Ever wonder how it would be to live like a cowboy or cowgirl, with maybe a few modern conveniences thrown in? Here are some ideas for a great family stay-cation getaway in Washington that will have you hollering “yee-haw”!
Bull Hill Guest Ranch
3738 Bull Hill Road
Kettle Falls, WA 99141
Winner of Best Northwest Escapes Horseback Riding in 2009 and 2010, this century old cattle ranch has nearly 50,000 acres, 70 horses to ride, and a whole bunch of experiences to be had. Northwest families can load up their kids and pets and literally “head out” on excursions that include cattle drives, trail riding, hearty meals, western-themed accommodations and friendly hosts packaged up in an all-inclusive daily rate that makes for a memorable experience. Go out for a half-day or full day cattle drive, or take a leisurely guided trail ride. Bull Hill caters to beginners as well as those advanced in riding skills. Once you’re off the horse, enjoy a soak in one of the ranch’s hot tubs to soothe those achy cowboy muscles. There’s also fishing in the fully stocked lake. Ready for some shut-eye? The ranch has seven, two-story cabins and two luxurious executive-style cabins—all located in private settings against a backdrop of cedars, cottonwoods and aspens. Each of the ranch’s seven cabins are themed with names that have come out of popular western folklore, like The Ponderosa, The Virginian, or Rawhide. The new Ranch Spa can pamper you with skin care treatments and massage, or you can mosey on down to the China Bend Vineyard for organic wine tasting. With hiking, swimming, volleyball and so much exploring to do – you and the family can make a stay-in-Washington summer vacation fun and memorable.
Icicle Ranch Trail Riding Company
7373 Icicle Road
Just outside of the Bavarian village of Leavenworth is a western adventure extraordinare. Icicle Outfitters offers you and your family guided summer trail rides, pack trips, high lake fishing, hiking trips, and fall hunting trips. Also offered are drop camp services, full-service deluxe camps, or trail rides by the day or by the hour. They have gentle, trail-wise horses, just waiting to carry you away from it all, even the high alpine country from horseback. There’s no better way to go! You can stay in town at one of Leavenworth’s many hotels, or choose to sleep under the stars, cowboy style. You don’t need any special equipment or skills — just a warm sleeping bag and your personal gear. The horses and wranglers will take care of the rest. You can spend your time getting acquainted with your horse, exploring breath-taking scenery, photographing nature’s wonders, or fishing crystal clear streams. Custom Deluxe Pack trips include saddle horses, pack horses, a wrangler, cook, food, your tent, and the camp. You can customize the trip to your specifications on the length of your stay and destination. Trips can range between two days and a week.
Stillwater Ranch Trail Riding Company
36901 Mann Rd
Sultan, WA 98294
The Stillwater Ranch is located just one hour from Seattle in eastern Snohomish County. They offer a three-hour trail ride with a delicious lunch on the most exquisite horseback riding trails that stretch along the Skykomish River and up the beautiful mountains overlooking the Sky Valley. They also offer youth day camps, and relaxing day rides for family and friends in a down home setting on the river that takes you away from the rush of the city. Other activities include fishing, hunting, hiking, overnight camping and saddle & paddle adventures. For a stay-cation getaway, you can witness the life of a true cowboy for a day first hand. Or you can head out on an overnight excursion with your own pack mule, leaving the ranch in late afternoon, you’ll ride your horse about an hour and a half to your campsite. All your gear is packed in by mule and horse, which is the only way to get to the campsite. Relax while your campsite is set up, and a cowboy meal is prepared for you. The campsite is along the Skykomish River nestled in the woods. There is a sandy beach within a short walking distance where you can have a bonfire, swim, play in the water, fish, explore or just relax. There are lots of hiking trails for exploring. This is a “true” backcountry camping experience. No showers, no bathrooms .no electricity. You will see the occasional horseback rider, hiker or rafter. Other than that you see very few people, so you can truly get away from it all.