Top50 Ranches

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Lowdown

  • Established

    1971
  • Owner

    Bayard, Mel, Richard and Hadley Fox
  • Tel

    307-455-2778
  • Nightly Rates (per adult)

    $250 - $320
  • Nightly Rates (per child)

    $250 - $320
  • Minimum Stay

    4 days
  • Maximum Guests

    30
  • Works with travel agents?

    Yes
  • Great For

    Action & adventure, Peace & quiet, Solitude, Diverse scenery

Owned and run for 40 years by the Fox Family who also started Equitours International Riding Vacations, Bitterroot Ranch is the place for those who are serious about riding. Whether taking lessons in the arena or out on the trail we place an emphasis on improving riding skills. The top quality horse program includes breeding and training and there are mounts suitable for all levels of riders. Rides are kept small and are separated according to ability. Tack is carefully fitted to both horse and rider and, for those who prefer, there are English and endurance saddles available.

The Bitterroot is situated in a remote mountain valley which offers an incredible variety of terrain; sagebrush plains and rocky gorges give way to pine clad forests and Alpine meadows. We are surrounded by public lands and can ride for miles in any direction without seeing another soul. In the spring the elk are calving on the adjacent Game and Fish land. Our proximity to the Shoshone National Forest enables us to leave on scenic overnight pack trips into the largest wild ecosystem in the lower 48 right from the ranch.

This is also a working ranch and our cattle herd grazes on our allotment in the forest for the summer. Guests do all the cattle work – there is no ranch crew! This entails moving cows around on the allotment, checking for wolf and grizzly kills and an annual cattle drive and roundup. For those with non-riding partners there are wonderful trout fishing opportunities. A private stream runs through the ranch and there are numerous other rivers and lakes a short drive away.

There is always an interesting mix of guests at the ranch, which leads to lively conversations at meal times and the cocktail hour. Your hosts come from eclectic backgrounds: Bayard had a first career with the CIA, Mel is from a British colonial background in East Africa and Richard (who grew up on the ranch) met Hadley while guiding her on a riding safari in Kenya.

Good time to go

Late May and June are the times to see game animals such as bear and calving elk. Late June and July are when the hillsides are covered with wildflowers. August has settled weather and is never too hot at 7,500 ft. In September the aspen turn a glorious gold, there is a crispness in the air and occasional snow flurries.

Children at the Ranch

Great for children aged 4 and over

Children enjoy the freedom at the ranch.

Children are free to roam wherever they please. A very popular activity is spending hours with the friendly young foals. And, we have a number of Welsh ponies children enjoy riding.

Activities

hiking, picnics

Games

board games, pool table

Riding based activities

animal care, horse care, trail riding, We offer lead line rides for little ones. We have a number of Welsh ponies and rides depart according to the age and ability of the child. If the child is up to it, he/she can join in with whatever the adults are doing.

Ranch History

There are artifacts, sheep traps and other signs of habitation left by Sheepeater Indians and others who inhabited this valley until the mid 19th century.

The first white men settled here in 1900. It was hard to make a living in this harsh environment at 7,500 ft., but they began irrigating the fields and raising livestock over a century ago. The central part of the lodge, several cabins and the barn were built in the 1930s.

Extensions were added in the ‘50s and ’90s. Some of the cabins have been relocated to the ranch and all are in keeping with an old world, understated feel. Bayard purchased the place in 1971 with the intention of creating a dude ranch.

Lowdown

  • Enjoy

    Ranch-style
  • Meals served

    family style, everyone eats together
  • Alcohol

    wine provided with dinner
  • Enjoy dining in

    nature settings, dining room (casual attire)
  • You'll definitely love

    ranch-raised beef, ranch garden, fresh daily bread
  • Dietary restrictions catered for

    lactose intolerant, vegans, vegetarians

We make a great effort to provide healthy, well balanced, appetizing meals.

All our red meat is home raised. We take care to provide our Scottish Highland cows and Navajo Churro sheep with a stress free, quality life and everything they eat is grown on our farm. We have a large vegetable garden which has been producing for 60 years, but we are limited by our climate as to what we can grow. We are self-sufficient in salad from early July and have fresh herbs, greens and a selection of root vegetables.

Expect fresh baked goods, oatmeal, locally cured bacon and eggs cooked to order, washed down with freshly brewed Ethiopian coffee to start off your day. A lighter lunch of pasta, salads, soup is followed by a heartier dinner using the best ingredients and with a European touch.

The cocktail hour on the deck or around a roaring fire in one of the stone fireplaces in the lodge is always a highlight. Appetizers and dinners are accompanied by a fine selection of red and white wines from Argentina, California, South Africa, France and Italy.

Guest Favourites

  • Roast Highland beef
  • Fresh caught trout
  • Gazpacho

Lowdown

  • Address

    1480 East Fork Road
    Dubois
    Wyoming
    82513
    USA
  • Remote Location

    Yes
  • Elevation

    7500 ft
  • Public Land

    more than 50k

Nearest Town - Dubois

Dubois has a population of 996 (approx), and is situated 26 miles / 45 mins from the Ranch.

Facilities in Dubois include: grocery store, church, school, post office, medical clinic, bank, atm, gas station, museum.

For shopping Dubois offers: small hometown necessity shops, boutique shops, western wear.

Nearest Airports

Jackson Hole Airport, Jackson

Distance

110 miles / 2 hours 30 mins

Airlines

Delta, United, American, Southwest


Riverton Airport, Riverton

Distance

81 miles / 1 hour 30 mins

Airlines

Delta, United

Lowdown

  • Type of Riding

    Western Riding, English Riding
  • Riding opportunities for

    Beginner, Intermediate, Experienced
  • Most riders are

    Intermediate
  • Rides are grouped by

    Ability
  • Max riders per ride

    6
  • Wranglers per ride

    1
  • Pace of ride

    Walk, Trot, Lope
  • Guest Horses

    120
  • Horse Types

    Quarterhorse, Appaloosas, Draft Cross, Paints, Arabians, Geldings, Mares, Welsh Pony
  • Hours in the saddle

    Morning - 3 hours
    Afternoon - 2 hours

Our Riding

Good to know

All riders are required to wear a helmet.

Weight limit for riding

Up to 210 lbs

Riding considerations

We recommend a good level of physical fitness, We consider height and athletic ability as well as a guest's weight

Hours in the saddle

Picnic rides and cattle drives average 6 hours.


Why our riding stands out

  • We breed and train top quality Arabians exclusively for use of our guests; TEAM, Centered Riding and Natural Horsemanship clinics, conducted by outside clinicians who are world class leaders in their field
  • Diverse riding opportunities include: lessons, trail rides at all levels, cross country course, cattle work, pack trips
  • Rides are kept small and guests are divided according to ability; plenty of opportunity to trot and canter

Riding Lessons

We offer formal videotaped lessons on Tuesday and Thursday mornings to intermediate level given by Hadley Fox who is CHA certified.

Details

lessons come with package, basic riding lessons

Given by

ranch owner or manager

Location

in the arena

Natural Horsemanship Clinic

Clinician

Donna Snyder-Smith and Sue Faulkner; Linda Tellington-Jones and Robyn Hood; Anna Twinney

Details

Clinics occur in the arena

Focuses on

TEAM with Linda Tellington-Jones and Robyn Hood. Annual Starting Young Horses clinic. This approach to training emphasizes the development of trust and partnership between horse and rider. Reach out to Horses with Anna Twinney. Through demonstrations, lectures and exercises you will experience how all contacts with your horse form a communication system. The clinic also includes Healing Horse Sessions through the use of reiki. Centered Riding with Donna Snyder-Smith and Sue Faulkner-March. These clinics provide insights into how you can improve your riding and enhance communication and cooperation with your horse.

Cattle work - pasture gathers

Cattle are driven onto our permit in the national forest on July 1st and are gathered the last week of September. In the intervening weeks they need to be monitored, to make sure none of have been killed by wolves or grizzlies and they need to be moved around on the grazing allotment. Only competent riders can participate in the cattle work because of the rough nature of the terrain and the necessity to move independently on occasion.

When

Jul, Aug, Sep

Frequency

Weekly

No. of cow/calf pairs

220

Interaction

Guests participate

Pack Trips

Additional charge for pack trips. We head out from the ranch into the Shoshone National Forest and are riding in wilderness an hour and a half after leaving the ranch. This is part of the largest wild ecosystem in the lower 48 states. We cross high, mountain passes over 11,000 ft. and drop down into valleys where some of America’s great rivers have their source. You will be accompanied by a guide and a cook and all equipment is carried on pack horses. 1-2 night or week-long trips available. Please visit with us about your preference prior to your stay.

Arena Work

Team sorting every Friday afternoon

Type

outdoor arena

Activities

sorting

Lowdown

  • Nightly Rates (per adult)

    $250 - $320
  • Nightly Rates (per child)

    $250 - $320
  • Nightly Rates (non-rider)

    $185
  • Minimum Stay

    4 days
  • Preferred Arrival Day

    Sun
  • Preferred Departure Day

    Sun

Bitterroot Ranch can cater for up to 30 guests. See below for details and indicative rates.

Cabin | Bitterroot Cabins

Rates (Per Person)

$250 - $360

Minimum Stay

3 nights

Description

Our rustic log cabins(1-5 rooms depending upon the cabin), some of which are 80 years old, have been well maintained and tastefully furnished. They all have electric heat and some have wood burning stoves. They are separated widely apart on either side of the river and all have private decks with chairs for the quiet contemplation of nature. There are 17 cabins total.

Bathrooms

Private bathroom


Booking Policy

Booking policy - $800 non-refundable deposit, balance due 45 days prior to arrival.

Included in your stay

meals, activities, lodging, Riding, riding lessons, beverages, wine, fishing, fly casting lessons, hiking

Lowdown

  • You can borrow

    Saddle bags, Rain coats
  • Communications

    Wireless Internet/Wifi, telephone.

Onsite

Outdoor Activities

Yoga, bird watching


Fishing & Wildlife

Bayard is a keen fly fisherman and often accompanies interested parties. You can step right out of your cabin and cast a line into the pristine private water of the East Fork of the Wind River. There is also good fishing for cutthroat trout up river in the Shoshone National Forest and down river on Wyoming Game & Fish habitat. A short drive to the spectacular Wiggins Fork gives you opportunities to land brown, brook, rainbow, cutthroat trout and whitefish (which make delicious smoked fish pate!). A little farther away are the bigger waters of the Wind River and Bull Creek as well as a number of Alpine Lakes.

We have gear that we can lend out, but serious fishermen should bring their own equipment. There are excellent fishing guides in Dubois that can be booked with prior notice.

Fishing on offer

spin, fly, river, stocked pond, lake, guided inclusive, guided non-inclusive, unguided, instruction available

Wildlife

This varies greatly according to the season. Early in the summer you can always spot elk with their calves before they move higher in the mountains. Mule deer, antelope and coyotes tend to stay near our valley year around. Less common sightings include grizzly and black bears, wolves, the elusive mountain lion, moose, bighorn sheep and badgers. Squirrels, chipmunks and ground squirrels are always in evidence along the trails. There are often golden eagles riding the thermals and red tailed hawks, marsh harriers and prairies falcons soar overhead. Great horned and great grey owls can sometimes be spotted and there are numerous smaller birds which nest around the ranch from the ubiquitous magpie to robins, hummingbirds and, everyone’s favorite, the Western bluebird.


Local Attractions

Dubois

This small town has retained its Western flavor. There are a number of art galleries and gift shops, some selling fine American Indian handicrafts. The Dubois Museum has some old, preserved buildings featuring the life of a bygone era, as well as interesting locally related exhibits. The National Bighorn Sheep Center provides an in depth look into these animals, whose habitat just a few miles from town supports one of the largest herds in the US. Although they are usually in the high mountains during the summer, it is worth visiting the Indian petroglyphs in that area. On Tuesday evenings at the height of the summer there is square dancing in town and on Friday nights a local rodeo brings in participants and visitors from the surrounding country.

Distance

26 miles / 45 mins


Wind River Indian Reservation

Pow wows in late June through July at various locations.

Distance

55 miles / 1 hour 15 mins


Grand Teton National Park

Known for the incredibly spiny ridge of mountains that rise abruptly straight out of the plains. There are also regular encounters with wildlife such as buffalo, moose and grizzly bear right on the main road leading from Jackson Hole to the ranch.

Distance

80 miles / 1 hour 45 mins

Top50 says

Highs

  • Serious riding and horsemanship program, offering Centered Riding, TTEAM and Natural Horsemanship clinics
  • Diverse riding activities include team sorting and a cross-country jumping course. Opportunities to trot and canter through the changing landscapes
  • An interesting mix of guests at the ranch, which leads to lively conversations. Your hosts come from eclectic backgrounds: Bayard had a first career with the CIA, Mel is from a British colonial background in East Africa and Richard (who grew up on the ranch) met Hadley while guiding her on a riding safari in Kenya!
  • Not to be overlooked, their cuisine features home-grown beef, lamb and fresh salads from the garden

Lows

  • There are few additional activities other than riding, fishing and relaxing. It's quite remote and hard to reach, but offers absolutely gorgeous riding scenery and terrain
  • Bayard and Mel are very direct in their teachings on how best to ride their horses, but you'll come away with more confidence and insight

Visitor Reviews

Dont just take our word for it, see what visitors like you say...

Paradise on earth for horse lovers!

I spent 4 days with my husband in this beautiful ranch, we enjoyed every minutes. The wooden cabins are spacious and private. There is no television or telephone....just freedom! The main lodge were all the meals are prepared and eaten is charming with a beautiful fireplace and place to relax and read. The food is great and I am difficult to please...........There are more then 100 horses, cattle and sheeps. We had beautiful ride in always different trails where we could trot and canter. The scenary is magnificent. I have only positive things to say. I will go back.

5 stars

You can find more reviews for Bitterroot Ranch on TripAdvisor