Staid ski towns may be the bread and butter of Wyoming’s tourism industry, but summertime exploration properly embraces the state’s Western roots when the frost gives way to an expansive acreage of desert ranges pocked by the hoof prints of roving bison. Follow Route 191 north of Jackson through two national parks, staying at cool new digs along the way—the result of a motel renaissance sweeping across the Rockies.
Start: Jackson, Wyoming
End: Bozeman, Montana
Total distance: 250 miles
Suggested length: 4–6 days
1) Anvil Hotel, Jackson, Wyoming
It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but step inside this roadside motel to find the most stylish refurb in the Equality State that’s flipping the script on former trucker dives. The property also ups the ante in Jackson’s otherwise fair-ish dining scene, offering adventurous mains like squid-ink chitarra at the on-site trattoria, Glorietta. Find more info here.
Left: Exterior of the Anvil Hotel. Top Right: Guest room at the Anvil Hotel. Bottom Right: Guest bathroom at the Anvil Hotel. (Photos by Mikael Kennedy)
2) Mountain Dandy, Jackson, Wyoming
The owners—partners John and Christian—possess the uncanny ability to sell you something you definitely don’t need from the small but brilliantly displayed collection of found objects, antiques, and newly designed items. Part of the MADE triumvirate orbiting Gaslight Alley, Mountain Dandy has the aesthetic of a throwback cigar lounge—you’ll want to bring a sleeping bag and move in. Find more info here.
3) Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
America’s version of the Alps rise from the deep troughs of the valley floor, sprouting into dazzling stony crags at their peaks. Follow the Taggart Lake–Bradley Lake Loop for over five miles of trail that takes in a series of glacially formed lakes with the park’s trademark ridges in the background. You’ll have a great chance of spotting moose during the moderate walk. Find more info here.
Views of Grand Teton National Park.
4) Turpin Meadow Ranch, Moran, Wyoming
A modern version of the old dude ranch, Turpin stuffs its creaky Lincoln Log cabins with all the mod cons, and our favorite: classic Pendleton bedding. Swap horse wrangling with mountain biking, fly- fishing, and disc golf. And the best part? You have thousands upon thousands of miles of government-protected wilderness out the back for infinite hikes and wildlife safaris. Find more info here.
5) Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
The poster child for the national park system, Yellowstone is America’s Serengeti,; an untamed expanse that quakes as the bisons thunder through. Most travelers, however, don’t make it more than 100 yards from their car. After ogling the iconic Old Faithful cone geyser, be sure to make tracks through the park’s two million acres of wilderness. Find more info here.
Left: A waterfall in Yellowstone National Park. Right: A buffalo drinking from a stream in Yellowstone National Park.
6) Blackbird, Bozeman, Montana
Bozeman is a handsome reward as you uncurl yourself from the twisting roads of the nearby national parks. A college town at its core, Montana’s fourth-largest city doubles down on its real-life charm that contrasts nicely with the manicured aesthetic of other mountain towns nearby. Blackbird is the hangout spot in the Main Street district, boasting top-tier wood-fired pizzas that attract a crew of usual suspects. Find more info here.
7) The Lark, Bozeman, Montana
Bookend your ride through the West with a stay at one more gloom-to-glam legend, The Lark—a motel overhaul in the heart of town. Adorned in custom-made artwork, the property acts as a veritable conduit for exploring southern Montana. Start in the dedicated Map Room and let the hotel’s denim-clad guides lend a hand with local picks. Ask for an upstairs room, and don’t forget to hit up the on-site food truck, Victory Taco. Find more info here.
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