Sporting Goods & Equipment Rentals
Serious climbers with serious wallets will appreciate the gear at Teton Mountaineering, at 170 N. Cache St. (tel. 800/850-3595 or 307/733-3595; www.tetonmtn.com), a block from the square, where you can get killer Nordic skis and high-grade fleece jackets. Adventure Sports, at Dornan's in the town of Moose (tel. 307/733-3307), has a small selection of mountain bike, kayak, and canoe rentals, and advice on where to go with the gear. When snowboards are put away for the summer, the Boardroom switches to BMX bikes and skateboards, at 225 W. Broadway (tel. 307/733-8327; www.boardroomjacksonhole.com). Hoback Sports, 520 W. Broadway (tel. 307/733-5335; www.hobacksports.com), has a large selection of skis, boards, and summer mountain bikes for rent and sale. Skinny Skis, at 65 W. Deloney Ave. off Town Square (tel. 888/733-7205 or 307/733-6094; www.skinnyskis.com), is a year-round specialty sports shop and has an excellent selection of equipment and clothing. For serviceable factory seconds at steeply discounted prices, head north to the little town of Moose near the entrance to Grand Teton National Park and shop Moosely Seconds (tel. 307/739-1801).
You can rent a bike and pick up maps at several of the shops listed above, or take a guided trip in Yellowstone, Grand Teton, or the national forest with Teton Mountain Bike Tours (tel. 800/733-0788; www.tetonmtbike.com) or Hoback Sports's Fat Tire Tours, 100 E. Snow King Ave. (tel. 307/734-4425), which places bikes in the Snow King chairlift for an easy ride up the mountain.
The sight of the 13,770-foot Grand Teton towering above the valley has been setting hearts pumping for generations. A century ago no one had reached the top; now, thousands have, often carefully roped and cared for by professional guides. Experienced guides and established routes assure a modicum of safety, but climbing accidents and deaths still occur. Overnight climbers must pick up a free permit. The American Alpine Club provides inexpensive dormitory beds for climbers at the Grand Teton Climbers' Ranch (tel. 307/733-7271; www.americanalpineclub.org). A pair of long-standing operations offer classes and guided climbs of Grand Teton: Jackson Hole Mountain Guides in Jackson (tel. 800/239-7642 or 307/733-4979; www.jhmg.com), and Exum Mountain Guides in Moose (tel. 307/733-2297; www.exumguides.com). Expect to pay around $700 to $1,000 for a guided 2-day climb of Grand Teton or $150 to $200 for a class. The Jenny Lake Ranger Station (tel. 307/733-3392), which is open only in summer, is the center for climbing information; climbers are encouraged to stop in and obtain information on routes, conditions, and regulations.
If your idea of mushing is not oatmeal but a pack of yipping dogs, you might want to try your hand at dog sledding, an enjoyable open-air way to tour the high country during the winter. Jackson Hole Iditarod (tel. 800/554-7388; www.jhsleddog.com), associated with Iditarod racer Frank Teasley, offers both half- and full-day trips in five-person sleds (the fifth companion is your guide), and you can take a turn in the driver's stand. The half-day ride costs around $235 per person, gives the dogs an 11-mile workout, and includes a light lunch before you head back to the kennels. For about $300 a head, you can take the full-day excursion out to Granite Hot Springs, a 22-mile trip total. You get a hot lunch, with your choice of trout or steak.
Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks are home to some fabled fishing spots, but some of the best angling in the region is found outside the park boundaries.
The Snake River emerges from Jackson Lake Dam as a broad, strong river, with decent fishing from its banks in certain spots -- like right below the dam -- and better fishing if you float the river. Fly-fishermen should ask for advice at local stores on recent insect hatches and good stretches of river, or hire a guide to keep them company. High Country Flies, 185 N. Center St. (tel. 307/733-7210; www.highcountryflies.com), has a vast selection of high-quality fishing gear, flies, and fly-tying supplies, along with lessons, guided trips, and free advice if you just want to gab about where to cast. Jack Dennis Sports on Town Square, 50 E. Broadway (tel. 307/733-3270; www.jackdennisfishingtrips.com), is a much bigger store with room to display some big boats, and it also offers lessons and guides. Westbank Anglers, 3670 N. Moose-Wilson Rd. (tel. 307/733-6483; www.westbank.com), is another full-service fly shop. The going rate for guided fishing is about $450 for a full day for two people.
More than one American president has played a round of golf in Jackson, which despite its short putting season has some world-class links. The semiprivate Robert Trent Jones, Jr.-designed Jackson Hole Golf and Tennis Club (tel. 866/915-4482 or 307/733-3111; www.jhgtc.com), north of Jackson off U.S. Hwy. 89, has an 18-hole course that's one of the best in the country -- and it underwent a major renovation and saw a new clubhouse open in 2007. Seasonal greens fees range from $65 to $175 for 18 holes, cart included. The Teton Pines Resort, 3450 N. Clubhouse Dr. (tel. 800/238-2223 or 307/733-1005; www.tetonpines.com), designed by Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay, is a challenging course; greens fees range from $65 to $160, cart included, depending on the season. Both courses are open to the public.
One benefit of having so many mountain ranges converging around Jackson is that you have choices -- especially when it comes to hiking. The most popular place to go for a stroll in the vicinity of Jackson is Grand Teton National Park, which shows off some glorious aspen colors in the fall. Less traveled are the forests that abut the park, particularly Bridger-Teton National Forest just east of Jackson. Bridger-Teton and its east-side counterpart, Shoshone National Forest, encompass a huge piece of mountain real estate, including glaciers, 13,000-foot peaks, and some of the best alpine fishing lakes in the world. Among the mountain ranges included in these forests are the Absarokas, the Gros Ventre, the Wyoming, and the Wind River Range, or "Winds," as they're called by locals, which stretch about 120 miles from just southeast of Jackson near Pinedale to the South Pass area and the Red Desert. The Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center, 532 N. Cache St., in downtown Jackson, provides all of the hiking and access information you'll need for the national forest as well as for the Gros Ventre and Teton wilderness areas. Call the Forest Service (tel. 307/739-5500; www.fs.fed.us/r4/btnf) for additional information.
Some hotels, including those in Grand Teton National Park, have stables and operate trail rides for their guests. For details, contact Jackson Hole Outfitters (tel. 307/654-7008; www.jacksonholetrailrides.com), Spring Creek Ranch Riding Stables (tel. 800/443-6139; www.springcreekranch.com), or the Mill Iron Ranch (tel. 307/733-6390; www.millironranch.net). Rides typically cost around $50 for 2 hours or $150 for a day.
Kayaking, Canoeing & Sailing
With the Snake and Hoback rivers and the lakes of Grand Teton National Park, it's no surprise to see all kinds of watercraft towed or tied to the roofs of SUVs in Jackson. Canoeists and kayakers enjoy the upper Snake River, from Jackson Lake Dam down to Moose, and expert kayakers are attracted to the ride through Snake River Canyon and Hoback white water. Beginners should be wary of the upper Snake -- snags and spring currents have claimed lives, so a guide is advisable. Canoeists paddle Jenny Lake and, with a small portage or two, String and Leigh lakes. The big lake, Jackson, attracts sailboats and sea kayaks, but beware of the sudden afternoon eruptions of gusty wind and thunderstorms.
Several operators in Jackson run schools and guide paddlers of all skill levels. The two major outfits are the Snake River Kayak and Canoe School, 260 N. Cache St. (tel. 800/529-2501 or 307/733-9999; www.snakeriverkayak.com), and Rendezvous River Sports, 945 W. Broadway (tel. 307/733-2471; www.jacksonholekayak.com).
The most popular way to experience the Snake River is white-water rafting; these are wet, wild, white-knuckle tours. Several companies offer adrenaline-pumping day trips down the Snake, but don't plan on being just a passenger -- this is a participatory sport. Contact Barker-Ewing (tel. 800/448-4202; www.barker-ewing.com), Sands Wildwater (tel. 800/358-8184 or 307/733-4410; www.sandswhitewater.com), Dave Hansen Whitewater (tel. 800/732-6295 or 307/733-6295; www.davehansenwhitewater.com), or Mad River Boat Trips (tel. 800/458-7238; www.mad-river.com). Generally, a full-day trip runs $75 to $100, lunch included, and a half-day trip costs about $40 to $60.
Although West Yellowstone is the most popular base for snowmobiling in the Yellowstone area, Jackson has a growing contingent of snowmobile aficionados and outfitters.
The operators who rent snowmobiles (including the necessary clothing and helmets) also have guides to take you on 1-day and multiday tours of Jackson Hole and the surrounding area. High Country Snowmobile Tours, Wyoming Adventures, and Rocky Mountain Snowmobile Tours share a website and reservation service (tel. 800/647-2561; www.snowmobiletours.net), offering guided trips in Jackson Hole, Yellowstone, and the surrounding wildlands. Jackson Hole Snowmobile Tours, 515 N. Cache St. (tel. 800/633-1733 or 307/733-6850; www.jacksonholesnowmobile.com), offers 1-day trips in Yellowstone and multiday trips along the Continental Divide. A typical guided, full-day outing costs from $250 to $350, with pickup and drop-off service, equipment, fuel, continental breakfast, and lunch included. Also in Jackson, snowmobiles can be rented at Leisure Sports, 1075 S. U.S. Hwy. 89 (tel. 307/733-3040; www.leisuresportsadventure.com).
For a much quicker climb to the mountaintops, call Teton Aviation (tel. 800/472-6382 or 208/354-3100; www.tetonaviation.com), in Driggs, Idaho. You'll actually be looking down at the summits that climbers strain to top, and you'll get a new perspective on the immensity of the Grand Teton (although you won't get too close -- the park has some air-space restrictions). Teton has 1-hour flights in planes and gliders ($235-$250 per person) that take you to 11,800 feet on the west side of the Grand.
The folks at the Wyoming Balloon Company (tel. 307/739-0900; www.wyomingballoon.com) like to fire up early, in the still air that cloaks the Teton Valley around 6am. Their "float trips" stay aloft for a little more than an hour, cruising over a 3,000-acre ranch with a full-frontal view of the Tetons. The journey concludes with a champagne toast at the landing site. Prices are $295 adults and $245 for children ages 6 to 12 (no kids 5 and under allowed).
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.