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Review / Jackson Hole

Gina Riley

I was lucky enough to discover Jackson Hole in the late summer-early autumn, but quickly learned that this is a true year-round destination, equally as enchanting from one season to the next, captivating the visitor with its natural charms and cool contrasts, whatever the weather.

I stayed at the Four Seasons Resort, where we wandered off the beaten track with the resident Resort Biologist and viewed wildlife in its natural habitat. We listened to bull elk 'bugling' whilst they challenged each other for female attention. The black bears and grizzlies foraged for food in preparation for winter and we saw many other native species on our trek including wolves, moose, trumpeter swans, eagles, owls and deer. 

Jackson Hole in autumn is just as inviting as in high summer. The crowds have thinned, the air is bracing and guests can marvel at the remarkable autumn foliage.  We found out that many of the summer activities  from wildlife safaris and hiking to mountain biking and fishing can extend well into autumn.  We spent a couple of nights at the beautiful Amangani, which has breathtaking views of the snow-capped Teton mountains. The knowledgeable staff here recommended the Fly Fishing Adventure, available in September and October, which offers guests the opportunity to discover one of the finest fly fishing locations in the world. Located on the Wyoming-Idaho border and surrounded by the Grand Teton, Snake River winds south through Jackson Hole from its source in Yellowstone National Park and is a haven for local cutthroat trout as well as rainbow, brown and brook trout. This adventure can be tailored to suit anglers of all experience levels - whether novice or expert.  Later in the fall is an ideal time for scenic photography when a canvas of rich red colours can be captured among the trees and underfoot. 

Transforming itself into a beautiful ski resort during the colder months, the entire valley turns white after mid-November and winter can stretch past early April.  With Amangani offering complimentary shuttle from resort to ski lounge, a day on the slopes is topped off perfectly with a spot of après ski to the breathtaking backdrop of snow-capped peaks. A host of activities is available, including cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing and half-to-full-day dog-sledding.  For a more unusual experience, try a horse-drawn sleigh ride into the National Elk Refuge. Dinner sleigh rides are also popular, taking guests up the ridge of the butte to reveal panoramic views of the valley. 

Spring is the perfect time to enjoy a quintessential Wild West horseback ride. Experience the great outdoors cowboy style, on a national forest trail where wildflower filled meadows, raging rivers and the Teton Mountain Range are waiting to be explored. Horseback riding starts in the spring as soon as the ground is dry enough for sound footing and continues until the first dusting of snow.  Animal lovers and star-gazers alike will find engaging activities year-round in Jackson Hole.  Thanks to its location in Wyoming, the least populated state, magnificently clear skies are a draw for those curious about astronomy.  With a knowledgeable and enthusiastic Resort naturalist on hand at Four Seasons Resort, view the magnificent Milky Way and all of the planets that call it home as you explore the unforgettable Western sky using high powered telescopes.

I can't wait to visit Jackson Hole again to experience this diverse destination in a different season - the only dilemma is which one to choose!