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We Escaped to the Mountains for a Few Days to Explore Wylder Hope Valley

Updated: Apr 28, 2023 17:39
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Kayla and I in the Carson Valley, just down the way from Wylder Hope Valley

Special thanks to the fine folks at Wylder Hope Valley for supporting BAS by putting us up and plying us with delicious wine and food.

We desperately needed to get out of San Francisco. Other than a couple trips to Oakland to see friends, Kayla and I hadn’t left The City in something like seven months. We were getting pretty stir crazy. Luckily an email arrived in my inbox a few weeks ago that would scratch that itch.

The folks at Wylder Hope Valley had invited us to come and stay with them for a few nights so we could do some stargazing, some snow showing, and breathe in some of that relaxing mountain air. How could we say “no” to that?

Sitting about a half hour outside of South Lake Tahoe, Hope Valley is “a broad mountain valley in Alpine County, California, located on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada to the northeast of Carson Pass and south of Lake Tahoe. The valley served as a major thoroughfare for the passage of settlers and emigrants to and from California during the Gold Rush era.”

At least that’s what wikipedia told me. I had never heard of it before being invited to visit so I had to google it. And while that sounded lovely, it wasn’t until I went to the website for Wylder Hope Valley that I got really excited.

A snow covered meadow just outside of Wylder Hope Valley.

Wylder Hope Valley is a sprawling boutique hotel property located on 165 majestic acres in Hope Valley, with beautifully restored cabins, chic yurts, camp and RV sites, and a vintage airstream trailer available for booking. In addition to snowshoeing and cross-country skiing on-site, Wylder also features a private wood-fired sauna, hiking and mountain biking trails, and fishing and swimming holes. I mean how alluring does that all sound?

So Kayla and I said “Hell yes!” rented car, and headed up to the mountains last week. As you’ll see, it was absolutely wonderful.

We stayed in a cabin named The Chapel. Apparently it was part of Santa’s Village in Scotts Valley back in the day and was brought to Hope Valley in the 70s after Santa’s Village shut down. When we stayed there it had just been renovated and was absolutely lovely. You can click on the images below to enlarge them.

Springtime is the perfect time of the year to visit Wylder Hope Valley. That’s because it is stunningly beautiful and the weather is perfect. While we were there, snow was still on the ground, yet it was 50 degrees in the daytime. Because of this we got to go snowshoeing but not freeze our asses off.

This photo is from shortly before I fell and got snow down my buttcrack.

The Wylder Hope Valley property has over 100 acres for you to roam around on, so we were able to find all kinds of cute shit to discover on our adventure.

I’ve never seen someone so excited about a pinecone before!

A funny thing about being a city person is that you forget how few stars are in the sky at night. Light pollution drowns them out, so on any given evening you can only see a handful. That is not the case up in the mountains. We could see a gazillion stars when we were in Hope Valley and to make things even better they have telescopes you can rent.

Full disclosure: I was far better at drinking wine than operating this high-end electric telescope. For example it took till the guy from the hotel came and showed us what to do to figure out which way the telescope is even supposed to point. Make sure you have the Wylder folks help you set yours up like we eventually did.

One of the many delights of this trip was how excellent the food was. Named after the family that settled there in the 1920s, Sorensen’s Cafe serves up surprisingly good food all day long. I say “surprisingly” because we’ve all stayed in hotels or resorts before where the food was decent at best. Everything we ate as Sorenen’s made me literally say to Kayla, “Fuck this is good”. I’m not even exaggerating.

The folks at Wylder Hope Valley were really good about COVID safety as well. All the staff we dealt with wore masks the entire time and there were plenty of hand sanitizer bottles everywhere. This was a relief because in some of the neighboring towns we visited, there were plenty of people who were not wearing masks, even indoors.

Sorensen’s had an indoor dinning option but Kayla and I aren’t comfortable with that yet, so we chose to have our meals either on the outdoor deck or in the big tent they set up outdoors. Within the tent all the tables were at least 15 feet apart from each other and there was a nice breeze to keep the air moving within.

My favorite part of course was just the general shenanigans Kayla and I got up to. Like, what’s the point of going on a trip if you don’t do silly photoshoots?

You’ll probably see this on the cover of Vanity Fair next month

Do you know the legend of Snowshoe Thompson, the crankiest man in the Sierra? Ok, I may have made him up.

Overall it was an incredible trip and I’m so glad we got to get out there and recharge a bit. I highly recommend you do the same. You won’t regret it.

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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, poet, TV host, activist, and general shit-stirrer. His website is one of the most influential arts & culture sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and his freelance writing has been featured in Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveler, The Bold Italic, and too many other outlets to remember. His weekly column, Broke-Ass City, appears every other Thursday in the San Francisco Examiner. Stuart’s writing has been translated into four languages. In 2011 Stuart created and hosted the travel show Young, Broke, and Beautiful on IFC and in 2015 he ran for Mayor of San Francisco and got nearly 20k votes.

He's been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle, "an SF cult hero":SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York.