Gene Kilgore’s Ranch Vacations

Ranch Vacations
The Leading Guide to Guest and Resort, Fly-Fishing, and Cross-Country Skiing Ranches in the United States and Canada, 6th Edition.

Arizona dude ranch offers new art, photo workshops



“My children are 3rd generation returnees to the Elkhorn Ranch. I cannot say enough how much I and my kids love that place!” That’s the kind of website comment any dude ranch would like to get from its guests.

For Arizona’s Elkhorn Ranch, its the norm. Tucked against the corrugated Baboquivari Mountains southwest of Tucson, Elkhorn Ranch is a traditional family-owned and operated guest ranch offering horseback riding and relaxation for some 32 guests.

Mary Miller, co-owner of the ranch, dropped us a note recently. “We want to let you know that we’ve done a lot of work on our website lately, and hope you’ll take a look!  It is a work in progress, but coming along!”

We think they’ve done digital just right. The new site boasts a clean, attractive design with great photographs and illustrations. When we checked it out we saw a story announcing Field Sketching at Elkhorn Ranch, Spring 2014 run by Ruthann Stoner (see her illustration, above), set for March 30 – April 6, 2014.  And the ranch recently marked the addition of a third workshop focused on Field Sketching with a horse twist.

7_1_jam-e1373393482387Other workshop weeks coming up include one on Digital Photography (led by Stewart Aitchison & Ann Kramer on January 19 – 26, 2014). And an Adventure Vacation and Old Time Jam Workshop (musical inspiration by: Rory MacLeod and Sandol Astrausky; January 5 – 12, 2014).

The Miller Family has owned and operated Elkhorn Ranch continuously since 1946, but that doesn’t mean they can’t change with the times. One guest commented: “We have been going to Elkhorn Ranch for many years, and if you include my parents, children and grandchildren for generations. We like its location at the base of the Baboquivari Mountains, the riding in the mountains or on the desert, the food and accommodations and above all the people.”

Another guest commented,”Spectacular views, universally wonderful people, and great rides for all age groups in the dessert and mountains. The wranglers are genuine and gracious and the rest of the staff is great too.” You can’t buy great advertising like that.

Elkhorn springDetails: the ranch (trail ride shown at right), is open from November 17, 2013 through April 27, 2014. Take a peek at their cool site at to learn more. Credit cards are now welcome at Elkhorn Ranch. For info, call the Millers at 520-822-1040 or go to


Glamour meets camping at Paws Up



The Resort at Paws UP

Take a ‘Safari’ without leaving the States. Remember all those Hemingway Africa stories where, after an adventure amongst the wilds, the tourists would nip into a luxury tent to change for dinner, and then emerge to find a lavish spread complete with fine wines?

That kind of rustic elegance is not hard to find in America—just head for The Resort at Paws Up. Whether you’re looking for a way to ease the youngsters into camping or the great outdoors, or just want something different that will give you a few bragging rights when you return from vacation, glamping at Paws Up is the answer.

First there’s the tent, which looks like something out of Architectural Digest magazine: comfort meets glamour. There’s high-thread-count bedding, electricity, first-class service, luxury amenities, world-class dining. There’s the River Camp, Creekside Camp, Pinnacle Camp, and Moonlight Camp–all with a Camp Chef and Personal Camping Butler to make sure you’ve got everything you could possibly need.


And by June this year, they’ll open  their newest and most luxurious camp yet: Cliffside Camp. Paws Up describes it as “located across Paws Up’s famous covered bridge and atop a soaring cliff that overlooks the confluence of the Blackfoot River and Elk Creek, Cliffside Camp combines luxurious amenities with the Resort’s most stunning views to create the ultimate glamping experience in Montana”.

Set on a sprawling 37,000-acre working cattle ranch in central, western Montana, Paws Up offers 28 vacation homes and 30 glamping tent accommodations in all.


Details: Missoula International Airport is only 35 minutes away. Nightly rates start at $1075 (at the River Camp) and include meals and a mind-boggling list of activities, including guided activities, tons of riding, fun stuff for kids, winter sports, and wilderness workshops. Go fly-fishing in the Bob Marshall Wilderness, or try hiking, boating, or rafting.

For more detail and photos, check out the ranch on


Good deal at a warm Southwest ranch


Tanque_1Cold there? Fly here! says the home page of Arizona’s Tanque Verde Ranch.  You can’t argue with that logic. The Midwest and East Coast are even now gripped in the clutches of various storm systems that— even when the snow stops falling—will leave behind a mess of clogged roads and snow-blocked cars.

So why not plan a Southwest getaway? In March, you might even catch the desert in bloom. Picture it: ocotillo waving their fiery-red blossoms in the breeze, barrel cactus sprouting yellow and scarlet tops, desert verbena spreading a carpet of pink across the sands. And you, not shoveling snow.


Tanque Verde Ranch

This month, there’s a hot deal being offered at Tanque Verde Ranch, where you can “discover the joys of the Sonoran Desert in spring time with a unique vacation”.

Just outside Tucson, the long-established  Tanque Verde boasts Southwestern hospitality along with magnificent mountain and desert terrain. There’s so much to do, you and the kids won’t have time to be bored: tennis (on four courts), a swimming pool and spa, mountain biking, fishing, basketball, volleyball and a nature program (with two full-time naturalists).Tanque_7

But most importantly, there’s an outstanding riding program (with 1- hour, 2- hour, all-day, breakfast, picnic rides and daily riding lessons for all skill levels). The children’s program is highly acclaimed and counselor-supervised (for ages 4-11), featuring tennis, crafts, and nature hikes. Parents can ride with kids within the program.

Food is hearty and high-end (a sample menu might include seared sustainable salmon with white anchovy-arugula salad or hop-braised lamb shank). As they say at Tanque Verde “Besides the three gourmet meals served each day in the dining room, several indoor and outdoor specialty dining events are held each week. These special events include the Old Homestead Breakfast Ride, Mexican Fiesta Night, and the Cottonwood Grove Ranch Barbeque with live entertainment.  Indulge in mouth-watering southwestern cuisine while also taking in the authentic dude ranch atmosphere of Tanque Verde Ranch!”

And at day’s end, when you want some ‘grown-up time’, you can relax at the ranch’s own Dog House–a free standing, full service bar.Tanque_3

Hot deal: “Desert in Bloom” package | March 1-19, April 8-17; Salas – $329* | Casitas – $369* | Haciendas – $399. What’s included: 2 nights southwestern-style accommodations; breakfast and dinner daily; private hike-planning session with experienced hiking staff; scheduled guided hiking excursions in Saguaro National Park; all additional scheduled hiking and nature activities; one sunset horseback ride for each adult; special discounted rates on scheduled mountain biking activities.

NOTE: Package requires a minimum of double-occupancy, and is based on limited availability for new reservations only.  Rates may vary based on room type and dates selected.  Package may not be combined with any other offers or specials and may be discontinued without notice. Not applicable to groups.  Additional per-person rates apply for parties with more than 2 people. Rates subject to AZ state tax.


Ultra ranches, continued


The Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek Ranch

How do you define ultra? Ask the dictionary?

ul·tra [uhl-truh]


1. going beyond what is usual or ordinary; excessive; extreme.

Well, when it comes to ranch resorts, we don’t need a dictionary to define ultra. Just visit The Lodge and Spa at Brush Creek Ranch. Or look at the website description and it’ll get your heart pumping:  “With inspired names like “Grand View” and “Rainbow,” the Wyoming cabins feature stunning views of the sprawling ranch landscape, plush furnishings, refined Western décor and modern amenities for a most luxurious and comforting stay.”


And clearly, the cabins at the Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek Ranch have it all, from sumptuous king beds to cozy bunks, the features in each of the Wyoming log cabins ensure a restful stay for your boutique resort. Nine luxurious Log Cabin Residences, range in size from 2-3 bedrooms and including full kitchens with dining areas, spacious living areas with potbelly stoves or fireplaces, washers/dryers and two bathrooms with tub/shower combos.

But a dude ranch resort is much more than a cabin, no matter how nice that cabin may be. And Brush Creek Ranch brings it. With fly fishing, hunting and shooting, riding, trail adventures (from hiking to biking and Nordic skiing), there is so much to do here. Check out some of the testimonials:

From the moment we arrived at the Lodge we were embraced and warmly introduced to world class service. We went with no expectations and left planning the next few trips back. The setting itself was amazing, hand picked by the owner of the property as his personal & family retreat. The staff were all highly qualified & attentive to our every need. Every morning & throughout every day, the staff would greet us with an accommodating…”so what would you like your day to look like now.”LodgeSpa_5

“It was the best vacation we have had since our honeymoon! While my husband spent his days adventuring around the Ranch snowmobiling, snow shoeing, cross-country skiing and at the shooting range, I spent my time enjoying the spa treatments, yoga and reading by the fire. We would reconnect at 4pm in the Saloon and catch up on each others day. Then we would listen to live music, dance and enjoy and then head out to dinner in the Lodge. The food was second to none. Each meal surpassing the previous in terms of flavor and presentation.”

Details: Season: May 25-October 20; December 21-January 1;Feb 2-March 31. Capacity: 180. 2013 Rates: from $900-$5000 per night, per unit based on standard occupancy and includes: accommodations, on-ranch activities, meals, premium beer, wines, and spirits, plus guides and gear. for more, go to


In British Columbia, Echo Valley Ranch earns TOP TripAdvisor awards


The Key to TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice awards: Invisible luxury

It’s a new trend in hospitality, luxury you can’t see but certainly feel.  It’s a mix of tangible and intangible, visible and invisible at the same time, a rare quality that has brought repeated awards to Echo Valley Ranch & Spa. Recently, the ranch garnered Tripadvisor’s Travelers’ Choice Awards: #1 Small Hotel and #1 Hotel for Service in all of Canada and they wanted to hear all the details.

It is, in part due to this new trend that this British Columbia guest ranch earned these awards – both Canada wide – by the world’s largest travel site, TripAdvisor. These prestigious distinctions are especially meaningful since they were awarded in the Travelers’ Choice category. Over 180 reviews written by its satisfied guests to date indicate clearly that Echo Valley Ranch is doing something right.

For example, writes a guest, “What I got from my stay was totally different and so much better. If you are fortunate enough to stay at Echo Valley then get yourself ready to be welcomed into a family of inspiring people with a long standing tradition of achieving excellence in everything they do.”

“We call it invisible luxury,” says owner Norm Dove. “Many of the reviews on TripAdvisor and in our own guest book talk about it. It’s difficult to articulate, but I think it’s a combination of things. Of course we have the usual amenities ranging from high-end lodging to an excellent chef, and an emphasis on personal service, but the difference lays in our attitude towards our business. What we do we do naturally. It’s true passion versus compelled smiles. It’s warm caring versus butlers’ etiquette guide.  Whatever it is, the outcome is magical.”

Coming to Echo Valley is truly a vacation from all the artificial aspects of modern life. “We grow much of our own food, every building on the property has been placed in relation to the others, and the views are amazing. But it’s the intangibles that pull everything together.

EV 2 D276Mid

We say it is ‘made by nature,’ because it is,” said Dove. “Finding such natural luxury in the midst of remote grandeur literally takes people’s breath away. The intangible immediately becomes felt; the feeling of calmness and serenity can be gauged. It’s uplifting for one’s spirit.”

Echo Valley Ranch & Spa is located in the Cariboo region of British Columbia, at the foot of the Marble Mountain range, about a 40-minute-flight from Vancouver. Guests can enjoy horseback riding, wilderness hikes, a luxury Thai spa, fly-fishing, gold panning and wildlife safaris. Owner Dove says the ranch’s remote location is another draw, but its unique “sense of place” is the key to the extraordinary TripAdvisor guest satisfaction response.

The Dining Difference

Dining becomes an experience at Echo Valley Ranch & Spa as all guests come together to eat “family style” in our main living and dining room. That gives everybody a platform to chat with other guests, Norm & Nan or staff members – it’s the ideal opportunity to share thoughts about the adventures and experiences of the day.

Echo Valley is a Canada ranch that believes in the “eat fresh and eat local” ethos. Consequently, Echo Valley Ranch and Spa grows and produces much of its own food, which our Master Chef turns into a variety of healthy, gourmet meals. The ranch cuisine at Echo Valley Ranch and Spa is just as culturally diverse as its buildings.

Ranch cuisine at this unique Canada ranch will range from western-style BBQ cookouts to wholesome soups, intriguing salads, home-baked breads and many house specialties that change with the season. Special diets are easily accommodated and life-style dishes such as Eat for Your Blood Type are often incorporated into the menu plan. There’s even a specialty Thai Night where authentic Thai dishes sizzle alongside Thai entertainment. Bet this isn’t the ranch cuisine you were expecting on your Canada ranch vacation. And they serve a fine selection of beers and wine.EV 3  imgID198Mid

On the Echo Valley Ranch and Spa grounds, an organic vegetable garden grows a variety of fresh produce such as berries, mushrooms, vegetables and seasonal fruits, and the herb garden is an aromatic pleasure to explore. Check out the vegetables stored in the large root cellar and what’s new in the ranch resort greenhouse before it is prepared into delicious ranch cuisine. In addition to raising its own cattle, pigs, turkeys and chickens right on the ranch, Echo Valley sources other products such as artisan cheeses from nearby farms as well as fresh-caught seafood from Oceanwise suppliers in Vancouver.

East meets West

All therapists are trained by Thailand’s Ministry of Health – that is why the ranch is able to offer very authentic Thai Spa treatments. The western and eastern staff have been working together for so long its a family now. It’s about Thai and Canadian food and Spas with their different treatments. Indeed, their “Baan Thai Spa” is a work of the personal architect of the King of Thailand, Dr. Pinyo Suwankiri. He loved Echo Valley so much that he just wanted it to be there.

And all this is located on a ranch in the Cariboo wilderness. Just another amazing part of the world of members.

Details: Echo Valley Ranch & Spa is open April-October, December, January and can handle 40-50 guests. Set in ‘cowboy country” above the Fraser River in BC’s scenic Cariboo Region, the ranch is one hour west of Clinton, BC and a scenic 5.5 hour drive north of Vancouver. Minimum two night stay, rates start at $210 per night.


Nifty travel websites


We know, there are a million of ’em: travel-oriented websites. You already know about Kayak, Yahoo, Orbitz, Trip Advisor, Expedia, Priceline, Travelocity and the rest. Because anyone who has flown recently has had to search for cheap tickets online and those sites do that job well.

But before search engines like Google and Bing existed (aka the Dark Ages), if you wanted to find other interesting travel sites, you had to get the web address from a friend just to find them. Frankly, we still like the personal touch, so we’ll tell you about some of our favorite travel sites. They can be a good way to find out about deals, last-minute travel bargains, and tips from those in the know.

The Lonely PlanetLonely Planet home

We love this site just because it has stuff you’ll never find on those other sites. For example: Italy’s Regional Pizzas; the Glutton’s Guide to New Orleans; and the Worst Travel Pick-up Lines. It reminds us that travel should, after all, be fun.

The Virtual TouristTravel Guides, Hotel Reviews, Photos, Forums, Deals

Quirky, unusual, and independent. That describes what you’ll find here because a lot of the content is posted by members. The Travel Guides give you the inside scoop from fellow travelers and locals. The Hotel Reviews section rates more than 262,000 hotels. And the Travel Forum tells you what’s on the minds of travelers right now. One recent question: “Well its only 2 weeks to go until my first ever cruise, does anyone have any usefull do’s or don’ts on the art of cruising ?” got a lot of helpful replies.

The Travel Channel

Sometimes a video says it best. When you want an actual look at the destinations you’re considering, the Travel Channel has a vast store of videos of top travel sites to check. Right now, they have Sexy Weekend Getaways, the world’s most decadent chocolate tours, and more all geared to Valentine’s Day (which has now become Valentine’s Week, it seems).

Going overseas? Then this is your number one site, listing consular services for US citizens abroad, Visa services for foreigners, links to foreign consulates, visa fee tables and downloadable passport forms. And for faster info, check their Facebook page.

And of course, no matter where you are headed, you have to know what to expect weather-wise. So try to get the latest flight delays and airport weather conditions. At The Weather Channel you’ll get more than the basics: maps, videos, news, trip planner and so much more.


Rancho luxurious: Montana’s Rock Creek

We’re continuing our series about some of the most luxurious guest ranches in the world, where lodging is top notch, cuisine is five-star quality, and activities almost unlimited. Today, we take you to Montana’s Ranch at Rock Creek.  RanchAtRock_1


Ranch at Rock Creek

Montana’s Ranch at Rock Creek serves up luxury along with some 50 miles of mountains, meadows, lakes and streams. For anyone who is looking for the perfect blending of comfort and wilderness, The Ranch at Rock Creek lets you choose between various lodging choices.

Accommodations include rooms in the Granite Lodge, the Luxury Canvas Cabins, Specialty suites and Homes. Their canvas-topped cabins offer luxury bedding and a private bathroom (choose ‘Glamping for Two’ and you get one of Rock Creek’s four Classic Canvas Cabins—each a gi-normous 630 square feet—which give you a spacious main room for your bedroom with enough living area to include a comfortable sitting area.RanchAtRock_7

At The Ranch at Rock Creek, recreational opportunities are virtually limitless. Horseback riding on trails that weave among 6,600 acres, fly fishing their 4-mile-stretch of Blue Ribbon Rock Creek, fishing in stocked trout ponds, hiking, wildlife watching, mountain biking, sporting clays, archery, rafting, and games in The Granite Lodge are all popular.

Relaxation is a part of the total experience at The Ranch at Rock Creek, with professional massage therapy treatments available in a dedicated five-room spa inside the stone-and-timber Granite Lodge.RanchAtRock_3

Details: $950-$7,500 per night. Please visit their website for a description of inclusions and exclusions. Cuisine at The Ranch reflects its pure surroundings – prime organic beef, elk, bison, free-range chicken, organic eggs, fresh fish, seasonal local fruits, vegetables and fresh herbs, all enhanced by an inspired wine list.

The Ranch at Rock Creek is available for corporate retreats, weddings, and family reunions. For more details, see


Ultra Ranches-luxury and service top the list

Lodge-FallTriple Creek Ranch


When you talk about Triple Creek Ranch, the words “award-winning” always seem to come up. This luxury resort, set in the Bitterroot Mountain Range of the Montana Rockies, was recently voted the #1 Inn/Small Lodge in the US and #2 Hotel in the World by Travel + Leisure’s 2012 Readers Choice Awards.

How do you get to be number one in the United States and number two in the world? Ranchweb’s blog editor recently asked Triple Creek Ranch representative Deb Schara.  “Triple Creek Ranch is one of the world’s highest ranked hotel over the past 5 years, according to Travel + Leisure’s ‘World’s Best’ ratings,” said Schara, “and we got there with a score of 98.22—one of the highest scores ever.”

If you’re wondering what it takes to achieve that ranking, Scharra has a ready answer. “Our reviews have been great because of our attention to detail,” she says. “All our employees — from servers to housekeeper — goes above and beyond to give guests the help they need. And it’s a team effort–no matter what activity you want to pursue that day—from horseback riding  to fly fishing in summer to skiing in winter.”

All of this high service hums through a uniquely beautiful facility. The acreage around the main lodge is dotted with individual cabins, each with a wood-burning fireplace, king log-post beds, and some with private hot tubs. Each cabin is set so that when you sit on your deck, you don’t stare at another cabin—just an amazing view.TripleCreek_3

“People love the privacy. You can be with others or totally alone with each other. Large screen TVs in cabins have Blue Ray players and a there’s a library of DVDs to choose from, so you can be entertained while you relax in the cabin.”

“Its beautiful and quiet–there’s no cell service–so we encourage people to go outside their comfort zone and try things. We’ve gotten people on a horse who’ve never petted one before,” notes Scharra. Nature tours get them out to enjoy the countryside.

Okay, so between the fabulous facilities, an attentive staff, and a variety of activies—the only thing we haven’t talked about is the food. Very quickly, I learn that food and wine is big here. “We have a sommelier and that makes all the difference. Guests can request wine tastings here in the main lodge, or after our cooking classes,” scharra says. “And its all inclusive if the guest comes during that time (when classes occur).”

Dining1111The chef was schooled at the CIA in New York and his specialty is wild game and fish, but Scharra notes that he also likes Asian and Southwest influences. “There’s almost no chance you’ll get bored with the menu,” she says, “because it changes daily.”  And if you’ve gone vegan or have food allergies, no worries— they will accommodate special diets and food allergies.

“We have our own gardens and orchards, so the veggies or fruits on your plate may have just been picked that morning.”

At the end of your stay, you can take a bit of the ranch home with you in the form of their own jams and jellies, or you can get a packed breakfast or lunch as you leave. They really take care of their guests.

“The staff is amazing,” concludes Scharra, “and that’s the key to it.”

Details: Open January, February, April through December. Capacity: 60 (for meetings: 60). Rates: Start at $950 per night, per couple. Memberships: Relais & Chateaux, Virtuoso, Andrew Harper, Orvis Endorsed Lodge, JG Black Book.

Winter activities: Skiing: flex your schussing muscles on Alpine or Nordic skis along the Continental Divide on the Montana-Idaho border. The ranch is just a short, 30-minute drive from skiing in the Northern Rockies at Lost Trail Powder Mountain Ski Resort or at Chief Joseph Pass for cross-country skiing (available through February, weather permitting). Not into skiing? Then how about dog sledding, ice fishing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing or that unique western sport call skijoring (a skier is pulled by a horse).

Coming soon: more “Ultra Ranches”, including The Ranch at Rock Creek, The Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek, and The Resort at Paws Up.


Winter ranches for snow fun, value vacation

CLazy_4Admit it—you love winter. The real thing: crisp, clean air, clouds scudding over snow-dusted mountains; inside, a hot drink beside a crackling fire awaits. Or not. Maybe at your home winter is all traffic jams and rain-slicked highways, with a cooling cup of bad coffee at your desk.

So get the heck out of that faux-season and go where real winter lives— out in clean, snow-covered ranch country. And while you’re at it, find some bargains out there!


C Lazy U Ranch

At Colorado’s C Lazy U, shown above, January means that all your fave winter activities are going full blast. The pond is frozen, kids are sledding down the driveway luge run and the snowcat is fired up and ready to take you out for some private skiing. Sleigh rides, snow tubing, snowmobiling and even horseback riding are on the menu.

Ice hockey, ice skating (on a pond kept smooth by Zamboni grooming), as well as snow tubing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing round out the winter sports program at C Lazy U. Don’t worry about gear—they’ll provide just about everything you will need.

Don’t worry about anything, for that matter. Personal service is a big deal here—the kind of friendly, dedicated service that can only be provided by people who love their jobs and strive to make guests feel welcome and pampered. “At the C Lazy U Luxury Guest Ranch & Resort, we go that extra mile to welcome you and make sure you have a great time: we call it 5-Spur Service and it is what makes our Colorado dude ranch “Miles Above Ordinary.”

Open year round, this may be the ultimate Colorado winter resort, with cozy fireplaces and a world-class spa with a hot tub. Ahhh…


Western Pleasure Guest Ranch

Another Year round ranch, Western Pleasure guest ranch offers four seasons of fun, but winter has a legion of fans. I saw this on TripAdvisor recently, posted by guests who’d taken a cross-country ski visit to Western Pleasure Guest Ranch.

“We had the most incredible day of cross country skiing at Western Pleasure Ranch. It was a glorious, sunny day when we arrived at this beautiful setting in the wilderness. We met friendly “grandma” Janice who was babysitting her two grandchildren in the spectacular lodge. She answered all of our questions and allowed us to check out one of the empty cabins. Wow! If anyone wants a very reasonable getaway, this is the place to go!! The start of cross-country trails are just a hop, skip, and jump from the lodge. The scenery along the 2-mile trail loop is incredible with views of Schweitzer, creeks, mountains and open fields of untouched snow (except for moose tracks?). When you finish cross-country skiing, drop by the lodge for coffee and popcorn. We will definitely return! G. and M., Cranbrook, BC”

Check out their “Log Cabin Getaway Ski Packages” and ski down remote hills and perfectly groomed runs in the secluded wilderness. Then, return to a cozy cabin and a crackling fire. Or try the ‘Schweitzer Ski Vacation package’, do all of that starting with a hearty country gourmet breakfast in the Grand Lodge and then travel a few miles to Schweitzer Ski Resort, North Idaho, and Sandpoint’s premier ski hill. This all inclusive ski package includes two nights lodging for two in a log cabin, one day of skiing at Schweitzer Mountain Ski Resort, a romantic horse drawn sleigh ride for two, and a hearty ranch breakfast served in the main lodge two mornings. $430.00/Couple (taxes does included).

Crystal ranch-angle-rev2UTAH

Crystal Ranch Lodge and Resort

This intimate, year-round lodge is best known as a fly fishing resort, but since Utah is known around the world for winter sports (Utah hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics), they really know how to play in the snow here.

Snowmobile ‘junkies’ know its hard to find a good balance of mixed terrain and untouched snow, but the folks at Crystal Ranch can help you find it. They know the Uinta Mountains well and can help you find the best. And while the ranch is in a remote area, the road is maintained in good condition year-round so you can drive your car or truck right to the lodge.

DETAILS: For more winter trip-planning help, including finding deals, go to


Men’s Journal intros new ranch videos

Photograph by Robert Wright / Courtesy Men’s

Photograph by Robert Wright / Courtesy Men’s


Ask Ryan Van Duzer (at left), how he became a travel video journalist and filmmaker for Men’s Journal, and he’ll likely tell you his career began on a bicycle. After serving in the Peace Corps for two years in Honduras, Van Duzer rode his bike home to Colorado—from Honduras! “I met the most wonderful people,” Van Duzer says, “and I just got hooked on adventuring.” The trip took 87 days and covered some 4,000 miles, yet Van Duzer says he had little trouble and few flat tires. “Everybody asks about the tires, though,” Van Duzer explains with a laugh.

Later, the budding journalist rode a cruiser bike from Oceanside, California to Washington, DC, in the quest to promote bicycle advocacy. And each time, he brought a camera and recorded his exploits. He ended up with pretty sophisticated movies: after all, he has a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

His career as professional videographer  then wound through Boulder, Colorado (he created an outdoor adventure show called “Out There,”) and his role as ‘adventure guy’ was secure. As a host, he appeared on National Geographic‘, on NPR, the Travel Channel, and a pilot for the History Channel. Van Duzer’s newest venture for Men’s Journal, is called Remote and Refined, an original video series recently launched.

Now, anyone with online access can join Van Duzer as he explores the far corners of America in the Men’s Journal series geared to adventures that end with lodging that’s several notches above spending the night in a sleeping bag. “We want to highlight ranches,” Van Duzer says,”and find the best hidden spots in America.”

And these online mini-movies aren’t just for men, he notes. “They’re for anyone who has adventure in their spirit—we want to make you say ‘wow’!” So far, Van Duzer has taken his cameras to a number of members, including Red Reflet Ranch, The Resort at Paws Up, and most recently Triple Creek Ranch.

In the Triple Creek Ranch fly fishing video, you’ll see Van Duzer heading out through beautiful, forested countryside with one of the ranch’s angling guides. In short order, our man snags a good-sized trout, and later watches as the ranch chef grills up his fresh catch into a gourmet dish. It makes for a compressed but fascinating adventure you can enjoy during a coffee-break. Van Duzer makes Triple Creek Ranch look like the great destination it is (and the host looks pretty good himself). Men’s Journal has snagged a great ‘adventure guy’ reporter, and we’re pretty sure we’ll see a lot more of Ryan Van Duzer in the future.

Details: Go to the Men’s Journal website and you can click on the fishing video and others as they get posted. Or read more.  Follow them: @mensjournal on Twitter | MensJournal on Facebook