Moose-Wilson Road & The Top 5 Scenic Drives in Jackson Hole
The Top 5 Scenic Drives in Jackson Hole
In Jackson Hole, a free day means opportunities abound for breathtaking scenic drives that lead to discovering new favorite hikes, vistas, or swimming spots. The area is rife with diverse terrain and unique opportunities for wildlife viewing. With this in mind, here are our top picks for a morning or afternoon of beautiful scenery and unexplored landscapes.
One of the most popular scenic drives is the Moose-Wilson Road. Running eight miles from the entrance to Grand Teton National Park, past Teton Village, and ending at the Craig Thomas Discovery & Visitor Center in Moose, WY, this narrow road is lined with chokecherry and hawthorn bushes. It snakes through hillsides and wetlands where visitors can often see beavers working furiously in their dens and blue herons standing in the shallows. The drive also provides access to Granite Canyon, Phelps Lakes, and Death Canyon trailheads, the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve Center and a moose habitat overlook.
Another highly recommended drive is from Jackson to Alpine through Snake River Canyon. This route runs along the Snake River and boasts photo-worthy bridges, beautiful foliage, and miles of buttes and mountains. Visitors can fish off the shores of the river, soak in the natural hot springs at Astoria Bridge, or have a picnic at the Lunch Counter/Kahuna Overlook while watching whitewater rafters plunge through the rapids. Those who prefer a more laid-back approach can enjoy a picnic at Palisades Reservoir and take a dip in the water to cool off on a hot summer day.
The Grand Teton National Park Inner and Outer Loop offers opportunities to see wildlife, pristine lakes, and epic mountain trails. Start north out of Jackson towards the small town of Moose, stopping at the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center for maps and to ask park rangers any questions. The inner loop road leads to many hiking trails that weave in and around the base of the range, and Jenny Lake Loop is a great drive away from the crowds. Stop for lunch at Signal Mountain Lodge, camp overnight, and don’t forget to drive to the summit for panoramic views of the Tetons, Jackson Hole, and Yellowstone National Park.
Kelly and Slide Lake is another gem that’s only seven miles north of downtown Jackson. Take a right onto Gros Ventre Road towards the small town of Kelly, and stop for a beautiful view of the Grand Tetons. Once you reach Kelly, grab a coffee to-go from the local café and continue onto the Aspen-lined road that winds back into the Gros Ventre. Wildlife is more prominent in this area, so take advantage of the opportunity. You can park and go for a swim or rent a kayak in town and take it out for a paddle. In the winter, this lake is great for ice skating. Camping and hiking are popular weekend activities in this area.
Finally, the drive-through Teton Pass is a must-see. Heading seven miles west of the town of Jackson on HWY 22, you will come across the base of Teton Pass and the town of Wilson. Fuel up for the day with breakfast at Nora’s Fish Creek Inn, lunch at the Stagecoach Streetfood Bar, or a snack on the go from Pearl Street Bagels for a picnic once you reach the summit of the pass. As you ascend this road, you will come across breathtaking views of the valley and acres of lush forest. Halfway up the pass, you will see a small parking lot on your left and a dirt road on your right with a sign for Phillips Canyon. This trail leads to the beautiful alpine lake, Ski Lake.
Finally, if you’re feeling adventurous and have a four-wheel drive vehicle, consider exploring some of the area’s backcountry roads. These scenic drives will take you deep into the heart of the mountains, where you can see stunning vistas, hidden waterfalls, and remote wildlife habitats. Just make sure to check the road conditions before you head out, and always carry plenty of food, water, and supplies in case of emergencies.
In conclusion, a cruising on one of the The Top 5 Scenic Drives in Jackson Hole is a fantastic way to spend a day in Jackson Hole. With so many incredible routes to choose from, each offering its own unique blend of natural beauty and outdoor adventure, there’s truly something for everyone. And when you’re ready to take a break from the road, don’t forget to make a reservation with the Jackson Hole Shooting Experience for some safe, fun, and educational target shooting. With so much to see and do in Jackson Hole, it’s no wonder that visitors return year after year to explore this stunning corner of the world.