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Why Allyn Media’s Mari Woodlief Never Gets Tired of Going to Jackson Hole, Wyoming

This mountainous nature, wildlife, and adventure haven is where PR leader Mari Woodlief has a second home.
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Mountain Majesty Scenic walks and hikes in Grand Teton Park abound.
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Why Allyn Media’s Mari Woodlief Never Gets Tired of Going to Jackson Hole, Wyoming

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I hadn’t realized how much I missed the mountains until I was hiking the trails in Grand Teton National Park outside Jackson, Wyoming. The 310,000-acre national park offers ample options for treks to experience flora, fauna, and breathtaking bodies of water. The mostly flat, 6.5-mile loop around Phelps Lake is a must—so is a plunge off the roughly 20-foot jumping rock into the glacial lake, with Grand Teton peak as a backdrop. Choose the Bradley-Taggart loop for a shorter jaunt with more elevation and double the water features. Wildlife often abounds on any of these adventures, so bring your camera and bear spray. We came across a momma bear and her cub while walking, and enjoyed our short encounter from a distance.

Once you’ve had enough outdoors, return to one of the area’s luxury resorts for a well-deserved reprieve. Amangani is situated in the Grand Teton’s foothills—a secluded but convenient spot to move about the region. Don’t miss a soak in the resort’s infinity pool, overlooking the Snake River Valley—especially under the stars. The resort has a secluded and natural feel, offering large suites with a luxurious, yet simple, design. Celebrities are known to stay at the Amangani and/or it’s neighboring private villa. Another option is the Four Seasons Resort and Residences Jackson Hole, located inside Teton Village against one of Jackson Hole’s most sought-after ski runs.

The slopes become mountain bike trails in the summer, perfect for an afternoon of fast-paced adventure. Also nearby is a tram that climbs a 10,450-ft peak in the Teton Mountains to Corbet’s Cabin, named after Corbet’s Couloir. This challenging ski chute attracts crowds in winter. Inside, a café serving Irish coffee and comforting waffles awaits.

Both resorts boast impressive wildlife tour offerings led by highly knowledgeable guides. Ask for Drew at Amangani, who adventured with us throughout the park to witness big horn sheep, elk, bison, moose, prong-horned deer, and much more. We even went on a short hike to an unmatched view of the park and peaks, and he educated us about the brain-eating fungi living in some of the area’s hot springs. Energetic and open, he’s one of the best guides I’ve ever had for any resort experience.

At Four Seasons, request Seth from Jackson Hole Wildlife Safaris. He guided us to follow several elk at a distance, and we even heard a male bugle to several females. We also saw mule deer, bears, moose, prairie deer, and bald eagles and sampled huckleberries and choke cherries. I would recommend the former berry unless you’re prepared to brave through bitterness.

Dining options are plentiful at both resorts and in the town of Jackson. Standouts include breakfast at Amangani, looking out over the foothills. For lunch, the Handle Bar Restaurant & Pub at Four Seasons offers scrumptious shareable bites and salads. I’d recommend the poke and the Watermelon Greek Salad with salmon. Also, a stop at the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar in town for a game of pool and a drink is a must. I chose to sit on one of the many saddles, which serve as bar stools, and sip a Dark and Stormy.

For dinner in town, The Bistro, a new Parisian-inspired eatery, is a great spot to watch the sun set over the mountains. I started with one of their daily specials, then chose the venison steak. Westbank Grill at Four Seasons also provides a great end to the day. Opt for the Heirloom Tomato Salad to start and the Bison Tenderloin for your main. The Cowboy Cookie (warm chocolate chip cookie with vanilla ice cream) is an essential finish.

Close your travels with a 100-minute Turquoise Sage Body Ritual at the Four Seasons’ Spa. The treatment starts with an exfoliating salt scrub, moves into a massage with healing chamomile and arnica, and finishes with a willow bark wrap and foot massage—everything you need to get back on the trails again.  

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Kelsey Vanderschoot

Kelsey Vanderschoot

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Kelsey J. Vanderschoot came to Dallas by way of Napa, Los Angeles, and Madrid, Spain. A former teacher, she joined…

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