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“Best vacation yet!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Bitterroot Ranch

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Bitterroot Ranch
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1480 E. Fork Rd., Dubois, WY 82513   |  
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Ranked #6 of 12 Specialty Lodging in Dubois
Oak Harbor, Washington
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Best vacation yet!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2013

This past year I had popped out a baby, completed my Masters and was being slowly driven insane from my husband who had gone on 3 hunting trips since our son was born. I came across the Bitterroot Ranch in the book "1,000 Places to see before you die" and told my husband I was long overdue for a "mommy vacay." After contacting the ranch via email and discussing what I was looking for, I was impressed by the immediate responses back and forth to every question and email I had. I originally was looking at the pack trips but after talking to Hadley, she suggested just a week at the ranch instead since my riding frequency was only about once a year when I could sneak away.

After arriving at the ranch, I was taken to my single, loft cottage which is basic, rustic, and perfect. You are in the middle of nowhere so do not be surprised if there are some flies in the cottage or things looking a little weathered, but after the first night, you will feell like a regular true westerner in the middle of some of the most amazing countryside.

All meals are served community style in the Master lodge and a cocktail hour is held before dinner where the amazing family serve you wine and blow your mind with all of their amazing stories. I can't stress enough how much I enjoyed this time with the owners, ranch hands, and other visitors. By the end of the week I felt as if I was one of the family.

Now the horseback riding..... ahhhh. If you have the opportunity to take a riding lesson with Hadley DO IT! After 10 years of riding and bad habits, I had the best, lesson ever with her on the second day I was there. Within 1 hour, she had corrected my form and given me tips that were priceless for the rest of the trip and I am proud to say that even after not being on a horse in over a year, I walked away from a week of riding with hardley any soreness thanks to the lesson I had on the second day. Other visitors didn't do the lesson and were suffereing pretty bad so in the best interest of your butt and knees if you want to do every ride (they do 2x a day) TAKE THE LESSON!

I could go on and on about this trip, but essentially it was nothing short of amazing. I went alone with no husband or baby and had a blast. Everyone is so welcoming, you never ride the same trail twice, the wranglers are excellent riders and are constantly looking for ways to make your experience the best you have ever had. I would do this trip a thousand times over and can't stress how perfect it was. YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED!

Room Tip: They have lodges assigned to you, if traveling solo though, there is one single loft cottage that ha...
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  • Stayed May 2013, 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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68 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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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
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (9)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 27, 2013

I just returned from my 2nd trip to Bitterroot Ranch; it gets harder to leave every time! The staff and owners go above and beyond to make everyone feel welcome. The owners truly care about matching the appropriate horse to the rider and make sure you have several different mounts throughout the week. The horses are great; very well maintained and personable. Riders are divided into groups based on experience which makes rides comfortable and fun for everyone. There is a morning ride and an afternoon ride every day, and a longer picnic ride on Saturday.

I can't say enough about how relaxing the trip was. The scenery is beautiful and you have the opportunity to see gorgeous panoramic views on the rides. It is a great trip for those who travel alone; you can either enjoy alone time or spend time with the wonderful guests and friendly staff from all over the world. Also, the food is terrific! You eat very well all week and mealtime is the perfect time for getting to know the other guests. This trip exceeded my expectations both times I have visited. It is so much more than a typical dude ranch and worth every penny. I miss it the minute I drive away. I love visiting Bitterroot and I plan to go back for many more years to come.

  • Stayed May 2013, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cedar Falls, Iowa
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 23, 2013

For my 60th birthday, my family gave me a trip to the Bitterroot Ranch as a gift. Little did I know how special that gift actually was and is. The next year after that, my sister went back with me for her first experience there and my second. Since that second trip, we have both gone back to ride during the cattle drive in the fall. This fall will be our 6th cattle drive. Bayard, Mel, Richard and Hadley treat as like family and we anxiously await the 23rd of September each year so we can load up and head west. During our trips to the Ranch, we have met folks from all over the world, and many of them have also made multiple trips back. The quality of the staff, food and lodging are all exceptional. Wine on the deck prior to dinner is anxiously awaited by all after a full day of riding especially after riding in occasional snow and rain. While that is the exception and not the rule, it does give one a great sense of satisfaction to have that experiece and meet the challenge. The Bitterroot Ranch is a calming place where great memories are bulit, new friendships are formed and old ones renewed. Go--you will love it!

Room Tip: In Cheyenne, don't miss the Plains Hotel for lodging and dinner. In Dubois, book a room at the T...
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
UK
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 15, 2013

After reading some reviews on here, I feel the need to put my honest opinion on!
I first went to Bitterroot over 15 years ago, and have been NUMEROUS times since! This is a holiday of a lifetime! The staff are fantastic, the owners great, the food and lodgings perfect! I have been on my own as an advanced rider, with my husband, a total beginner, and with my Daughter, an intermediate! We obviously expected to be separated, as I did not want a walk only ride. We all had fantastic rides! All our riding progressed over the years.
I myself, have had 2 falls.... sorry, but don't you expect that when you sit on a horse? if you want a 'totally safe' sport then try quad biking.... although I have seen plenty of accidents with them too! I have to say, one fall was my own doing, I was carrying a water bottle that spooked the horse I was on, and the other was when I was jumping in the arena, the horse got somewhat excited (we went the first week of the season, as I liked the horses fresh!) and I slipped off! Both times I was unhurt, treated promptly and professionally and carried on!
Over the years I have visited Bitterroot, I have had the pleasure of riding the same horses!! These horses would not be there for this many years if they were not trained correctly! I have been part of the Bitterroot training myself, and as a 'professional' trainer in the UK, I can GUARANTEE that these horses are broken, backed and trained perfectly.
Mel has a 3 mark theory, so if the same horse gets 3 bad marks, it is no longer a Dude horse! PERFECT! that's what most riding schools in the UK do!
I have met hundreds of people from my time on the Ranch, a lot I still keep in contact with, all of which think the Bitterroot is one of the best Ranches Worldwide! Me included. I have ridden all over the world now, and the Bitterroot still tops it for me!
My daughter first came to the ranch at 8 years old, is 18 next year and is applying for a summer job on the ranch!
Mel is NOT cold, and snappy! Mel is one of the most lovely, caring people I have ever had the privilege to meet! She cares 100% for the horses and the guests .Bayard is a fantastic man, and together they have run a successful ranch for more than 40 years!
In all the times I have ridden on the ranch, I have seen a handful of accidents, and nearly all of them have been caused by rider error! But at the end of the day, horses are herd animals, and need to be treated so.
If you are, or have claimed to be, an advanced rider... you should be capable enough of showing that in the first 10 mins you sit on a horse in the evaluation! If you cant, your not what you said you were. Over the years, Mel has learnt to detect a good rider from the 30 seconds they leave the ranch to walk to the school... and she does it perfectly!
The rides are absolutely wonderful, going somewhere different, on different terrain each time. The horses are fabulous, I have never had a bad ride in all the ones I have done!

To anyone thinking of going to the Bitterroot... if you are honest about your capability from the start, you will have a holiday of a lifetime!

BITTERROOT RANCH ALL THE WAY!!!!!!!!!!!

Room Tip: We have stayed in JUNIPER every time! its my favourite!
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brussels, Belgium
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 9, 2012

I stayed at the ranch for a week in september. I can only be positive about my experience there.
First of all the people were simply amazing, whether it comes to the owners or the other guests.
I was travelling there alone and everyone made me feel welcomed, the meals we share all together are great in order to get to know people, i can say i made friends there.
Mel and Bayard are the sweetest people ever and you can definately learn a lot from them!
I was surely the less experienced or lets say less confident rider overthere after an accident some years ago in my country and i can actually say that this stay totally benefit my riding and confidence. For those saying that if you are not experience you will be set aside or disminished during the "test" THIS IS NOT TRUE !!!!! i've been given great horses all week long, everybody was very understading about my hesitations sometimes and very encouraging. On the "test" i was reluctant to try the canter and Mel and Hadley encouraged me to try it !
I also recommend taking a lesson with Hadley she is just fabulous and you can really improve using her advice.
you are NOT being treated differently depending on your skilss i was never being left out of any activities, i did all the rides and the cow sorting competition. I was always encouraged, all the horses i had the pleasure to have were very well trained horse and everything is made to insure your safety.
When it comes to the place itself it is just so peaceful and relaxing. The cabins are spacious and clean !!! yes if you leave doors open you will get bugs but hey you are in the wild what do you expect ? and yes it is possible that a mouse get inside it actually happened to me but it is just a mouse NOT rats i saw it she was more scared then i was and it ended up being quite funny. Again you are in the mountains, wood cabins i don't see how it could be otherwise.
The food was simply amazing and of very good quality !!!
i would totally recommend the place for anyone that wish for a peaceful time in an amazing place with great people respectuous of the horses and breathtaking view during your rides ! If you are a wannabe cowboy then you will be disapointed.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Irvington, New York
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 11, 2012

My husband and I just returned from a spectacular week at Bitterroot Ranch, which we finally visited after years of traveling worldwide on trips run by owners Mel and Bayard Fox run through their Equitours branch. The horses were extraordinarily well trained and cared for and we each had the pleasure of riding quite a number of them. In addition to quarter horses, the ranch also raises Arabians, which were new to me and which I now hope to ride again. The staff was wonderful, as was the food and facilities. Most of the other guests were repeat visitors, which is the best testament anyone can offer. Don't miss this one.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grand Rapids
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 10, 2012

I spent 10 days at Bitterroot Ranch in late August 2012. Bitterroot Ranch was a wonderful experience and far exceeded my expectations. I was looking for a place where I could improve my riding skills as well as experience a new environment. This was only my second ranch experience, and this time I truly hit the jackpot.
The ranch has a herd of about 200 horses, so well cared for it was a pleasure to witness. When I was there I was lucky enough to watch a chiropractor in action, treating about a dozen of the horses. Most of the horses are bred and trained on the ranch. There is a morning and afternoon ride each day, with a fresh horse provided for each ride. One of the nice things is that you get to use the same saddle for each ride, so that once your saddle is adjusted for stirrup length etc. it's done for the duration of your stay. Classes are offered on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, given by Hadley who is a great teacher. She seems to know exactly what to zero in on for each rider to improve with ease and build confidence.
The scenery is quite simply stunning. Every ride is different - you may be in a dry desert in the morning, cantering through sagebrush, eating the dust of the horse cantering ahead of you, and in the afternoon you may be in the woods or trotting across lush, open meadow. The complete and utter silence experienced in the wilderness is something to be absorbed and treasured in this day and age.
The riding groups are small and grouped according to skill level. Family members can stay together or split up according to ability. There is no pressure either way, but for families staying together the default level of the ride will always cater to the least experienced. Mel evaluates each new group of riders on the first morning to witness the skill levels first-hand, and also demonstrates how the horses should be ridden. Horses have to be ridden in two point position at the canter, and you must post the trot. I had never cantered in two point position, but after a short lesson from Hadley I got the hang of it. One thing that impressed me a lot was the support and interest taken in riders like myself who were trying to build skills and confidence, even outside of the lesson environment.
The accommodations are log cabins set a nice distance apart for privacy. They are rustic, but cozy and comfortable. My cabin had a small wood stove, which made me wish it was a bit cooler so that I would have an excuse to light it. The cabins are phone-and-TV-free, cell phone signals are erratic to say the least, and wireless internet is available in the lodge, but not completely reliable. I say all of the above as a compliment to the place - with no pressure to remain plugged in all the time, you can truly get away from it all and unwind.
The food is wonderful, fresh and natural. The beef served is ranch raised, there is a vegetable garden behind the lodge that provides some of the salad and veg served at mealtimes (there was a drought this year so the crop apparently was not as bountiful as it can be), and wine is served with dinner. Food is served buffet style with more than enough to go round.
The Fox family (Mel, Bayard, Richard and Hadley) are wonderful hosts, hands-on owners and are involved in the daily running of the ranch. It was a real pleasure to have them sit at mealtimes with the guests and share stories of their travels and adventures. The wranglers are all very skilled and knowledgeable with a surprising number being former guests who returned to work there.
Bitterroot Ranch offers a unique experience. I hesitate to call it a dude ranch. It's not a nose-to-tail, hot-tub-and-room-service-at -the-end-of-the-day-type of place. It's about the horses, the riding, the environment, the opportunity to meet and mingle with interesting people. It's about getting unplugged from your daily life and adopting a new rhythm for a while.
I traveled solo and wouldn't hesitate to go again. In fact I am already trying to figure out my calendar for next year so I can book my return visit.
A couple of hints I picked up along the way - Jackson is the best option to fly into, vs Riverton.
For solo travelers it is quite expensive to get transport to the ranch, as the charge is for the vehicle, not per person. If you are the only person in the vehicle, you absorb the full cost yourself. I was told by another guest that some good car rental deals can be found on priceline.com.

  • Stayed August 2012, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Bitterroot Ranch

Address: 1480 E. Fork Rd., Dubois, WY 82513
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Wyoming > Dubois
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 12 Specialty Lodging in Dubois
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The ranch is a 640-acre spread where the guests help with the fall cattle round-up. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Bitterroot Dude Ranch Hotel Dubois

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