Jackson Hole, Wyoming is an outdoor adventure enthusiast’s paradise — featuring two world-class national parks and some of North America’s best skiing. Not to mention several surrounding national forests and wilderness areas that allow one to easily get off the beaten path.
Northwest Wyoming offers something for the outdoor explorer in every season, depending on what exactly you’re looking for. This guide will take a deep dive into the different seasons to help you determine when the best time to visit Jackson Hole could be for you.
By the time you finish this article, you will have a good idea of when to plan a visit to Jackson Hole. Alternatively, if you have already scheduled a trip to Jackson Hole, then you’ll have a good idea of what is “in season” during your trip.
Late December – March (Winter)
Winters are long in Northwest Wyoming, but if you’re a skier or snowboarder, then you’ll love what Jackson Hole has to offer! The Tetons are blessed with 400-500 inches of snow per year on average, making it one of the most reliable powder skiing destinations in Western North America.
There are three local ski resorts near Jackson — Jackson Hole, Grand Targhee, and Snow King — and all three have their own character and are outstanding in their own way.
Local ski areas are typically open from late November through early April, but the period from late December (holiday season) through March is when conditions are at their best.
The holiday period from Christmas through New Year’s is busy in Jackson and one of the more expensive times as well for lodging. If this is your window for a ski trip, then the good news is that the Tetons typically have good snow by Christmas with a large percentage of terrain open at both Jackson Hole and Grand Targhee in all but the driest years.
January and February is the prime time for skiing and offers the most reliable powder conditions. During March, warmer temperatures and a stronger solar angle lead to more variable conditions, but good storms still happen at this time of year as well.
For backcountry skiers and riders, coverage in late December and January is adequate if not excellent and quality of new snow tends to be at its highest. On the flip side, avalanche danger is typically at its highest at this time of year as well.
Later in the winter and into the spring (February through March), the snowpack and avalanche danger tend to stabilize more quickly after storms.
April (Mud Season)
April is the off-season in Jackson and is a quiet time of year in between ski season and the start of summer tourist season. If you head to Jackson Hole in early April, you can catch the end of lift-served skiing. Otherwise, there isn’t much going on.
However, this is a good time of year for solitude and for off-season dining and lodging specials.
April is generally too early for hiking, as most of the trails that melt out early near the town of Jackson are typically closed to foot traffic through April 30 to protect winter wildlife.
One activity that is popular in April is to bike the 15-mile stretch of the Teton Park Road that is plowed during March but closed to car traffic through the end of April. Check out Hoback Sports in Jackson to rent a bike for the day.
Also, April can be an excellent time to ski the backcountry due to a more stable snowpack as well as longer days. Weather can be hit or miss in April, and in many years, winter has trouble letting go. Late-season snowstorms are common in the mountains while the valley typically sees some combination of rain and snow.
May (Spring/Mud Season Cont.)
May is a transition season as well. The snow continues to melt in the valleys and the vegetation starts to green up. Rivers and streams also start to rise, while the higher elevations remain buried in deep snow. The Teton Park Road along with many other forest service roads open up in May, providing greater access to recreation.
The weather can best be described as schizophrenic in May with frequent rain showers along with large temperature swings. May is the rainiest month of the year in Jackson, but all-day rainouts are uncommon. Rather, most of the rain tends to fall in off-and-on showers with breaks in between.
Late season cold fronts with mountain snow happen on occasion in May as well, and even the lower elevations in Grand Teton National Park occasionally see brief, slushy snow accumulations at this time of year.
The lower elevation and south-facing trails around the town of Jackson are typically the first to open up in early May, while the valley locations north in Grand Teton National Park slowly start to melt out from south to north as the month progresses.
While hiking and mountain biking options are somewhat limited at this time of year, it can be a beautiful time to get out with the green valleys contrasting with the snowy peaks. Also, temperatures are often quite comfortable for exercising outside, even though layers are usually necessary.
For backcountry skiers — May is a good time to get out and explore some of the higher peaks.
June (Early Summer)
The weather starts to feel like summer during June as temperatures continue to warm up and the days reach their maximum length of the year. Although sunset is shortly after 9 pm in June if you are out in the valley the last of the light often lingers until 10 pm!
Hiking and mountain biking trails continue to gradually melt out and open up across the lower to mid elevations, while the higher elevations usually remain snowbound through the end of the month in all but the lowest snow years.
Lower elevation areas are green and beautiful with exploding wildflowers — especially the bright yellow arrowleaf balsamroot. Of course, bug season also arrives in June and the mosquitoes can be bad in some areas, especially around some of the lakes at the northern end of Grand Teton National Park.
Backcountry skiing is still good in June across the higher peaks of the Tetons, and mountaineering with the use of proper snow gear is good at this time of year as well. Exum Guides offers mountaineering courses and training if you’re looking to sharpen your snow climbing skills.
The weather is typically more reliable in June than it is in May, but afternoon thunderstorms are fairly common. Occasionally (usually once per year) a late-season cold system will sweep through during June, bringing significant rain to the valley and one final blast of heavy snow to the mountains.
July – August (Mid-Summer)
Summer is the prime time for most outdoor activities in Jackson, and despite it being high season for tourism, it is a wonderful time to visit.
The higher elevations melt out in July, opening the door to hiking, backpacking, mountain biking, mountaineering and warm-weather activities across the board. Wildflowers are at their prime across the higher elevations at this time of year as well.
Grand Teton National Park is blessed with many lakes that are great for paddleboarding, swimming, and lounging on warm and sunny days. These are just a few excellent ways to cap off big adventure days in the mountains.
Thunderstorms are common in July and August and the higher peaks of the Tetons are very exposed to lightning danger, so check the forecasts carefully and plan higher elevation adventures for the morning hours.
Mosquitoes and black flies also tend to be at their worst during July and the early part of August, but by mid to late August, bug issues typically dissipate.
In some years, Jackson Hole can experience wildfire and/or smoke issues during the summer months. This, of course, varies from day to day and year to year, but typically the peak of wildfire season (when temperatures are at their hottest and vegetation is at its driest) is during August.
September (Early Fall)
September is one of the finest months in Jackson and is a great option for those wanting to visit for summer activities at a time when the summer crowds are starting to diminish compared to July and August.
Temperatures start to cool off and are usually very comfortable, while thunderstorms also become less frequent and blue sky days more frequent. Jackson Hole does tend to see its first cold systems of the season arrive, especially during mid to late September, dusting the mountains with their first snows of the season.
High elevation activities are still good through late September in most years, but you’ll want to be prepared for early winter storms with perhaps a plan B just in case there is a big early season snow event. Your odds of a snow-free outing are much higher during the first 1-2 weeks of September, though I’ve seen it snow down to 9,000 ft. as early as late August.
The big draw during the second half of September is the fall colors — especially the aspen trees. It is a beautiful time of year to get out and hike and mountain bike. Also, you won’t encounter any bugs in September!
The most noticeable changes at this time of year in addition to the changing colors are the shorter days and the colder nights (temperatures usually fall below freezing on clear nights). But during clear weather, it also warms up quickly during the days.
October (Late Fall)
October is the start of the fall off-season in Jackson, but it can be a surprisingly nice time to visit. It really depends on the year, and whether or not nice weather persists late into October, or if cold, wet, and snowy systems become prevalent early on in October.
Regardless, low elevation trails tend to stay in good shape as any snow that falls in October is short-lived. Higher elevations start to become snowbound in October, but some hikes are still reasonably accessible with light early snow cover.
However, you may encounter muddy trails in some areas during October, as the sun is weaker at this time of year and trails do not dry out as quickly after it rains or snows.
Fall colors typically remain excellent through the first week or so of October, and in some years may linger into mid-October. After mid-October, most of the deciduous trees will be bare.
If you’re looking for solitude on low elevation hikes that are typically crowded for most of the summer, then October is a great time to hike these trails. Just be prepared for more variable weather compared to June-September.
November – Mid December (Early Winter)
This is probably the quietest time of year in Jackson Hole as the transition from fall to winter occurs. The Teton Park Road closes on November 1st and other forest service roads will gradually start to close in November depending on when the heavier snows arrive for the winter.
November is sort of a “mud season” in its own right as valley areas tend to see some combination of rain and snow initially, before snow becomes more prevalent and starts to accumulate for good by late in the month.
You can usually go out on snow hiking adventures across the lower elevations in November without any special gear, other than waterproof footwear. Also, winter wildlife closures on trails near Jackson do not begin until December 1st.
Across the higher terrain, backcountry skiing is possible on certain parts of Teton Pass in most years by November, but care must be taken due to thin cover and underlying rocks and logs.
Once the ski lifts start to run in late November, the first few weeks of the ski season can be quite fun and uncrowded and you’ll have better luck finding early season discounts. However, don’t expect to have much open terrain to ski on as the rocky terrain at Jackson Hole takes some time to fill in. If you’re looking for a true Jackson Hole skiing experience, then wait until January.
Best Time to Visit For:
High Elevation Hiking/Backpacking: July to September
Lower Elevation Hiking: Late May to October
Mountain Biking: June to Early October
Climbing the Grand Teton: July to Early/Mid September
Hiking the Teton Crest Trail: Mid-July to Mid-September
Resort Skiing: Late December – March
Backcountry Skiing (for powder): December – March
Cross Country Skiing: December – March
Ski Mountaineering: March – June
Whitewater Rafting: May – July
Lakes, Swimming, Paddleboarding: Mid June – Early September
Wildflowers: Late May – August
Fall Colors: Mid-September – Early October
Avoiding Bugs: Before the end of May or after mid August, depending on elevation
Discounted Rates: April, Late October-Early December
Monthly Weather Averages
Here are the monthly temperature, rainfall, snowfall and snow depth average for three locations in the Jackson Hole area, all of which have their own climate — 1) the town of Jackson, 2) Jackson Lake, and 3) the top of Jackson Hole Ski Area.
For some of these values, estimates had to be used or values had to be borrowed from nearby stations to account for missing data, but overall this will give you a good idea of what to expect seasonally at different locations and elevations around Jackson Hole.
Also, note that the top of Jackson Hole Ski Area does not record snowfall data from July through September, even though they have received snow in every month of the year!
Town of Jackson (elevation 6,200 ft.)
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Jackson Lake (elevation 6,777 ft.)
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Jackson Hole Ski Area Summit (10,400 ft.)
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