Hannah Drake

Glamping in Idaho

TravelHannah DrakeComment

I've wanted to try glamping since Tom Haverford first did it on Parks & Rec in 2011. He tricked out his tent with every luxury known to man and I pictured something a little more rustic, but the concept of glamping remained the same.

Growing up, we went camping in the summers and it was fun, but there were always aspects I didn't particularly care for. I was always too cold at night. It was inevitable dirt would get tracked into the tent even if you had a strict no shoes rule. And there's absolutely nothing worse than when it rains while you're camping. If anything touches the wet tent, it gets wet. And my dad always said, if you get wet, you get cold. Boy was he right about that.

So needless to say, the concept of glamping intrigued me. If you could take away all the downfalls of simply camping, I was totally game for that. I figured our trip to Jackson Hole would be a good time to try it, so I started by looking at Under Canvas. It's a luxury glamping company I've read about that has locations in many national parks, so I figured it was worth a shot to see if they were in the Tetons. They have locations in Grand Canyon, Moab, Yellowstone, Glacier, Zion, Great Smoky Mountains, and Mount Rushmore, but not Grand Tetons. (Though Yellowstone and Glacier aren't too far.) With Under Canvas ruled out, I turned to Airbnb.

I lucked out and found a brand new listing for Irwin, Idaho, about an hour outside of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Even though it was a bit further to drive, it meant scratching off another state on our map when we got home, so I was game. 

Valley Village appears to have started as tiny homes, but this summer the owner and her husband added a handful of glamping tents to the site. Each tent has its own theme: Zen, Arabian Nights, Wild West, and Dream Catcher. While they all looked amazing, I ultimately chose the Wild West so Luke could get the full western experience.

I gotta say, now that I've been glamping, I don't know I could do it any other way. The entire experience was amazing. The site was quite, though the tents were all in close quarters. The tent was perfectly decorated to fit the theme. And let me tell you, it was SO nice to have running water and a toilet that flushed.

According to my correspondence with Rachel, the owner, she and her husband built the tents themselves and they did a fantastic job. They're set up off the ground with a plywood floor and a bathroom attached out the back. You can zip the bathroom out of the tent so it's totally sealed, but there's also a door on the bathroom side so you get a bit more privacy. There was a shower and bathtub, towels, and other toiletries available.

The tent was spacious, but cozy. The bed was infinitely more comfortable than sleeping on the ground and with all the blankets available, we were comfortable the whole night. Though there was also heat and A/C available if needed. And wifi, which was a nice amenity, but not necessary.

By the way, it did rain in the morning and it was absolutely heavenly to wake up to the sound of the rain beating down on the canvas. We were warm and dry and cozy without a care in the world. And we still woke up with the sun, which is arguably the best part of camping.

I only wish we had another night there to explore the surrounding area. Valley Village is near Snake River and it made for the most beautiful drive between the mountain and the river. At first we thought it was a long lake, but then we passed the dam and realised it had been a river the whole time. We were driving at sunset on the way to the camp site, which made for absolute stunning views, but it was so gorgeous in the morning as well.

If we had been there another night, it would have been really nice to sit out on the deck or in the chairs around the fire pit. Luke and I have spent many-a-night around the fire pit in our back garden in our own adirondack chairs, but that's an activity you can do on holiday or at home. 

The whole (sort) trip made me just want to explore the area more. We need to plan another trip to explore more of the Tetons and add on Yellowstone and Glacier as well. But you can bet your bottom dollar we'll definitely go glamping again.

If you find yourself in the area, definitely check out Valley Village. (Join Airbnb here.) And also check out Yankee Doodle's Cafe in Alpine, WY for a quality greasy diner breakfast (just want Luke wanted) and if you've ever been curious to see how Uncle Sam would decorated a diner. It's on the way back to Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons.