The weather in Jackson this time of year is always a little iffy: Some days, you’ll be treated to glorious late-fall weather that invites outdoor exploration; on others, clouds obscure the peaks while snow and sleet intermittently rain on your parade. The ski resorts aren’t open, and there’s typically not enough snow for a backcountry session, but the high country is too snowy and icy for hiking.
While it can be tempting to curl up indoors with a Netflix marathon, this time of year—known as mud season among Jackson locals—can also turn adventure lovers a little loco. If a serious case of cabin fever is settling in, try some of these ideas to get out and enjoy (or at least not go crazy during) the fall mud season in Jackson.
1. Go indoor rock climbing.
There’s no better time than the winter than to brush up on your climbing skills. Head over the hill to enjoy some indoor rock climbing in Driggs, Idaho. The Teton Rock Gym is located in the same building as the Teton GeoTourism Center on Main Street. Brush up on your bouldering, top roping, and lead climbing, or sign up for one of their classes to advance your skill set for spring season.
2. Pedal around on local pathways.
The trails around town might be a little muddy, but the bike pathways around town are a good option for a fall bike ride. Be mindful of closure dates and respect pathway closures, as some of the routes north of town close during the fall to protect wintering wildlife near the elk refuge.
3. Rock your Warrior pose.
Yoga is the ideal counterbalance to all that climbing, pedaling, paddling, and trail pounding. And this time of year, local yoga studios and gyms have plenty of offerings, including hot yoga classes, which offer an escape from the cold, damp chill outside. Many of these classes also help prepare athletes for the coming ski season—an added bonus for skiers who can’t wait to hit the slopes.
4. Take a ski fitness class.
Local gyms often offer “ski fitness” classes this time of year to help get people in shape for the ski season that lies just around the corner. Check the free local paper, The Jackson Hole Daily, and Facebook to see if your favorite gym is offering an off-season special for ski fitness classes.
5. Hit the road to see elk.
Even when other trails are treacherous, the Elk Refuge Road is often a good place to go running. Consider bringing your micro-spikes or walking instead of running if it’s slippery. The road boasts some good views right on the edge of town. You might even spot a bighorn sheep or other animal on your run. To head out on this road, follow Broadway until it dead-ends just past St. John’s Medical Center. Turn left and you’re on the Elk Refuge Road.
6. Take an indoor dip.
Splash your way to fitness this fall by taking a dip at the Teton Parks and Recreation Aquatic Center pool. The facility hosts a wide array of classes, practices, and events, so be sure to check when the pool is open for public swimming before heading down. They even have a water slide open a few hours a week.
7. Hike in Grand Teton National Park.
Some of the trails in Grand Teton National Park make for fun hikes even during the mud season. Be wary of any trails that are too sloppy, since footprints in mucky trails make the routes hazardous to users once the mud dries up. But if they’re not too bad, head out and enjoy a hike without the summer and early fall crowds. Bradley and Taggart Lakes are solid options, due to their low elevation and the short 20-minute drive to the trailhead from town.
8. Make a new four-legged friend.
The Animal Adoption Center is always in need of altruistic folks to help them care for dogs and cats. They’re looking for people to do “nightly dog fosters” which involve bringing dogs home for the night to care for them. They also need volunteers to care for cats, walk dogs, drive animals between facilities, and help with maintenance. Join the ranks of the 5,000-plus annual volunteers at the center by volunteering to walk a dog with an “Adopt Me” vest, which is a perfect way to get your exercise, enjoy time with a dog, and help a pup find a good home.
9. Enjoy the “eating season” in Jackson.
Locals often refer to mud season as the “eating season”, and that’s for good reason: It’s the time of year local restaurants slash their prices and offer two-for-one deals and other specials to entice locals and the handful of visitors who happen to pass through town this time of year. Be sure to call or check a restaurant’s website before you head out—many have reduced schedules this time of year and are only open a few days a week.
The free Jackson Hole Daily offers an easy way to see what’s on tap, with restaurant ads in the back. The Fine Dining Group of restaurants (including Rendezvous Bistro, Q Roadhouse, and others) usually starts their specials soon, and some of which benefit local nonprofits.