Jackson Hole is encompassed on all sides by mountain barriers. The hole – or valley – is 48 miles long and for the most part, six to eight miles wide, embracing an area of approximately 400 square miles. It lies a few miles west of the Continental Divide and occupies the central portion of the headwaters of the Snake River. Mountain streams converge radically toward it from the surrounding highlands, and the Snake River receives these as it flows through the valley.
With so many mountain ranges within a stone’s throw, Jackson Hole is a hub of outdoor recreation opportunity. Wildlife watching is easy here; elk, deer, and many other small mammals can be found throughout the valley. A plethora of bird species hangs in the valley throughout the year including various ducks, geese and even swans. As it is with mountain ranges, skiing is the major winter pastime and Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Snow King and Grand Targhee all offer an excellent skiing experience and accommodations. The National Elk Refuge, northeast of the Town of Jackson, provides a home for thousands of elk each winter. Visitors can take sleigh rides among the elk from mid-December through April.