Explore the History of Jackson Hole

history of jackson hole

Due to its remote location and rugged terrain, Jackson Hole is widely considered one of the last places Europeans explored and settled in the lower 48 states. But despite its relatively recent discovery, the area is steeped in fascinating history.

The Shoshoni, Crow, Blackfeet, Bannock, and Gros Ventre American Indian tribes all left evidence of their passage in the form of fire pits and tools at archeological sites scattered across the valley. John Colter—a member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition—first entered Jackson Hole in the early 1800s to scout for a fur trading company.

Below, we’ve listed three must-see attractions in Grand Teton National Park for history buffs looking for Jackson Hole summer activities. Visit the Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum in downtown Jackson for more information.

history of jackson hole

Menor’s Ferry—Homesteader Bill Menor built Menor’s Ferry near Moose, Wyoming in the late 1800s to access his 148-acre property on the west bank of the Snake River. The site, which includes cabins and a store, was purchased and restored by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. in 1929. The site played a part in a number of pivotal events in Jackson Hole’s history including the first ascent of the Grand Teton and the founding of Grand Teton National Park. It was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1969.

Park Service employees restored the ferry in 2009.

The Murie Ranch—Located just south of the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center, the Murie Ranch is considered the cradle of the modern day conservation movement. Olaus and Mardy Murie, and Adolph and Louise Murie purchased the STS dude ranch in 1945. history of jackson hole

From the Murie Ranch, the family played host to preeminent wildlife biologists and advocates. The family argued passionately in favor of the 1964 Wilderness Act, and Mardy Murie was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for the effort in 1998.

Today, the ranch is home to the non-profit Murie Center, and ranger-led tours of the site are available from the visitor center.

Mormon Row—Tucked away on the north side of Blacktail Butte, Mormon Row was first settled by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the 1890s. The community eventually grew to include 27 homesteads, and was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1997.

Today, several of the original buildings still stand in an expanse of pasture land that is the summer home of Grand Teton National Park’s bison herd.

6 Family Friendly Rainy Day Activities in Jackson Hole

You’ve just traveled hundreds of miles to the nation’s premier outdoor recreation hot spot, and now sky has gone dark and sheets of water pour down your hotel room window. 

Summertime in Jackson Hole usually means lots of sunshine, but when it does rain, there’s still plenty to do. Below, we’ve gathered six fun rainy day activities in Jackson Hole to keep you and your family entertained through worst weather the Tetons can manage. The rain never lasts long during summers here, though, so be sure to book a family rafting trip for your vacation, too!

Jackson Hole Children’s Museum — For the kiddos in your crew, the Jackson Hole Children’s Museum offers hands-on opportunities to explore science, art, and play. Ongoing exhibits include the Wild Wind Machine, the Magnet Wall, and Creativity Studio. Check the website for ongoing programs.

rainy day activities in jackson hole - jhkids

Swimming — Water lovers will enjoy a full length lap pool, a hot tub, a water slide, and a splash pool complete with waterfalls at the Teton County Parks & Recreation Department Recreation Center. Land lovers can shoot hoops or take an exercise class in the rec center gym. Be sure to check the pool schedule before you pack the car.

The Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center — Located at Moose Junction, this ultramodern visitor center boasts 22,000 square feet of interpretive exhibits on the history, geology and wildlife of Grand Teton National Park. Look for ranger-led hikes to the historic Murie Ranch.

rainy day activities in jackson hole - visitor center

Hole Bowl — Set ‘em up and knock ‘em down. Jackson Hole’s only public bowling ally,  Hole Bowl is set to open in 2016 with 10 lanes, a dining room, a children’s play area, foosball and pool tables.

Jackson Hole Cinemas — Jackson Hole Cinemas operates three theater locations in the Jackson Hole area. Offerings include everything from the latest Hollywood blockbusters to film festivals.

National Museum of Wildlife Art — The National Museum of Wildlife Art hosts the Nation’s premier collection of wildlife paintings and sculptures. Visitors enjoy more than 5,000 pieces of art from more than 550 artists dating from 2500 B.C. to present. The museum also features a restaurant and kids play area.

rainy day activities in jackson hole - wildlife art


5 Summer Activities in Jackson Hole

Dating back to the first European explorers to climb the Grand Teton, Jackson Hole has a long and distinguished reputation as an outdoor sports Mecca. Now, with its world class rafting, skiing, mountain biking and climbing, there’s little doubt that Jackson Hole is North America’s premier destination location for adrenaline junkies and casual adventurers alike.

summer activities in jackson hole - rafting

After you’ve shot the Lunch Counter and the Big Kahuna rapids on a rafting trip with Barker-Ewing Whitewater, be sure to check out some of our other favorite summer activities in Jackson Hole:

1. Climbing — With Exum Mountain Guides, mountain climbers benefit from the oldest and most experienced guide service in the United States. Their expert staff has trained and guided people on trips up the Grand Teton for more than 80 years. Exum offers climbing adventures for people from ages 8 to 80 for everything from a fun day bouldering with the family to epic alpine adventures. 

2. Horseback riding — Owned and operated by Dustin and Laura Child, Horse Creek Ranch offers horseback riding, trail riding, pack trips, backcountry fishing and big game wilderness hunting for a true western adventure. For a shorter trip, contact Teton Village Trail Rides.

summer activities in jackson hole - horseback

3. Cycling — In the last 10 years, the Bridger-Teton National Forest has spearheaded a concerted trail-building effort on Teton Pass and the Greater Snow King area. Couple that with a pathway system that will soon reach from Teton Village, through Jackson, south to Hoback Junction and north to Jenny Lake in Grand Teton National Park, and Jackson Hole into one of the nation’s premier cycling destinations. Contact Teton Mountain Bike Tours for great cycling trips.

Hoback Sports also has bike rentals and maps.

4. Tram ride/ParaglidingJackson Hole Mountain Resort operates its iconic aerial tram in the summertime too. Take a trip to the top of Rendezvous Mountain for a spectacular view of the Tetons. The more adventurous can sign up for a paraglide ride down 4,000 vertical feet to the valley floor.

5. Fly Fishing — If your rafting trip with Barker-Ewing Whitewater leaves you thirsting for more, consider a combination rafting-fly fishing package with Jackson Hole Fly Fishing School. Other fly fishing pros include the guides at Mangis Fishing Guide Service for trips on the Snake, Salt, Green or New Fork rivers. Beginners are welcome and trout are guaranteed!

summer activities in jackson hole - fishing

Goodbye, 2015!

What an amazing year! We can’t believe 2015 is over, but we are excited for what 2016 will bring! Summer 2015 was a whirlwind of whitewater for us here at Barker-Ewing. Here is how our summer months went:


Our season started on May 19th and was accompanied by unseasonably warm weather and average temps around 65.  Our high water lasted all of May and into the first weeks of June, giving our our early-birds some great frun. These Snake River rafters were all smiles and happy to be playing on river! We also introduced our Float & Fly Trip, featuring our lunch float paired with fly fishing lessons from Jackson Hole Fly Fishing School.



In June things started to ramp up.  On June 1st Barker-Ewing celebrated its 53rd year in business! Mild mornings and hot afternoons made our trips most enjoyable. One of our highlights for this month was hosting Adrian Peterson of  the Minnesota Vikings! Click here to see some of the personal footage he took!



All of July we were running our full schedule offering both scenic and whitewater tours daily. Lunch Counter and Big Kahuna were crowd favorites, per usual. We had very little to complain about as the weather was very cooperative except for the intense storm we got on July 21st, adding a fresh white blanket on Rendezvous (10,449′).


August 23rd began late season schedule. As the temperatures start11059634_10153509506058397_61169567908610002_o to dip at night, the mornings and late afternoons have been getting cooler in turn causing our guests to bundle up in wet-gear.




Finally, some M-Float-2time to take a deep breath! As the leaves start to change office staff and guides are headed back to school. Winding down and reflecting upon May-September, we are grateful once again for both new and return client faces full of smiles, an amazing crew, and a safe and successful season!  Look forward to next year!



Welcome, Summer 2015!


Welcome Summer 2015!
Barker-Ewing Whitewater Blog


A New Year, New Guides

PicMonkey Collage






After a very mild and warm Spring, we are finally out and running trips! We’ve got a few new guides, but about 80% are returning from years previous. Our guides come from all over the United States with diverse and interesting backgrounds. All of our trips are guided & our guides go through extensive training to make sure you are in good hands on the river. Click here to read more about our guides!


New Office Staff, too!

new opening dAY

We’ve got four new office workers that are busy booking trips and answering questions. In just a week we ask them to learn our entire reservation system, all of our trips, and so many more logistical details that go along with each river trip. Lindsey (NC), Mike (OR), Caroline (GA), and Jean (WY) have been doing a great job so far!

We are up and running and ready to give you the trip of a lifetime! If you have any questions, are planning on visiting the Jackson Hole area, or want to book a trip give us a call at (800) 448-4202!


Follow us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter to get behind-the-scenes looks and find out about any deals or promos we have going on!

Staff Spotlight: Janet Monahan

Janet Monahan has been a manager at Barker-Ewing for over 7 years and is the definition of a jack of all trades. Year round she bounces from our booking office, to our check-in office, to our boathouse, and to the river! Whether she is making thai peanut broccoli salad or making sure everyone gets paid (she’s our bookkeeper too!) she accepts the challenge. Read on for more insight on Janet!





Yes… this was the only picture of Janet I could find. She does all the behind the scenes work!

1.  What three traits define you?
Positive, Perfectionist, Determined

2.  What is your personal philosophy?
Treat others as you would like to be treated.

3.  What’s one thing you couldn’t live without?
Family… and wine.

4.  What is the greatest challenge you have had to overcome in your life thus far?
My two hand surgeries

5.  What is the one thing you cannot resist?

6.  What is your greatest fear?
Being 103 and not knowing who I am.

7.  Where is your favorite place to be?
At home or on a white sand beach.

8.  What is your favorite thing to do?
Quilt and be with friends.

9.  Where is the best place you’ve traveled to and why?
Scotland….because of scotch.

10.  What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever had?
Fur buyer.

11.  What does true leadership mean to you?
Teaching others to take ownership.

12.  Which one would you want most – flying cars, robot housekeepers, or moon cities?
Robot housekeeper.

13.  What has been the most important innovation you have witnessed in your lifetime?

14.  What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing this?
Art teacher.

15.  If you could do another job for just one day, what would it be?
Cupcake baker.

16.  What would you most like to tell yourself at age 13?
Have more fun.

17.  What are your three most overused words/phrases?
Barker-Ewing Whitewater this is Janet how may I help you?

18.  How do you define success?
My family and children being happy.

19.  What is the best book you have ever read?
Too many to choose from!

20.  Tell us something that might surprise us about you.

I owned a diaper company named “Dirty Dozens”



Behind the Scenes

Ever wonder what goes into the making of a whitewater trip? The coordination between office staff, boat house managers, river guides, and bus drivers? Well, look no further. Read on for a behind the scenes look into how all the different parts of Barker-Ewing come together to give you the trip of a lifetime!

  • Office Workers

    Ring ring ring… they’re here to answer your questions all day long. Taking calls, booking trips, and answering questions is their forte. Our “Main Office” workers are the super friendly people you talk to on the phone. They answer any of your questions from “what happens if its raining” to “whats the difference between an 8-man and 14-man raft.”

Taking calls and booking reservations2015 Brochures are in!

July 4th outside of the Main Office


  • Trip Check-in Office Workers 

    Our “Hillside” office staff makes sure everyone has their risk forms signed because safety is our #1 priority. They also give out wetsuits and watershoes for chillier days on the river. They can sell you snacks, drinks, and Barker-Ewing swag to go home with. Make sure you meet us at 945 West Broadway… and not our booking office!


Ready to Raft!Party at Hillside

  • Bus Driver/Van Drivers

    The wheels on the bus go round and round. Our bus driver squad brings you where you need to be when you need to be there. They’re especially known for their impeccable driving skills and corny jokes.

Matt the bus driverBus DriverHangin' on the bus


  • Boat House Crew 

    These team players do all the dirty work. They are in charge of organizing and scheduling which rafts will be where on the river. They’re also in charge of making sure the rafts are up and running! This can be very hard because there is no cell service in the canyon, so we use radios to stay in touch. Over and out!

Rafts Ready to Go!Getting rafts readyInspecting the Rafts

  • River Guides

    These ladies and gents are in charge of making sure you have fun and that you are safe on the river. They teach you their know-how and tell you river stories while you’re rafting down the Snake. Their main mission is that everyone has fun- and gets wet! See who could be taking you down the river here.

Being a Guide is Fun!

Ben Watts, GuideRiver Guide

  • Servers/ Camp Staff

    Dinner is served! These folks give you a fine dining experience in the middle of the woods. How do we do it? With killer staff that love food and care about how tasty your dinner is. On our breakfast, lunch, dinner, and overnight trips we serve you both delicious meals and a good time.

ServingServing DinnerSteak, calico baked beans, corn, fresh green salad, garlic bread, peach cobbler


PHEW.. glad all that works done. Work hard play hard!

Indian Paintbrush, Behind the Scenes

Pig WrestlingStaff Parties

When to Visit Jackson Hole

One of the main questions we get from travelers is “when is it the best time to visit Jackson Hole?” In reality, when isn’t the best time to visit Jackson would be a better question. Besides the off-seasons (April-May and October-November), our little town has a lot to offer visitors year round.

Contrary to many beliefs, Jackson during the summertime can be even more fun than visiting the winter wonderland that it’s best known as. Hiking, horseback riding, camping, biking, trail running, swimming, rock jumping, When to Visit Jackson Hole - Hiking in Summertubing, paragliding…and the list goes on. Jackson offers endless activities in an outdoor paradise.  It also doesn’t hurt that our neighbors are two of the most beautiful national parks in the United States.

One of the best and most popular activities during the summer here in Jackson Hole is rafting on the Snake River. The Snake River is home to two different types of trips: calm, scenic stretches where you can spot all types of When to Visit Jackson Hole - Rafting in Summerwildlife, and our class II/III whitewater trip for adventure seekers. No matter which trip you choose, you are bound to have a great time.

On the flip side, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort boasts over 116 trails and record snowfall. Teton Village, located about 20 minutes from Jackson hosts the globally recognized resort known for its challenging terrain, vertical drop, and aerial tram. Whether you are interested in learning how to pizza or dropping into Corbets Couloir, JHMR has something for everyone in the family!

When to Visit Jackson Hole - Skiing in Winter

Wintertime in Jackson isn’t just limited to downhill skiing and snowboarding at the resort or the town ski hill, Snow King Mountain. Jackson Hole has tons of groomed nordic skiing paths and places to snowshoe. In addition to the winter wildlife safaris, be sure to check out the estimated 7,000 elk wintering in the National Elk Refuge.

Jackson is a great place to visit and offers travelers a variety of activities depending on the season. There’s always something going on- it’s just a matter of choosing what you want to do!


Wildlife you might see on a river trip…


Often we get the question what kind of wildlife might we see on our river trip… we live in such a special place and are surrounded by nature!  General rule of thumb is wildlife is more active in the early and latter part of the day.  During the heat of the day, often they are less likely to be seen….

The opportunities are seemingly endless.  Throughout the Snake River corridor, the bird life is phenomenal!  We see Bald Eagles, Osprey, Red Tail and many other types of hawks, Sand Hill cranes, Great Blue Heron, song birds galore, many species of ducks, woodpeckers, and don’t forget my favorite, the amazing little hummingbirds!  Perhaps we will see a beaver busying his/herself on their never ending workload; or an otter family playful, shy and curious in the current, a great treat indeed!

Then we move to the land dwellers!  Deer, Moose, Mountain Goats (specialty of the Snake River Canyon) Elk, Coyote, Fox, Bear, Wolf, Mountain Lion…. listed from more common sightings to a rare gift.  I have been lucky enough to see all these creatures great and small while on the Snake River here in Jackson Hole!  The thing about wildlife is we just never know! The more time you are able to be in the field, the better your chances will be!

mountain goats


Happy Holidays!

It is official! The days are getting longer and Santa is on his way around the globe!  Wishing everyone a most merry and joyous season! We look forward to celebrating 2015 with you!  Santa-Claus-Rafting