OverviewJackson Peak is located in the Gros Ventre Range slightly east of Jackson, WY. It is not to be confused with its bigger brother sharing the same name in the Wind River Range. It rises directly above the National Elk Refuge north of the town of Jackson. Its pyramidical form is visible from almost anywhere in the Jackson Hole valley and is especially gorgeous when viewed from peaks in the Teton Range. An ascent of Jackson via a number of easy hiking and scramble routes is a rewarding experience in both summer and winter. During the former, it is quite popular.
Jackson Peak and Goodwin Lake lie in the Gros Ventre Wilderness of the Bridger-Teton National Forest.
Getting ThereTo approach Jackson in the summer, drive to the eastern edge of Jackson, WY on Broadway Ave. Turn left on the National Elk Refuge road and follow it past a 90 degree left turn and the Bridger-Teton National Forest boundary. Shortly after entering the Forest, turn right on Curtis Canyon road. Follow this road for a few miles past one USFS overlook/campground and several undeveloped campsites. You will encounter a fork with a sign to the left for Sheep Creek and one to the right for Goodwin Lake. Bear right and follow the road for ~1 mile.
(refer to the USGS Turquoise Lake quadrangle) From here, follow the gorgeous trail up the southern ridge of the Sheep Creek drainage and encounter Goodwin Lake after a few quick miles. From the lake, continue up the trail as it makes a turn to the south. After a mile or so, the East Slope of Jackson Peak, by and large the most popular route, reveals itself. See Routes for more info.
WINTER APPROACH INFO
In the winter, access to the Goodwin Lake TH is blocked by a winter wildlife range closure very low on the Elk Refuge road. The Jackson Peak Ski Cabin, however, provides an excellent mounting point for ski mountaineering endevours on Jackson and the other fabulous terrain. Beware, however, that finding the cabin is not straightforward in the winter (or summer). It would be best to talk to someone who is familiar with the terrain.
The Bridger-Teton National Forest has a route that they reccomend which crosses a portion of the National Elk Refuge. To discuss this route (and to obtain a permit for the Ski Cabin), call (307) 739-5500.
The Cache Creek drainage to the south of the peak is also a very popular approach in the winter. No permits are required. To get to the Cache Creek TH, drive east on Broadway Ave. from the town square in Jackson. After a short distance (between .5 and 1 mi.), turn right on Redmond Ave. After driving up a small hill, turn left on Cache Creek Dr. Follow this road for about 1 mi. to the TH.
(refer to the Cache Creek and Turquoise Lake USGS quads)Leave the car and follow the broad Cache Creek drainage up and east. For the first few miles, touring conditions will be optimal as the drainage is groomed by a machine for cross-country skiers. There are a number of options from the Cache Creek drainage. Take Noker Mine Draw to access the southern ridge of Jackson or follow Cache Creek to its headwaters, turn south, and climb to the head of Sheep Creek to access the east face and Jackson Peak Ski Cabin.
Red TapeThe Elk Refuge road is closed at the 90 degree turn from December 1st-April 31st to protect winter wildlife range. Check "Getting There" for winter access options.
When To ClimbSummer is the usual time of ascent for Jackson, and fall can provide excellent opportunities as well. Winter and spring ascents are common as well, especially when mounted from the fabled Jackson Peak Ski Cabin.
Ski mountaineering opportunies on every aspect of the peak (most notably the East Slopes and the North Face) are excellent, as are the opportunities on the surrounding peaks, ridges, and bowls of the Gros Ventre Range.
Just because the Elk Refuge Road is open from May 1st-November 31st, this does not mean it will not be snow-covered by the end . However, making it as far as possible in your vehicle and walking, skiing, or snowshoeing from that point is still shorter than using Cache Creek or the BTNF approach. This strategy is common through May and in mid to late November for quick day ascents/skis of Jackson Peak and fast access to the Ski Cabin.
CampingGoodwin Lake is a very popular camping area with numerous sites. The Jackson Peak Ski Cabin presents a viable option as well. Beware, however, that finding the cabin is not straightforward in summer or winter. The best description of its location is in the Sheep Creek drainage near its head. A detailed description (one that would actually get you there) is beyond the scope of this description. Contact me for more info.
Mountain ConditionsThe best weather site for the Jackson area is http://www.mountainweather.com/. In the winter, check http://www.jhavalanche.org/ for avy info. Call the Bridger-Teton National Forest's Jackson office for info on winter travel and to obtain a permit for the Ski Cabin at (307) 739-5500.
Miscellaneous InfoGoodwin Lake holds excellent fishing for Brook Trout. If you take your dog up the trail to Goodwin Lake, please have him on a leash (either verbal or physical) because the trail is one of the most popular in the Jackson area and just about everyone seems to have a dog with them.
Additions and Corrections[ Post an Addition or Correction ]