Thank you to Visit Idaho for sending us to Western Pleasure Guest Ranch. The thoughts and opinions expressed here are entirely our own.
I didn’t realize how badly I needed a vacation until I was listening to the sound of silence in the mountains of Northern Idaho. Sure, I travel over 200,000 miles a year and I get to experience amazing destinations around the world, but I seem to always be planning the next thing and worrying about capturing all of the content that I set out to instead of enjoying what is right in front of me. I rarely get to slow down, take a beat, and enjoy the present moment. That was, until I headed to Western Pleasure Ranch in Northern Idaho.
Having grown up vacationing on dude ranches around the American West, I knew that I would be in for an adventure at Western Pleasure Guest Ranch. What I didn’t realize was how life changing the destination would be.
Upon arriving at Western Pleasure Guest Ranch, I immediately felt a sense of calm wash over my city spirit. As we stepped out of the car, we could see horses galloping in the distance and a group of herding dogs greeted us right away, as if to corral us into their home. Janice, the owner, checked us into our room, aptly named “siesta” and told us to help ourselves to beers in the refrigerator. With only a maximum of 20 guests at the ranch, we could feel the intimacy and closeness of the guests.
A few hours later, the dinner bell rang. It was time for us to eat. All twenty guests headed outside and gathered around the Dutch Oven cowboy cookout for a delicious home cooked meal. After dinner, the family grabbed some guitars and violins and sang around a campfire as the sun set on a serene Idaho evening. Perhaps it was the nostalgia kicking in from my years of visiting dude ranches with my family, but as we gathered around the campfire, it hit me. It felt like home….far, far away from my own home. That feeling can’t be forced, it can’t be replicated, and it can’t be planned. It occurs at opportune moments and it will stay with me forever. Our trip to Western Pleasure Guest Ranch wasn’t just a vacation, it was a complete reconnection to the land and to our souls.
Location: Sandpoint, Idaho
Closest Airport: Spokane, Washington
Best Time of Year to Visit: Summer
What it Includes: Accommodations, Food, Activities (including daily horse rides)
Who It’s For: Absolutely everyone! Beginners, advanced riders, couples, families, and singles
There are plenty of activities included at Western Pleasure Guest Ranch, most notably horseback riding. There are multiple rides in a day that cater to every level of riding. The wranglers are absolutely fantastic and they made us feel very comfortable every time we went riding.
If you’d like to try your hand at other adventures on site, there is hiking, mountain biking, clay pigeon shooting, archery, basketball, a weekly trip to a waterfall, foosball, and fishing. My favorite part of the entire trip was when we partook in a cattle-corralling contest with the other guests. It was a completely different type of activity that got us outside of our comfort zone, fostered teamwork and communication, and was just good old fashioned fun!
The food at Western Pleasure Guest Ranch is absolutely delicious and all home cooked. The in-house chef makes hearty, tasty meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Guests are summoned with a dinner bell, which beautifully rounds out the laidback feeling at the ranch.
Overall, our trip to Western Pleasure Guest Ranch brought adventure to our souls, smiles to our faces, and memories that will last forever. We loved that everything was included and that we never had to worry about a meal, an adventure, a drink, or really anything at all! We had the chance to Visit Idaho before, but Northern Idaho felt like an entirely different experience with its rustic and romantic environment. This may have been our first trip to Northern Idaho together, but it most definitely won’t be our last.
Taking time to slow down and enjoy the ride is so important! What a lovely adventure, my SO and I would have so much fun riding together!