Whether you’re itching for some amazing wildlife spotting, exercise, or just a stroll along a trail, winter hiking in Jackson Hole isn’t something to skip! Teton Backcountry Rentals has you covered!
We want to cover the basics of some common winter hiking gear we have available for rent. And of course what kind of rental shop would we be if we didn’t offer a couple recommendations of where to go?
Common Gear For Winter Hiking in Jackson Hole:
First up are Microspikes. Can you guess what they are? Yup, you’re right… they’re spikes that are micro. Ok, ok… microspikes are a little chained web of small spikes that go beneath the soles of your shoes/boots and bungee into place. Microspikes give you traction on slick or slippery surfaces, you know, like ice or compacted snow!
Microspikes are a great option on heavily trafficked trails. Usually, heavily trafficked trails in winter turn into compacted, ice-like snow covered trails. Snowshoes wouldn’t be necessary on a trail like that but hiking boots might not be enough to avoid slips or falls. Like this:
Now, of course, if you’re going to venture off the main trail into some deep snow, snowshoes become increasingly necessary.
Microspikes are very simple. I don’t want to make them seem complicated by over-explaining them. What’s more simple than a quick video? (Keep in mind we’re at the shop, ya know, working. As much as we’d love to have gone out to a trail and show ya how these bad-boys work in the real world, you’ll have to settle for an icy spot in our parking lot!)
Next up on our list are snowshoes! If you’re like me and have trugged through deep snow in your boots, you’re gonna like snowshoes!
I feel like most people know what they are but for those who don’t: snowshoes make your footprint bigger in snow. Adding that larger surface area under your boots distributes your weight and essentially allows you to “float” on top of the snow rather than sinking deep into it. They help alleviate fatigue and get you much further in deep snow.
You’ll have fun floatin’ along on your hike especially in deep snow when you see the top of a tree poking through and you’re walking overtop of it!
Like microspikes, snowshoes are simple. At the risk of over-explaining again, let’s jump to a quick video: (again, we’re at work… yes, that one shot is us just in the field across the street haha!)
It’s true, we have some breathtaking views out here! But that’s not all a winter hike in Jackson Hole has to offer!
Alright, so you’re stoked for your hike. Your camera is fully charged. You’ve got your microspikes or snowshoe package rental in your cart at TetonBCRentals.com. You probably have some desire to check out the wildlife or, at the very least, get some killer close up views of the mighty Tetons, am I right? TBR has you covered there too!
What better way to see those elk or moose (maybe even a wolf) over in that meadow than a pair of binoculars? BTW, as majestic as they are, neither elk or moose are friendly creatures. You should always view from a safe distance!
Is that someone ice climbing up the Lower Saddle? Let me set up the spotting scope I rented from TBR and find out! (see what I did there?)
Bringing a set of optics with you can be great fun! Scanning for far-off things unseen with the naked eye makes for great stories to tell friends and family!
We have compact (10×25) and standard (10×42) size binos available that are perfect for hiking!
Also available is our premium 16-48×65 spotting scopes. While not necessarily as easy to hike with as our binos are, the spotting scope view reaches so much further than binoculars! All are available to add to your gear rental! Make the Jackson Hole valley seem smaller and catch the views those without optics will miss!
The last piece of gear I’m going to mention here might sound unnecessary in the winter. Who knows, it might be. However, with the warmer-than-normal temps and less-than-normal snowfall, I feel like it’s worth a little bit of information so you can make an educated decision.
Specifically: bear spray.
We’ve been asked many times if bear spray is needed. I’m going to cut right to the chase: I don’t know.
We haven’t heard of any bear sightings this winter. That doesn’t mean they’re all hibernating already.
With much less snowfall and higher temps than we usually have by this time, bears could potentially be out and about. Their food sources would normally be buried in snow by now and they’d be tucked away for their winter-long nap.
Morale of the story: the bears didn’t text us to let us know they’re off to bed, so I’d say it’s unlikely BUT there’s always a possibility for a bear encounter. Personally, I’m not carrying bear spray right now. I will be, 100%, come April-ish.
The choice is yours, if you’re a “better safe than sorry” type of person, we’ve got bear spray available. If you’re not worried about it, that’s cool too!
Since you’re already on our website, hop on over to the Winter Gear section and reserve your gear!
Cool Winter Hiking Spots In Jackson Hole:
Here are some cool places to check out with snowshoes or microspikes. I’ve included a brief description and a link to get some more info or directions! HAVE FUN OUT THERE!
Antelope Flats-Mormon Row:
The road to Mormon Row and the iconic Moulton Ranch is closed to vehicles and unplowed after about a mile during the winter. There’s parking at the end of the plowed section. It’s still accessible for snowshoeing (or cross-country skiing). Make sure to bring a camera! The famous T.A. Moulton barn with the snow capped Tetons in the background is a beautiful sight, you’ll definitely want to get some pics!
The Moose-Wilson road is closed to vehicles during the winter and is groomed for snowshoeing and XC skiing. The section of closed road is between the Granite Canyon and Death Canyon trailheads. It’s about 3 miles long. You can also take the Lake Creek trail or Woodland trail up to Phelps Lake for some more exploration.
This easy and scenic trek up to the cabinsite starts at the Taggart Lake trailhead. It’s only about 4.2 miles round trip. Enjoy the leisurely hike and maybe lunch at the main cabin while you soak up a spectacular view of the Tetons!
Here are some more helpful winter resources for Jackson Hole from the National Park Service: