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“Scenic, restful, friendly, well-managed....something for all”

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The Cataloochee Ranch
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed July 10, 2010

After hearing about Cataloochee Ranch for years, we finally got a chance to spend a couple nights there, and we are happy we did. The property is rustic/elegant, tastefully provided with what you need but not opulent. There are 15-20 miles of scenic and moderately challenging walking trails, with some terrific views. The horseback program is very popular and well run. The little trout pond has many lunkers in it, and the kitchen will cook them for you. Kids love this place, but it is also relaxing and quiet for all...a great opportunity for families to spend some quality time together.

The food is high quality and tasty, with a local flavor; e.g., biscuits and gravy generally get a bad rap, but theirs are well and carefully prepared, with sausage bits and a complex sauce. I rarely eat this anywhere else, but it is very good here. The fried chicken, ham and veggies are also tasty. Some nice wine and beers are served, and the service throughout is cordial and accommodating, with staff coming from nearby communities. After dinner, live music and raconteurs are often featured. Guests are quality folks, coming from all over and generally being very simpatico, unpretentious and engaging without being intrusive.

  • Stayed: July 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank CarolinaTrekkers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviews (103)
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91 - 97 of 103 reviews

Reviewed September 28, 2009

My husband and I have stayed at the ranch a few times and at different times of the year. The staff, other guest and especially the horses and wranglers are always fantastic. We go to ride and have never had a bad experience. The views are out of this world and the family always makes us feel right at home. I strongly reccomend the ranch if you are not looking for frilly but if you are looking for a break from the fast lane this is definely the place to relax and enjoy some good southern hospitality. Oh and the food is to die for. Thank you Cataloochee Ranch for another great trip see you in June for a longer stay.
Gale Baltimore, MD

  • Stayed: September 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank gcat6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 25, 2009

Great place to get away from it all. The staff is warm and friendly. We stayed at two log cabins with our family and another family and had a great time. Food is good ole country cooking - that you are sure to burn off the calories with all the hiking, horseback riding, water rafting, etc... Breakfast is from 8-9am and dinner is from 7-8pm. They also have a tennis court, pool, horses, basketball, etc. The other families staying there have been coming back to this ranch/resort for the past 10+ years!

  • Stayed: June 2009, traveled with family
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2  Thank 243travel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 18, 2008

My family has stayed here for 15 years now, and I'm pleased to say the second generation is now staying there too. We live in Atlanta which gets absolutely unbearable by August with the incredible baking heat.

It's a short drive (2.5 hours) from Atlanta, giving you time to get there for the afternoon rides. Your first visit is simply magical!!
You leave the floor of quaint 1950's-era Maggie Valley, then start a very steep, winding trip up the mountain road to the ranch. You watch your car's outside temperature gage begin to drop from 100 degrees to lower and lower, going down about a degree every few hundred yards. Suddenly you're at 68 degrees, you crest a hill, and come across a mountain paradise!

Large sloping hills of impossibly-green pastures backed by miles and miles of the Smoky Mountains. Genuine Log cabins are dotted across the landscape as you make your way to the main lodge which has a roaring fireplace with full-sized logs glowing inside.

By now, we've basically stayed in every single cabin and room. They break down into four main categories: rooms in the main lodge (with quaint old-fashioned claw-footed bathtubs), the older cabins (my personal favorite) with the main bed and fireplace and a second bedroom, the Silverbell lodge (can lodge a TON of people with lots of beds and full kitchen), then the Romance Cabins with inside giant Jacuzzi tubs facing the fireplace.

A HUGE breakfast and dinner is included in the price...and you can catch trout in the pond to have served for your breakfast if you like (I like!.) There are two types of dinner....in-door family style and outdoor BBQ. I vastly prefer the in-door family style meals. Huge plates of fried chicken, venison, pork, country vegetables, with gallons of perfect sweet tea served in mason jars...it just does NOT get better than that! Tons of hummingbirds flit outside the screens feeding from the feeders.

Surprisingly for a ranch, the horseback riding is extra, but the experience is overwhelmingly magnificent. Hemphill Bald and The Sage are my favorite rides. When you build up the endurance, all-day rides are very much fun! All riding is done nose-to-tail which can be a bit tedious if you have an insecure rider in front or back, but with a good wrangler, you certainly get enough fast riding to get your adrenaline going. Try everything you can not to get stuck with little kids in your particular group or you will walk all day.

Most of the wranglers are female and boy they don't take gruff from anybody! Just kinda stay outta their way.

The main ranch is very much a family-run business with a strong pecking order. They really do wish to please.

I was vastly disappointed when they switched from genuine fireplaces to fake gas fireplaces...something was just nice on a frosty night to hear the crackling fire....but you can still go to the main lodge for this. It is magnificent before and after dinner sitting on your personal wood porches by your cabins with your feet up, just enjoying the clean, crisp air and letting your sore muscles relax.

When you're lucky, their motel pool-sized jacuzzi is heated and running...a perfect end to a long ride. They have nice tennis courts for those who still have energy left, but mostly, people eat until they are stuffed then drowsily watch the giant main lodge fireplace as the evening entertainment (singing, story-telling, maybe genuine wolves) takes place.

This....is my happy place.

  • Stayed: August 2007, traveled with family
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5  Thank LTownsendMD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 4, 2007

If you are looking for a restful and relaxing get-away free from the cement jungle, you can't find a better place than the Cataloochee Ranch. The sights are beautiful, the staff is friendly, the food is plentiful and delicious. We stayed in the Goldfinch room which was modest and adequate but the convenience of staying in the main ranch was well worth it. The family owners are cordial and very interested in the well-being of their guests.

If you are into horseback riding, you've also come to the right place. The trails take you through some of North Carolina's most scenic country. The view from Hemphill Bald is simply spectacular. My wife and I enjoyed hiking through the many trails and walking through the vast pastures amongst the ranch's horses.

Expect to share stories with your fellow ranch guests. It is like going back to a simplier time. The ranch's main fireplace is a piece of beauty and draws you into its warmth and ambience.

It was obvious from our stay why folks return to the ranch again, and again. You can count us among the Cataloochee Ranch fans.

  • Stayed: September 2007, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank TravelnMan2007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 1, 2007

This third-generation family owned resort sits on a mountaintop preserve amid stunning scenery. The rustic cabins are clean and comfortable. The basic food is plentiful with some excellent standouts such as the breakfast biscuits. The kitchen and wait staff are friendly and attentive. The stable wranglers - primarily young women - are very helpful and knowledgeable, and the trail horses well-trained and chosen according to the riders' abilities or lack thereof.

The front desk clerks are less welcoming, but the big problem seems to be family squabbling. The family is notably absent except for one of the older members, who makes his displeasure with the others known. At one of the evening social hours he let forth with a string of invective about his kinfolk and then was rude to several of the guests. This is a pricey place to stay; guests will not put up with this sort of behavior very long. Management needs to get a grip.

  • Stayed: September 2007, traveled with family
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5  Thank Pushing60
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 20, 2007

So I called and made reservations to go riding at Cataloochee Ranch to test out their facilities in advance of possibly having my whole family up for a reunion. I called 45 minutes ahead of time to confirm my reservation and then when I arrived they would not honor it. I was 10 minutes early for the ride and when I got there they said that they had already let the horses go because they were not sure that I was coming.

AGAIN, I called 45 minutes ahead of time to confirm and was there 10 minutes early...

I think the worst part was that when I asked to speak to a manager there was no one available. So I left a message. They did not call me. So I called again two days later. I was thinking in my head maybe this is just one employee that just wanted to go home so they acted not in the best interest of the organisation. In said case the owner should know that they have a bad employee. The owner did not return my call.

Then finally the barn manager called me back and was rude to me on the phone and actually started to raise her voice at me. AGAIN TERRIBLE SERVICE!!! IT IS APPARERNTLY RAMPANT FROM THE RECEPTIONIST TO THE EMPLOYEES ALL THE WAY TO THE STAFF.

STAY AT THE BILTMORE INSTEAD. THEY HAVE BEAUTIFUL TRAILS AND GREAT SERVICE. On the day that I was gilted by Cataloochee I called Biltmore and they accomodated me immediatly with gracious service.

AVOID CATALOOCHEE IF YOU WANT GRACIOUS SERVICE!!!!!

  • Stayed: August 2007, traveled solo
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6  Thank queenkudzoo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Cataloochee Ranch

Address: 119 Ranch Dr., Maggie Valley, NC 28751-8509
Phone Number:
Location: United States > North Carolina > North Carolina Mountains > Maggie Valley
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Kitchenette Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 21 Specialty Lodging in Maggie Valley
Number of rooms: 24
Also Known As:
The Cataloochee Ranch Hotel Maggie Valley

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