Eight years ago, Rendezvous Lodge at the top of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort's Bridger Gondola opened a restaurant at the south end of the building, offering a small deck with views of the surrounding mountains.
“Within a week, they realized how popular it was getting and knew that deck was not a big enough space,” says Jamie Moorhouse, assistant director of food and beverage for the resort.
The idea for The Deck at Piste was then born, offering open space and a paved patio with expansive views of the valley.
Now, the high-elevation hotspot is a destination unto itself. With the opening of the resort’s newest restaurant, Piste, it is now officially known as The Deck at Piste. The spot is a favorite happy hour location for enjoying a Huckleberry How Pow cocktail and sliders al fresco at 9,095 feet. It’s also the perfect spot to soak up the sights.
And getting there is half the fun. Beginning at 5 p.m., a free ride on the Bridger Gondola whisks visitors up a two-and-a-half mile tour of the mountain. Guests often note seeing marmots, deer, moose, and even the occasional bear.
In mid- to late-summer, the varying terrain along the slope that the gondola travels up gives way to a variety of mountain wildflowers that thrive in high elevation conditions. As you approach the top, look for purple-hued plants called sub-alpine daisies or sulphur paintbrushes with a deep orange color. Because the slopes are packed with over 500 inches of snow throughout the winter, the wet climate doesn’t give way to wildflowers above 8,000 feet until later in the summer.
“You are seeing a lot of different terrain and different wildlife,” Moorhouse says. “That aspect is worth the trip in itself.”
But once you get to the top, the view is worth staying to enjoy.
“You are looking right out at [Sheep Mountain] and Jackson Peak,” he says. “And you can even see mountain peaks in the Wind River Range, the Snake River Range, and the Salt River Range.”
For visitors looking to enjoy a hike and great views, Moorhead recommends the Cirque Trail.
“Take the tram up at 3:30 p.m. for fantastic views, then hike down to the deck,” he says. “It’s a nice two-and-a-half mile trek from the top of the tram to the gondola.”
Hikers will be met with a 1,200-foot elevation loss and some rocks to snake around, so plan accordingly for this moderate-level jaunt. Bears also live on the mountain, so bring bear spray, travel in groups, and practice good bear safety while hiking around.
“Every time I have hiked this trail, I have at least seen deer or moose,” Moorhouse says. “It’s a great opportunity to see wildlife and cool down afterward with a cocktail.”
Whether you’re looking to see the valley from new heights or hoping to dine while relishing the cool mountain breeze, The Deck at Piste will hit the spot.