Jackson (pop. 10,500) is a small city in the Jackson Hole Valley of Teton County, Wyoming. It is the largest town in Teton County, often mistakenly called Jackson Hole, which is actually the name of the surrounding valley. Jackson is a popular tourist destination due to its proximity to Jackson Hole Mountain Ski Resort and Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. Flat Creek, a tributary of the Snake River, runs through Jackson town.
MAJOR POINTS OF INTEREST
- Grand Teton National Park: Located five miles from Jackson, includes the Teton Mountain Range, covering 310,000 acres.
- Yellowstone National Park: Sixty miles from Jackson, Yellowstone extends through Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana. This was the first national park in the country.
- National Elk Refuge: The refuge was created to shelter one of the largest elk herds in the country and borders the town of Jackson. Throughout the winter visitors can go on horse-drawn sleigh rides to view the herd.
- National Museum of Wildlife Art: Overlooking the National Elk Refuge is the National Museum of Wildlife Art which shows and preserves many wildlife artworks. In addition to the museum pieces there is a ¾ mile walking trail with many sculptures.
- Jackson Hole Mountain Resort: Opened in 1966, 12 miles north of Jackson, is one of North America’s most highly rated ski resort, with an abundant variety of steep terrain and ski runs, with one of the highest vertical drops in North America, at 4,139 feet (1,262 m).
The Jackson Hole Valley was originally populated by Native American tribes including the Shoshoni, Crow, Blackfeet, Bannock and Gros Ventre. In the early 1800s, the valley became a prime area for trappers and historic mountain men Jim Bridger, Jedediah Smith, John Colter and William Sublette. Both the town and valley are named after explorer David Edward Jackson, who spent the winter of 1830 on the shores of Jackson Lake.
As part of the Hayden Expedition of 1871 and 1872, William Henry Jackson took the first photographs of the Teton Mountains and Yellowstone. His photographs, along with the sketches by Tom Moran, were important evidence to convince Congress to protect Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone National Park became the first National Park in 1872. Grand Teton National Park was created in 1929 and greatly expanded in 1950 through the generous efforts of John D. Rockefeller, Jr., who purchased and then donated over 30,000 acres.
The Town of Jackson was named in 1894. Some of the early buildings remain and can be found throughout the area of the Town Square. In 1920 the town elected the nation’s first all-woman city government (including town council and mayor, who in turn appointed women to town marshal, town clerk and treasurer).
In 2009, the Town of Jackson was designated as a Preserve America Community. This designation recognizes that the town protects and celebrates its heritage, uses historic assets for economic development and encourages people to experience and appreciate local historic resources.
JACKSON TOWN SQUARE
The core of both the town and the community, Jackson Town Square is marked by four magnificent elk antler arches. The square is crisscrossed by an Old West boardwalk that culminates at a central sculpture of the square, a cowboy on a bucking horse.
SHOPPING AND DINING
Shops here display Western to contemporary wear, homewares, hats, jewelry, bronze sculptures, original paintings and much more. A good selection of restaurants, eateries and live music venues line the square, including the oft-photographed Million Dollar Cowboy Bar and the Wort Hotel’s Silver Dollar Grill. Adjacent to the square are two other shopping “districts”—The Pink Garter Plaza and Gaslight Alley, the latter with Mursell’s Sweet Shop, a superb chocolatier.