Geography of Jackson, Wyoming

By | April 3, 2024

Jackson, Wyoming, located in the northwestern part of the United States, is a town renowned for its stunning geography and unique natural features. Situated in Teton County, Jackson lies in the heart of the Rocky Mountains and serves as a gateway to the iconic Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park. The town’s geography is characterized by its majestic mountain ranges, pristine wilderness areas, and abundant wildlife. In this comprehensive overview, we will delve into the geography and climate of Jackson, Wyoming, exploring its physical characteristics, environmental diversity, and meteorological patterns.



Jackson is nestled in a picturesque valley surrounded by towering mountain ranges, including the Teton Range to the west and the Gros Ventre Range to the east. The town lies at an elevation of approximately 6,200 feet (1,890 meters) above sea level, with the surrounding peaks rising to heights exceeding 12,000 feet (3,600 meters). The valley floor is relatively flat, with the meandering Snake River flowing through the region. Glacial activity during the last Ice Age sculpted the dramatic landscapes of the area, leaving behind U-shaped valleys, moraines, and cirques.

Mountain Ranges:

The Teton Range, part of the Rocky Mountains, is a dominant geographical feature in the Jackson area, known for its rugged peaks and stunning alpine scenery. Grand Teton, the tallest peak in the range, rises to an elevation of 13,775 feet (4,199 meters) and serves as an iconic landmark visible from Jackson and the surrounding region. To the east, the Gros Ventre Range offers a contrasting landscape with its forested slopes, rocky outcroppings, and diverse wildlife habitats.

Wilderness Areas:

Jackson is surrounded by vast wilderness areas, including Bridger-Teton National Forest, Gros Ventre Wilderness, and Jedediah Smith Wilderness. These protected areas offer pristine natural landscapes, including alpine meadows, dense forests, and alpine lakes. The region is home to abundant wildlife, including elk, moose, bison, grizzly bears, and wolves, making it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and wildlife enthusiasts alike.

National Parks:

Jackson serves as a gateway to two iconic national parks: Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park. Grand Teton National Park, located just north of Jackson, is renowned for its jagged peaks, glacial lakes, and diverse ecosystems. Yellowstone National Park, located to the north and east of Jackson, is famous for its geothermal features, including geysers, hot springs, and mud pots, as well as its wildlife, including bison, grizzly bears, and wolves.



Jackson experiences a humid continental climate, classified as a Dfb subtype according to the Köppen climate classification system. This climatic designation is characterized by four distinct seasons, with warm summers, cold winters, and moderate precipitation throughout the year. The town’s climate is influenced by its high elevation, mountainous terrain, and proximity to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.


Jackson’s climate features moderate temperatures during the summer months, with average high temperatures ranging from the mid-70s to the low 80s Fahrenheit (24-28°C). Due to the town’s high elevation, temperatures can drop significantly at night, even during the summer, with overnight lows dipping into the 40s and 50s Fahrenheit (4-15°C). Winters are cold and snowy, with average high temperatures ranging from the mid-20s to the low 30s Fahrenheit (-4 to -1°C). Sub-freezing temperatures are common, especially during the overnight hours, with occasional cold snaps bringing temperatures well below zero Fahrenheit.


Jackson receives moderate precipitation throughout the year, with rainfall and snowfall distributed fairly evenly across the seasons. Annual precipitation averages around 17 inches (432 mm), with slightly higher amounts occurring during the spring and summer months. Snowfall is significant during the winter season, with the town receiving an average of over 150 inches (3,810 mm) of snow annually. Snowpack in the surrounding mountains contributes to the region’s water supply and supports a variety of recreational activities, including skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing.


Jackson enjoys ample sunshine during the summer months, with long daylight hours and clear skies providing ideal conditions for outdoor activities and recreation. In contrast, winter months may experience shorter daylight hours and increased cloud cover, particularly during periods of snowfall and overcast conditions. Despite variations in sunshine duration, Jackson’s residents and visitors have ample opportunities to enjoy the region’s natural beauty and outdoor amenities year-round.


Wind patterns in Jackson are influenced by regional weather systems and topographical features, including the presence of mountain ranges and valleys. While the town does not experience extreme wind events on a regular basis, occasional gusty conditions can occur, especially in exposed areas and mountain passes. Prevailing winds typically originate from the west or northwest, with variations in intensity and direction depending on local geography and atmospheric conditions.

Climate Variability:

Jackson’s climate exhibits variability from year to year, influenced by natural climate cycles, atmospheric phenomena, and human-induced factors. Variations in temperature, precipitation, and snowfall can impact local ecosystems, water resources, and recreational activities. Additionally, climate change may influence long-term weather patterns, leading to potential shifts in temperature regimes, precipitation distribution, and the frequency of extreme weather events. Monitoring and adaptation strategies are essential for managing the impacts of climate variability and ensuring the resilience of Jackson’s communities and natural resources.