We are asked just about every float trip: “What are your Favorites?”
It’s no secret that summer is our favorite season over here at Black Dog Raft Company. The beautiful summer sunshine makes it easier to float the Snake, not to mention more enjoyable than say doing it in winter. Winter rafting is well, weird and pretty cold around these parts. Summertime is pretty much perfect in Black Dog Country AKA Jackson Hole. Could be the sunshine that has us in such a good mood or maybe we just like you after spending a few hours with you on one of our rafts, but we want to share some of our favorite things to do around this beautiful valley in the summer (when of course you aren’t on one of our amazing rafting trips).
(or things to do with your legs when not in a raft)
Hidden Falls / Inspiration Point
This trail is such a Grand Teton classic it’s the hiking equivalent of peanut butter and jelly. First, take the Jenny Lake boat across the lake. It’s a peaceful and scenic start and well, we think it’s always fun to be on a boat. Plus it will shave a bunch of time off your hike and over 6 miles round trip. From the boat dock head towards Hidden Falls and you’ll be rewarded with a 200 foot waterfall. You then can double back and head towards Inspiration Point, which is well pretty inspirational and offers epic views of Grand Teton National Park.
Taggart Lake makes for a great destination hike to see some wildlife, get outdoors, and relax by the lake. It’s a 3 mile roundtrip, with a low elevation gain, so it’s rated family friendly.
Located in the quieter side of Grand Teton National Park, the Death Canyon Trailhead offers stunning views of the canyon as well as the Park. You can even take a detour to Phelps Lake if you get hot and jump off a big rock to cool down. The views from inside the canyon are well worth the steps.
Although a bit steeper and longer than the previous hikes mentioned, at about 10 miles round trip and with an elevation gain of 3,000 feet Hanging Canyon makes for a wonderful destination hike. The trail may not be as well maintained as the others, but all that effort pays dividends in the scenery department. Especially when the wildflowers are blooming.
Favorite Canine Adventures
(things do with your four legged friends)
Just a stones throw from the town of Jackson, Cache Creek is the perfect get away spot for you and your dog to commune with nature. This well traveled trail system offers multiple paths for exploration for humans and canines alike.
The Levee is known as the dike that goes along the Snake River in Jackson. It’s right before you get to the Village/Wilson intersection. It’s a long endless straight away on either side of the Snake River that offers plenty of real estate for you to play with your dog.
Favorite Fun Things to Do
(when not on the River, of course)
Farmers Market on Saturday
The Town Square is the place to be on Saturdays to buy fresh, amazing, and tasty, local food. The market runs Saturday mornings from 8 am – 12 pm July 11 – September 26. You might want to show up early because the good food might just run out. There is also free local music to provide a soundtrack for your shopping.
Jackson offers a ton of live music in the summer. One great series is the Jackson Hole Live Series which is free. The next upcoming concert is Wednesday, August 5th with Shakey Graves. Check out jacksonholelivemusic.com for the whole lineup. Also head over to 307live.com to see what other live concerts are coming to Jackson.
Head over to Rendezvous River Sports and rent a paddle board and get on the water at Slide Lake or String Lake. See why stand up paddle boarding has become the latest craze. Go to jacksonholekayak.com for rental info.
We take picnic’ing seriously at Black Dog Raft Company and think it’s one of summer’s best past times. To do it right, pack plenty of your favorite snacks and sandwiches from any of the fine shops in town and head to your favorite picnic spot, or if you don’t have one we would suggest Slide Lake or heading out in to the Gros Ventre area.
For a real Jackson Hole tradition check out the Stagecoach Band at the Stagecoach Bar in Wilson. The Band has only been performing on Sundays for the last 44 years. “Sunday Church” as it’s billed runs from 6 pm – 10 pm.
The fine folks at Adventure Rentals will get you out into the wilds of the Bridger-Teton National Forest on your very own ATV. Guided tours consist of small groups led by expert guides. For info on tours and prices head over to jhadventure.com.
Ride the Tram
It’s just as epic at the top of the tram on Rendezvous Peak in the summer as it is in winter, unless you are on skis. The best views of the valley can be found at the top of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. And if you get hungry hit up Corbet’s Cabin for a killer waffle. Tickets start at $37 for adults at the window, but you can save $5 when you order online. For more info go to jacksonhole.com.
Nora’s Fish Creek Inn parking lot is so packed with cars, that if you didn’t know it was an award winning restaurant you may just assume that it’s a rental car place. Don’t let the line of cars scare you off or fool you. Go ahead drive right in and wait patiently if necessary for a table. You’ll be glad you did. You can’t go wrong with any of their selections, but may we suggest the Biscuits and Gravy. We haven’t steered you wrong yet have we?
Pearl Street Bagels is another one of our morning routines, it’s right up there with brushing our teeth. With two locations, one right by Nora’s in Wilson and one in downtown Jackson for all your coffee and bagel needs. Just don’t ask them to toast your bagel. Don’t worry they are so good they don’t need it.
Brunch isn’t so much a meal as an event. Whatever it is, it’s glorious. Your two best bets for this splendid thing called brunch is Café Genevieve and The Bird (but only on Sundays).
This Jackson Hole institution serves breakfast every day until 3pm and just happens to have Jackson’s earliest happy hour which starts at 3pm. So, you can basically gorge until it’s time to drink happily. But, let’s not stray from the task at hand, which is brunch. Speaking of which, brunch has it’s own menu here. With such crowd pleasers as Fried Chicken and Waffles or Cajun Eggs Benedict you may not look at brunch the same way when returning to lower elevations.
Brunch here is billed as “Sunday Funday, the best f’n day of the week”. At least it is from 10 am – 3 pm. Bottomless mimosas and bloodies for $15, need we say more? Oh yeah they also feature all the brunch hits at reasonable prices to help soak up all that alcohol. Is it Sunday already?
This one is easy peezy, head over to Creekside Deli and grab a giant sandwich of your own choosing, made fresh just for you. It’ll be wrapped and ready for your day’s adventure if you can contain yourself.
For good eats that are easy on your wallet head back to The Bird or Eleanor’s Bar & Grill. Burgers are the real deal here at The Bird, as are the wings, and the schnitzel.
Or head over to Eleanor’s Bar & Grill. They didn’t win best wings two years in row in Jackson for nothing. Plenty of excellent Mexican dishes as well as delicious sandwiches and burgers to fill you up.
Reward yourself with a little more upscale meal..
If you are looking to reward yourself with a more upscale dining options we got you covered there as well. Go ahead and treat yourself you deserve it after watching your raft guide burn all those calories rowing your group all day.
- Local – Go for the elk chop or the sautéed Idaho trout.
- Snake River Grill – menu changes seasonally, but we always recommend the steak when they have it.
- The Gun Barrel – great place for steak and game, we say the buffalo prime rib is out of this world.
- The Blue Lion – always tasty, but you can’t miss with the roast rack of lamb or the grilled elk tenderloin.
We hope you get the chance to check out some of these Black Dog can’t miss summer fun activities. Until then, see ya on the river.