At first glance, it would be easy to mistake the ranch for a traditional dude ranch. The lodge, cabin and chalets have the rustic exterior you’d be expect. The horse stalls and corral hint at a working ranch.
But step inside the lodge or any of the rooms and it becomes clear that we’re giving guests a refined experience.
“Our history is rooted in the traditional dude ranch,” said Ron Stiffler, our general manager. “But it’s evolved. Today, the ranch is a luxury retreat where guests come to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors, take part in a wide range of summer and winter adventures, and rest and relax in a setting filled with creature comforts.”
Dude Ranch History
The first recognized dude ranch dates back to the 1800s when several brothers and friends developed the Custer Trail Ranch in the Dakota Badlands, according to the Dude Ranchers’ Association. The group was so proud of what they created that they wrote friends on the East Coast and encouraged them to visit.
Teddy Roosevelt, prior to becoming president, read one of the letters and began making routine trips to the area, eventually buying a ranch near the Custer Trail property, the association recalls. Roosevelt’s tales of hunting, fishing and ranch life in general encouraged others to trek West.
The expansion of rail lines helped push dude ranches into Wyoming and Montana.
Our guest ranch was founded in 1887 when Dick Turpin built his cabin on the banks of the Buffalo Fork River. We opened the doors to guests in 1932. Since then, we’ve hosted some pretty notable visitors, including Mrs. Herbert Hoover, Adlai Stevenson, John Glenn and Bob Dylan, who is rumored to have sung at the bar.
We’ve gone beyond the typical dude ranch experience. Our guests aren’t helping with ranch chores or herding cattle. Instead, they’re spending summers taking horseback rides to experience the beauty of Wyoming. Or they’re casting fly rods into the nearby rivers and streams that teem with native cutthroat trout. Guests might go hiking in nearby Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks.
Winter ushers in Nordic skiing on our 15 km of trails that were designed by Olympic biathletes. Our trails are groomed for skate and classic skiing. Fat bikes are welcome on the trails and there are four miles of single track for intrepid riders. White Season visitors might also go snowmobiling or snowshoeing.
In between adventures, visitors to our guest ranch can rest in their cabin or chalet that is appointed with hand-crafted furniture, Pendleton blankets and bedding, and gas-powered fireplaces.
They can join others in the lodge for a drink in the lounge and sumptuous meals prepared by our chef who sources all of the ingredients from local farms.
Our combination of activities and amenities allow us to make the ranch appealing to a variety of travelers. It’s the perfect spot for a couple’s getaway, girls weekend, corporate retreat or family vacation.
So, while we pay homage to the dude ranch ethos, we strive to give our guests a much grander experience that allows them to leave behind their hectic lives and reconnect with each other and nature.