Inside the Wyoming Ranch Where JFK Jr. Spent a Summer and Grateful Dead Wrote Music

More than 20 years have passed since John F. Kennedy Jr. met his maker in an untimely manner. JFK Jr. was piloting an aircraft with his wife and her sister, and they all died in a tragic accident. Years later, people are still obsessed with the younger Kennedy and his life. Here’s an inside look at the Wyoming ranch where JFK Jr. spent a summer and Grateful Dead also wrote music.

John F. Kennedy Jr.’s ties to the Wyoming ranch

John F. Kennedy Jr. grew up in the spotlight. Although he created his own path in life as a prosecutor, an actor, and a philanthropist, he was still the son of a former president. In 1977, years after his father’s death, JFK Jr.’s mother, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, sent him to a cattle ranch in Wyoming for the summer.

JFK Jr. worked as a ranch hand and was responsible for branding cattle. He also rode horses and formed a close bond with the ranch owner, John Perry Barlow. According to E! Online, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis sent JFK Jr. to the ranch after the child was caught pouring glue down the mail chute of their building.

The 12,000-acre ranch is located in a tiny town 60 miles south of Jackson Hole and includes a 1910-era home with two bunkhouses, four bedrooms, three and a half baths, a foreman’s home, and a manager’s house. There is also a shop with a one-bedroom apartment.

Bar Cross, as it’s called, also features barns, a round pen for horses, and an outdoor arena. The ranch operates on over 30,000 acres with a large cattle operation, great water access, and top-of-the-line fishing and hunting.

Bar Cross was started by a Wisconsin math teacher named P.W. Jenkins. Jenkins moved to Wyoming in 1904 and worked for his uncle as a ranch hand before starting his own ranch, the Bar Cross Ranch.

Grateful Dead artist Bob Weir wrote songs on the ranch

Bob Weir of The Grateful Dead performing at 2019 BeachLife Festival in Redondo Beach, California
Bob Weir of The Grateful Dead | Scott Dudelson/Getty Images

Grateful Dead was a rock band known for its eclectic music style. The group’s founder Bob Weir stayed at Bar Cross Ranch, where he wrote music with the owner Barlow. According to Business Insider, Barlow and Weir wrote 30 songs together, including “Black-Throated Wind,” “Mexicali Blues,” and “Cassidy.”

Weir and Barlow met when the former left home at 15 and went to work at the ranch, which belonged to Barlow’s parents at the time. Weir reminisced about his time at the Wyoming ranch in his 2016 album Blue Mountain. He told NPR he loved returning to the ranch to work with Barlow. He said, “We’d live on the ranch… and if I helped out, we’d have more time to write.” The ranch recently went on sale for $35 million.

Celebrities who live in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

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The city of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, has become the go-to locale for celebrities as they flock to buy homes in the area. Celebrities like Harrison Ford, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Sandra Bullock are the few A-listers who kept a low profile with their home purchases in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Rapper Kanye West purchased two ranches in Cody, Wyoming but preferred to vacation with his family and then-wife Kim Kardashian in Jackson Hole. So, why is Jackson Hole a safe haven for celebrities looking to lay low?

We caught up with a real estate agent who discussed the culture and life in Jackson Hole. He said, “It affords a lifestyle or privacy, easy air access, rich sense of community and wellbeing, an outdoor playground that is second to none, and great for both mental and physical health.”