Antler arch on the town square of Jackson.

Antler Arches of Jackson

Field review by the editors.

Jackson, Wyoming

For many years, Jackson, WY (Jackson Hole refers to the valley in which Jackson sits) was best known as the setting for the climactic fight scene between Clint Eastwood and Tank Murdock in the film Any Which Way But Loose. A two-fisted town created by trappers during the European beaver hat craze, Jackson later became a dude ranch destination ("Jackson Hole happy hour" lasted from Labor Day through Thanksgiving). More recently, Jackson's proximity to the Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks has insured a steady flow of tourists.

Tourists are drawn to the antler arch.

While its current status as an outdoors vacation destination is being tarnished by an infestation of the pine borer beetle (and for a time, the Vice President of the United States), the town square in Jackson still attracts a crowd. Large elk antler arches curve over the square's four corner entrances, and posing tourists are a constant at all of them. When we visited in August, 2007, the weak dollar meant lots of Chinese visitors under the antlers, probably shocked at the fortune in traditional remedies so assembled (as if Americans went to China to find a huge tower made of Viagra tablets).

The antlers have been there since the early 1960s, and new arches are currently assembled to replace them. One of the originals now sits in a vacant lot on the way into town. Antlers, we are reminded several times, are solid and fall off naturally from animals who grow new sets every year. This contrasts with horns, which have to be sawed off but then are hollow.

Million Dollar Cowboy bar - exterior.

Staged gun battles take place in the square every evening at 6:15, except Sundays. Across the streets from the square are all manner of t-shirt, Christmas and souvenir shops (the slogan this year appears to be "Bite Me." -- on everything from fish hats to bear shorts.), as well as the iconic Million Dollar Cowboy bar.

Antler Arches of Jackson

Address:
US Hwy 26, Jackson, WY
Directions:
At the corner of US 26 East, where it turns north towards Grand Teton National Park.
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