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“A tucked-away corner of heaven” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Sandy Bar Ranch

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Sandy Bar Ranch
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797 Ishi Pishi Rd., Orleans, CA 95556   |  
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1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“A tucked-away corner of heaven”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2012 via mobile

We have been coming here every summer since our first child was born in 1997. We know no better place to completely relax and recharge in a beautiful, peaceful environment.

Built from old-growth redwoods in the 1930s, the cabins are simple, clean, and well-maintained. The best feature is the covered back porch where you can spend hours listening to the river and the rustling of oak leaves.

There are usually fresh produce, eggs and goat cheese for sale, all grown and raised on the property. The kids love exploring the extensive garden with its fruit trees, berries, veggies and flowers. They have also enjoyed helping collect eggs and milk the goats.

There are lots of trails and swimming spots in the area, but we spend most of our days on the sandy little beach just below the cabins, sunning, swimming, catching toads, and watching the occasional bald eagles, ospreys, river otters and salmon.

We also like to pick blackberries, watch for shooting stars, and chat with the owners and other guests. Oh, and dogs are welcome. It's pretty close to my idea of heaven.

  • Stayed July 2012
    • 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
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7 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Boulder, CO
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 10, 2011

Located deep in rural Humboldt County, Sandy Bar Ranch is a little gem for those who can look past the funky accommodations and appreciate it's considerable charms. The pace of life in this part of the world is slower, and the service, while warm and hospitable, will likely frustrate visitors who arrive with tight schedules and other city expectations. I heard it described as a "dude ranch for hippies," and, while we definitely are not hippies, it's an apt description.

The Ranch has several one-bedroom rustic cabins, which can sleep up to four people (2 in the double bed and 2 on daybeds in the main living area) and a bathroom with a shower (no tub). The cabins are decorated in what I'd call "thrift store chic." They are generally clean and well-equipped, with a stove, fridge, sink, pantry and the bare essentials of cooking equipment. If you are a gourmet cook, you'll want to bring your own knives and any special pots and pans. There is a picnic-style dining table with room for four and a couple extra chairs, but the living area is not well suited to lounging for long.

Each cabin has a nice deck facing the Klamath River, which you can catch a glimpse of through the trees. You can hear the river as you sit on the deck, or from your bed. Very pleasant. There is a short trail down to the river's edge, which is where the kids spent untold hours "fishing" and building rock structures in the edge of the water.

This being the edge of the wilderness, there are critters. The cabins had ants and bees buzzing about and the occasional mouse (the owners were happy to set a trap). One night, a bear wandered nearby, attracted by our food waste (which was locked up, but still interesting to the bear). The four working dogs on the ranch treed the bear, but it was a couple hours of ruckus and lost sleep, while they dealt with the unwelcome visitor.

The ranch itself is a busy place, with huge organic gardens, goats, chickens, and straw bale houses under construction. Staff at the ranch offer massage therapy, African Dance classes, homemade soap, wreaths, and every other sort of craft to make ends meet in this remote locale. My nine-year-old daughter loved helping to milk the goats in the morning, and harvest the peas in the afternoon.

The river when we were there in early June was high and fast. Too fast and cold for swimming, but rafting was great fun! The local raft guides ("Pirate" and "Animal") were truly colorful characters.

Our group was there for a family reunion, and we took over the whole place. Since none of the cabins was large enough for the 12 of us, we set out a couple of picnic tables in the middle of the "lawn" and ate al fresco every evening. We brought our own Weber grill and charcoal, as the Ranch had only little hibachis.

You do need to pack in everything that you might need or want. The nearest market is several miles away and quite limited (plenty of alcohol, though...). The nearest ATM is 35 miles away, at the casino run by the local tribe. We did manage to get a tour of a couple local almost-hidden wineries that were quite good. And there is some hiking in the area, although the trails are often steep in the beginning. A good day trip was driving to Redwood National Park and seeing fields of blooming lupine along the way!

There are no phones or TVs in the cabins. Cell service was spotty at best, but Wi-Fi was available near the office, and we often would sit out on the lawn to check email as needed throughout the week.

All in all, I'd recommend this place, if you come with the right expectations and enjoy a laid-back, rustic, earthy experience.

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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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Additional Information about Sandy Bar Ranch

Address: 797 Ishi Pishi Rd., Orleans, CA 95556
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > Orleans
Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly )
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Specialty Lodging in Orleans
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
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