17 Reasons Not to Move to Jackson Hole, Wyoming (Voted by the Locals!)

Jackson has its pros and cons, but mostly its cons, in the eyes of the locals. As a fifth-generation Idahoan, specifically having been born and raised in Victor, Idaho, I heard a lot about Jackson growing up. From my parents, grandparents, and my neighbors. The consensus was in: Jackson Hole, Wyoming was an inconvenience.

While outsiders may love Jackson for it’s many tourist traps, which were, for short a time, a great way to spend a day out of the house if you wanted to throw a bunch of money at something,

17. It’s Considered the “Fake West” by Wyoming residents

Because of the influx of non-Wyoming residents, Jackson Hole can feel inauthentic to those who actually are a part of the cowboy culture.

It’s a whole other culture up there. It’s like trying to say that New York City is representative of the culture in the whole of New York.

It’s not. Not at all.

Jordan YatesOpens in a new tab.

If you want a real west experience, this is not the town for you.

16. It’s a Party Town

Growing up in Teton Valley included going to Jackson to the movie theater, and maybe a little ice cream afterward. But it usually ended up not being worth it. On more than one occasion I’ve seen people sneak beers in, get drunk, and then get a little rowdy in a movie theater.

Seeing as there wasn’t a theater in Victor while I was growing up in the 2000s, it seemed advantageous to go spare the hour-long ride to another theater and go to Jackson, which was just over the pass.

Loud talking is always a certainty, it seems, though we got our hopes up each trip for an uninterrupted experience. On one occasion a pair of men even dropped a beer bottle, and the entire theater heard it smash on the floor in the middle of a quiet scene.

15. Nature Can Be Dangerous

It seems every year Teton Valley newspapers will feature a story of someone who mishandled wildlife or didn’t follow necessary precautions when venturing into uncharted territory.

Surprisingly, a lot of those accidents happen because of general recklessness or just plain stupidity. Some of the more common deaths occur when people fall into hot springs, which severely burn them, or drown during rafting trips. And that’s not even counting the dangers of avalanches or hypothermia caused by the frigid temperatures.

So, unless you’re willing to follow the rules, stay away from the dangers that natural Wyoming has to offer.

14. Many Wild and Dangerous Animals

With the protected wildlife like Elk, Bears, and Coyote that Yellowstone allows visitors to see, there are bound to be serious accidents or even deaths.

Some more newsworthy deaths, other than naturally occurring accidents, happen when people are attacked by wild animals that they aren’t allowed to go near, which happens a lot.

Though many assume that connecting with nature means petting animals, especially baby deer, coyotes, or bison, this can lead to harm for both humans and wildlife.

13. The Traffic is Ridiculous

One poll taker listed just how horrible the traffic is in Jackson. Seeing as it’s an extremely popular tourist town, especially with visitors from China, who make up a large percentage of visitors in the summer months, traffic can be bad.

A lot of this is due to the tourist buses that shuttle people back and forth from tourist attraction to tourist attraction. And on top of that, frequent accidents caused by nature can cause traffic jams that just aren’t a part of city life.

Even neighboring cities like Victor and Driggs are inundated with traffic when it comes time for the working class to head to and from work. When those drives would normally take around 30 minutes, this can become more than an hour drive, twice a day.

12. Driving in the Winter is Dangerous

When visitors who have never had to experience driving on snowy or icy roads come, they don’t expect just how difficult it can be.

Buckrail.comOpens in a new tab. noted Wyoming as the second most dangerous state to drive in. On average there are 88 deaths caused by vehicle accidents a year.

With lots of livestock and wild animals that cross the street and frigid temperatures that can make roads turn into a black ice nightmare, Jackson can be extremely dangerous when it comes to driving.

11. Expensive Restaurants/Bars

Eating out, or even just buying groceries, can be quite expensive in Jackson Hole.

As with a lot of tourist trap towns, business owners know that people don’t mind splurging on vacation activities like eating out. But if you live here full time, it can be a pain to always have to pay extra for ordinary food.

10. Pricey Activities

With activities like Skiing and Snowboarding being such a large reason for tourism in Jackson Hole, it’s not surprising that they charge a lot.

On average a day pass at a Ski resort like Jackson Hole Mountain resort is $160 a day, not including rental of gear, which can also get quite pricey.

“When planning your trip here it helps to be prepared for how much a vacation in the Tetons may cost. After all, “free” is not a word you hear often in Jackson Hole.”

Jacksonholetraveler.comOpens in a new tab.

9. Jobs are Seasonal

Even if you’re lucky enough to find a job in Jackson Hole, with its slightly higher income, it probably won’t be a reliable source of income through the year. This means that a lot of the working class are only staying there part-time. This isn’t great when it comes to building a sense of community.

So even if you do want to live in Jackson, chances are your stay will be short and full of busy workweeks, not really allowing a lot of time for the activities that you moved to Jackson to experience in the first place.

8. Everyday Workers are Forced to Travel There Everyday

Because of the relaxed tax laws that Wyoming affords, it’s a safe haven for those with money to spare. But for those working there and supporting the lifestyle of the rich and/or famous, the wages just aren’t good enough.

Though the pay for a lot of different jobs in Jackson, like those in the medical or hospitality arena, is higher than in neighboring towns, very few people are actually able to both reside and work there.

This means more money spent on transportation from places like Victor or Star Valley, which are both rising in rental and real estate costs because of the influx of richer residences.

7. The Part Time Residents

The people who live there seasonally can’t, and generally don’t, contribute to daily life.

The region has its share of wealthy people, God bless them, but they are not the ones you run into at the rodeo, kids sports events, or PTA meetings; they are for the most part out of the valley most of the year and are not the interactive members of the actual community, on a day-by-day basis. They are the 2–5 percenters, the wanna-be opulent who strive to change a working tourist town into a boutique getaway to live in while their investments support them elsewhere. . .

. . . A community of people relating to each other is unsustainable if more residents make their living digitally out of the valley while only resting their heads here; such is killing the very attractiveness of this place as one to live in.”

Jesse Lee O’Connor

In summary, the divide between the wealthy and the working class is a little too wide. Those who can afford to build in Jackson won’t contribute to it, but those in the working class who want to contribute to it, can’t afford to keep up with the changes made.

6. The Cost of Living is High – Too High

For people who enjoy the Jackson scenery and public school systems, the cost can be a great hindrance Unless you are one of the 1% who has millions to spend on the overpriced cost of living, it’s not likely you’ll be able to live there.

And for those working multiple jobs to be able to afford to live there, there’s really no time to actually enjoy the outdoor and nightlife that Jackson provides.

According to a local,

“In one word expensive. Housing is outrageous, in fact, I know that even some of the doctors that work at the hospital don’t live in Jackson, they live outside of Jackson.”

Lucy ShupeOpens in a new tab.

5. The People are Rude

For those working full-time jobs in Jackson, the clientele can often be. . . disrespectful. One source stated that as someone who doesn’t live there but drives to work every day, meeting a diverse range of people from Jackson can be exhausting.

“I have met so many entitled, self-centered rich people in Jackson. And if they aren’t rich, they know someone who is rich, and they feel like they can be as rude to you as they want. As someone who works in a field where I meet ten different clients a day, it can become exhausting to deal with Jackson people.

It can be difficult to tell them, especially the richer people, that they need to spend longer at an appointment they can become pretty insulting or whiny. I’ve seen more crying and outbursts in Jackson than I have any other place I’ve worked. If it wasn’t for the fact that I like my boss and the great pay, which I need because of the way Jackson’s real estate has made living in the rest of the Valley so expensive, I would quite immediately.”

Anonymous source

4. There’s a Stigma When it Comes to People from Jackson

Based on reason 12 alone, there’s a stigma when it comes to Jacksonites, especially those who live there only part-time. They are considered rude, snobby, and entitled to the land.

“Jackson is just so… different. Jackson Hole residents feel so disconnected from the rest of our common culture. I’ve met lots of people from Jackson and they all seem like out-of-staters because there’s something fundamentally different about them.”

Jordan YatesOpens in a new tab.

3. There’s Not a Lot to Do if You Don’t Like Outdoor Activities

Summer in Teton County is beautiful, but extremely brief. Most of the months of the year are cold. That seems to be a large reason that ski bums and snowboarders love Jackson.

But if you’re like me and have no interest in outdoor or winter sports, there’s not a lot to do. Beyond that, it seems that outdoor activities are priced for those on vacation, meaning that they can make a pretty penny out of your wallet.

2. The Economy is Driven by Tourism

Tourism is probably why you have heard of Jackson Hole in the first place. Although it is a beautiful place, it can be difficult to live in a place that is mostly a vacation spot.

So many people flow in and out daily and cause problems like traffic and high prices. It just takes a special kind of person to live around people who are vacationing and not working all of the time.

1. Housing is Through the Roof

Renting, which a majority of people do if they don’t have the money for a down-payment on a house, can be laughable. That is, if you can even find a place to rent in the first place.

People who live in Jackson Hole live here because they want to, and are willing to sacrifice to make it happen. The main sacrifice you have to make is housing.

The real estate of Jackson Hole seems to be the biggest problem facing outsiders and even neighboring towns.

“No one can afford to buy land now. It’s horrible how the generation who was born and raised here, and who wants to stay near their families as they start families of their own now can’t afford to do that because of real estate prices. With all of the other expenses of young adulthood, it really seems like investing in property is becoming an impossibility.”

Andee Calderwood

Slowly but surely, the grandchildren of those who built the towns surrounding Jackson Hole are being pushed out with little hope for returning to their home. In a few reasons, Jackson is, according to one commenter on social media:

“Too many rich people. Too expensive to eat or shop. And super crowded all the time.”

If anything, visiting Jackson seems like the best bet in order to enjoy the natural wonders and fun activities that the town has to offer. That is, if you have the extra spending cash.

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Gracie S.

Millie here! I am a regular publisher on suggested by locals. Other than writing, I like to volunteer at the local animal shelter!

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