October is your favorite time to be in the mountains. Summer crowds have dispersed, but sunny days still warm up quickly. Skiers aren’t praying for big snowstorms yet, so the trails are all yours. Plus foliage colors, particularly the golden aspens, are just breathtaking.
Today, you’re tackling the Wildflower Trail. The eight-mile, out-and-back trail starts at the base of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. Its trails won’t be covered in snow for at least another month. So you follow the switchbacks for views of Big Red (the aerial tram), Teton Village, the Snake River Valley, and the peaks in Grand Teton National Park. Shaded benches and picnic tables act as rest stops along the way.
JHMR is considered one of the best ski resorts in North America thanks to its steep terrain and the more than 500 inches of snow it receives each year. The ski resort is in the little town of Teton Village. The Vill, 12 miles northwest of Jackson, was built for tourists. Some of its twisted streets don’t even have names. The land around it is mostly protected. It’s just a few minutes from the entrance of Grand Teton National Park and the Snake River. Yellowstone National Park is only 60 miles away. You definitely won’t run out of hiking trails in this area.
At the end of each hiking day, you need a cozy spot in which to relax. Teton Mountain Lodge & Spa is a perfect home base. The slopeside lodge, which sits steps from the entrance of Big Red, is open year-round. It was built by a Vermonter, who grew up skiing on the East Coast every day. Plus it has all the amenities you expect from a mountainside hotel.
When you arrive at the rustic lodge, you find exposed wood beams and two towering stone fireplaces in the lobby. Condo-style rooms feature smaller gas fireplaces, full kitchens, and jetted tubs. Spur, the locally-sourced restaurant, has an Alpine vibe and a heated terrace. While whirlpools, steams rooms, and Asian-inspired treatments await you at SpaTerre.
The spa’s whirlpools aren’t the pools in which you’ll spend most of your time, though. There are both indoor and outdoor lap pools and hot tubs, as well. It’s a chilly sprint to the outdoor ones in the middle of winter. The pièce de résistance is on the lodge’s roof. It’s a 22-person hot tub overlooking the slopes. Its uninterrupted view is almost as impressive as the one from your first hike. Almost.