Written by Helen Goelet
JACKSON, Wyo.— Since the establishment of Yellowstone National Park in 1872, the greater Yellowstone region has been a hotbed for tourism during the temperate months between May and September. With the creation of Teton Village in 1965, Jackson Hole became known as the skier’s dreamland, and its popularity for winter visitors continues to grow to this day. Though these peak seasons may have originally drawn most locals in, it is the quietude of offseason that forces us to put down our roots. As the colder months inch closer and grey clouds hang heavily over the autumnal land, it’s time to recalibrate and relax through the months of October and November before winter is upon us. We’ve compiled a list of how to best take advantage of this peaceful time.
GO BOWLING—Let’s Roll Mondays at Hole Bowl are a sure perfect way to spend a gray rainy Monday with friends or family. From 5 p.m. to close, locals bowl for free and shoe rentals are only four dollars. Walk-ins only.
MOUNTAIN BIKE—October is often the best time of year for mountain biking in the Teton Valley. Not only is the dirt firmer and wetter, but biking through the 100+ miles of rideable terrain is one of the best ways to experience golden hour in the aspens. For rentals visit Hoff’s Bikesmith, Hoback Sports, Fitzgerald’s or Wilson Backcountry.
RECREATE INDOORS—Open 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday-Friday, the Teton Country Recreational Center is a great place to play inside. Whether you’re trying to get a group of friends together for basketball or handball, or you’d like an hour of quiet laps in their pool, this facility is a wonderful resource. Be sure to reserve courts or check the pools hours before heading over.
READ A BOOK—Catch up on all that summer reading! Curl up on your couch, in a coffee shop, or, a personal favorite, at the Teton County Library. Complete with conference rooms and a fireplace, the library is a wonderful place to spend a cold rainy day. Be sure to check their calendar for upcoming events and speakers. Open Monday-Thursday from 9:30 a.m.– 8:30 p.m., Friday from 9:30 a.m.–6:30 p.m., Saturday from 9:30 a.m.–5 p.m. and Sunday from 1p.m.–5p.m.
EXPLORE GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK and YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK—It’s mid-October. You’re standing on the edge of Jenny Lake. Thick wet snowflakes fall from the sky and coat the ground and soak up sound. Silence spreads over the Teton mountains. There might be a bear, or a moose or some elk somewhere near, but you’ve never felt quite so alone. Before the parks close in early November, take a moody drive through Teton and Yellowstone National Parks and enjoy a less crowded and dramatic experience of the parks during the transition between summer and winter.
WATCH FOOTBALL—Pig skins or potato skins? Football season means you can have both. Belly up at your favorite bar and escape the cold wet weather outside. Be it Eleanor’s, The Bird, The Spur or Sidewinders, Jackson has a plethora of establishments to go enjoy a cold beer, some wings and revel in competitive cheering.
BIKE THE GRAND LOOP—Enjoy the golden Aspens in GTNP from your bike! Get on your road-bike (or rent one if visiting) and take advantage of Jackson’s over 56 miles of paved pathways. Leaving from town, bike past Teton Village, along the Moose-Wilson into the park and up to Jenny Lake. Upon your return, bike through Moose and bike back towards town along the path that hugs WY 191. For more information, go to friendsofpathways.org or check out a map here.
GO ON A WILDLIFE TOUR—The elk are bugling, and bears are bulking up for hibernation. As the animals prepare for winter, Fall is a great time to spot active wildlife in the Teton Valley. Book your tour today for a chance to experience our wildlife unlike ever before.
GO HUNTING—Whether you’re looking to fill your freezer with elk, deer, bison, moose or smaller game like turkey and grouse, the hunting available in Wyoming is not to be overlooked. There are a number of hunting outfitters in Jackson to book through. If you’re local, be sure to visit the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s website for information about putting in tags for the season.
SOAK IN SOME HOT SPRINGS—Not only is the drive south breathtakingly beautiful (you may even see some mountain goats scaling the cliffs), but once you arrive to Granite Hot Springs all stress from the summer will melt away in the natural hot waters that bubble forth. Though they typically close October 31st and re-open in mid-late December, check the Forest Service website for hours of operation and closures. Feeling extra brave? Ask a local to point you to the hippy hot springs.