Wild West Rx: Big country meets tiny homes at a tony Jackson Hole sporting club
(Courtesy of Snake River Sporting Club)

Wild West Rx: Big country meets tiny homes at a tony Jackson Hole sporting club


The unassuming mountain town of Jackson Hole, Wyoming has been solidly on my radar this year—Instagram pictures of rugged wilderness and the cowboy lifestyle beckoned my city-dwelling self. I, too, wanted to put on flannel and boots and experience a slice of the Old West, a way of life so very opposite of the "look-how-busy-I-am" one we live here in the Bay Area.

It's this very unpretentiousness that has made Jackson Hole the refuge of choice for urban folk and celebrities for years. Sandra Bullock and Harrison Ford own homes there. Pippa Middleton has been spotted getting down in a country bar. And this past summer, Kanye West, who often comes to this part of the country for creative inspiration, jetted in members of the media for a listening party at a remote ranch. This is all to say that people are feeling Jackson Hole's vibe right now.

(Courtesy of Snake River Sporting Club)

It's a place that doesn't need or want to be trendy (what could be more classic than fly-fishing on the Snake River?), and yet it's undeniably chic in that Ralph Lauren way. But then again, tiny homes are now a thing here, and that's pretty trendy, we must say. People love tiny houses for the same reason they love a place like Jackson Hole—it's a chance to embrace simplicity.

With the recent opening of Discovery Village, a collection of contempo-woodsy mini cabins at the luxury Snake River Sporting Club, you can now embrace that minimalism, among wilderness majesty, at an approachable price tag.

Fifteen miles south of Jackson on 1,000 acres of pristine land, this dream adult playground offering a laundry list of outdoor activities has traditionally been open exclusively to residents (home ownership on the property starts around $1.7 million) and to paying members ($5,000 initiation fee, plus $6,000+ annually). But as of this summer, the property's tiny houses (starting at $325/night) are a great travel hack for non-member and still offer access to to all the resort's activities and amenities, including horseback rides through backcountry trails, fly fishing along the Snake River, private entry to hikes across more than 3 million acres of the Bridger-Teton National Forest, a mountain-chic clubhouse, skeet shooting, archery, frisbee golf, tennis, an 18-hole golf course—it goes on.

Home sweet tiny home.

(Courtesy of Snake River Sporting Club)

You'll breathe in Jackson Hole's crisp mountain air the moment you step off onto the tarmac, the Tetons in the near distance. In the fall, golden-yellow aspen trees dot the expansive landscape soon to be covered in snow. A historic 1929 bridge leads to the Sporting Club's private land—land that Native Americans traversed for centuries before it was settled by cowboys in 1900. Looking around, not much has changed in the landscape since then—well, except for the erection of the resort and of the new tiny homes.

There are four of them in all, sitting in a semi-circle below the tree line. Measuring just 400 square feet, each is designed to sleekly fit into the natural surrounds. The interiors function well, like glamping but better, with furniture from Restoration Hardware, electric fireplaces, flat screen TVs, heated floors, walk-in showers, well-stocked kitchens, and bedrooms with queen-size beds. The private patio out front is ideal for drinking coffee and taking in the view each morning, and a fire pit is perfect for chilly nights.

The infinity pool overlooking the Snake River.

(Courtesy of Snake River Sporting Club)

In summer and fall, fly fishing is a requisite here. And there's no question, this is an outside-the-box moment for city folk. But when in Wyoming. So I suited up in waders and learned how to cast and how to hook a fish. And while I'm no Brad Pitt, there may be no more epic way of experiencing Jackson and the mighty, mighty Snake.

Between all the adventuring, you'll need to eat. The tiny homes give you the option of cooking in your own kitchen, but I opted to eat at the clubhouse, recently named the most beautiful in the state by Architectural Digest, where the Frontside Grill serves fresh yet hearty dishes of beef tenderloin sliders with Cajun aioli and a New York strip with marchard de vin. The clubhouse also has a large patio with sweeping views of the river and mountains, a pro shop, a fire pit, an infinity pool and hot tub overlooking the river, and a cozy lounge with a fireplace and board games.

The tiny homes are also just the start of opportunities to stay at Snake River. The resort is currently in the process of building roughly 27 new lodges, ranging from three to five bedrooms, that owners can choose to put into a rental program starting this winter. There are also plans to renovate the natural hot springs on the property—closed nearly 20 years ago, the springs will re-open to the public as soon as next winter.

While the Snake River Sporting Club can keep you fed and entertained for days, you must venture out: The drop-dead stunning Grand Teton National Park is just a 45-minute drive away, while Yellowstone is about two hours. Of course, downtown Jackson is also within an half-hour drive, and it's here that you'll find the beating heart of the place: a rustic-luxe mountain town with all the art galleries, boutiques, restaurants, and bars you'd expect of a world-class destination. Whatever you do, don't miss the legendary Million Dollar Cowboy Bar—it will be the cherry on top off your wild west experience.

// Fly direct to Jackson Hole Airport (JAC) from SFO via United Airlines. Tiny home rates start at $325/night; Discovery Village at Snake Club Sporting Club (Jackson Hole), snakeriversportingclub.com

Eat, Shop + Play in Jackson Hole

EAT: For traveling Californians (or any ingredient-conscious foodie), Persephone Bakery(145 E. Broadway) is a must for breakfast, lunch, afternoon coffee, and more. The pastries are glorious (even the gluten-free ones), the avocado breakfast bowl divine, and the glasses of rosé, best enjoyed at an outdoor picnic table, are just what the doctor ordered after a busy day. You may also order online for pickup. // Check out the latest restaurant from the Persephone team, Coelette(85 S. King St.), which is serving the likes of beet toast, root hash, and steak sandwiches at brunch, lunch, and dinner.

DRINK: As the name suggests, Million Dollar Cowboy Bar(25 N. Cache St.) is every bit the honky tonk you'd expect—which is exactly why you'll want to grab yer boots, check the schedule for a live show, and take your band of outlaws for a mighty good time.

(Courtesy of @persephonebakery)

FISH: Fly fishing is a big game around here, and a day on the Snake River has all the epicness you could want from a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. There are plenty of outfitters who can get you casting, but we got hooked on the knowledgeable and friendly crew at World Cast Anglers, who custom-tailored our journey down the serene stretch known as the South Fork of the Snake, between rugged cliffs with bald eagles soaring overhead. Our personal instructors helped us land a whole school of trout (well, almost), and the outfitter gets extra bonus points for offering lower prices than the competition, thanks most likely to their Victor, Idaho address. If you don't wish to make that drive, look up Jackson Hole Fly Fishing Schoolinstead.

SHOP: This is one of those trips that begs for a souvenir. If you love Native American jewelry (so much turquoise!), Navajo rugs, and Mata Ortiz pottery, you'll definitely want to pop into Two Grey Hills(110 E. Broadway Ave.) before or after your pit stop at Persephone. The buyers at this family-owned gallery have a true eye for quality.

—Chloé Hennen

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