Canyon River Ranch Lures Anglers And Agents Alike

The central Washington lodge pays 25 percent commission on weeknight stays By: Marty Wentzel
Poolside at the Canyon River Ranch // © 2011 Canyon River Ranch
Poolside at the Canyon River Ranch // © 2011 Canyon River Ranch

The Details

Canyon River Ranch
14694 Hwy. 821, Mile Marker 15
Ellensburg, WA 98926
Tim Cook grew up fishing the Yakima River, so when he took the helm as general manager of Canyon River Ranch he felt like he was coming home again. Now he’s hoping that travelers and travel agents will feel the same way, and he’s offering generous commissions to underscore that sentiment.

Open since 2009, the singular two-story central Washington getaway is at once upscale and rustic. It offers ten two-bedroom suites with all the amenities of home, from a fully-equipped kitchen to a stacked washer/dryer. Each 880-square-foot unit comes with one and one-half bathrooms, a flat-screen HD television, high-speed Internet access, a gas fireplace and a private patio.

The interior design of the accommodations pays tribute to the surrounding environment with a beautiful combination of earth tones and natural materials like wood and stone. Copper tables flank the living room couch, a solid beam of Douglas fir serves as the fireplace mantel and historic photos of the area grace the walls. Clients who book one of the upstairs suites are rewarded with sweeping cathedral ceilings.

But the focal point is the swift-flowing river, visible from every suite. From its serene riverside setting, Canyon River Ranch also provides clients with views of shimmering aspen trees and lofty basalt cliffs striated in various shades of gray, green, black, brown and rust. It’s easy to spot resident eagles soaring overhead and mountain goats scampering along rocky ridges and ledges.

More Than Just Fishing
Since the Yakima River is Washington State’s only catch-and-release Blue Ribbon trout stream, Canyon River Ranch’s most obvious market is the fly fisherman. Equally important is its immediate proximity to Red’s, one of the best-known fishing tackle and guide companies in the region.

While Cook has enjoyed a longtime relationship with the river, he is quick to add that the ranch lures not just fishing buffs but all travelers with a love of nature, from couples on a romantic getaway to families on vacation. It’s also ideal for weddings, corporate events and executive retreats.

“The river is a huge selling point, but we want people to come for other reasons,” said Cook. The Yakima River Canyon provides wonderful opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, photography, horseback riding, bird watching, golfing, hunting and rafting, he added.

Located within 90 miles of more than 40 vineyards in the lower Yakima Valley, the ranch is a perfect home-base for wine tours and tastings. Guests can also line up spa treatments in the city of Ellensburg, a 15-minute drive away.

Present Perks, Future Plans
Currently, Canyon River Ranch guests have access to appealing public spaces like a central great room with its massive stone fireplace, a library for peaceful reading and relaxing, and a game room presided over by a pool table. There’s a huge dining room with seating for 12 people and a commercial kitchen available for use by groups. A heated swimming pool and hot tub flank the outdoor terrace, and grassy areas encourage guests to enjoy picnics, barbecues and campfires.

In June 2011, Canyon River Ranch is breaking ground on a new freestanding restaurant, ideal for guests who don’t feel like cooking their own meals in their suite every night. Cook hopes the restaurant will attract non-guests who are impressed by the surroundings and decide to book a room for a future stay.

“We offer a one-of-a-kind getaway with elegant lodgings that fit the beautiful natural setting,” said Cook. “We are a different kind of accommodation, and we will continue to think outside the box to offer our guests a safe, friendly river canyon environment like none other.”

Reaching Out To Agents
Nightly rack rates at Canyon River Ranch range from $139-$299.

Throughout 2011, the ranch is paying 25 percent commission to travel agents for weeknight bookings and 15 percent for weekend reservations.

Travel agents who want to experience the ranch firsthand can stay there for 50 percent off rack rates.
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