This post is brought to you by our friends at Jackson Hole!
There are tons of reasons to visit Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park. The hiking, the camping, the dude ranches, the lodges, the fishing, the history, the adventure… that list barely scratches the surface of what makes the Tetons so great. It’s easy to fill a week with exciting new adventures. But, if you’ve only got one day in Jackson Hole, you’re going to have to make some tough choices. Make the most of every unique feature that Grand Teton National Park has to offer. Spend your day searching for wildlife and your night hunting for constellations. Actively engaging with the park, truly exploring its nooks and crannies, rather than passively viewing it will give you one perfect day in the Tetons.
One of the greatest assets to Jackson Hole is the National Elk Refuge. The National Elk Refuge was established to give elk a winter habitat. During the winter, the elk come down from the snowy high country. Thousands of elk winter in the refuge each year. While they roam a lot more freely in the spring, you might still be able to see them here. The visitor center is a great place to get the low-down on the best places to see an elk on a given day. Dawn and dusk are your best chances for spotting an elk. It’s worth starting your day early here… or head to the refuge around dusk, and then stay for the stars.
Bison and pronghorn have been known to roam around the historic buildings at Mormon Row around Antelope Flats. Cruise Kelly Loop, a lesser-traveled road at the edge of the Flats, for optimal wildlife-viewing opportunities. Seeing wildlife while exploring the historic and iconic buildings is essential to one perfect day in the Tetons. Another must-visit spot for anyone in search of the wild creatures that call the Tetons home? Oxbow Bend. Not only is this one of the most iconic shots of Grand Teton, it’s also a hotspot for observing wildlife.
One perfect day in the Tetons ends with enjoying the unmatched stargazing in the park. Jackson, Wyoming is secretly a huge hotspot for stargazers and amateur astronomers. The high elevation, fresh and clean air, lack of light pollution, and vast stretches of visible night sky all combine to offer a crystal clear view of the galaxy. You don’t need a telescope to spot constellations, the arms of Milky Way, or possibly even the Northern Lights. But, Wyoming Stargazing is a group that provides telescopes at free public events across Jackson Hole. They also offer talks, planetarium presentations, and much more.
If you’d rather go it alone, that’s cool too. Grand Teton National Park has lots of places to stargaze. Campgrounds like the one at Colter Bay are the perfect spot to enjoy the views of the universe. If you can make it over to Mormon Row as the stars start to appear, you can snap some amazing photos of the Milky Way hanging in the sky above the old barns. The Antelope Flats/Mormon Row area is one of the widest-open areas with the least light pollution. You might even be able to spot the Northern Lights during the winter! Moose-Wilson Road at the South Entrance of Grand Teton National Park also features expansive, unblocked views of the sky. Or, head back to the edge of the National Elk Refuge for another view of the stars.