There are few places on earth that can match Jackson Hole for beauty, majesty, and pure escape from the world. In fact, Jackson Hole tops Barron’s list of America’s Best Retreats and for good reasons. Barron’s sites things like:
1. Low property taxes (Wyoming property taxes tend to total about $6,000 per $1 million of assessed property value compared to some places in New York where taxes are $24,000 per $1 million)
2. No state income tax (which entices many to make Jackson Hole their permanent residence)
3. Loads of direct flights from major cities, making the area very accessible
While Barron’s makes a good case for purchasing your vacation home in Jackson Hole, none of their reasons were what enticed my husband and me to build a home here nearly 20 years ago.
He fell in love with the Grand Tetons while working summers during college in Yellowstone National Park (less than an hour away from Jackson).
I fell in love when he brought me here 27 years ago to spend a week at Triangle X Ranch with our three kids.
As we rode our horses in the foothills of the Tetons and along the Snake River, the scenery took my breath away. While eagles and hawks soared overhead, we loped through meadows filled with wildflowers, rode past herds of buffalo and elk, moose quietly eating water lilies in the marshes, and the occasional bear (black and grizzly), bighorn sheep, and antelopes.
However, the real beauty of Jackson Hole is you need neither be a horseback rider or a hiker to see spectacular scenery and abundant wildlife from your home or car as you drive through the area. That’s because you are surrounded by national park. Only 3 percent of the land in Teton County is private (the remainder is owned by the national government). Unfortunately, it also makes property scarce and costly.
Anglers, kayakers and rafters gravitate to the Snake River, which winds through town. In addition to the great fly fishing, hiking trails abound in the Teton Mountains, and there are over 50 miles of biking paths in the valley making it a great activity for your whole family.
Of course, that’s just the summer. More often, people think of Jackson Hole for skiing, and there is plenty of that for sure. Rather than tell you about the mountain, I’ll let the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort video demonstrate just how fabulous winter sports are in Jackson Hole.
Like Aspen, Jackson Hole has star power as well. Harrison Ford has owned a ranch here for many years and Sandra Bullock’s home is just up the road from ours. There are also more billionaires per capital than Manhattan, which is not necessarily a good thing…
Before you buy, you’ll want to come and stay for a bit. My favorite spot is the Rusty Parrot, located in the little town of Jackson and AAA Four Diamond Rated in addition to being perennially named one of Conde Nast and Travel & Leisure World’s Best awards.
Sitting high on a bluff is Amangani, spectacular views and amazing architecture.
You can also stay at the Four Seasons at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort village. All three resorts have world class spas so you can’t go wrong whichever you choose.
Book your restaurant reservations in advance because the best book early. At the top of the list is the Snake River Grill, where the Culinary Institute of America-trained chef turns out American classics that has put him on the James Beard Award radar. Blue Lion and Wild Sage (located in the Rusty Parrot) are also excellent.