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Jackson Hole vs Telluride – Which One Should You Visit?

Both Jackson Hole and Telluride are popular mountain resort towns located in Wyoming and Colorado respectively. 

I’ve actually visited both of these ski towns in the last few years so today I’d love to compare the two to help you decide which to visit.

This post will look at things likes hotels, activities, skiing, atmosphere, nightlife and more!

Summary – Jackson Hole vs Telluride

Jackson HoleTelluride
More snowfall &
larger ski area
Less snowfall,
smaller ski area
Ski resort far
from town
Ski resort right
next to town
Queues for ski liftNo queues for ski lift
Mainly for intermediate
& advanced skiers
Perfect for all levels
of skier
Access to national
parks
No national parks
CheaperMore expensive

I loved both of these locations however if I had to pick, I’d choose Telluride every single time.

Telluride was super cozy and felt like a real authentic mountain town. I loved how compact it was and I genuinely felt so at home.

I did enjoy my trip to Jackson Hole but I just didn’t get that same warm fuzzy feeling inside. I also found it a bit annoying that the ski resort was so far from the town.

Top Picks For Jackson Hole

Best Hotel In Jackson Hole: Hotel Jackson

Top Activities In Jackson Hole:

Top Picks For Telluride

Best Hotel In Telluride: The Hotel Telluride

Top Activities In Telluride:

Telluride

Telluride is a charming former Victorian mining town that rests in a valley tucked deep into the San Juan Mountains. It offers picturesque mountain views, an amazing ski resort and a quaint historic town.

Jackson Hole, on the other hand, is a mountain town with 3 ski resorts. It also acts as a gateway to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park and other wilderness areas.

When it comes to skiing, Jackson Hole receives significantly more snowfall on average each year. It also has a slightly larger skiable area compared with Telluride. 

Many people also rate Jackson Hole’s slopes to be some of the best in the country.

I personally found that Telluride had easier access to restaurants, shops and other amenities in town. It was easy to get from the skiing village to the main town by using the convenient Gondola ride.

Jackson Hole was a bit more spread out. The main town of Jackson and the ski resorts in the mountains are about a 20 to 30 minute drive away.

I also found that the mountain village had limited dining options so I headed into Jackson every day for restaurants, shops, bars, amenities and more. 

Telluride has a much higher altitude than Jackson Hole. Jackson Hole is at a reasonable 6,000 feet while Telluride is close to 9,000 feet. For anyone that has never been to high altitudes before, the height of Telluride may cause altitude sickness.

I often found the queues for the ski lift to be long in Jackson Hole and I waited up to 40 minutes at peak times. Telluride rarely had any queues at all for the ski lift and I was usually able to jump on straight away. 

I’d definitely say that the ski slopes in Jackson Hole are more suited to intermediate and advanced skiers, there’s little for beginners here. Telluride has a wide range of slopes perfect for every level of skier. 

If you’re all about skiing, want the best slopes possible and don’t care too much about anything else then head to Jackson Hole.

If you want great slopes but also a lively and fun town with tons of things to do all in one place, then head to Telluride. 

Which Is Bigger?

Jackson Hole is slightly bigger than Telluride covering 7.7km2 of area compared with Telluride’s 5.6km2

Jackson Hole also has a much higher population. 10,500 people live in Jackson Hole whereas just 1,900 people live in Telluride. 

Even though Jackson Hole is slightly bigger, there’s not much difference between the towns themselves. They both have a great range of restaurants, shops, bars and more.

Which Has Better Activities?

Telluride

There’s a wide range of activities available in both Telluride and Jackson Hole. Both towns are famous for being excellent skiing locations and the slopes in both towns do not disappoint.

I personally though that the skiing slopes were better in Jackson Hole but I hated that the slopes were so far from the main town.

The slopes were still fantastic in Telluride and it was really quick and easy to get there.

Activities In Jackson Hole

Although most people come to Jackson Hole for their epic ski slopes, there are plenty of other things to do as well.

Best Activities In Jackson Hole:

Most people come to Jackson Hole to ski. Jackson Hole has some of the best slopes in the US so you won’t be disappointed. 

I’d definitely say that the slopes at Jackson Hole are best suited to intermediate and advanced skiers. There are not many slopes at all that are good for beginners. 

For something a bit different, head out on a dog sledding adventure. Your sled dog crew will take you on a breathtaking ride through a majestic river valley with unparalleled views of the Tetons. 

Jackson Hole is conveniently located close to multiple national parks which is something I loved.

I took a day trip from Jackson Hole to Yellowstone National Park to see grizzly bears, moose and elk.

You could also take a day trip to the Grand Teton National Park and experience the picture-perfect vistas of the Teton Mountain Range. Booking onto a day-tour is the best way to experience this glorious national park. 

Another one of my favorite activities was to ride the chairlift up to the top of Snow King Mountain, right in downtown Jackson, for great views overlooking the town, the National Elk Refuge and the Tetons. You can ride the lift back down or walk back down along a trail.

Other popular activities in Jackson Hole include fly fishing, horseback riding and rafting down the scenic Snake River.

Activities In Telluride

Telluride ski resort

Telluride is best known for its epic ski resort but there are also lots of other things you can do in Telluride to pass the time. 

Best Activities In Telluride:

A ride on The Gondola is a must for anyone visiting Telluride. These cable cars provide unforgettable views of the snow-capped San Juan Mountains. On a clear day, riders can even see all the way to the La Sal Range in Utah!

The Telluride region receives on average more than 300 inches of snow annually and offers more than 2,000 acres of skiing space perfect for all ability levels. The Telluride Ski Resort is the place to be if you want to go skiing or snowboarding. 

I also spent a decent amount of time on the trip hiking. Bear Creek was one of my favorite trails as it begins in town then takes you up a scenic route to Bear Creek Falls which overlooks the town of Telluride.

The San Miguel River runs the length of Telluride. Experience its incredible scenery whilst rafting on the San Miguel River. Paddle through the rapids and take in the red rock walls and pines as you go. 

Head over to Trout Lake and try your hand at stand-up paddle boarding! Nothing beats paddling in a clear blue lake with those giant mountains looming in the background. 

For something a bit different, try out ice climbing. This was a super fun activity that I’d never done before visiting Telluride. It is suitable for the whole family, the experienced instructors will teach you how to scale an icy mountain!

Another popular activity in Telluride is fly fishing. This is a great way to enjoy the outdoors at any time of year.

Head over to the San Miguel, Gunnison, and Uncompahgre Rivers where you’ll find the best fishing spots in town.

Which Has Better Accommodation?

Jackson Hole

Both Jackson Hole and Telluride have a range of fantastic places to stay including hotels, ski lodges and vacation rentals. 

You’ll find luxury hotels as well as more budget accommodation in both towns. 

In Jackson Hole, I stayed at Hotel Jackson which was super modern and luxurious. I really enjoyed my stay here and would go back in a heartbeat.

In Telluride, I stayed at The Hotel Telluride which felt so homely and cozy.

Accommodation In Jackson Hole

There is a small range of hotels available in Teton Village (in the mountain itself) however there are few amenities, restaurants and shops there.

You’ll find a better range of hotels and accommodations in the main town of Jackson however this town is a 20 to 30 minute drive from the ski village. 

Best Hotels In Jackson Hole:

Accommodation In Telluride

The main ski runs and lodges are up the mountain itself so this is one of the best places to stay in Telluride. 

There are also lots of hotels in the town below. Don’t worry, if you choose to stay here you can easily get up the mountain by taking the incredible Gondola ride which connects the upper and lower towns.

Best Hotels In Telluride:

Which Is Better for Nightlife?

Nightlife in Jackson Hole

I generally found that the nightlife in Telluride was way more lively and fun than in Jackson Hole. That being said there’s lots of fun bars, clubs and live music venues in both locations.

Nightlife In Jackson Hole

If you want to experience nightlife in Jackson Hole then you need to stay in the town itself and not Teton Village.

Jackson Hole has something for everyone. You can go dancing or listen to some live music, meet friends for drinks or even see a play.

The main thing I noticed was that everything closes pretty early in Jackson Hole so it’s hard to get a bite after 9pm however drinks will still be available.

The Deck was my favorite bar in town as it has the best view in Jackson Hole. Take a free Gondola ride up and enjoy Teton views while looking for wildlife below.

On the weekends, tons of people flock to the Pink Garter Theatre and its craft cocktail lounge, The Rose. It’s the perfect place to spend an evening.

Nightlife In Telluride

If nightlife is important to you then you’ll want to book your accommodation in the town (rather than in the Mountain Village). 

This is because the Gondola lift closes at midnight so you’ll have to leave before midnight to make it back to your hotel if it’s in the Mountain Village. 

I noticed that Telluride gets super lively when the sun goes down. In downtown Telluride, you’ll find a range of bars, whether you’re looking for a quiet drink, live music or even dancing, there’s somewhere perfect for you. 

Visit the Sheridan Hotel’s epic rooftop bar for a specialty watermelon margarita. The views here are just unreal and if you go at the right time you might just catch a glorious sunset behind the mountains. 

Which Is More Affordable?

Prices in Jackson Hole and Telluride are similar however you will likely spend less in Jackson Hole. 

In the end, I did spent a little bit less in Jackson Hole but not much. I think I ended up spending around $250 less overall which isn’t too much.

The average daily ski pass price is $36 cheaper than the equivalent in Telluride. Season ticket prices are also significantly cheaper in Jackson Hole. 

The average cost for hotels and accommodation is higher in Telluride compared with Jackson Hole. Food and daily activities also cost slightly more in Telluride. 


And that’s it!

Both Jackson Hole and Telluride are fantastic ski resort towns and I know you’re going to have an amazing vacation in both towns.

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Megan Jones is a travel expert and founder of Traveller's Elixir who has been travelling the world full time since 2021. Megan's travel tips been featured in numerous media outlets including Metro, Timeout, Thrillist and more.

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