advertisement

The thin-walled, dimly lit motels of the past are just memories now -- Jackson lodgings these days come with palatial trappings and, in some cases, prices that start at $500 a night. Prices are generally discounted in off season (spring/fall), but not during ski season.

Clustered together near the junction west of downtown where Wyo. 22 leaves U.S. Hwy. 26/89 and heads north to Teton Village is a colony of chain franchises: a surprisingly chic Motel 6, 600 S. U.S. Hwy. 89 (tel. 307/733-1620); Super 8, 750 S. U.S. Hwy. 89 (tel. 307/733-6833); and the more upscale and expensive Days Inn, 350 S. U.S. Hwy. 89 (tel. 307/733-0033), with private hot tubs and fireplaces in suites. High-season prices for the motels range from about $100 to $200.

On the inexpensive end of the scale, the Anvil Motel, 215 N. Cache St. (tel. 800/234-4507 or 307/733-3668; www.anvilmotel.com) offers hostel beds in the well-kept "Bunkhouse" for $25 a night, with ski lockers, a communal kitchen, and a hot tub. Motel rooms run $128 to $148 in summer. I also like the summer-only Buckrail Lodge, at the base of Snow King Mountain at 110 E. Karns Ave. (tel. 307/733-2079; www.buckraillodge.com), a comfortable independent that's been nicely maintained by the two families that have owned it since it opened in the 1960s. Doubles are $85 to $135.

In Teton Village -- Teton Village is gradually becoming the self-contained resort town now typical of better ski resorts -- it has everything you need, from food to powder to a massage, a short limp from the chairlifts. The village is located on the west side of the Snake River, surrounded by ranchlands that have been protected from development. While lodging in the town of Jackson tends to be a little cheaper in the winter than the summer, the ratio is reversed at Teton Village -- rooms by the ski hill get more expensive after the snow falls. For a wide range of basic condos and deluxe vacation homes, contact Jackson Hole Resort Lodging (tel. 800/443-8613 or 307/733-3990; www.jhresortlodging.com). All establishments are open year-round unless otherwise indicated.

Nearby Guest Ranches -- Though there have been ranches in the valley for more than a century, many of Jackson Hole's residents have always made part of their living hosting visitors from Europe and the eastern U.S. who came to hunt, see the sights, and enjoy the outdoors. Somewhere around 1900, the term "dude ranching" came into discourse, and Jackson joined Sheridan and Cody as popular Wyoming destinations for folks who wanted a cowboy experience. You can come out to work hard on horseback, move cattle, eat wranglers' grub, and pay dearly for it; but many of the dude ranches offer a more relaxed vacation, with riding, river floating, fine food, and plenty of boots-up porch time.

Camping -- There aren't a lot of campsites for trailers close to this resort town anymore, because property values attract more upscale investments. The standby is the Snake River Park KOA Campground, on U.S. 89, 10 miles south of town (tel. 800/562-1878 or 307/733-7078; www.srpkoa.com). Campsites are $39 to $62 a night. If you're looking to set up a tent when the parks are full, Curtis Canyon Campground (tel. 307/739-5500) is a great campground behind the elk refuge in Bridger-Teton National Forest. It's open from early June through mid-September, and a site here costs only $12 a night.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.