Idaho Ranches Offer Family Fun

State’s guest ranches let families return to more simple times

By: By Kenneth Shapiro

Families looking for a special vacation that doesn’t involve long lines, large crowds, and expensive amenities might consider one of Idaho’s guest ranches. The state’s guest ranches feature plenty of outdoor adventure and an abundance of relaxation to enjoy.

Idaho’s premier family-friendly guest ranches include the following properties.

Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch

Young guests meet the locals at the Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch // (c) Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch

Young guests meet the locals at the Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch // (c) Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch

This 1,000-acre, 50-person guest ranch is surrounded by the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness — the largest protected wilderness area in the lower 48 states. Hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, fishing, whitewater rafting, splashing around in a natural hot springs and other outdoor activities are endless at the Ranch so the entire family can find something to suit their interests.

Families can stay in lodge rooms or rent their own posh cabins. Guests enjoy gourmet cuisine from Head Chef Andrew Machanic, who cooks as much with fresh, local products as possible.

During summer months, the ranch hosts special events like a Dutch-oven cookout in a nearby meadow, which guests travel to by wagon train. Staff organizes lawn games and craft and story hours for the younger guests during evenings at the ranch.

Linn Canyon Ranch
Sunset horseback rides, cowboy campfire dinners and huge nightly bonfires are some of family-friendly the activities at Linn Canyon Ranch. The ranch is located in the heart of the Teton Mountains, only 30 minutes from Jackson, Wyo., across the Teton Pass.

Kids will also love sleeping in the platform tents the ranch offers, which are located in an apple orchard and quiet aspen grove near the lodge, making for a unique camping experience.

Western Pleasure Guest Ranch
Located in Sandpoint, Idaho, the Western Pleasure Guest Ranch stands out for its special packages. Highlights include the Mountain-to-Lake Spa Package that caters to girlfriend getaways; and the Ranch, Raft and Rest seven-day package that includes rafting, ranching and bonfires at night.

One program that makes the Western Pleasure Ranch stand out from the crowd is the ongoing children’s’ program that offers a week’s worth of equine training for its youngest guests. The program teaches kids how to ride horses and handle and care for horses, as well as taking takes kids on trail rides and letting them participate in a horse show at the end of the week.

Lodging options at the ranch include a 10,000-square-foot lodge, private hand-hewn log cabins in the forest and the straw-bale constructed Meadowview House.

Red Horse Mountain Ranch
Red Horse Mountain Ranch stands out for its wide range of activities that are sure to keep the entire family engaged during their stay. Kayaking, sporting clays, mountain biking, 3D archery, fishing, a challenge course, hiking, geo-caching, horseback riding and rafting are a few of the options guests have at the ranch.

The ranch caters to families during the months of June, July and August, and accommodations include the grand lodge suites and individual cabins to rent. Other amenities include massage, community-style meals and evening entertainment.

In August, the ranch offers special wine-tasting weekends, girls’ getaway retreats and a Fall Colors week.

River Dance Lodge
Located right on the Middle Fork of the Clearwater River, the River Dance Lodge makes a four- or five-day vacation easy by offering itineraries along with their lodging packages.

For example, the Adventure Series activities let guests hike, bike, raft or kayak and show them great routes to take as well. The Explorer Series take guests on guided hiking tours, one of which goes to explore the remnants of a World War II Japanese internment camp.

Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch
www.idahorocky.com

Linn Canyon Ranch
www.linncanyonranch.com

Red Horse Mountain Ranch
www.redhorsemountain.com

River Dance Lodge
www.riverdancelodge.com

Western Pleasure Guest Ranch
www.westernpleasureranch.com

 

>