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“Charging $148 per person per night should mean more” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Muir Trail Ranch

Muir Trail Ranch
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Muir Trail Ranch
P.O. Box 176, Lakeshore, CA 93634   |  
Hotel amenities
London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
108 reviews 108 reviews
72 hotel reviews
Reviews in 75 cities Reviews in 75 cities
159 helpful votes 159 helpful votes
“Charging $148 per person per night should mean more”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 5, 2013

The good: Muir Trail Ranch is in a beautiful setting, the staff is friendly and helpful (although some of the kids are so young that they're a bit flaky really), the hot springs are wonderful, the horses are beautiful. The cabins are very nice, the bed is indeed very comfortable. But...
The not so good: for a couple, $300 per night means much more than what the ranch can offer and if one knew that upfront (we couldn't because we decided at Vermilion Ranch to book this and couldn't do research), then one's expectations might be different. Yes, dinner was fine, but nothing great and there is no choice. If you're not a meat eater, they'll accommodate you, to be sure, but pasta and red sauce and cheese sandwiches for lunch really don't stack up to the price. One of the things that was cited to me as being included was laundry. Great, I thought! We were hiking the JMT, so laundry is appreciated. Well, I spent a couple of hours using a Maytag from the 1950s (the wringer type that maybe not even your mother ever used) to do my laundry. Well, this would be ok, but I should have been told that this is the type of laundry that was included and I certainly would have planned on something different. It seems to me that the owners are taking advantage of the good bits, but have put in little investment. There is potential there for a wonderful ranch that still retains its historic and rural nature, but charging $300 and offering what they do, well, that is deeply disappointing.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (2)
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English first
loomis ca
Top Contributor
253 reviews 253 reviews
106 hotel reviews
Reviews in 104 cities Reviews in 104 cities
177 helpful votes 177 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2013

We landed here on our 5th night on the JMT, just to pick up our supply bucket. When we learned they had space in their tent cabins, we opted to stay even though it was $140 per person. It was worth every penny. This included a fabulous dinner, made to order breakfast, and make your own take away lunch during the day. Laundry was free. They now have a real washing machine, not the wringer type. Nice open air showers, very clean and included shampoo. The little cabins had a porch, right along the river, simple and clean all you need. The hot springs were private, so no swimwear required. Shower and nice pool area artfully decorated. Staff very nice. I would love to return for a family reunion affair.
Bring your own wine or adult beverages. None available for sale here.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nevada
Top Contributor
84 reviews 84 reviews
47 hotel reviews
Reviews in 53 cities Reviews in 53 cities
61 helpful votes 61 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2012

We opted to book a short stay @ the ranch as a resupply and respite on our 8 day backpacking trip. We booked only one night on the third night of our trip and although it was an additional 6 miles to the journey,it was worth every extra step!
I arrived with three blisters and contusion to my achilles. We were warmly greeted by Louise and Pat and immediately given cool spring water and iced lemonade! That was followed shortly by free
moleskin.
A one night stay in either the tent cabin ( which is very cute and clean-short walk to bathrooms) or log cabin( which has toilet and sink but no shower and water isn't potable) includes a wonderful dinner, big breakfast @ 7:30 (cooked) or cold (5:45) for the early risers who are putting in big mileage and need to go early. While at breakfast you get to pack your own lunch for the day which includes sandwiches, fresh fruits and snacks.
The dinner served during our one night stay was ALL YOU COULD EAT PRIME RIB
with two kinds of horseradish sauce, grilled vegetables, potato wedges and freshest of fresh green salads with 4 choices of dressings, a nice multi-grained bread and cream puff cake with chocolate sauce dessert! WOW! It was delicious! ( Night prior was spaghetti and sausage)
They also have two ringer type washers from the 1950's that work find and are a fun experience and they are free. Nice to have clean clothes again after 3 days on the trail and 5 to go.
In addition there are two natural hot spring one is 106 degrees and the other 98.
They are built into Japanese type gated structures with concrete and tile and flower gardens and very Zen.
You lock the gates and have very private space for bathing and relaxing day or night, so you don't need to pack along swimwear if you don't want too.
Great for sore, aching muscles.
They even supply shampoo, conditioner and Aloe Vera for sunburns.
There is a nice store open 8-5 which has about everything you might need at this point in backpack trip and they are very fair with pricing given the distance and complexity and bringing things in. If you need bandaids, 2nd skin, aspirin, Imodium, Peptobismol or TUMS it is all there and they sell it by the pill most are quarter each. No need to buy a whole bottle or box. Additionally, if they happen to have what you want in the free donation buckets they offer or give you that first.
No pressure to buy anything.
About the resupply---
Seems EVERYONE packs or mails in too much food and leave behind about 5# per person.
While we were there they were about 15-5 gallon paint buckets all sorted and labeled-snacks, commerical food, home packaged foods, first aid, lotions, equipment and clothing. The assortment of BP foods was amazing. You could arrive empty handed and just supply youself for the rest of the trip. Trail mix, tuna and oatmeal are easy to come by!
Lastly, they have internet connection you can use @ cost $10.
While there you meet other doing JMT, PCT or North Lake/South Lake loop and you end up with some connections that you feel like friends on next segments of your journeys often
leap frogging each other as the days go by. This makes for nice social contact in some isolated areas. Everyone also can offer tips on campsites or ideas for future trip etc.
The lounge is the place. Nice fireplace and everyone congregates before dinner.
One thing is missing wine and beer so you may want to bring in your own.
Great remote place with outstanding hospitality and good senses of humor!
They do take drop ins when not booked solid which is common in July!
We might do the entire JMT if there were other facilities like this along the way!

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bishop, California
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
42 hotel reviews
Reviews in 38 cities Reviews in 38 cities
50 helpful votes 50 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 29, 2011

We ran to the Muir Trail Ranch from the east side of the Sierra and stayed for two nights. Our accommodation was the "Penthouse Tenthouse", which is pretty basic, but plenty comfortable. We were amazed by the excellent food in such a remote location - lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, really delicious entrees, and super friendly and hard working kitchen staff. The lounge next door is a great place to hang out - fireplace, sofas, books, games, and nice views out the window. The restrooms are all clean and fresh smelling. And the hotsprings -- one hot and one warm -- are just delightful. We also enjoyed interacting with the ranch's well-loved horses and watching them joyfully head out to pasture at the end of each day. This place has a great vibe and is a lovely, relaxing place to hang out. And did I mention the incredible food?!

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
St. Paul, MN
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
61 helpful votes 61 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 22, 2011

We stayed there as part of our John Muir Trail hike. We reached MTR after 5 days of hiking on the Trail. We had a tent-cabin reservation and also, had a resupply bucket sent to them. One of our party had stayed here in the past and had highly recommended it; and believe me, it was the right recommendation. The cabins are pricey, but, it includes dinner, breakfast and a packed lunch, as well as free use of all facilities which includes satellite internet access (not trivial, considering there is not even a phone line or a cell phone signal), lounge with lots of books & nice couches, hammock, and perhaps the best of all, the 2 hot springs! Don't expect this to be a resort in the traditional sense - remember it is in the middle of some spectacular wilderness and that is the charm of it. Quality of meals was good, but not great. Service was quite decent and the staff were quite friendly.

Room Tip: Get the newer log cabins, if you can. There is electricity in all cabins.
See more room tips
  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2010

The High Sierras ARE breathtaking; just one large open-air Cathedral; Staying at the MTR was a treat; excellent food...TOO much of it (?!); staff were friendly; family-run and oriented. Proper human beings ! Facilities were fantastic; this IS the middle of nowhere; and yet civilized in a not gawdy sort of way. You could do as much....or as little as you want.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Findlay, Ohio
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 26, 2010

As we were hiking with a 3 month old baby and a backpack each up from Florence lake and neared Blaney Meadows, we heard a vehicle. Our first response was, on this terrain? Although there was a road of sorts bearing the imprint of tire tracks - where there weren't boulders, etc., from which the trail meandered from time to time, much of the area seemed inhospitable to that type of travel. Sure enough, around the corner and over some boulders a Jeep in low gear labored up to where we stood. The interior was crammed with items with which the driver had just picked up resupply 5-6 miles back at the lake. He stopped and kindly asked if the momma and baby would like a ride up to Muir Trail Ranch, our immediate destination prior to heading up to camp on the JMT, where we hoped to meet a friend. When answered in the affirmative, he moved things that had been in the front passenger seat around, so she could step in with her baby and backpack. Then he slowly, carefully drove the remaining mile or so to the ranch, where he deposited them under the canopy, right beside the bins we had been planning to look through, as the first night, our stove had broken.

On the way he told her @ the ranch, the sawmill, the horses, which incidentally were in beautiful condition, the cabins, the self sustaining operation they'd carried on since the 1930's. The whole area was beautiful, and had been carefully tended to maintain the pristine look that the forest originally had. He opened the gate and told us that we were among the very few that had used this private entrance. The cabins fit perfectly with the surrounding area, and we put this location in our mental rolodex file for future stays. The benefactor of the Jeep ride told us that he was the owner himself, Lloyd Ross.

When we got to the bins where they store food that either has been dropped because it wasn't needed, or people who had planned to resupply had mailed and failed to pick up after a week or so, we found a plethora of items, from batteries to full dried meals, snacks, trail bars, and even foil. What a great service for either starving backpackers or those absolutely tired of their own fare. They had even carefully paid close attention to sell by dates, and discarded food that was unwholesome looking, due to appearance. (As we passed there the next am, we found a number of empty bins from which the questionable food had been removed.) There was a hose connected to piped spring water where we were able to refill our dwindling water supply. We were given a 15 minute warning prior to the 5:00 pm re-storing of the bins, in a bear/varmit proof attractive shed built of stone, until at precisely 8:00 am, it would reappear, having had all defective items culled - all for $0.

2 of us went into the building, were able to see the weather report, and check re: several questions we had. They had passed there on a prior JMT through trip and had fond memories of the pleasantness of the people and the services offered. This is quality! It is even helicopter accessible as well as reachable using the services of a packer - or as in our case, our own feet.

In our opinion, this is a true find, unlike other similar areas where people take definite advantage of all that the traffic will bear.... THANK YOU Lloyd Ross and Muir Trail Ranch!!!

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Muir Trail Ranch

Address: P.O. Box 176, Lakeshore, CA 93634
Location: United States > California > Lakeshore
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 5 Specialty lodging in Lakeshore

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