Ranch Seeker Blog

Sundance Trail Guest Ranch's Murder Mystery Weekends

9/25/2017 9:34:53 AM

Are you looking for something that is incredibly fun and unique to do on your next weekend getaway? Or are you searching for a way to celebrate an upcoming special event in an unusual way? If so, Sundance Trail Guest Ranch’s Murder Mystery Weekends just might be the place for you.

Country Inn Murder Mystery weekends!

What do Pepi Roni (the pizza magnate), Judge Waylin Payne (of Roadkill, Colorado) and the science fiction author H. G. Wells have in common? Why, they’ve all been murdered right here at our Colorado bed and breakfast – dude ranch!

One of our favorite winter time activities at the ranch is Murder Mystery game weekends. Once a month or so, when we have 8 to 12 willing suspects, we find a poor murder victim sprawled out nearby – “deader than a doornail.” Murdered, and often with the first clue nearby.

Our guests then spend the weekend, between meals and horseback riding, untangling each other’s half-truths, evasions and high jinks. The games are designed for participants who are willing to take a whimsical view of blackmail, larceny, deceit, and murder.

Those of you who are offended by such high-jinks as shady dealings, sordid affairs, and deceptive conduct should not book reservations for these weekends! If you do book, plan on some laughter!


We love hosting these games. Imagine, people come to spend the week-end with us. They exercise our dude ranch horses, they make us laugh like crazy for the weekend, and then they pay us money! What a life!

We can also schedule a game for any time that you might have 8 – 12 people who want to spend the week-end together and play (before dude ranch season begins in mid-May) –perhaps a birthday party or maybe just get away with some friends!

                                                          

Contact Sundance Trail Guest Ranch for more detail about the Bed and Breakfast Murder Mystery Package

All Country Inn Murder Mystery packages include lodging, meals, a murder to solve and daily horseback ride (weather permitting).

We are also planning a December 31st New Year’s Eve Murder Mystery Party!

This will be an “all evening” affair – the game will start with appetizers and then supper and the case will be solved before midnight.

Also included:

Champagne Toast at midnight

Morning brunch

Morning or early afternoon horseback ride.

 

Do you have a group of friends that would enjoy a Country Inn Murder Mystery weekend together?

Do you have a birthday, anniversary, or other special event that you would like to celebrate with a unique twist?

We can schedule a Murder Mystery at any time that you would enjoy – just round up a group of friends (for a total of either six or eight players or more), book two nights together, and we will take care of the rest!

The games are designed to be played in 3 to 5 rounds of investigation, one round with each meal, starting with Friday supper.

Bookings are limited to the first eight players, and restricted to participants who are willing to take a whimsical view of blackmail, larceny, deceit, and murder.

Those of you who are offended by such high-jinks as shady dealings, sordid affairs, and deceptive conduct should not book reservations for these weekends!

And if you love horseback riding plan on riding our horses each morning after breakfast!

How much does it all cost?

Participating in a Murder Mystery requires a two night stay. We are only willing to stay up to midnight on New Year’s Eve!

Current Country Inn Rates: Consider two nights’ lodging, five meals, two horseback rides, the Murder Mystery event, and just enough free time to enjoy other activities or do nothing at all!

                                                                               

Gift Certificates for Country Inn, massage, and Dude Ranch Vacations are also available, and can be purchased by phone. Also, if you are looking for a unique venue to get married or elope to Sundance Trail Guest Ranch can help you with that too!

*View the original source for this offer here* 

If a Murder Mystery Weekend just isn’t your “thing” be sure to check out what else Sundance Trail Guest Ranch has to offer. Located in Red Feather Lakes, Colorado, and open all year round this family operated guest ranch is ideal for your next family vacation and offers dude ranching at its best. For more information about the ranch itself check out our previous blogpost here 

Please don’t forget to mention that you heard about Sundance Trail Guest Ranch through RanchSeeker J

Happy Trails!

Let RanchSeeker help you find your ideal guest ranch vacation.

Cowgirl Up Special at Bar W Guest Ranch

9/19/2017 10:19:22 AM

If you want to slip away from the hustle and bustle of the city and into the rolling ridges of the countryside, Bar W Guest Ranch is where you should be. Stretched over 3,000 acres on Spencer Lake in Whitefish, Montana, the ranch is open all year round to extend true western hospitality to all its guests, be it through its accommodation options or variety of activities. And speaking of activities The Bar W Guest Ranch has an exciting opportunity coming up so read on to find out more.

Last Minute Special Vacancy

Cowgirl Up:

Ladies grab your best friends, sisters, daughters, and partners and saddle up for the vacation of a lifetime! The Bar W Guest Ranch is offering a 20% discount on our best room, the “Aspen Suite,” during our ever-popular Cowgirl Up week scheduled for October 1-7, 2017.  

Retreat to the beautiful Bar W Guest Ranch in Whitefish, MT for our 6 night all-inclusive get-away.  This special package combines the best of both worlds, an iconic Western experience paired with some favorite indulgences including a 2 hour spa package and Vintner’s presentation.  


Explore thousands of acres of trails, improve your horsemanship skills, work cattle, or simply kick back relax and let Montana surround you. In addition to the trails, novice and experienced riders will enjoy working cattle, barrel racing, and roping. Cowgirls will can also try their hand at skeet shooting, archery, fly casting, and hiking! After a full day of adventure ladies can soothe their muscles in our hot tub or head into town for a vibrant night of two-stepping at our local saloon.  

The Aspen Suite is located in our main lodge and offers a king size bed, luxurious bathroom complete with a jetted tub, shower, and large vanity area, a separate but attached room with a set of bunk beds, and a private balcony.  The Aspen Suite can accommodate up to 4 adults.  Call today and grab the last room while it lasts-866-828-2900.


Please be sure to mention that you heard about this special through RanchSeeker!

Happy Trails!


Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch News

11/24/2016 4:40:22 PM

It’s here!

Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch is proud to introduce their newly redesigned website: www.geronimoranch.com.

The new design allows for streamlined menus, clear navigation, and a responsive layout for all platforms. Explore the site to learn more about their ranch!

In addition to the changed design and layout of the pages, new functions have been implemented in this version:

  • Contact Us Form: Now at the bottom of every page!
  • Photo Gallery: New and updated pictures with the ability to enlarge photos.
  • Horse Profiles: Meet some of our herd!
  • Blog: A new resource for news and updates from the ranch.
  • Links to our social media profiles: Follow along for all the best pictures, videos, and status updates!
  • FAQs: Even more FAQs added to address all your questions.
  • Area Attractions: Updated with an interactive map for planning other stops during your trip to New Mexico.


Geronimo Trails Guest Ranch located in Winston New Mexico is open March through mid-November. Here you will find a real western adventure! Horseback riding or hiking takes guests through beautiful forests of tall Ponderosa pine, through astounding deep canyons with sheer towering walls and crystal clear streams. From the “Top of the World” guests view more than 3 million acres of the Gila National Forest, the Aldo Leopold and Gila Wildernesses.The ranch features comfortable, attractive accommodations, warm hospitality, a relaxed atmosphere, great food, and lots of adventure.

Happy Trails!

 Let RanchSeeker help you find your ideal guest ranch vacation today!

A Thanksgiving Feast at The Ranch at Rock Creek!

11/9/2016 4:30:06 PM

The following article 1st appeared in Ranch & Reserve Magazine’s 11th issue

History tells us that the first American Thanksgiving occurred sometime during 1621, when the surviving Pilgrim Fathers gave thanks for a successful harvest, which was largely due to the help they received from the native Squanto/Wampanoag tribe, who were invited to sit down at the celebratory feast. Various versions exist as to why and how such an auspicious gathering took place including what food was actually served that day, and no doubt the meal back then differed greatly from what we all associate today as being a quintessential American Thanksgiving dinner.  It’s safe to assume however, that wild turkey, corn, in grain form for bread or for porridge, and venison was there.


In the years that followed, Thanksgiving Day began to be randomly celebrated by various communities, particularly in the north, until a writer, Sara Josepha Hale, made it her mission to have it formally recognized as a National Holiday, enacted by President Lincoln in 1863.

However, it wasn’t until 1939 that President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed that the fourth Thursday of every November would become the official date to celebrate Thanksgiving.  This would not be approved however by Congress until 1941.  (source)

For the majority of American households these days, celebrating Thanksgiving sadly has lost much of its original meaning; instead, it often centers on the actual meal itself and the getting together of family and loved ones under one roof. It is still a time however to give thanks for all the good things we enjoy and for many that includes the opportunity to watch American football be it high school, college or NFL games throughout the day. Some families even engage in a friendly game of touch football before dinner. Volunteering at soup kitchens or holding food drives is another way for some to celebrate Thanksgiving. It is a way to give back to those less fortunate during the holiday season and as such some remnant of the true meaning still lives on.

Other modern traditions include attending Thanksgiving parades which are held in cities and towns across the United States. The biggest and most famous parade, which has been attracting millions of onlookers since 1924, takes place in New York City and is put on by Macy’s department store. Elaborate floats, marching bands, giant balloon figures and famous people are what over three million spectators on the ground and over fifty million people at home can expect from this year’s parade. Another fun tradition, with roots dating back to the beginning of the mid-20th century, includes the annual “pardoning” of one or two turkeys on behalf of the President of the United States. This quirky event spares the selected turkeys from the oven and sends them to a “retirement home”.


Thanksgiving is also a wonderful opportunity to pack a bag, book a short getaway, and let someone else take care of the cooking this year. With Christmas fast approaching a trip away can provide a much needed break before the frantic holiday season starts in December. Whether you choose to spend it with that special someone, family or your dearest friends, taking a vacation during this time is a memorable way to celebrate Thanksgiving. Although there are numerous destinations and types of vacations to choose from….. The Ranch at Rock Creek offers a truly unforgettable Thanksgiving experience.

Located in Philipsburg, The Ranch at Rock Creek, although surrounded by breathtaking scenery all year round, is particularly picturesque during the autumn months. As the leaves change colour and fall to the ground there is no better occasion to immerse yourself in Montana’s vast wilderness. By choosing a “Rustic-Luxe Thanksgiving” at The Ranch you will not only be treating yourself to first-class amenities but also to an all-inclusive, customized ranch celebration that enables you to pursue engaging activities and enjoy quality time with loved ones. Guests can pick from exciting activities such as mountain biking, hiking expeditions, shooting, archery, horseback riding, and fly-fishing. Aside from stellar accommodations and a plethora of activities The Ranch at Rock Creek promises truly memorable gourmet meals and an haute cuisine Thanksgiving dinner that features regional seafood and Montana meat products.


A getaway at this Montana guest ranch resort also enables its guests to unwind and take advantage of seasonal offerings like a pumpkin facial in their Granite Spa or simply the opportunity to sit in front of a roaring fire and relax with a good book. Thanksgiving is often associated with over-indulgence, but at The Ranch at Rock Creek guests will not only enjoy delicious gourmet fare but they will also find a perfect balance between organized seasonal activities and downtime.

Celebrate Thanksgiving

Book Between November 22-27, 2016

Chef Josh Drage invites you to enjoy his orchestration of Montana’s bountiful harvest. Delight in traditional culinary offerings inspired by the heart, soul and bounty of our beloved Western Montana. The Ranch at Rock Creek is a special place to host warm and memorable gatherings for families of any size. Rejuvenate and reconnect in splendid accommodations surrounded by Big Sky Country adventure and wildlife.

Our 2016 itinerary combines American traditions, like feasts and football, with the wild pursuits and fireside luxuries. Each morning and afternoon, try your hand at outdoor adventures including mountain biking, hiking expeditions, shooting, archery, horseback riding, fly fishing, the ropes course and geocaching. Thanksgiving Dinner in the Granite Lodge features multiple courses bursting with locally sourced Western delights. Families have more time to enjoy themselves when The Ranch takes care of the activities, amenities and first-class cuisine.


Celebration Details:

The Ranch’s all-inclusive rates include luxury accommodations, all gourmet meals, snacks, premium wine, beer and spirits (excluding reserve wines and liquor), on-ranch activities, daily children’s activities, guides and gear.

Rates start at $1,600 per accommodation, per night, based on standard occupancy, plus 20% Ranch Fee.

Minimum three-night stay, based on availability.

*Offer as seen on The Ranch at Rock Creek’s website. http://www.theranchatrockcreek.com/special/celebrate-thanksgiving/

However you choose to pass the holiday this year RanchSeeker  would like to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Join Three Bars Ranch in 2017 for a Week of Equine Photography

10/27/2016 4:16:26 PM

Are you a photography buff? Do you love the great outdoors and horses? If so, then Three Bars Ranch has the ideal vacation package for you. From May 21st-27th the ranch is offering their 2017 Equine Photography Week! Join them and award winning photographer Ryan Courson for a week long equine workshop.

With the Canadian Rockies as your backdrop, and a herd of 100 horses as your subjects, you will have all of the opportunities and assistance that you may need in capturing some incredible equine images. In between customized shoots, you can enjoy all the amenities horseback riding and activities offered at Three Bars Ranch.

Workshop cost is $2690.00 per adult, + 6.2% tax. Packages include all meals, upscale log cabin accommodations, unlimited horseback riding, and all other ranch activities, plus custom horse shoots, workshops and coaching by Ryan Courson.  Space is limited so don’t wait too long to book!

For more info email: info@threebarsranch.com  or call: 1-877-426-5230.  Be sure to let the ranch know that you heard about this exciting workshop through RanchSeeker’s Blog.


Voted Canada’s # 1 Guest Ranch 4 years running Three Bars Ranch considered “THE Adventure Ranch of The Canadian Rockies” is located just south of Banff in Cranbrook, Super Natural British Columbia. Three Bars specializes in 3 – 6 night all- inclusive riding and non- riding packages. Here you will find an abundance of nature, clean, rushing water, green fields, and breathtaking mountain views. There is a wide range of activities to choose from like horseback riding, hiking, river rafting, mountain biking, fly fishing, and tennis. Every day is a new adventure for you and your loved ones to experience!

At the end of the day a spacious log cabin awaits you where you can kick-back and relax on your porch while enjoying all the western charm that your cabin affords you. There are cabins suited for couples and families alike.  Aside from all of the modern amenities that are included there is also an indoor swimming pool, outdoor hot tub and Jacuzzi ideal for soothing sore muscles after a long ride.


When you choose to vacation at Three Bars Ranch you are choosing to experience something more than just your regular vacation you are choosing a “real ranch for real people!”

Happy Trails!

Let RanchSeeker help you find your ideal guest ranch vacation!

Here’s One New Year’s Resolution You’ll Want To Keep . . .

10/19/2016 4:12:38 PM

White Stallion Ranch New Year’s Resolution Special

Monday, January 2, – Friday, January 6, 2017    

If a riding vacation is on your bucket list, this is it. It’s never been more affordable.

Make the most of winter in Arizona while experiencing a riding adventure with plenty of relaxation.

This four night package includes lodging, all meals, horseback riding, ranch activities and airport transfers from Tucson.

There will be a breakfast ride Tuesday morning, a lunch cookout Wednesday with their hay wagon as your transportation, plus lots of specialty rides like Wine and Cheese, all-day and half-day rides as well as team penning.  In addition there will be many daily scenic desert and mountain rides.   Guided hikes are available every morning plus they have rock climbing for an additional fee.  Evening entertainment varies, but there will definitely be country/western line dancing and a cowboy singer around the bonfire.


Cost:  $720 per person sharing a double or $784 single for four nights.  Tax and 15% service will be added.

At White Stallion Ranch, the personal touch and hospitality of a traditional dude ranch is carefully blended with the service and amenities of a fine resort. Reconnect with nature, family, friends and serenity while riding through the unspoiled desert, rugged mountains and cactus that have brought Hollywood film-makers to the ranch for over 70 years.

White Stallion Ranch is a proud member of the TripAdvisor Hall of Fame as the #1 property in Tucson for 5 consecutive years. The ranch is situated between Phoenix and Tucson, making it easy accessible from Arizona’s two major airports.

Fun fact: White Stallion Ranch has been featured in 27 Hollywood films dating back to 1939.

Happy Trails!

Let RanchSeeker help you find your ideal guest ranch vacation!

Thanksgiving at Coffee Creek Ranch

10/13/2016 4:10:20 PM

Thanksgiving is an annual tradition that brings families and friends together around a festively decorated table where one can find oven baked turkeys, freshly made cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes with gravy, green bean casseroles and pumpkin pie. Thanksgiving is also a wonderful opportunity to plan a quick getaway with your loved ones and let someone else do the cooking for a change. Enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving meal surrounded by majestic mountains and beautiful scenery and instead of curling up on your couch at home this year sign up for a horseback ride or take a hike through the woods. If this sounds tempting, then you should consider heading on over to Coffee Creek Ranch for this year’s Thanksgiving holiday.


Coffee Creek Ranch, located in Northern California is 367 acres of natural, pristine wilderness that lies along the banks of the Coffee Creek. For fly fishing enthusiasts, this is a dream location. If pack riding or shorter trail riding is more your style, they tailor to suit your needs to ensure your expectations are exceeded. Everything about Coffee Creek, from their comfortable and cozy cabin accommodations, to their freshly prepared, delicious hearty meals says that they want to be sure their guests’ stays are truly enjoyable. With budget friendly options, Coffee Creek is definitely a contender for one of the best guest ranches in California.


Open for Thanksgiving this California ranch cooks up a big traditional dinner for its guests, family, and friends in the area. The day after is usually spent looking for and cutting down a Christmas tree to get a jump start on decorating for Christmas! Friday night’s special meal consists of turkey enchiladas with a Mexican flare! In the evening, weather permitting, everyone gathers around a warm, cozy bonfire to celebrate the season .All the winter cabins come stocked with wood for the wood burning stoves for those chilly nights.


Book now and experience a Western Thanksgiving at Coffee Creek Ranch the ideal place to celebrate family and give thanks for your blessings.

Let RanchSeeker help you find your ideal guest ranch vacation!

Happy Trails!

Ode to Autumn & Ranch Delights!

10/6/2016 4:04:05 PM

The following article 1st appeared in Ranch & Reserve Magazine’s 10 issue

As Keats wrote, “Tis the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” and depending on where you live the onset of autumn can represent different things to different people.  It can herald the end of long, lazy, hot days of summer as leaves on the trees change from crisp green to vibrant shades of red and yellow or it can simply reflect a much-awaited drop in temperature and humidity in much warmer climes. Regardless of where you are located on the map, autumn is often considered a favourite season by many of us. As days become shorter and winter approaches, we can bathe in sunlight yet enjoy more temperate weather making it an ideal time for planning various types of outdoor activities.

For families it signifies the beginning of a new school year, but for others it is a great opportunity to travel since plenty of vacation destinations offer tempting packages to suit a variety of budgets once the busy summer season is over. With so many attractive deals “out there” with or without children, it can be difficult to choose which one is best for you. If spending time in the saddle, participating in diverse outdoor activities, and being surrounded by spectacular scenery appeal, then a guest ranch vacation would be an ideal choice. Check out these four enticing Fall Ranch Specials in Wyoming, Georgia, California and Mexico and start thinking about the great outdoors and what to pack!

Spotted Horse Ranch (http://ow.ly/JRGB3042vZG)

Located near Jackson Hole this Wyoming dude ranch will have you feeling like you have returned to a simpler time similar to the old west. The pace although laid back is never boring!

Fall Special Details:

October 1st to Oct. 15:  Late Season 15% discount

Children under 6 years of age are half price and children under 3 years are free.

Rates are based upon the American plan, which includes the following:

  1. Newly decorated cabins, complete with goose down comforters and private baths.
  2. All meals, served family style in our dining room
  3. Horseback riding
  4. Fly-casting lessons on Monday afternoon
  5. Fly fishing in our private pond as well as in the Hoback River
  6. Barbeque cookouts with live entertainment, weather permitting on Thursdays
  7. A choice of a scenic or whitewater float on the Snake River (only on Thursdays)
  8. Swimming in Granite Hot Springs (only on Thursdays)
  9. Beer and wine are complimentary at happy hour, 5-7pm each evening, along with appetizers
  10. A Children’s Activity Director, Sunday afternoon through Friday
  11. Sauna located adjacent to the Hoback River
  12. Guest Laundry facility, detergent included
  13. Shampoo, conditioner and hair dryers in every cabin

For a chance to explore the Hoback Mountain Range in the Bridger-Teton National Forest, the ranch offers you the opportunity of a true Western experience by enjoying an overnight pack-trip into one of their backcountry camps. This is a great opportunity for photo taking and/or fishing!


Spotted Horse Ranch

Southern Cross Guest Ranch 

t its finest at this easy to reach ranch located just an hour outside of Atlanta, GA. Delicious home-cooked  food, over 150 horses and unguided riding opportunities are the highlights at this a bona fide horse lover’s paradise.

Fall Special Details:

Take advantage of “FREE NIGHTS IN GEORGIA”

Sept 29 – Oct 6 or *Oct 30 – Nov 18

Midweeks – Mon-Thurs nights.

The longer you stay the better the deal:

3-nights: 3rd night FREE

4-nights: 4th night FREE + room upgrade for all nights

Weekend Rates

4-nights: 4th night FREE

7-nights: 2 nights FREE when booking their 5-night package rate ($780 & up)

Discounted night must be a night of equal or lesser value.

Promo Code: FALLFREE

Expires: October 31/2016

All-Inclusive Plan with 2x daily horseback riding – just $88/night per person!

Take advantage of the  lowest rates of the year – Valid Nov 27 – Dec 18, 2016 on stays of 4 nights or longer, double occupancy (singles just $98/night).

 Promo Code: FALL88

Expires: November 30, 2016

***Specials above may not be combined with other discounts or promotions. Reservations required, limited availability, new reservations only.


Southern Cross Guest Ranch

Coffee Creek Ranch 

There are many new modern ranches but if you are seeking an authentic dude ranch experience, look no further than Coffee Creek Ranch. This guest ranch was founded in 1900 and lies across 367 acres in Northern California. It’s surrounded by the National Forest and Trinity Alps and is adjacent to Coffee Creek of course.

Fall Special Details:

September 24th-30th

Cowboy & Cowgirl-Up Week:

Adults only week! $1175 per person arriving as couples or groups and Singles at $1295!

October 15th-21st

Cowboy & Cowgirl-Up Week:

Adults only week! $1175 per person arriving as couples or groups and Singles at $1295!

These specials include cooking classes according to guest’s wishes, game nights, fall bonfires, special hot cocoa, homemade ice cream and great fall-themed food to enjoy while staying at the ranch accompanied by the recipes to take home. It also includes two rides a day into a picturesque forest and if everyone is in agreement an all- day ride to one of the lakes nearby.


Coffee Creek Ranch

Rancho Los Baños Adventure Guest Ranch

Rancho Los Baños Adventure Guest Ranch or Tierra Chamahua Eco Adventures as it is also known by is a genuine Mexican cattle ranch and wilderness preserve located a mere 55 miles south from the southeast Arizona town of Douglas. With over 30, 000 acres, exotic scenery and otherworldly landscapes you will be reminded of a National Park.

Fall Special Details:

175-185/night Especial de las Vaqueras [Cowgirls Special]

Calling all female friends or family members, sisters and mothers! Take part in the “Cowgirl’s Special” which applies to two or more cowgirls, for five or more nights, at a discounted rate of $175/night/”vaquera” (until the end of October)or $185/night during November and December, based on double occupancy. A savings of $70/ night off of their standard rates. Round trip shuttle from Tucson is included.

Enjoy short rides, long rides, trail rides and back country riding at its finest. Ride through ravines, hills, mesas, down canyons and up into the high sierra and make new memories that will last forever.

November Mexican Roundup [Corrida]

Experience an authentic  Mexican Roundup [Nov 6-13], or “Corrida,” with “vaqueros” (cowboys), horses, cattle, great food and ideal weather for  lots of riding, cattle drives, and cattle work. Only $1,400 per guest, double occupancy, $1,550 per guest, single occupancy for this seven night stay.

Thanksgiving Week at the Rancho [Kids 10 and under stay free; free nightly wine tasting from Latin America]

This Thanksgiving choose a different way to celebrate. Visit Tierra Chamahua towards the end of November and spend Thanksgiving Week from Nov. 20-26, for a 6 night stay, starting at $1,300 per guest, double occupancy, all-inclusive, with shuttle transfer from Tucson.

Your Thanksgiving package includes wine tasting from Latin American wineries, a delicious Thanksgiving Day meal, plus children aged 10 and under stay for free! Exceptional riding and hiking opportunities as well as pleasant, mild temperatures and incredible scenery round out this holiday special.


Rancho Los Baños Adventure Guest Ranch

With fantastic Fall and Thanksgiving Specials like these what are you waiting for?

Let RanchSeeker help you find your ideal guest ranch vacation.

Happy Trails!

Welcome to Willow Ranch Valemount

8/31/2016 3:54:53 PM

Super Natural British Columbia is home to many great guest ranches and Willow Ranch is one of them.  This newly built guest ranch features cozy cabins situated in the middle of the forest surrounded by views of the majestic Canadian Rocky Mountains. Located only 5 minutes from Highway 5 the ranch is conveniently close to the town of Valemount making it the ideal vacation choice for a one night stay while travelling around Canada or perhaps even longer for those looking to kick off their boots and relax a spell.


Willow Ranch

There are 4 modern cabins to choose from: Spring, Summer, Fall & Winter all of which feature a kitchen, dishwasher and microwave for your convenience. A separate bedroom has a comfortable king-size bed and there is a pull-out couch in the living room for additional guests as well as a bathroom. Since they are located on McLennan Forrest Road ATV’s and snowmobiles can easily access them as well. There is also direct access to walking and horseback riding trails.

There are endless horseback riding opportunities available as the ranch is surrounded by crown land (forest and mountains) and there truly is no better way to experience the Canadian mountains than from atop a horse. Guests can choose from several types of rides that can be tailored to fit their specific needs and for those who have never ridden before there are classes available too!


Willow Ranch

Explorer Ride

1.5 hour ride which has everything that a good trail ride needs. It goes through forest, climbs up the mountainside with some great views over the valley. A very nice ride for any level rider, as the route can be adjusted to meet particular rider’s needs and abilities.

Viewpoint Ride

A half day ride through the mountains with amazing views.

Pony Trail

For smaller kids there is a pony ride, a fun loop which takes about 30 minutes. The horses are held by qualified staff members to keep it safe and fun even for the littlest kids.

Pony Experience

For 1st time riders there is the pony experience where qualified wranglers take their time to teach a little bit about horses, grooming and tack and afterwards guests can go on a shirt ride.

Be sure to ask about Willow Ranch’s fantastic combo deals like their “one night & ride” for travellers just passing through which combines their Explorer Ride with a night stay in one of their cabins. Of course the ranch can also help you complete your Canadian horse holiday dream by filling up your days with riding, horse whispering demonstrations and workshops. Whatever your needs the staff at Willow Ranch are happy to customize your stay to suit your specific vacation needs. For those traveling with their own horses and looking for somewhere to stop for a night or two Willow Ranch has pens with shelter ready that are big enough to keep two horses.


Cabin in the winter

Next time you are travelling through Canada be sure to consider a stop at Willow Ranch Valemount!

Happy Trails!

Let RanchSeeker help you find your ideal guest ranch vacation!

Cowtown! Calgary’s Stampede City!

8/19/2016 3:43:33 PM

The following article 1st  appeared in  Ranch & Reserve Magazine’s  8th issue.

Many years ago, as a young, British immigrant, I found myself at the Calgary Stampede…..one of the most famous and largest rodeos in the world. It totally blew me away!  I had never experienced or seen anything quite like it. An amazing kaleidoscope of events, from a foot stomping, mind boggling opening Parade of marching brass bands, flamboyant floats, honorary marshal, parade queen and princesses to heart-stopping feats as cowboys and cowgirls showed off their skills and competed for major prize money in the huge Stampede Grandstand arena. The rodeo events were an eye-popping spectacle of calf roping, steer wrestling, barrel racing and, most thrilling of all, bare-back riders exploding out of the gate astride big bucking bulls or broncos. Between various events, nimble rodeo clowns kept the stands laughing and rearing animals distracted, when a rider tumbled to the ground!  Every night, enthusiastic aficionados of chuck wagon racing filled the stands to hoot and holler and cheer on their favourite teams as wagons careened and thundered around the track.  After that heady rush of adrenaline, it was time for spectators to sit back and enjoy big-name entertainment at the evening concert, climaxed by a brilliant firework display at the evening’s close.

During the day and into the night, good-natured crowds jostled and pushed their way around the various venues, trying to take in as much as possible.  Vendors hawked their wares and sold everything from hot dogs and cotton candy to the latest kitchen gadgets. The constant hustle and bustle was an infectious mix of good times and fun-filled days that invoked a true carnival atmosphere.  Among the major attractions, was an authentic Indian Village recreated on the banks of the Elbow River, representing the six local tribes, replete with tipis, native art and tribal members resplendent in ceremonial dress and traditional attire.  Other big draws were the many agricultural exhibitions and magnificent prize livestock on show in the cattle sheds, polished and groomed by their proud owners, as visitors gingerly picked their way around bellowing animals and sawdust strewn floors!

Free pancake breakfasts, free barbecues and impromptu street parties were hosted at countless outdoor venues around town… western hospitality at its finest and a sure-fire Stampede staple.  Saloon-type restaurants did a roaring trade happily serving up large plates of steak and eggs to customers from early morning ‘til late at night. White Stetsons, cowboy boots and blue jeans were de rigueur as everyone got in on the act to celebrate Stampede week. Calgary residents and visitors alike lived and breathed in a bygone western era, which then, as now, remains the true essence of the Calgary Stampede.

But what exactly is the Calgary Stampede and how did it come to symbolize and define Calgary as Stampede City, hosting the largest, richest, most successful rodeo festival to date?


Basically, the Stampede is a 10-day annual Rodeo, Exhibition and Agricultural fair held every July in Calgary, a prosperous modern city situated at the confluence of the Bow and Elbow rivers surrounded by foothills and prairies in the Province of Alberta, about 80km from the east range of the Canadian Rockies. The Stampede is run by a “not for profit organization that preserves and promotes western heritage and values.”  Thousands of volunteers help to make the annual Stampede possible, which bills itself as, “The Greatest Show on Earth!”  Only the present-day midway funfair is a for profit run business by an entirely separate entity.

But let’s go back to the very beginning when Calgary was truly deserving of its nickname Cowtown!   Like all great and enduring ventures, it has an uneven and colourful history dating from 1886 when the Calgary and District Agricultural Society put on its first fair and exhibition to encourage farmers to move west.  At that time, Calgary was a small town with most of the 2,000 population involved in farming, ranching and raising cattle.  The society’s fair enjoyed a modest profit and success which continued in one form or another until 1895 when poor weather, failed crops and declining attendance put an end to it.  However, in 1899, the Western Pacific Exhibition stepped in, took over the Victoria Park facility and resumed the fairs which began to grow annually. In 1910 the fair became known as the Calgary Industrial Exhibition.

The big break came in 1908, when the Canadian government chose Calgary to host the Dominion Exhibition and provided necessary funds. The city, seizing an opportunity to promote itself, invested a further $145,000 to build six new pavilions and despite a recession the Exhibition was a total success.

But the birth of the Stampede as we know it today, was the idea and brainchild of Guy Weadick, an American trick roper at the Dominion Exhibition, who later returned to Calgary and convinced four Calgary businessmen, Pat Burns, George Lane, A.J. McLean and A. E. Cross, forever immortalized in Calgarian folk-lore history as the Big Four, to back an authentic wild-west type Stampede.  The Big Four thought it would be a fitting, one-time only event to celebrate their lives as cattlemen, and so the first Stampede took place in 1912 as a joint venture with the Calgary Industrial Exhibition and was an instant success. It took another 7 years before Weadick managed to get the Big Four to sponsor another such event, which was the 1919 Victory Stampede to mark the end of W.W.1 and honour returning war veterans.   It too was an immediate rip-roaring success. However, it wasn’t until 1923 that the Calgary Industrial Exhibition, suffering losses and falling revenues, agreed to merge with Weadick’s Stampede group and form the “Calgary Exhibition and Stampede” which became a permanent fixture on the rodeo circuit.


With the discovery of the Leduc 1 oil well in 1947, far-reaching changes took place in Calgary having an enormous impact on the city’s future and that of the Stampede. The former small cattle and farming community was transformed into the present-day oil and gas capital of Canada and financial hub of Alberta. As Calgary grew, so did the Stampede, attracting notables from afar, including the Queen and Prince Philip twice, Bing Crosby and Bob Hope as parade marshals and six Hollywood-made films featuring the Stampede……some using actual footage.  But by the 1950’s it was evident that further expansion was necessary to accommodate the increasing number of attendees and rodeo events to ensure the continuing success of the Stampede.

With this in mind, the organization embarked on an ambitious building program, which included a 7,500 seat Stampede Corral in 1950 followed by a race-track in 1954. The Big Four Building (named after its four benefactors) was completed in 1959, the city’s largest Exhibition Hall at the time.  In 1961, the OH Ranch, in Hanna, Alberta was established to raise and breed cattle, horses and bulls for the Stampede’s six rodeo disciplines using humane methods. By 1968, the Stampede had grown so rapidly that it was extended to its current 10 days. The Roundup Centre came next in 1979 and served as the new Exhibition Hall and finally in 1983 the Olympic Saddledome took its place as the Stampede’s newest and biggest venue. Owing to the improved and expanded facilities, attendance rose steadily until it finally plateaued at around 1.2 million with a one-time peak of 1.4 million in 2012 at the Stampede’s Centennial year celebrations.

In 2007, “Exhibition” was dropped and the event was called simply, The Calgary Stampede. At the same time, the Stampede organization finally acquired additional lands at Victoria Park, expanding the original site, now known as Stampede Park.  Long-term plans include it being a year-round destination for both locals and visitors.  The Stampede Park complex is located in S.E. downtown Calgary in the Beltline district, serviced by a rapid transit line and consists of the following facilities:  the Saddledome and Corral, the Big Four building, the BMO Centre and the Stampede Grandstand.


In the years since my long-ago visit, many new attractions have been added to the Stampede, such as the ever- popular Midway,  an exciting Adventure Park , a Nashville North venue showcasing well-known country and western artists and the Transalta Grandstand, which features a troupe of talented young Canadian performers strutting their stuff in front of a packed house!

The horrendous 2013 floods, which decimated much of Calgary, threatened to cancel that year’s stampede, however, Stampede City literally pulled itself out of the mud and with the help of selfless volunteers the show went on… a testament to the indomitable spirit that has infused the Calgary Stampede since its inception. As a direct result of the floods, millions of dollars were raised from government and private donors for ongoing improvements to the Stampede facilities and future expansion projects.

In the summer of 2015, I had the opportunity to stay at a cattle farm 120km outside of Calgary and got to explore the neighbouring  high country and arid badlands, plus renew my acquaintance with Calgary’s downtown, now an imposing, sophisticated city of skyscrapers, condo towers and trendy restaurants. But at the heart of all this modernity, Cowtown is alive and well with a warm invitation to step back into the past and soak up the spirit of the old wild-west at the next Calgary Stampede!

Sheilan Dove/ June 29/2016

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