Posts filed under ‘Horseback Riding’

Itinerary for the Adventure Lover Visiting Jackson Hole

Jackson Hole is an adventure lover’s playground. There are so many fun activities on the water, in the mountains and in the air. When my family was planning on coming to visit I sent them a bunch of different ideas on what to do during their trip. Below I will list what I recommended for them. You probably will not be able to fit all of the activities in (they were here for 10 days and just scratched the surface). In fact, I have lived here for 3 years and I am still discovering new activities to do. If you have a taste for adventure or in some cases are an adrenaline junky, the following activities are for you!

Go Paragliding

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (located in Teton Village) as well as Snow King Resort (located in Jackson) offer tandem paragliding rides from the summit of their mountains. These scenic flights can be tailored to your thirst for adrenaline. If you want to do flips and sharp turns the guide can cater to your requests. If you just want a mellow scenic flight they are more than happy to provide that for you too. Contact Jackson Hole Paragliding for more information.

Whitewater Rafting

There are plenty of great local rafting companies that can take you down the Snake River. They all run the same stretch of river for their Whitewater and Scenic trips, so they are pretty comparable. If you stay with us we can provide you with a 10% discount on your whitewater rafting trip with Dave Hansen Whitewater. You may choose between a scenic trip, whitewater or combination of the two. You may also choose to be in an 8 man raft as opposed to the larger 16 person rafts. The 8 man rafts are more exciting due to their smaller size. All of the raft companies provide life jackets, paddles and helmets. Wetsuits and booties are available at an additional cost.
Kayak the Snake in Duckies

The Snake River meanders through Grand Teton National Park south through Hoback Canyon. The portion before the canyon is mellow, but once the Snake hits the canyon it turns into class 3 whitewater (with one class 4 section). If the 8 man whitewater rafts don’t provide enough excitement for you, going down the canyon in a Ducky is your best bet for an adrenaline rush. Duckies are inflatable kayaks that come in singles or doubles. A double is a little more stable, not to mention you have a partner in crime to scream at as you get doused by the rapids.

You may rent duckies at Rendezvous River Sports or Leisure Sports. You will need two cars so that you may spot one car at the take-out point. When my parents visited we put in at the Astoria boat drop, just south of Hoback Junction. We had a longer float with a few miles of flat, relaxing water, before the rapids. We took out at Sheep Gulch. The typical put in for just the 8 mile whitewater section is at West Table. Be aware that the river does have some nasty rapids, so make sure that you are confident in reading the water and have good paddle skills. Rafting and whitewater kayaking are dangerous sports, so make sure that you are completely confident in your abilities before taking Duckies down the Snake River.

Rent Stand Up Paddleboards or Canoes

Depending on how adventurous you are there are some great lakes to paddleboard on or canoe. Please visit either my post on Stand Up Paddleboarding in Jackson Hole or Canoeing on Leigh Lake. Both provide nice options for a leisure outing on the water.

Take a Hike

There are a few great day hikes that I recommend in Grand Teton National Park. Please find them listed in my previous post 3 Great Day Hikes in Grand Teton National Park. If you are looking to summit something, Jackson Peak and Sleeping Indian are good options in the Gros Ventres Range. These peaks are located across the valley from Grand Teton National Park and provide gorgeous views of the Teton Range.
Mountain Bike

There is plenty of smooth single track around Jackson. For a nice long loop try Cache to Game Creek.  Shadow Mountain is also a fun bike ride. You bike a dirt road up to the top and then take a fun single track trail down through the woods back to your car. For a shorter afternoon ride Putt Putt is a fun trail. Most of the trails in the valley are cross country mountain bike rides. If you are looking to ride some good downhill trails try the bike park at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort or head up to Teton Pass. Friends of Pathways have maps of the trails area – find them online here.

Horseback Riding

Well, you are in the Wild West, right? I think one of the best ways to take in the scenery is from the back of a horse. There are a variety of companies that offer different sorts of rides. For a short easy ride see my post of Spring Creek Ranch. For a longer, more adventurous ride look no further than Mill Iron Ranch. Cowboy up and jump into the saddle for an unforgettable adventure.
Take the Tram

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort offers summer tram rides. These rides are scenic and if you get lucky you may catch a glimpse of some wildlife (I saw a moose from the tram earlier this summer). There are also a lot of different options  for a short hike around Rendezvous Mountain. For the more adventurous you may want to hike out to Marion Lake, located in Grand Teton National Park behind Rendezvous Mountain. Also, the waffles in Corbet’s Cabin at the top of the tram are pretty hard to resist – I highly recommend them!

Road Bike
With the new pathways open, there are plenty options for short scenic rides or longer athletic rides. See my previous post Road Biking in Jackson Hole for ideas on where to ride and rent bikes.

So there you have it – a few ideas for your trip. I could keep going, but I think that I provided enough options to get you started. Hopefully, you will be able to get off the beaten path and experience at least one of these activities during your stay in Jackson Hole!

August 29, 2012 at 7:51 pm Leave a comment

Horseback Riding in Jackson Hole

When people picture the West most people think of Cowboys, Indians and Bandits on horseback – who wouldn’t want to play cowboy or cowgirl for a day? There are plenty of great places to ride a horse in Jackson Hole, Wyoming but there are only a handful of places that provide impeccable personalized service that will quickly turn what you once believed was going to be a simple horseback ride in Jackson into the highlight of your vacation.

My parents were coming to town and since my mother was essentially born on the backside of a horse, I wanted to take them on a ride that they wouldn’t forget. I asked around the community, seeking out recommendations on who offers the best trail rides. Having ridden at Spring Creek Ranch and enjoyed my one hour tour I was looking for something a little bit more advanced and adventurous.

Finally I found an avid horse back rider and she suggested that I get in touch with Kim at Mill Iron Ranch. She told me that no matter what type of ride we chose to do we needed to stay for dinner and eat Chancy’s famed T-Bone Steaks. According to her they were “out of this world and you’d be crazy to miss it!” Being a devoted carnivore I said of course we would stay for dinner.

I called up Kim and booked out trip for a Sunday afternoon 2 hour ride. I had no idea that I had just signed up for the “Most Scenic Trail 2 Hour Trail Ride” in the United States. Reaching the ranch is easy enough, but it’s a little more difficult to do without a car – cabs know where to take you but they can be rather expensive (I’d guess that it’d be about a $40 fare one way). The ranch is unassuming – a small cabin by the paddock where you check in and settle up with Kim. The ranch is family owned and operated – Kim does all the administration work and Chancy is out in the paddock with the horses and behind the grill for dinner. They make you feel at home and will do their best to ensure that you have a unforgettable time.

When we arrived a distraught guest was in the office – she had put her keys loose in one of the saddle bags and they had fallen out on her trail ride. With no spare key she was stranded. Kim did her best to help the guest – she found out the cell phone number of the owner of the local Dodge dealership and called him on his day off to ask for advice! I made a mental note to not put anything loose in the saddle bag that I didn’t want to risk losing. Kim also reminded us that they cannot control the weather and if we did get caught in a rain or thunderstorm they would not be issuing refunds (which is understandable!). Weather can be a very fickle thing here in Jackson Hole, so I would suggest bringing a rain jacket if you plan on an afternoon ride.

After settling up with Kim we headed outside where Chancy and Justin (our guide) were saddling up the horses and hoisted us up onto them. We had another couple from California join us on our ride. In total there were 6 of us guests to 1 guide, a perfect ratio.

After each of us took turns snapping photos of each other on horseback we headed off for our ride. This ride is no joke – it is a long uphill and then a shorter downhill ride. Every once in awhile we would stop to let our horses cool down and readjust the bridles. The horses were well maintained, gorgeous animals, and well behaved. Since the ride is rather strenuous they have a strict age limit (7 and up) and weight limit (230 pounds or less).

The horses followed each other dutifully up the trail until we reached the apex – a bald summit with sweeping views of the Gros Ventres Range as well as a vista of the Tetons in the distance. Our guide dismounted and snapped photos of us on the summit with each of our personal cameras. I thought that this was a nice touch, since I had been trying to take photos of my family atop of my horse the whole ride.

As we headed down the mountain our knowledgeable guide, Justin described some of the flowers along the trail and answered any questions we had. After 2 hours on a horse, parts of your body that you didn’t even know existed start to hurt. The ride was the perfect length – long enough to appreciate horseback riding but I was ready to get off of my horse and sink my teeth into a juicy steak at the end of the ride.

We drove from the paddock to the barn where they serve the dinner. There were picnic tables and plenty of wildlife trophies on the surrounding walls – definitely typical Wyoming. There was also a bar where you could purchase alcoholic drinks, which were well deserved after the ride. The dinner included salad, corn on the cob, a baked potato, roll, desert and a choice of steak, salmon, chicken or a vegetarian option. Our guide, Justin joined us for dinner. I cannot even begin to describe how delicious Chancy’s steak was – he asked what temperature I wanted it cooked to and he cooked it perfectly. There was also some musical entertainment – a cowboy “singing for his dinner”, who inspired my parents to get up and dance, which made the dinner feel a little more authentically western.

Mill Iron Ranch is the perfect place to take your family, friends or loved one. It was truly a memorable experience and we were so happy that we chose to go horseback riding with them. The ride offers unbelievable scenery, the Wheeldons are very hospitable and genuinely good people, the steak is unforgettable and we left wanting to go back for another ride. It is an authentic Western experience that is not to be missed!

July 13, 2012 at 9:45 pm 1 comment


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