going into it. I had never been on a snowmobile before and ever since becoming a mom, I’m just a little more rigid, uptight and generally scared of everything that could threaten my existence now that I have a little girl that needs her momma. But I don’t even know what happened…I got on that snowmobile and momma was footloose and fancy free, my friends. I had the time of my life. I’m insanely jealous of people who live in an environment where they can just go do that for fun whenever they want. We saw so many families out with their kids on tiny snowmobiles just rippin’ up some powder and enjoying their day and honestly I’m gonna need Oklahoma to step it up. So cool! The views of the landscapes around you are reason enough to book a snowmobile tour too. It is beautiful in pictures but absolutely breathtaking in real life. More than once I found myself thanking God out loud for such beauty in this world. Cheesy to admit but absolute truth. See for yourself:
If you’re up for more of a physical challenge, then you’ve got to book a snowshoeing tour! We booked ours through Ecotour Adventures. We booked the half day snowshoe adventure that was set at a leisurely pace and took us out to Avalanche Canyon, a deep groove in the mountains formed by glaciers and set as the backdrop to a frozen lake. In a word: stunning. Side note here that while it was a leisurely pace, there was a lot of incline snowshoeing and it was a pretty dang good workout so make sure you know what you’re committing to because there’s really no turning back! Worth noting though is that our guide, Bo (who recently launched his own Youtube channel), was an excellent eco teacher and we frequently stopped to discuss tracks we found, learn about local wildlife and eco systems, hear stories about famous grizzlies and so much more. A good workout and new knowledge to archive away? Total win in my book.
If you’re a turquoise enthusiast like me, there are some great shops in Jackson Hole to snag some beautiful pieces! I got two new rings to add to my collection and showed impressive restraint to not buy more if I’m being totally honest. There were a lot of great options!
Shopping – Jackson is full of all kinds of different shopping options. Outfitters, vintage shops, boutiques, home decor, art galleries, jewelry (be on the lookout for elk antler pieces), etc. We spent an entire afternoon after getting back from snowshoeing just exploring the town and stopping in wherever we wanted to browse and buy.
Live music. Jackson Hole is not short on local honky tonks, okay? You can be sure you’ll be able to grab a seat at a local bar and be able to have your whiskey on the rocks with a side of country music.
Spas! One thing we wished we had booked further in advance (because there was no availability by the time we got around to it) was some spa time. Specifically, I would have loved to visit SpaTerre at Teton Mountain Lodge. The treatments look incredible, there are bath ritual add-ons and a 20-person rooftop hot tub overlooking the Tetons. Long sigh…I will be back for you, SpaTerre.
Be a real tourist – hit up the general stores packed with souvenir t-shirts and sweaters (no shame in the game, I bought one and love it) and then have some good, old-fashioned fun taking western style old-timey photos. I used to love doing that with my family as a kid so it’s worth it for the nostalgia alone and it makes good content for the ‘gram.
Where to Eatand Drink
This section feels a little pointless because honestly, you can’t go wrong I don’t think. There are a ton of options. But, nevertheless, here are the places we went and some places I wish we’d gone.
Where We Went:
The Bunnery Bakery
Cowboy Coffee Co.
Snake River Roasting Co.
Million Dollar Cowboy Bar (honestly, everyone pitches this as iconic and imo it was just a large gathering place for 21 year old fratty daddies…not my scene)
Where I Wish We’d Gone:
Pearl Street Bagels
Snake River Grill
Snake River Brewing
White Buffalo Club
Are you headed to Kayak to book your tickets now or what? I had been hearing more and more about Jackson Hole in recent years and I’m so glad we made the effort to get ourselves out there for a fun girls getaway because I am now sold on the hype and I cannot wait to go back and take my family this time! I’m thinking a week long horseback trail ride mixed with some riverbank camping?? Adam and I started implementing an annual camping trip several years back and I’m thinking we need to level up by camping in Wyoming next time. Hope to see y’all out there!