Be Prepared. Plan Ahead.
Planning ahead is essential to a safe and fun visit to Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and the surrounding area, especially for hiking and biking activities. Stay well rested, well hydrated, and use sun block. Wear clothing appropriate for changing weather conditions. Whenever you are hiking or out mountain biking, let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return.
Bring water: This should go without saying anytime you hike. If you are looking for an easier way than lugging a bottle around with you, invest in a good backpack with a built-in hydration system. You should also be sure to be fully hydrated before you head up the Jackson Hole Aerial Tram as the elevation of the top station is 10,450 feet above sea level, so it might be a smart idea to minimize your coffee intake that morning and alcohol consumption the night before. It's also a good idea to bring some food or snacks with you to keep your energy up while at altitude.
Wear Shoes with Adequate Foot Protection: It's amazing to see how many people head up the Tram wearing flip flops. DON'T DO THIS. Even if you are just going up to hang out and take in the view and are not doing a hike, you are still on top of a mountain in the Rocky's. Go get some good hiking boots or shoes that offer comfort and protection so you and your feet will be happy.
Wear Sunscreen: Yes, it is cooler up on the mountain - but you are much closer to the sun which means greater intensity and a chance to burn. Put on the sunscreen and bring extra to put more on later. It's also a good idea to wear a hat and clothing that offers additional sun protection.
Be Prepared. Plan Ahead.
Many people decide to hike down the mountain from the top of the Aerial Tram. If this sounds like an adventure you are interested in, you need to know it is a 7.2 mile hike. You will need appropriate hiking footwear, at least 3L liters of water and snacks. Be prepared for inclement weather. Afternoon thunderstorms are common. It takes most guests 3 hours to hike down. Many take longer. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is very large and our trails access Grand Teton National Park as well as Bridger-Teton National Forest. Response time for medical help can be lengthy. Cell phone coverage to call for help is limited in many places. It is prudent to always have a first aid kit with you. Most Hikers get into trouble for one reason; they fail to adequately prepare themselves for their adventure. Ask anyone who does search and rescue for a living, and they will tell you that 9 times out of 10, most rescues could have been prevented with just a little bit of pre-planning and preparation.
Do not bring small children on strenuous hikes. Do not hike in flip flops. Do not attempt strenuous hikes on the first day of arrival from sea level. Do not hike without adequate water. DO not hike if you are physically unfit to do so. Do not hike with a contraindicative medical condition. And always be sure to tell a friend or family member not with you what your plan is in advance.
Mountain biking is a fun way to experience Jackson Hole Mountain Resort but it's also important to remember that injuries are a common and expected part of the sport. We strongly suggest that full face helmets, full length gloves, biking armor and a full suspension bike be used in the Bike Park. If you are new to mountain-biking, or the parent or guardian of a younger rider, please familiarize yourself with the bike park and the mountain-biking activities we offer. Introductory mountain-biking lessons and beginner mountain-biking terrain are available and recommended. More challenging terrain and features should not be attempted unless the rider has the appropriate skills, experience and equipment to effectively negotiate such trail sections.
- Be sure that your suspension is tuned properly and is set up for your body weight and riding ability.
- Full suspension Enduro style and downhill bikes are strongly recommended. If you don't know what these are you should look into our rentals and lessons.
- All bikes riding in the bike park must have one functioning brake per wheel. This keeps dirt jump bikes, BMX, kids with coaster brakes and beach cruisers off the trails but allows regular mountain bikes to ride on the hill.
- All riders must sign a waiver. Riders under the age of 18 must have their waiver signed by a parent or guardian.
- It is the riders responsibility to ride within their level. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort provides trail difficulty designations. A rider can expect any number of challenges on the trail pursuant to the trail designation level.
- Know before you go! Understand the trail level you are about to ride and be prepared for it!
- Inspect each trail: Pre-ride at a slower speed to get a feel for the terrain. Don't hammer your first run. Take it easy and look for changing conditions.
- First time? No worries. Hire a guide.
Summer (July and August): Warm days and cool nights prevail, with afternoon thundershowers common. Expect snow in some areas.
Fall (September, October, and November): Sunny days and cold night alternate with rain and snowstorms.
Lightning: No place outside is safe when a thunderstorm is in the area. If you can move to a substantial building.
- If you can't- avoid open areas. Don't be the tallest object in the area.
- Stay away from isolated tall trees, towers or utility poles. Lightning tends to strike taller objects in an area.
- Stay away from metal conductors such as wires or fences. Metal does not attract lightning, but lightning can travel long distances through it.
- If you are with a group of people, spread out. While this actually increases the chance that someone might get struck, it tends to prevent multiple casualties and increases the chances that someone could help if a person is struck.
We have Black Bears and Grizzly Bears, and encourage you to carry and know how to use bear spray.
How to Avoid Bears While Hiking: Your main task will be to hike without startling a bear at close range, especially a mother with cubs. Here are some guidelines that are particularly important to follow.
- Avoid hiking at dawn or dusk. That's when bears are most active.
- Hike in a group of four or more and stay close together; groups of that size are less likely to be attacked.
- Make noise as you hike in order not to surprise a bear. Try shouting "Hey, bear!" every so often, talking or singing loudly, clapping hands, and clacking trekking poles together. Most bells sold as "bear bells" are not loud enough to be useful. Also, be aware of your surroundings at all times. Noisy streams, wind in the trees, bends in the trail and dense vegetation can prevent a bear from being aware of you.
- Bear spray. Bear spray contains red pepper derivatives that affect the eyes and respiratory system. It's designed to rebuff an attacking bear (but can affect your own breathing and eyesight, too, if the wind blows it in your face), and empties in only 7-9 seconds. It's typically effective at a distance of 12-30 feet.
Carry it directly on your person in a holster, not in your pack (not even in an outside mesh pocket-it could get knocked out). Bear spray makes an excellent deterrent about 90 percent of the time. Know how to use it, as you may only have seconds to do so. Usually you must flick off the safety clip before you can depress the nozzle. Practice pulling it out of the holster at home before your trip.
It's an aerosol, so you will not be allowed to bring it on commercial airlines.
Warning: In camp, never preemptively spray your tent or pack with bear spray; it's NOT like mosquito repellent. It may actually attract bears. If you spray yourself, you will never forget the pain of the experience.