things to do in the off-season in jackson hole.

listening to elk bugle in jackson hole
{Jacket: Vintage Pendleton from Roam | Custom Hat: J.W. Bennett}

Ahhh, the Off-Season. The summers in Jackson Hole just continue to get busier and busier so when the tourists all go back to school, the locals welcome the Off-Season with open arms. The tricky part about this time of year is that winter can start, or false start, at any moment so planning outdoor activities can be kind of tough. Here are my favorite things to do this time of year!

jackson hole elk bugle
jackson hole vintage pendleton blogger

Listen to Elk Bugle

We live in such a wild place that when the leaves start to change, I’m always reminded of how magical this valley really is. One of my favorite traditions is to go listen to the elk bugle. Luckily the elk are plentiful and one can hear the distinct elk bugling calls almost anywhere in the valley. The leaves are showing off big time and with temps just starting to dip, it’s fun to get outside before the snow really sticks for one last picnic amongst the wildlife.

Here’s what you need for a fun elk bugling adventure….grab cozy blankets, binoculars, a picnic basket with your favorite local treats, a bottle (or two) of vino, and bundle up! My go-to spots are in Grand Teton National Park at White Grass Ranch or String Lake. Aim to get up at the crack of dawn (replace vino with coffee) or go in the early evening for the best activity. Wherever you are, keep it quiet to listen to the mystical sounds of nature and remember to always give wildlife lots of space. Trust me when I say, you will be able to hear the bugle from quiet some distance! It’s such a wild experience. I wrote a full post a few years back which you can read here.

Hot Springs

There are three hot springs areas around Jackson Hole that are worth noting.

  • Astoria Hot Springs is the brand new and improved pool area that was brought back to life after it closed years ago. They did a really amazing job making it such a great place to go with friends, kids, or just a warm soak in the colder months.
  • The second place I would go is Granite Hot Springs but it is a bit of a drive, about an hour south of Jackson. It is down an 8 mile dirt road so make sure your car can handle it. The road closes when the snow sticks, so make sure you check the weather before heading down there. Otherwise, you will need a snowmobile to access – which is really fun to do in the winter! There is a small fee to enter, so make sure to bring cash.
  • Huckleberry Hot Springs is located in Grand Teton National Park but has been known to have some weird amoebas soooo… can go, I just wouldn’t dip my head under water.


The best time of year to visit Yellowstone National Park is in October. We went last week and there was absolutely zero traffic, no lines anywhere, and we saw so many animals. Maybe the wildlife are roaming more freely with the lack of tourists, or maybe they are getting ready for winter, but man we saw a lot! We stocked up our cooler with snacks and did the full lower loop which took most of the day. If you are looking for a more guided tour, Jackson Hole Eco Tours is a great biz to ride along with and you will learn so much about the park, our eco system, and wildlife.

National Museum of Wildlife Art

Our museum is incredible, like truly, so my favorite time is to check out when the weather is blah. The building itself is so fun to roam around in and they have a really delicious lunch spot, Palate. If the weather is warm, have a drink on the patio. There’s even a fun small kids museum inside. National Geographic’s 50 Greatest Wildlife Photographs Exhibition opens this November – a must see! Get tickets here.

Photos by Ashley Merritt