Jackson Hole in January is a true winter wonderland: it’s snowy and white-coated, and when ice crystals form on the landscape it looks magical.
But not only is it beautiful: there’s lots to do! And it’s a skiers and snowboarders paradise, with Snow King mountain and Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in nearby Teton Village.
Even if you don’t plan to ski, you’ll have plenty to do. From visiting the National Parks, to ice skating, snow tubing, sleigh rides on the Elk Refuge and much more – here’s how to make the most of the winter wonderland that is Jackson Hole in January.
1. Yellowstone National Park Tours
Although most of Yellowstone (60 miles north of Jackson) is closed in the winter, it is accessible by some organized tours, for example the Scenic Snow Safari Snowcoach Tour. These tours allow you to experience the beauty and wildlife of Yellowstone in winter while staying comfortable and warm.
Animals you might encounter include elk, bison, eagles, moose and more. Many of the tours also take you to some of the most iconic vistas and landmarks of Yellowstone, such as Old Faithful.
2. Ski The Tetons
Skiing and snowboarding the biggest draw for visitors to Jackson Hole in the winter. This is because Jackson offers some of the best snow and runs in the country. There’s a couple options for skiing: Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Teton Village and Snow King Mountain in the town of Jackson Hole.
Snow King is a fun (but steep!) mountain to ski and is convenient because it’s located in town. However, Jackson Hole Resort is where most skiers choose to go – it’s a full scale, world-renowned ski resort. And there’s plenty of spots nearby in Teton Village to grab an apres ski once you’re done for the day.
3. Ice Skating in Town Square
The Town Square in the middle of downtown Jackson Hole is transformed into an ice skating rink in January. This is a fun family activity, especially if you are spending the day in town and need an activity to fill the afternoon. You can rent skates for $10 at the Stage Stop Building on the square; or bring your own skates and skate for free. Skating is open from 4:30 – 9:00 PM Wednesday – Friday & Noon – 9:00 PM Saturday and Sunday.
And even if you don’t want to skate, stop by to watch the action!
4. Iditarod Dog Sled Tours
Going on one of these tours is once-in-a-lifetime and unforgettable. You’ll have an authentic dog sledding experience, starting with getting to see the kennel where the Alaskan sled dogs live. You’ll get a musher guide and a team of sled dogs that will pull you through the wilderness, with a chance to experience untouched scenery and spot local wildlife (deer, moose, elk, eagles, bighorn sheep and more).
I’ve done this tour and opted for the full day experience, in which you stop at Granite Hot Springs for lunch and a dip in the hot springs to warm up! This is my favorite activity I’ve done in Jackson Hole (highly recommend it), and one I would do again. The dogs are incredible to watch in action, the ride is exhilarating, and it’s a truly unique way to experience some of the best scenery of Jackson.
Here’s the link for more information: Jackson Hole Iditarod Dog Sled Tours.
BONUS: If you are intrigued by the Iditarod dog sledding, the International Pedigree Stage Stop Sled Dog Race will stop in Jackson Hole in Town Square on January 25th. It’s a family-friendly event complete with sled dogs, mushers, fireworks, and snack/drinks! Check it out here: Wyoming Stage Stop.
5. Sleigh Ride on The Elk Refuge
Once you arrive in Jackson Hole, you’ll notice that there are hundreds (sometimes thousands) of elk nestled on the Elk Refuge just outside of town. You can get up close to these beautiful creatures through Sleigh Rides, which take you through the Elk Refuge in a horse drawn sleigh. You’ll get close to the elk (about 30 ft) and learn about them in the process.
You can buy tickets here. The sleighs run between 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM every 30 minutes. Buses to the sleigh depart from the Visitor Center, located just before town. Blankets are provided to help you stay cozy. Adults are $25, children are $22, and children under 5 are free. The ride lasts 45 minutes – 1 hour.
Each of these activities allows you to experience Jackson Hole in a different way, and to make the most of the winter wonderland here. There’s something for everyone in Jackson Hole in January – and these 5 activities showcase the best of it all! Fit them all in if you can, or pick & choose your favorites – you won’t regret adding any of these to your trip.
For more things to do & see in Jackson Hole, check out: The Jackson Hole Series of blog posts.