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“Best Vacation Ever”

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Horseshoe Canyon Ranch
Reviewed June 21, 2013

We chose this ranch based off the reviews on this page -- and I am so very glad that we did. Our time at HCR has been deemed by our family as the "Best Vacation Ever!" I don't even know where to begin -- everything was terrific, from the staff to the activities, to the location to the food -- everything exceeded our expectations and when it was time for us to leave we were so sad! Let me start by saying that if you have the opportunity to stay the entire week, do it -- we only stayed for a half-week and we were really regretting it the day we left. There was so much left that we wanted to do, things we wanted to do again, and we are already planning our next trip for the spring and we are staying the full week. The cabins were cozy, clean, and simple and had everything we needed - though we were barely there because we were so busy!

The best thing about this ranch is that it is SO MUCH MORE than a horse ranch! We were constantly moving, doing so many fun activities, it was amazing. From trail rides to rock climbing, archery, shooting, the awesome canoe trip with Jason and Bryan down the Buffalo River, the Via Ferrata (a family favorite), zip line, the fun activities in the barn, the list goes on. You will not be bored here, I promise you that! Everything is organized well, and the schedule allows you to do whatever you like -- the days are full and fun -- by the time our heads hit the pillow at night we were out, but we were up and raring to go in the mornings.

The food -- wonderful -- the kitchen staff is really great -- they are friendly and they are talented. Homemade chicken strips were phenomenal, burgers were fantastic, and the dinners were great -- especially the pork loin. The meals are well put together with lots of choices and I loved the salad bar. Desserts were great and the cookies, oh my - they are available all day in the lodge, along with snacks and iced tea and lemonade.

The staff -- I can't say enough about the people here. Everyone was friendly and warm, everyone was knowledgeable in their area, and everyone went above and beyond for the guests. Top-notch folks who really take care of you and treat you like friends. Special thanks to the owner, Barry, who also went above and beyond for us (along with Jason, Cody, Morgan and Bryan), making sure that ours and another family had a chance to do an activity we didn't want to miss because we were leaving mid week. They went out of their way to put together an additional outing and when that ran late, Barry made sure the kitchen was aware that we would all be late for dinner (including him and the staff that worked extra to be with us!) We were blown away by the care and effort they took to make sure we had a great experience and we thank them all for making our trip that much better. This group has teamwork down to a tee -- and it is immensely obvious that they love what they do!

If you go, and you must if you have the opportunity, be sure to take the canoe trip down the Buffalo River - it is breathtaking scenery and a really fun day. We also loved the trail ride to a breakfast cookout and Goat Cave. Our favorite activity by far was the Via Ferrata (rock climbing).

I could go on forever -- but I'll end it by saying JUST GO -- you will not regret it! Our family cannot wait to return in 2014 :)

Room Tip: All of the cabins were lovely, but some are further from the main meeting area (the lodge) and are q...
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  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with family
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4  Thank PC40
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed June 17, 2013

Horseshoe Canyon Ranch was a fantastic week long vacation experience. The ranch offers diverse activities which kept our family busy. There are at least two adventure activities each day like rock climbing, zip lines, repelling, swimming (both pool and Buffalo River) and a canoe trip. There are also at least two horse activities each day with special rides to breakfast or dinner or a 3 hour ride at various times during the week. Activities such as rifle shooting, pistol shooting, tomahawk throwing, archery, milk crate contest, campfire, skeet shooting, and movie night kept the whole family busy. In case that is not enough the ranch has a barn loft with an indoor basketball court, cave simulator and rock walls.

The staff was great. Scott and his wranglers were patient with the kids teaching them how to handle a horse. Shannon was especially sweet. Jason and Morgan were both fantastic adventure guides. Jason lead us to try things that we did not think were possible and they were done in a safe and comfortable manner. Morgan was exceptional helping my eight year old daughter climb. Both of them have a great energy level which makes the activity even more enjoyable. Communication of the planned activities was good with a short briefing after each meal on what we could choose to do.

The food was good and they were able to accommodate another guest with special diet needs. Meals were filling and the kids liked what was cooked. Cookies, fruit, granola bars, tea, water and lemonade were always available in the lodge.

The guest cabin was great for a family. A queen size bed in its own room for the parents and a loft with four single beds for the kids. Walking up the hill up to the cabins lets you get some exercise.

Not all members of our family are horse lovers or a climbing experts but the ranch has so much to offer that there was never dull moment. Overall a great experience and we are looking forward to a second trip in the future.

Room Tip: Ask for a cabin at the bottom of the hill. Some cabins are side by side. Ask if one of the single...
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  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with family
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3  Thank jandnsdad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 16, 2013 via mobile

We loved our stay at Horseshoe Canyon Ranch! It is difficult to say enough good things about this place. We took the opportunity to do all the different activities the ranch has to offer, including horseback riding, canoeing, rock climbing, swimming, hiking, and zip lining. All the activities were thoughtfully planned, expertly organized, and professionally executed. Don't let the laid back attitude of the staff fool you, they are ready to let you have a GREAT vacation experience. Speaking of the staff they are wonderful, work very hard, and work well as a team. There was a new cook during the week we stayed, we immensely enjoyed all the food that was prepared for us.
One piece of advice, turn up on Sunday evening and plan to stay til Sunday morning, you won't regret a minute of your stay!

  • Stayed: June 2013
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1  Thank Docdic18
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 9, 2013

HCR is outstanding! Friendly, warm staff treats you like family. Plenty to do and staff maintains a safe environment while allowing for lots of adventure. There was no TV in the cabin but free wifi and plenty of games in the lodge, along with numerous things to do outdoors - playground, swimming, zip lining, the cave simulator, rock climbing, horseback riding, etc... Activities are available for all skill levels - beginners to more advanced - so there is truly something for all to do. We are definately planning on returning as soon as our schedule allows - would highly, highly recommend! This is a great place to spend some quality time with the family and enjoy the beautiful Ozark outdoors.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with family
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Thank arkiemommy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 30, 2013

We just returned from our vacation at HCR and had an incredible time. We went with my eight year old daughter and she was able to experience a myriad of "firsts" - first time shooting a .22 Rifle, .22 Pistol, Archery, Tomahawk Throw, Rock Climb, Zip Line. Add to that many horseback rides and it was a full week packed with great activities. The staff is fantastic, as apparent by the fact that my daughter who was terrified to try all of the aforementioned activities (horseback riding excluded) tried them all and loved them. The staff has a great way of interacting with customers of all ages and experience levels and they make you feel special from the moment you arrive. I can't wait to go back in the future with extended family members and highly recommend Horseshoe Canyon Ranch to anybody who is either looking for quality time with their family or to try new experiences.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank the_kuang
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 23, 2013

Our week at Horseshoe Canyon exceeded every expectation and pretty much met our highest hopes. The kids called it the "best vacation ever" and really meant it - they are already planning our next visit. The idea of a vacation where I could park the car at the beginning of the week and have someone else think about the where and when of every activity and every meal while I did just what I wanted sounded too good to be true. It wasn't. If you read their web site and think the place sounds fun, then go ahead make your reservations - it's even better in person.

Like every other dude ranch, this one has horses and various "ranch activities". But with a year in the gym, the kids on a climbing team, and very little outdoor climbing experience, we came first for the rock climbing, and boy did we get it. Our guides quickly felt like trusted friends taking us out to play - they were genuinely happy to have guests pushing the limits and climbing harder routes. They picked perfect routes for our skills levels and ramped it up as we wanted for maximum challenge while keeping it fun. My son completed the first 5.11 he tried, and flashed two more before the week was out. We all climbed an endless supply of 5.8 and 5.9 routes. My wife got comfortable with the high routes and climbing outdoors, and I learned about route set up, clean up, and various belay systems. The rock and the routes at HCR are every bit as good as any guide book says, and better if you have a personal guide showing you the secret hidden places.

So the climbing was great, but so were the horses. My daughter climbed every day, but she also wanted to ride horses. Activities were split into morning and afternoon, so she was able to do both almost every day including some one-on-one time when the rest of the guests were off canoeing. She’s still talking endlessly about how her horse Ziggy did this or that and all of the trail riding skills she acquired. Each guest is assigned a horse at the start of the week and you keep the same one all week, getting to know and bonding with your particular animal. I’m not much of a horse person, but I can say if all horses and guides were like these, I would be.

As for lodging, the guests are housed in small cabins with a private bedroom on the main level and a sleeping loft upstairs for the kids. Very nice and cozy and a great retreat when you want a little private time. Meals are served in a common dining area and are a social event unto themselves. The food is very good and the kids ate plenty of it. It’s ranch food – not gourmet, just good “comfort food” with local flair perfect after a day of strenuous outdoor activities.

This was our first “dude ranch” vacation so I came with a bit of uncertainty as to how it would work out. We typically do our trips off the beaten path and doing our own thing, so I was concerned about taking what seemed like a very structured approach in comparison. There was no reason to worry. The HCR staff took great care of us and we had, as the kids said, “the best week ever”.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with family
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3  Thank jh26
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 22, 2013

I had the opportunity to tour the ranch 5+ years prior for a family reunion, but was not able to use it. So, for 5 years I could not wait to take my immediate family. When we finally had the opportunity to go, the ranch exceeded our expecations! We had a wide variety of activities, a super friendly staff and a relaxed atmosphere to put you at ease. I would highly recommend this vacation to anyone wanting to be outdoors. We enjoyed everything we tried; horseback riding, rock climbing, zip lining, shooting, archery, hiking.... etc. It was awesome!

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
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Thank TracieGC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Horseshoe Canyon Ranch

Address: Hc 70, Jasper, AR 72641
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Arkansas > Jasper
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 8 Specialty Lodging in Jasper
Price Range: $170 - $205 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 13
Also Known As:
Horseshoe Canyon Ranch Hotel Jasper

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