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“If you love riding, this is the place to go in the Rockies”

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Outpost at Warden Rock
Ranked #15 of 28 Banff B&B and Inns
Reviewed August 18, 2011

The Outpost was created by Tim Barton who packed in the Rockies all his life, who taught horse physiology in college, who is a farrier, etc. His wife Julie Leavens also plays a great part in this outfit (administrator, massage therapist, excellent guide and teacher for gaiting, webmistress). 
There are about a dozen cabins for the guests and staff. Each guest has his or her own cabin, with a heavy down comforter (Tim sewed them himself!), a woodstove (I lit up mine two nights out of three, it's cold at night up there in the mountains). It is very rustic, but comfortable: no electricity, no phone, no internet of course. The best place to get away from it all! They do have a satellite phone for emergencies. One outhouse for cowgirls, one for cowboys. As I said, it is rustic.There's a shower. One for all. And a godsend: a hot tub. The jets aren't very strong, but after 6-7 hours in the saddle, sitting in hot water is great. Woodstoves are used to heat the water.
The food is very good, homecooked meals. Even the fruit salad is made fresh every day. The staff are mostly WWOOFers, WWOOF is a program a bit similar to Yard and Groom's job placement.
The Outpost is surrounded by mountains, on a piece of land ensconced between the Ya Ha Tinda Ranch (government owned) and Banff National Park, on the banks of the Red Deer River where it is still aqua-blue glacier water. A river we cross on every ride. I had never before crossed on a horse a river this deep and with such a strong current. The trails are numerous, a lot of them are in the bush and very narrow. Julie and Tim know their backcountry very well, they've explored it a lot, those trails are endless. You don't see "just trees" as I've read (and written) in reviews about other places, the beauty of the vistas often left me speechless.  Their horses are great.

Experienced riders get to ride gaited horses, a great way to explore. You can cover a lot of ground real fast, for a long time. I don't believe other outfitters offer that. Most outfitter's insurers don't allow any other gaits than walk, in the Rockies, but the Outpost gets away with it because all those special gaits are considered "walking" given the number of feet on the ground at any one time.
They also have mules and draft horses. When you go to the Outpost, you park in the Ya Ha Tinda parking lot, and get on a stagecoach and the ride up to the Outpost is about an hour and a half. I never thought riding in a stagecoach would be this exciting! I got to ride on top, with a 360 degree view of the mountains and river, and the best spot to watch the draft horses at work. Driving those isn't as easy as it seems!
What's special about the Outpost at Warden Rock: a) wilderness without camping, b) gaited horses for experienced riders, c) excellent storytelling by Tim, d) the ride in a stagecoach, a covered wagon or a buggy. And of course, the Rockies.

I believe non riders, like hikers, can stay there too.

  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled solo
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Service
3  Thank Tabix
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Outpost at Warden Rock

Address: Warden Rock, near Banff National Park | P.O. Box 461, Banff, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
Location: Canada > Alberta > Canadian Rockies > Banff National Park > Banff
Hotel Style:
Ranked #15 of 28 B&Bs / Inns in Banff

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