by Cindy Hirschfeld
A stay at this lovely guest ranch, on 5,000 acres below the Continental Divide and about 20 minutes from the ski area, can be a vacation in and of itself. The upscale-rustic lodge rooms, many with fireplaces, are convenient to everything at the ranch. For privacy, room to spread out, and a beautifully rendered version of Western luxe style, book one of the 16 cabins a half-mile from the lodge (dogs are welcome in some, too). Two restaurants are on site: the romantic Ranch House, in the ranch’s original handhewn-log homestead (from 1937), and the family-oriented Heck’s Tavern, housed in a hexagonal room built to resemble Oregon’s Timberline Lodge.
Activities are numerous: In winter, the ranch grooms more than 100 kilometers of trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, and also offers sleigh rides, horseback riding, ice skating, and sledding. Summer brings fly-fishing ponds, hiking, mountain biking, an extensive menu of horse-related options, and the opening of the indoor/outdoor pool.
The ranch also has a wealth of family-friendly activities; some of the more notable ones include Old McDonald (a guided meet-the-farm-animals experience), pony rides through the woods, family horseback rides, kids’ barn BBQs, movie nights, and a good old-fashioned game room (no video). Kids 5 to 12 can sign up for a half- or full day of Cowpoke Camp on summer weekends (giving you a chance to duck into the incredibly soothing spa for a treatment or a yoga class) and 10- to 14-year-olds can attend one of three monthly Junior Wrangler Daycamps — the three-day sessions devote mornings to horseback riding and care and afternoons to other outdoor activities and games.
Our Editor Loves
- Children's and teens' summer programs
- Indoor/outdoor pool onsite
- Pony rides and farm animals
After several great visits to Devil’s Thumb in the past, we were disappointed with the overall food service this time. It seems the Ranch caters to corporate groups and can’t accommodate the regular guests needs as far as meals. The regular restaurant “Heck’s” which is family friendly is no longer open for dinner. Reservations are required for ALL meals. However, we had great difficulty making a dinner reservation at the Ranch House.
At the Ranch House, about 5 tables were actually filled. Clearly, the Ranch does not have the staff to properly provide services. There was a party by the pool with glasses and bottles which I personally cleaned up so that there would not be broken glass in the hot tub.
Since the Ranch is a few miles from town, it makes a difference that the food service is spotty. The wifi situation was also very inconsistent but on a vacation that was less of an issue to us.
We will not likely visit the Ranch again soon as prices have gone up and services have gone down. It is sad to see such a beautiful place so poorly managed.
The mountain views of this property are amazing. We had a great time experiencing the various activities- fly fishing, horseback riding, hiking and the pool is wonderful. We ate diner at both restaurants on property and they were both really good. I ended with morning yoga and breakfast with a view. We'd like to come back with a larger group