September is a smart choice for visiting Jackson Hole: the summer crowds have gone, the fall colors are spectacular and the weather is cool but not too cold.
I get asked about the weather in September frequently: yes, the colors are amazing. And yes, it does get cold. You can come as early as September 1st and the leaves are already changing colors. You’ll want to pack a light jacket and a heavier jacket. It can easily snow in mid-late September.
So enjoy Jackson Hole and the Tetons without the overwhelm of the summer crowds & check out the following:
1. Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival
The Fall Arts Festival happens every year over the course of a week or so. It’s comprised of many art-related events: from gallery events to benefits to studio tours. For a full list of the 2018 Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival events, check out this link.
If you only do one event from the Fall Arts Festival, you should check out the QuickDraw Art Sale and Auction. This is a hallmark event of the week and a crowd favorite. The QuickDraw features artists and sculptors creating their work in town square during only 90 minutes. You can walk around (with hot cocoa in hand if it’s cold!) and watch the artists at work. This is followed by an auction of the art, which is also a sight to see.
2. Wildlife Migrations
September is a happening time for wildlife in the Jackson Hole area. In particular, the elk are very active this month. September and October are the elk breeding season, and you can hear their “bugling” calls at dawn and dusk. There is nothing else like this sound! You won’t soon forget the sight of a large bull elk, antlers and all, bugling loudly. The elk are also more likely to be spotted this time of year as they migrate down to the National Elk Refuge (just outside of Jackson) for the winter.
Though elk are a main attraction this time of year, all the usual wildlife is also out and about: for example moose, bison, and bears before they hibernate.
3. Taste of The Tetons
The Taste of the Tetons is an all day event in town square, featuring food and drink from the area. Get a taste for local cuisine by eating your fill of samples from many vendors.
The 2018 Taste of The Tetons will be held September 10th from 11:00 – 3:00 PM in town square. You can purchase tickets under any of the antler arches on the square. Tickets are $1 each, and a samples are usually 2 – 4 tickets each (so you may want to stock up!).
The Taste of The Tetons is a great way to spend a cool September afternoon, and to get a feel for the local flavor of cuisine.
4. Visit National Parks
Grand Teton National Park & Yellowstone National Park are both beautiful in September as they show off their fall colors. The aspen trees turn from green to yellow in September, adding a bright pop of color to the landscape.
September is an ideal time to visit the parks for a few reasons: less crowds and more parking. Cooler temperatures (though you’ll want to bring layers as the temperature can fluctuate). It’s a hiker’s paradise this time of year. Wildlife is also be out and about, and you’ll have a shot at hearing the elk do their seasonal bugling.
If you visit Grand Teton National Park, hiking is be beautiful and there are plenty of ranger-led programs to explore and learn about the area. If it’s your first time to the Park, I recommend hiking up to Inspiration Point, which has a view you won’t want to miss.
Yellowstone National Park is also a prime destination in September. You can partake in all the usual Park activities in September, though some concessions, services and campgrounds will start to close throughout the month. For a full schedule of closings, click here.
5. Jackson Hole Showcase of Homes
The Showcase of Homes is a one-day event that is a self-guided tour of several of Jackson Hole’s most stunning homes. These homes are masterfully crafted, decorated, and inspirational. If you love architecture, design, beautiful homes, or just need a fun way to fill one of your days here — add this to your itinerary. The homes range from rustic to modern to traditional. Oftentimes they also feature stunning views of the area.
The Showcase of Homes is hosted by Homestead Magazine and tickets go for $75 each. You can get your tickets and get a sneak peak of houses on the tour here.
6. Raptor Encounters at Teton Raptor Center
The Raptor Encounter program is a fun way to spend a few hours for adults and kids alike. The Raptor Center has birds on site (from Eagles to owls, and many other spectacular raptors). They give impressive explanations and demonstrations of each. You won’t soon forget seeing these birds up close. The knowledge that they teach about birds of prey in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is also valuable.
This program took us a while to check out once we were here, but it was so memorable — now it’s an activity that we recommend to everyone who comes.
Check out the full schedule & get your tickets here.
So if you’re still debating, book your tickets to Jackson Hole in September! There’s plenty to do, wildlife to see, and the fall colors will show off for you.