What’s the best time to visit Jackson Hole?

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The best time to visit Jackson Hole depends on what you want to do. The ski season at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort runs from late November or early December (the opening date is different every year) through the first weekend of April. For the remainder of April and into May, most hiking and biking trails are still covered with snow, so there isn’t an opportunity to get into the mountains unless you have those expert mountaineering skills. But, summer’s crowds haven’t yet descended on Grand Teton National Park, so if you want to see the park sans hiking, May is a great month. Keep in mind that if you make the trek before this, some of the park’s roads are closed from November 1st to May 1st. June can be a very iffy month in terms of weather; it can be glorious, with days in the 70s and 80s, or it can be snowing, as it did for most of June 2011.

Summer almost always has arrived by the Fourth of July. Both July and August offer the most stable weather — days in the 80s with nights getting down into the 40s — but the valley is packed. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, an estimated 3 million cars pass by Jackson’s Town Square. There’s a reason there are so many visitors here during this time though: it’s absolutely beautiful.

Locals often say September or October is their favorite month. With the increased popularity of the Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival, September is now almost as busy as August; but it’s a very different crowd from the earlier summer tourists. September visitors usually spend more time in Jackson and less time in Grand Teton National Park, which means that, for those who do visit the park, it’s pretty quiet. Wildlife is also fairly visible as they beef up for the upcoming winter. Jackson Hole doesn’t have a ton of fall color because it just doesn’t have that many deciduous trees, but the color that it does get comes in September.

October, when there’s an Indian Summer, is spectacular. It’s just as likely that it will be snowing and sunny though, so visiting this month is best for those who are flexible with their plans. In November, many restaurants, galleries, and shops are closed. Snow has begun to fall ending summer activities, but ski season has yet to start, putting the area in a sort of limbo when it comes to activities.

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