French Broad River Outpost Ranch

French Broad River Outpost Ranch

French Broad River Outpost Ranch
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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31 reviews
Very good

Stefan Iovanescu
2 contributions
Aug 2020
My family and I had a great time at the French Broad Ranch. It is located in a very beautiful area with a view of the mountains and a river nearby, along with beautiful stretched out fields and trails that you will go through with your horses. The construction of the ranch is straight out of an old western movie, even including a saloon where you will go to see and hear bluegrass and country musicians on Fridays. Activities range from, horseback riding, to cattle drives and rafting, along with many more that keep you busy and having fun.The rooms were very clean with a rustic western touch, and when you wake up in the morning you are greeted with a nice sunrise, and view of the Smoky Mountains. The food was very good and the staff was very helpful and kind. The owners Shawn and Jo Ann work very hard to keep you happy and help you get the best out of your vacation. Shawn is a great horseback riding teacher and does an amazing job at explaining how you should handle your horse. Leaving the ranch we are all confident in our horseback riding abilities and can see a big difference from when we first arrived to when we left. We would recommend this ranch to anybody who wants to have a vacation or great time in Tennessee. Thank you to Shawn, Jo Ann and the staff for a wonderful time! ~From Dan, Mimi, Stefan, & Diana
Written August 16, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Granbury, TX75 contributions
Aug 2022
My husband & I met our son & his family at French Broad Outpost. It was a wonderful week in beautiful surroundings.
Our room was comfortable, but a bit dark. It was furnished with lots of western decor, & rustic furniture. There were lots of books, if you didn’t want to participate in whatever activity was going on.
There was plenty to keep the kids occupied. A favorite thing was to feed carrots to the donkeys & horses. The wranglers were very patient with my grandchildren, Safety was always a top priority's when we were around the horses.
The afternoon spent tubing on the river was a real respite from the heat of the day. The rafting trip was not so great. It was a hot, sweaty float down the river. If we were to go back, I would skip it.
One night there was bluegrass music, and the next night, a square dance. I was skeptical, but really enjoyed it. The musicians came early to have dinner with us on those evenings.
Meals were served family style in the dining room. There was always plenty of food, & it was always tasty. I liked that the wranglers always had meals with the guests. That provided an opportunity to learn more about the ranch.
The atmosphere is such that strangers quickly become friends. This is a wonderful place for a family gathering, or just for a couple needing to « unplug ».
Written August 24, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Dana H
6 contributions
Jul 2020 • Family
I can’t say enough about how wonderful this trip was for my family. Sean and Jo Ann, the owners of the ranch, are so involved in every aspect of this week long adventure. It is so evident how much they care about not only their animals, but also about their guests. We are not “horse people” but my family of 5 genuinely grew to love our horses that we adopted for the week. Every part of this getaway was an adventure, from the trail rides, to the tubing in the French Broad River. Sean and Jo Ann, and the rest of the staff, foster a family atmosphere amongst their guests and we got to know some really kind people during our stay. It is so much fun to get out for the day, get really dirty, and return to a room that is immaculate to get cleaned up for the evening fun. I couldn’t recommend this getaway enough.
Written July 25, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Betty K
2 contributions
Sep 2022
Just returned from a most fabulous time at The French Broad Outpost Dude Ranch. My sister Jeanne Brown and I attended the Women's Week adventure. Words can not express just how much fun we all had. Shawn, Joanne, Debbie, Riley, Robert and rest of staff went so far above our expectations, we can't thank you enough. If you are looking for a true western adventure and all the riding and eating etc, you will not be disappointed. Oh yes, the horses and cattle were excellent. Thank you again French Broad Ranch for making this bucket list item a memorable, exciting, One of the BEST Vacations ever! I miss Mariah (my horse for the week!) Oh yes, fyi: you're never to old to ride, Me 68, Jeanne 72.
Written September 21, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Pretty L
New York City, NY10 contributions
Jul 2017 • Family
My partner and I took the grandchildren for what we thought would be a fun ranch holiday, but with hindsight it was a mistake and we should have paid more attention to the more negative reviews. The ranch is in a lovely setting, albeit very isolated and hard to find, but after our stay I was left with a number of unanswered questions.

Why can’t adults have a beer or a glass of wine with their meals? I understand that riding and alcohol don’t mix, but if someone has finished riding for the day and wants a drink with their meal, what’s wrong with that? Why is there no choice at meal times? Even at breakfast you can’t ask for a boiled egg or an omelette or even French toast. You have to take what’s given. The ranch is expensive, why isn’t there a choice at meal times? Even convicts get a choice. Why are portions so tightly controlled? All food is served from communal platters and if someone takes too much there’s none left for the person last served. When I have a big group at my house I would think I had failed as a host if all the serving plates were empty. And if you do ask for more then you are told no. Really, no second helpings? My goodness! Rates are high, why isn’t there more food? Can you spell out exactly when breakfast is served because it seemed to me that if you missed it by ten minutes then you didn’t get fed.

No dogs? Why not? It’s in the middle of nowhere and our dog is just fine around horses.

Why do the staff appear so unhappy, and so unhelpful, most of the time? I rarely saw a smile during my stay.

Why can guests not lock their rooms? While the staff might be trustworthy, do you run criminal record checks on all your guests? If not, how can you trust the guests? I was uneasy leaving valuables in a room that could not be secured. I have an expensive watch that I didn’t want to wear while I was riding, so what was I expected to do with it?

Why do you decide when the games room should be shut for the night? If the guests are having a good time, why do you impose a curfew? As there is only one TV for guest use, why is there such a limited range of videos? Everything seemed cowboy related and while guests have signed up for a ranch holiday that doesn’t mean they only want to watch shows set in the Wild West. As you do impose a curfew and give people no other choice than to retire to their rooms, why not provide TVs and DVD players in the rooms?

Is there a refrigerator in the room? I couldn’t find one. How was I supposed to keep my water and sodas cool?

Why don’t you issue all riders with riding hats? I saw several people fall during my stay and it’s dangerous to have riders hatless.

Is anyone at the ranch medically trained or with first aid experience? In the event of a serious accident, what are you procedures? How would you call for an ambulance in the event of a medical emergency?

Why do you tell guests that it is safe to walk behind a horse when established wisdom is that it is decidedly unsafe? Joking that ‘it might kick you but it won’t kill you’ as you did is just plain irresponsible. One of our group was given a horse but was warned that it liked to kick and that it should be kept away from other horses. Do you think it is acceptable to give guests badly-behaved horses, especially when there are children around?

You insist all guests to sign a waiver that if they are involved in an accident then you are not to blame. In view of the fact you do not issue riding hats, you tell people to walk behind horses, and you have horses that like to kick, do you think that waiver will stand up in court?

Why do you add a large gratuity to every bill? Why can’t you leave it up to the guests to decide how big a tip to leave? I realize that is a lot of questions but it would be nice to have them answered.
Written July 19, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Please read the response to this reviewer on the other Trip Advisor page for us under: "French Broad Outpost Ranch".
Written August 9, 2017
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Fritz S
Bishopville, South Carolina, United States8 contributions
Jun 2015 • Family
My wife has wanted to go to a dude ranch for 10 years. I wasn't really into the idea but thought I would be the good husband and sign us up for it. Well, let me tell you that we had a WONDERFUL time!!! I have never really been a "horse" person but Shaun's riding technique made me more comfortable on a horse than I have ever been.

He and his staff were TOP NOTCH. By the 2nd day, they called me, my wife and all 3 of my boys by our first name. Not only that, they are the hardest working group of people I have ever meet.

The horse trips were long enough to get plenty of horse time but not to long. My favorite parts were the herding of the cattle from the pasture to the pen, team penning and the Wed night dinner ride.

Our 3 boys(20, 15, 13) also had a great time even without cell phone service. Instead of spending hours watching Netflix, they sat around a table playing card, finishing a puzzle and laughing; tons of laughing!!!! Our 13 year old who really didn't want to go after the 2nd day pulled me to the side and said "This place isn't so bad, I am having a BUNCH of fun".

Then, let me tell you that the food is OUT OF THIS WORLD. Scrambled eggs, bacon, grits, etc for breakfast to, unbelievable sandwiches for lunch and dinners that were out of this world!!! True home cooked meals that make you think that your Grandma(or at least mine) was in the kitchen turning out one favorite after another.

Below is a link to the other TripAdvisor category where this wonderful company has more more reviews.

Hope to see you there when we go back!!!
Written June 11, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Fort Lauderdale, FL25 contributions
Jul 2013 • Family
My 16 year old son and I visited the ranch as a week get away to try something new. We drove from Fl with an overnight stop in Columbia SC just to break up the trip which was perfect. We were able to explore a little bit and find where the nearest internet service was before going through the gates at 4pm.
Our experience was amazing in part because riding horses, rafting, good people and good food just make for a great time but the other part is about what YOU make the experience. There is plenty to do at the ranch like riding, hiking, swimming, taking walks, playing in the game room etc, and there is a schedule of who rides when. There may an hour or so between the scheduled rides. My son chose to offer to help the wranglers with their duties during his down time, and that is what made his experience so special for him. The wranglers welcomed him into their circle and put him to work. He loved it! He did not want to leave and said that this vacation was the best he had ever had. (this is a kid who has vacationed in Greece, Turkey, Italy, Costa Rica, Canada, the Caribbean, cruises, skiing, to name a few and to give some perspective. He didn't want to leave!
The food at the ranch is rib sticking home style food that is plentiful. What was probably the most noticeably lacking was fresh produce. Understandably, produce is expensive and so is running a ranch. There is a grocery store and Wal-Mart about 30 minutes away, so you can always get what you need if you feel the need to add some fresh fruit. We were served meals such as pulled chicken sandwiches and chips, chicken breasts, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, pork chops, fettuccine Alfredo, tomato soup and grilled cheese. pork tenderloin and potatoes, watermelon, rolls and biscuits, lots of fresh tomatoes that were amazing and in season. Breakfasts were traditional things like pancakes, oatmeal, grits, bacon, sausage... My son loved the food and he loved even more the opportunity to sit family style and interact with all of the guests over a meal. It is not gourmet, but it is perfect for his setting.

In the evening, there was a kids rodeo, traditional field games, square dancing, and line dancing, All were a ton of fun and yielded a ton of laughs.

Riders are taught to saddle their horses and they are expected to do so on every ride. It is part of what goes along with riding. No one is their to coddle you, but they do check every single saddle and make adjustments before the ride.

We asked for additional lesson at the beginning of the week and were lucky enough to be able to get one...the wranglers work long hours and have very little time between scheduled events to make time for this. We happened to be there after there had been a ton of rain, and because the river was so full, we were unable to do the lower level raft for safety reasons and that is why the lesson was permitted I think. I would highly suggest the progressive lesson that is available to the week long guest if you are feeling a little comfortable in the saddle. It is a ton of fun and great tips are given. It will also get you more comfortable for the progressive trail ride qualifier the next morning. A note on that- my son really wanted to do the progressive trail ride on Friday. It requires passing Shawn's test in the ring first. My son was so disappointed that he didn't pass, however, I was relieved. The progressive trail ride is a canter through terrain that is steep, rugged, rocky and narrow. While I know that after a week, we all feel like expert riders, the reality is we are not. I compared it to driving for my son and how he is not allowed on the highways yet as it would be irresponsible of me to put him into fast moving and unpredictable situations when he has little to no experience. It would be just as irresponsible for Shawn to put riders on a horse when there is a great likelihood that their horse wont be able to be controlled by the rider. I deeply respected that he chose only one rider to go on this ride and she was a rider who had much experience in the English saddle. Even she was put to the test in the ring before Shawn would allow her to go.

Do the rafting trip that is offsite for sure. It is part of your week long package. it is done by 5 rivers rafting company and again safety and fun are stressed. It is class 2, 3, and one or two 4 rapids. Ask for Clark to be your guide...he's a crazy man with a ton of experience and he makes it twice as fun.

Bring band aids for boot blisters or wear your boots in before going. Bug spray is a must have. extra carrots and apples are great to have to feed the horses. BYOB if you want more than beer. A cooler is a great thing to have with sodas and bottled water or your mixers for your drinks.
water shoes are needed for the rafting (or heel backed shoes that you don't mind getting wet.) In July, the weather was hot and we were all thankful for cloud cover. We did not have rain while there, but a rain jacket would be a smart thing to have just in case.

Hopefully this is helpful; we would do this trip again this summer with my husband and daughter if there was an opening. It is a great experience for all ages. (there were families with kids ages 7-17 on our trip and every single kid wanted to stay longer!)

Finally, we have to thank the owner and staff because they ensured our safety, and made sure a great time was had by all. One of the wranglers, Myon, in particular is just the most amazing person with animals that I have ever seen. Logan made the guests feel special and was very informative and helpful. Mel also was really great to guests and the best line dancer teacher in the evening. Alla, new to the ranch, did anything she could to make people feel welcome. Shawn and his wife have a love for their animals and for making the experience a unique one for their guests and take safety very seriously.

The rooms are deep cleaned weekly and freshened daily, but you are not pampered. Beds are not changed and made for you on a daily basis. The room is vacuumed and towels are changed as needed. There are no tv;s in the rooms, and internet service does not work at the ranch. I think Verizon was the only phone service that people were able to get on a limited basis. I did have my laptop with me which was great for swooping and sharing pictures from my picture card to other peoples and vice versa. So bring a good book, or your hiking shoes for the down time and enjoy the peace of being disconnected for a week. It was awesome!

So if you're still reading, book it! they sell out fast and you will have the time of your life.
Written July 21, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Jennifer M
Greer, SC36 contributions
Jul 2013 • Family
My 9 year old said this was the best vacation ever! I hope we can return every year. Great food. Horseback rides twice a day, some days cattle drives. Tubing/rafting if you choose. Everything is included. OK, so if you need to get away from it all, this is the place. I could not get any service on my I-phone ( Verizon) although a few said they could get 1 bar down at the hitching post or if the did a drastic maneuver on their bed and held their mouth just right. However, "town" (Newport) is about 20 minutes away. Also, no TV in the room. One big screen available in the game room with a vcr/dvd and a cabinet full of western movies. Oh, and did I say the food is fantastic! Every meal was delicious, home cooked, I loved everything even if it wasn't something I ate at home. Frankly, because it was so good, and also because that's all you have. Its all served family style, making it easier to get to know everyone at the ranch. Learning how to saddle your own horse is great, and making the kids learn too is awesome. Please wear boots, tennis shoes are ok, but riding the way they teach you is much easier in boots with a short heel. Also, long pants, and long sleeve shirts, its cooler under the trees, which is where most of the rides occur, and the horse like to walk on the edge so you will scraped and scratched up after a ride. The long sleeves also help if bugs like to bite you. I only took two pairs of jeans and no long sleeves and I regretted it. A washer and dryer is available so I washed my jeans as needed, but would have been better if I had more. Also, you go on one ride in morning and you may be sweaty, or rained on, or muddy, or whatever so you may not want to wear the same clothes all day (to lunch and on the afternoon ride and to dinner). So prepare for that. The rooms were comfortable and clean. The wranglers, were all very nice and accommodating willing to help you or answer questions. Overall, if you like a little adventure, and can do without all the amenities, this is where you want to go. Oh, and don't sit out on the square dancing, you will probably never see any of these people again, so go ahead and look like a big doofus. You will smile the whole time.
Written August 9, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Pensacola, FL5 contributions
Nov 2017 • Couples
I read all the reviews on the French Broad Outpost Ranch prior to spending a three night stay. I also read all the rules and regulations before I went, of which there were a few, like a weight limit for the horses. If you weigh more than the limit for the horse, don't expect Shawn to make concessions. He cares about his animals and I can respect and appreciate that. If you want a 5 star Michelin meal, go to San Francisco or New York. What you get is the experience of sitting at a table, sharing a country meal and getting to know people from all over the country. The rustic accommodations were authentic, clean and appropriate for a ranch. The fall rides on the gentle Arabians through the beautiful Tennessee Smokies was a wonderful way to enjoy the stunning vistas of the changing colors of the trees and the rushing waters of the French Broad river. I even liked the comforting sound of the distant train that passed by the ranch twice a day. Sitting on the porch on a foggy morning watching the sun rise, hearing the animals beginning to stir (Jasper the donkey's morning bay) and drinking a cup of hot coffee...mmm, it doesn't get much better than that. You may think square dancing is hokey but don't tell that to the people laughing, dancing and having a great time on the dance floor. They won't agree with you. I didn't know what to expect after reading the reviews so I left all expectations at home, along with my cell phone and lap top. If you can't unwind and enjoy the experience, then stay home, because you just don't get it.
Written November 19, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Cincinnati, OH30 contributions
Oct 2017 • Friends
This would be terrific for just about anyone who appreciates a great time away from electronics, stress and urban nonsense. Our host, Shawn, is one of those people who says what he thinks and is a terrific teacher. Our group of four friends were not well versed in horses and after 3 days we felt we had a level of comfort around them. His wife and the ranch hands were all very personable and knowledgeable. Zee did all the cooking, cleaning of the rooms and was also available to help with the horses- I wanted to take her home. The rooms were very comfortable and the decor was amazing- all things horsey. Three days was not really enough as one full day it rained and that should be taken into consideration when making plans. We did learn to play Texas Hold Em and there are plenty of other things to do. I understand in the summer months activities include white water rafting, a cattle round-up, and many other things. There is a big screen TV but we were having such a good time with each other, there was no need for that. The scenery is beautiful and peaceful . I look forward to returning, it's comforting to know places like this still exist. I must address some of the negative reviews- actually reading the brochure would have answered all questions/concerns. After doing so, a phone call to the ranch might have been a good idea!
Written October 29, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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